The Honorable Deborah L. Wince-Smith

President & CEO, Council on Competitiveness


Deborah L. Wince-Smith is the president & CEO of the Council on Competitiveness, the only place where CEOs, labor leaders and university presidents are working together to ensure that Americans prosper in the global economy. Founded in 1986, this unique business-labor-academia coalition recommends actionable public policy solutions to make America more competitive in the global marketplace.

Ms. Wince-Smith is internationally renowned as a leading voice on competitiveness, innovation strategy, science and technology, and international economic policy. She is frequently called upon to testify in front of the U.S. Congress on these issues and appears regularly on national television networks including Bloomberg, CNBC and Fox News. Since becoming president of the Council on Competitiveness, she has helped recharge the national debate on competitiveness, innovation and resilience.

As president of the Council on Competitiveness, Ms. Wince-Smith spearheaded the groundbreaking 2004 National Innovation Initiative (NII), which 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. Most recently Ms. Wince-Smith led the Council's 2009 National Energy Summit & International Dialogue and the 2nd US-Brazil Innovation Summit.

Ms. Wince-Smith serves on the board of directors of Fortune 500 companies and leading national and international organization, as well as U.S. government advisory committees. She is a member of the board of directors of NASDAQ-OMX, Inc., and serves on the Audit, Compensation and Finance Committees. Ms. Wince-Smith is also a Senate-confirmed member of the Oversight Board of the Internal Revenue Service, responsible for administering the Nation's tax laws. She recently chaired the Secretary of Commerce's Advisory Committee on Strengthening America's Communities and currently serves on the U.S. Department of State's Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy.

Ms. Wince-Smith is a member of the University of Chicago's Board of Governors for Argonne National Laboratory and serves on the board of the Albert Shanker Institute, the Lincoln Center Institute's Imagination Conversation, the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation and the Smithsonian National Board. Ms. Wince-Smith is a Chairman of the World Economic Forum's Global Council on Global Competitiveness and is a member of the Science & Technology in Society Forum Council. Deborah is also a member of the Smithsonian National Board and the Board of Directors of the American Telemedicine Association.

Ms. Wince-Smith is the president of the newly formed Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils, whose creation she led. This is the first global network devoted exclusively to the exchange of knowledge and practice related to competitiveness policies and strategies; and, the first global, 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 assistant secretary of commerce for technology policy in the administration of George H.W. Bush, overseeing federal technology transfer policy, implementation of the Bayh-Dole Act, and the White House National Technology Initiative. She was also the first assistant director of international affairs and competitiveness in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the architect of the landmark Head of Government Science and Technology Agreement with Japan.

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. national laboratories and American industry. Following her government tenure, Ms. Wince-Smith became active in governance of various national scientific laboratories and provided strategic counsel to several FORTUNE 100 companies.

Ms. Wince-Smith graduated magna cum laude from Vassar College with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She earned her master's degree in classical archaeology from King's College at the University of Cambridge. In 2006, she received an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Michigan State University.

Workshop Program
updated: 2011-10-19