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Michelle Lenihan is a senior advisor on policy management and Operations to the Chief of Operations within the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). Michelle has worked at the Pentagon, in a variety of different positions, since 2005. Among the roles she’s held: principal director in the Office of African Affairs, acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for African Affairs and chief of staff for ASD Homeland Defense and Global Security.  Michelle is also an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserves. Prior to her work at the Pentagon, Michelle was an associate producer and senior production associate at ABC News. She earned a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Spanish from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. 


  • How a desire to serve has driven Michelle’s career ambitions (5:56)
  • Why you should take chances in your career(8:26)
  • What it’s like working in the Department of Defense (9:19/15:26)
  • What Michelle does as the Senior Advisor Policy Management and Operations in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (14:54)
  • How to best manage your time in an intense job (19:24)
  • Why it’s important to have female representation in the security field (26:25)
  • How soccer helped Michelle to become more successful in her career (28:02)
  • If you want to learn how to break into the national security field check out Michelle’s Espresso Shots interview in T4C episode #616

**In March 2021 Michelle joined strategic advisory firm, Hakluyt & Co., as an executive.

**For daily career advice, insights and inspiration give Andrea a follow on LinkedIn

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