Deborah L. Wince-Smith
President & CEO, Council on Competitiveness
Deborah L. Wince-Smith is the President & CEO of the Council on Competitiveness (Council). Founded in 1986, this unique coalition of leading CEO’s, university presidents and labor union leaders puts forth actionable public policy solutions to make America more competitive in the global marketplace.
An internationally renowned, leading voice on competitiveness, innovation strategy, science and technology, and international economic policy, Ms. Wince-Smith has been credited with recharging the national debate on competitiveness, innovation and resilience. Ms. Wince-Smith is frequently called upon to testify in front of the U.S. Congress and appears regularly on global television news networks including Bloomberg, BBC, CNBC, CNN and Fox News.
In 2004, Ms. Wince-Smith spearheaded the groundbreaking National Innovation Initiative (NII) that played a pivotal role in creating a reinvigorated U.S. competitiveness movement. The NII shaped the bipartisan America COMPETES Act, created state and regional innovation initiatives, and brought a global focus to innovation. Ms. Wince-Smith led the Council’s 2009 National Energy Summit & International Dialogue. She has led a widely acknowledged and highly successful bilateral dialogue between the United States and Brazil on competitiveness and innovation strategy, including leading the 2007 and 2010 US-Brazil Innovation Summits. More recently, Ms. Wince-Smith created a coalition of over 60 CEOs, University Presidents, Labor Union Leaders and National Laboratory Directors to ignite an American Manufacturing Movement. This movement, underpinning the Council on Competitiveness’ flagship US Manufacturing Competitiveness Initiative, will modernize America’s manufacturing base; create high-skilled, living-wage, American jobs; and, keep America competitive in the global marketplace.
Ms. Wince-Smith serves as a director of several publicly and privately held companies, leading national and international organizations, as well as U.S. government advisory committees. She is a member of the Commission on the Theft of Intellectual Property, co-chaired by former Governor John Huntsman and former U.S. Director of Naval Intelligence, Dennis Blair. As a former member of the Board of NASDAQ OMX, she served on the Audit, Compensation and Finance Committees. Ms. Wince-Smith currently serves as a Board Member of start-up technology companies specializing in hi-definition displays, consumer electronics and medical devices. She also serves as the Vice Chairman of Women Corporate Directors and on the board of the American Telemedicine Association, as well as the Lincoln Center Institute’s Imagination Conversation. Ms. Wince-Smith is actively involved and serves on the non-profit, charitable boards of the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation and the Smithsonian National Board.
Ms. Wince-Smith chaired the Secretary of Commerce’s Advisory Committee on Strengthening America’s Communities and currently serves on the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy. She is currently the Vice Chair – after having served as Chair in 2011 – of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Competitiveness. She is a member of Japan’s prestigious, global Science & Technology in Society Forum Council.
Ms. Wince-Smith has served on the Boards of the Department of Energy National Laboratories, including the University of California President’s Council overseeing the Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories. Ms. Wince-Smith has also served on the University of Chicago’s Board of Governors for Argonne National Laboratory, where she chaired the Audit, Compensations and Budget committees, and served on the Nominating and Governance Committees.
Since 2009, Ms. Wince-Smith has been the president of the Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils (GFCC), whose creation she led with leaders and stakeholders from over 30 Competitiveness Councils from around the world. The GFCC is the first global network devoted exclusively to the exchange of knowledge and practice related to competitiveness policies and strategies; and, it is the first international, public-private mechanism to promote global economic growth through collaboration in innovation.
During her 17-year tenure in the federal government, Ms. Wince-Smith held leading positions in the areas of science, technology policy and international economic affairs. She began her career as a program director for the National Science Foundation, where she managed U.S. research programs with Eastern European countries and U.S. universities. Most notably, she served as the nation’s first Senate confirmed Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Technology Policy in the administration of President George H.W. Bush, overseeing federal technology transfer policy, implementation of the Bayh-Dole Act, and the White House National Technology Initiative. During the Reagan Administration, Ms. Wince-Smith was appointed as the first Assistant Director of International Affairs and Competitiveness in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Ms. Wince-Smith was the architect of the landmark 1988 Head of Government Science and Technology Agreement with Japan, and developed ministerial bilateral collaborations with China, India and Latin America.
Ms. Wince-Smith developed President Reagan’s 1988 Competitiveness Initiative, and led the implementation of executive orders and new laws that transformed federal technology transfer policy for U.S. industries, national laboratories and universities. Following her government tenure, Ms. Wince-Smith became active in the governance of various national scientific laboratories and provided strategic counsel to several FORTUNE 100 companies.
Ms. Wince-Smith, a valedictorian from Old Trail School in Akron, Ohio, graduated magna cum laude from Vassar College with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She was one of the first female students to enter King’s College at the University of Cambridge, where she read for a Master’s degree in Classical Archaeology. In 2006, she received an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities from Michigan State University.
Ms. Wince-Smith is married to former Deputy United States Trade Representative Ambassador Michael B. Smith and resides in McLean, Virginia. They have two sons, Devereux B. Smith, an Ensign with the United States Navy, and Christian M. Smith, a Second Lieutenant with the United States Marines Corp.
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