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Ambassador Susan Schwab: Being the Only Woman in the Room Made Me Memorable

Earlier this month, Fortune Most Powerful Women launched “Trailblazers,” a new video series featuring conversations with women who have paved the way for others in their fields.
The third woman in our series is Ambassador Susan Schwab, who served as the U.S. trade representative under the administration of President George W. Bush. She was the third woman in history to do so.
“Frequently in negotiating sessions I’d be the only female in the room, and what that ends up meaning is that they remember me long after they’ve forgotten all the other white guys on my side of the table,” she says of her experience as a woman in international trade negotiations.
Schwab says the field is a good fit for women. “It’s not a field that has a specific path. You can come into the field as a lawyer, as a policy expert, as an economist. There isn’t a well-honed old boys’ network,” she explains.
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Today, Schwab is a professor at the University of Maryland and serves on a number of corporate boards.
Watch the other episodes in the Trailblazers series, like this interview with Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, the first woman to ever to lead a U.S. Department of Defense service academy and this interview with Anna Maria Chávez, the CEO of Girl Scouts of America and the first Latina to run the Girl Scouts organization.