Michelle Combs Watson is the Vice President of Corporate Relations at the Institute of World Politics (IWP) in Washington D.C. She is a co-founder of IWP’s Corporate Statecraft and the Cyber Statecraft programs and co-teaches the Corporate Statecraft and Cyber Statecraft courses as a Professor of Practice. Her academic research as a scholar-practitioner focuses on “Cyber Intelligence” and the complex but necessary relationship between the public-private sectors and the impact of those relationships on U.S. national security.
Currently, Michelle is leading the creation of IWP’s “Cyber Intelligence Institute” – a professional education program for industry and government professionals. She is a recent member of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) – Cyber Intelligence Task Force.
As an executive in international business for over 17 years, Michelle specialised in the information, computing and technology (ICT) industry, focusing primarily on cyber security, policy development, and negotiating strategic partnerships with corporations in the information technology, telecommunications, and networking industries.
Michelle developed a successful track record in establishing and maintaining relationships with CEO, CIO, CISO and CFO executives, creating strategic alliances and negotiating partnerships with companies such as Cisco Systems, HP, and AT&T.
For 10 years Michelle worked for British Telecoms’ global network solutions groups in Silicon Valley, London, New Jersey and New York. As Vice-President for BT Solutions, Michelle was responsible for leading North American and European based account teams and efforts partnering with AT&T Solutions on joint global network opportunities. With P&L responsibility in the Americas and European regions, her teams helped establish some of the largest initial global outsourcing agreements with companies such as General Motors, Citibank and Siemens. Michelle managed over 100 employees on three continents, in global virtual teams for business development, contract negotiations, implementation and project management.
Michelle’s was co-founder of Virgil Inc., a private international telecommunications company located in Poland and San Francisco, CA, where she was responsible for establishing telecommunications infrastructure agreements with the Polish Government.
Michelle began her career in telecommunications and network solutions in Silicon Valley in the late 1980’s working for Cable & Wireless plc.
Michelle earned a Bachelors degree in Political Science from the University of Kentucky; studied Data Communications and International Business at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, California; studied International Relations at New College, Oxford; and received her Master of Arts degree in Statecraft and National Security Affairs from the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C.
Michelle Combs Watson has two daughters and lives in Alexandria, Virginia USA.