Dr. Marisa Porges is seasoned executive known for her work on gender and education, leadership, and national security. She writes and speaks to audiences worldwide about her experience in the military, at the White House, and as Chief Executive of a renowned non-profit, and is the author of What Girls Need: How to Raise Bold, Courageous, and Resilient Women (Viking Press, 2020).
Most recently, Dr. Porges completed her tenure as the eighth Head of School of The Baldwin School, a prestigious all-girls school outside of Philadelphia known for academic excellence and preparing girls to be leaders. During her seven years leading Baldwin, she launched new programs for students and teachers, expanded the School’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work, led the most successful period of fundraising in its 135-year history, and extensively renovated facilities across the 25-acre campus.
Prior to joining Baldwin, Dr. Porges was a leading counterterrorism and national security expert. She served in the Obama White House as a senior policy advisor and White House Fellow at the National Economic Council, where she oversaw the development of domestic cybersecurity and consumer protection policies. She also has served as a research fellow at Harvard Kennedy School and at the Council on Foreign Relations, where her research focused on counterterrorism. In these roles, she traveled throughout the Middle East and Afghanistan to conduct research, interview former members of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, meet with Syrian rebel fighters in hiding, and serve as an embedded civilian advisor at NATO military headquarters in Afghanistan. She also worked as a counterterrorism policy advisor in the U.S. Department of Treasury and as a foreign affairs advisor in the U.S. Department of Defense. In all these roles, she stood out as one of a few – if not the only – women present, at any given time.
Dr. Porges started her career on active duty in the U.S. Navy, flying jets off carriers as a naval flight officer on EA-6B Prowlers. Ten years after the Navy first allowed women to fly jets into combat, she pursued her dream of being launched off an aircraft carrier while serving her country. She earned a B.A. in geophysics from Harvard, an MSc from the London School of Economics, and a PhD in war studies from King’s College London. Her awards include the National Committee on American Foreign Policy 21st Century Leader Award and the NATO Medal for service in Afghanistan. Dr. Porges lives in Philadelphia, with her husband, two young children, and dog.
To learn more about my tenure at Baldwin, please see