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Picture of Barbara BarrettBIOGRAPHY

Barbara Barrett
Ambassador, Finland
Term of Appointment: 04/30/2008 to present

Barbara Barrett was nominated on March 13, 2008 by President George W. Bush as Ambassador of the United States to the Republic of Finland. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 29th and sworn in by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on April 30, 2008 at Arizona State University.

Ambassador Barrett's appreciation for governmental leadership began in 1972 as an intern at the Arizona State Legislature where she observed then-Senate Majority Leader Sandra Day O’Connor. Ambassador Barrett’s government efforts focused on transportation issues at the city, county and state levels. Before she was thirty, she served as an executive of two Fortune 500 transportation companies.

In the 1980s, Ambassador Barrett served as Vice Chairman of the United States Civil Aeronautics Board, partner in a large Phoenix law firm and Deputy Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. Engaged in the community, she was president of the Arizona World Affairs Council, Arizona World Trade Association and the Economic Club of Phoenix. Ambassador Barrett was the national Chairman of the U.S. Secretary of Commerce’s Export Conference in Washington, D.C.

In the 1990s, Ambassador Barrett was President and CEO of the American Management Association, the world’s largest provider of management education, leadership training and business publishing. She was Valley Bank of Arizona’s founding Chairman, and she taught leadership as an Institute of Politics Fellow at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. She was a member of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services and was a Republican candidate for Governor of Arizona.

In 2000, as President of the International Women’s Forum, Ambassador Barrett led a delegation of some leading women of the world to six cities in the People’s Republic of China, and assisted in establishing or revitalizing chapters in Russia, South Africa, Jordan, Ireland, Chile, Argentina and Ecuador. Ambassador Barrett was Chairman of the US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy and Senior Advisor to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations where she addressed the U.N. General Assembly. She served in leadership roles at Freedom House, the Center for International Private Enterprise, the National Legal Center and the Global Center for Dispute Resolution Research.

Immediately prior to her service as Ambassador, she was President and CEO of Triple Creek Guest Ranch in Darby, Montana. Ambassador Barrett served on the corporate boards of Raytheon and Exponent, Inc., and was a trustee of the Aerospace Corporation, Mayo Clinic and Thunderbird School of Global Management.

She worked closely with her colleagues on the U.S.–Afghan Women’s Council and with Thunderbird School of Global Management on Project Artemis, a Thunderbird program that trains and mentors Afghan women entrepreneurs. She was a member of the Horatio Alger Association Board, Defense Business Board, Smithsonian National Board and the Senior Advisory Board at Harvard’s Institute of Politics.

Ambassador Barrett earned her bachelor, master and law degrees at Arizona State University. Honorary doctorates have been conferred upon her by ASU, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Thunderbird School of Global Management and the University of South Carolina. Ambassador Barrett has been recognized with the Horatio Alger Award, Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship and the Sandra Day O’Connor Excellence Award from the American Bar Association.

Ambassador Barrett is an instrument rated pilot. She climbed Tanzania's Mt. Kilimanjaro in August 2007. She and her husband live in Arizona.



Released on May 15, 2008

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