Ann Dunwoody

First Female Four-Star General, Retired Commander of U.S. Army Materiel Command, and Author of A Higher Standard
Ann Dunwoody
  • Oversaw a staff of 69,000 and managed a budget of $60 billion
  • Supported the largest deployment and redeployment of U.S. forces since WWII
  • Discusses the principles behind her success as the nation’s first female four-star general

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General Ann Dunwoody is the former commanding general of one of the Army’s largest commands, the US Army Materiel Command. She is the first woman in US military history to achieve a four-star officer rank, and US Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno called her “quite simply the best logistician the Army has ever had.” She led many divisions at home and abroad and commanded at every level. She also supported the largest deployment and redeployment of US forces since WWII. The author of the book, A Higher Standard: Leadership Strategies from America’s First Female Four-Star General, Dunwoody shares what nearly four decades in the military taught her about effective leadership, revealing the core principles that guided her to her historic appointment. Through engaging stories and battle-tested insights, she offers audiences practical, tactical advice to lead and achieve with maximum success – no matter the size or scope of their organization. Spunky and a straight shooter, she is exclusively represented by Leading Authorities, Inc. speakers bureau.

US Army Career. Dunwoody led the transformation of the Army’s logistics organizations. She was responsible for research and development, installation and contingency contracting, foreign military sales, supply chain management, and more. She also oversaw all of the depots that supported supply, maintenance, manufacturing, and ammunitions. AMC had more than 69,000 employees and presence in all 50 states and 145 countries, and Dunwoody managed a budget of $60 billion dollars and was responsible for oversight of approximately $70 billion in service contracts. She also led the Army’s global supply chain in support of Iraq and Afghanistan and contingency operations in Haiti, Pakistan, and Japan.

Among Dunwoody’s many accomplishments came several career and military firsts. In addition to becoming the first woman in US military history to achieve the rank of four-star general, she was the first woman to command a battalion in the 82nd Airborne Division in 1992, and she became Fort Bragg’s first female general officer in 2000. Dunwoody was also the first woman to command the Combined Arms Support Command. In 2005, Dunwoody became the Army’s top-ranking female when she received the promotion to lieutenant general (three stars) and became the Army’s deputy chief of staff, G-4 (logistics). She received her fourth star in 2008.

Awards and Recognition. General Dunwoody led a highly decorated career. In addition to her military honors, she was named one of New York MOVES Magazine’s “2013 Power Women” and selected to be the 2013 Grand Marshall for the Veterans Day parade in New York City. The NCAA recognized her with its highest honor, the Theodore Roosevelt Award, and the National Conference on Citizenship gave her its Franklin Award. She was also recognized as a 2001 Distinguished Alumni for the State University of New York at Cortland and was the recipient of the 2004 National Defense Transportation Association’s DoD Distinguished Service Award and the 2007 Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW) Distinguished Service Award.

Dunwoody is currently the president of First 2 Four and serves on the board of directors for L-3 Communications, Republic Services, and Logistics Management Institute.

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Speaker Video

Gen. Ann Dunwoody on Change and Peak Performance

Gen. Ann Dunwoody: Leadership Lessons

A Higher Standard. What makes a leader effective? Believing that true leaders never stop learning, refining, growing, and adapting, General Ann Dunwoody details her evolution as a soldier and reveals the core principles behind her success at her historic appointment as the nation’s first female four-star general leading the military’s largest command. She helps audiences inspire peak performance by tapping into their employees’ passion, communicating their vision clearly, and creating buy-in that drives results. Offering insights like “Never Walk by a Mistake,” “Leaders Aren’t Invincible—Don’t Try to Be,” and “Leverage the Power of Diversity,” Dunwoody gives audiences practical, tactical advice that they can use to lead and achieve with maximum success – no matter the size or scope of their organization.

Leading Change. As the first female four-star general, Ann Dunwoody knows a thing or two about leadership and leading change in an organization. She was first commissioned as a part of the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) but then had to manage the integration of women into the army as WAC was dismantled. She also successfully redesigned and realigned her supply management division to keep the unit from being absorbed. In this presentation, Dunwoody outlines her strategies for successfully leading change, which stem from the belief that you cannot direct change, you have to inspire it by communicating your vision, getting key players to participate, and achieving buy-in from those involved. While most people are averse to change (especially in the military!), General Dunwoody lived by retired four-star General Eric Shinseki’s quote: “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less,” and she gives her audience practical advice for achieving the same great feats that she did.

Visioning. Ann Dunwoody outlines how to create a successful vision for an organization that generates buy-in and inspires the action necessary for success. She shares that the key is getting all goals and plans on a single sheet of paper so that people can easily understand how their actions contribute to the overall mission. Leaders must then bring all of the affected parties together to ensure that everyone (and everyone’s division or department) is included in the vision. The helps each individual person feels ownership of the success or failure of the vision. In this presentation, she offers her approach to visioning and gives her audience practical takeaways for making it happen at their own organizations.

Logistics. General Ann Dunwoody spent her entire military career managing logistics, and she shares her tips of the trade in this rare chance to pick the brain of the woman who successfully managed the largest deployment and redeployment of U.S. forces since WWII. Citing the 70% of procurement costs are in the logistics, she tackles the complexities of making sure that our country’s troops are ready and well-supplied in the field, as she commanded 69,000 employees with a presence in all 50 states and 145 countries.

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