Michele Wucker founded Gray Rhino & Company to help leaders, organizations, and communities to identify and strategize responses to “gray rhino” risks: those that are obvious yet neglected despite -and all too often because of- their size.
An award-winning global thought leader with experience in strategy, economics and finance, public policy, turnarounds and crisis management, Michele draws on three decades in media and non-profit management and content creation. She also has a broad background in behavioral economics, organizational dynamics, risk, geo-politics, and economic analysis.
Michele is the author, most recently, of THE GRAY RHINO: How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore (St Martin’s Press, 2016), an exploration of the term she coined and introduced at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos in 2013. The book was released to praise from global business, policy, and thought leaders. Published in China in February 2017 in simplified Chinese characters, it quickly became a runaway best-seller. In a front-page editorial in People’s Daily, senior government officials embraced the term “gray rhino” as a way to signal policy changes to reduce financial risk in the economy, sparking global media coverage from the front page of The New York Times to stories in Turkey, Malaysia, Qatar, Vietnam, Brazil, and Mexico, among other countries around the world. Translations of the book have been released in Hungary, Korea, and Taiwan (traditional Chinese characters), and Norway. The Governor of the Central Bank of the Philippines referred to the need to address gray rhinos in the title of a recent speech on financial crisis, and the concept helped shape the closing session of the 2017 Munich Security Conference.
Michele has been recognized as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, a Guggenheim Fellow, an American Council on Germany Young Leader, and a Women’s Media Center Woman Making History, among other honors.
Her previous leadership positions include Vice President for Studies at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs; President of the World Policy Institute, which she re-launched in 2007 in a dramatic turnaround; and Latin America Bureau Chief at International Financing Review. She also has taught master’s students at the School for International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, of which she is an alumna.
She has delivered keynote speeches, presentations and workshops around the globe including Argentina, Mexico, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Morocco, China, Korea, France, Great Britain, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Hungary, Norway, and Poland.
Michele’s writing on topics including immigration, citizenship, financial crisis, women’s leadership, and the global economy and international affairs has appeared around the world including in CNN.com, strategy + business, Inc., The (NY) Observer, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. She has been interviewed by many broadcast media including National Public Radio, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, and Fox News.
Michele is a Global Advisor to Womensphere, an Oxfam Sisters on the Planet Ambassador, a mentor-editor at The OpEd Project, and a founding member of the Border of Lights arts collective. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Authors Guild, and PEN.
Her first two books are LOCKOUT: Why America Keeps Getting Immigration Wrong When Our Prosperity Depends on Getting It Right (PublicAffairs, 2006) and WHY THE COCKS FIGHT: Dominicans, Haitians, and the Struggle for Hispaniola (Hill & Wang, 1999).
Michele holds a B.A. from Rice University, a Master’s from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and a Certificate in Global Leadership from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.