Michele Wucker coined the term “gray rhino” to draw attention to the obvious risks that are neglected despite – in fact, often because of– their size and likelihood. The metaphor has moved markets and shaped financial policies around the world, and her recent TED Talk about gray rhinos attracted 1.5 million views in its first two months online.
She is the author of three books, most recently the international bestseller, THE GRAY RHINO: How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore, which China’s leadership has used to frame and communicate its crackdown on financial risk.
Her first two books were LOCKOUT: Why America Keeps Getting Immigration Wrong When Our Prosperity Depends on Getting It Right (Public Affairs 2006/paperback 2007; a Washington Post Book World “Best Nonfiction of 2006″ Selection) and WHY THE COCKS FIGHT: Dominicans, Haitians and the Struggle For Hispaniola (FSG/Hill & Wang, 1999).
Michele received a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship for her work on changing views of citizenship. She has been recognized as a 2009 Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, a 2008 Young Leader of the American Council on Germany. She also is a 2008 Womens Media Center Progressive Womens Voices alumna and 2010 Womens Media Center Woman Making History.
A sought-after public speaker, Michele has delivered speeches on five continents and frequently addresses global audiences about leadership and strategy, crisis management, the global economy, immigration, and citizenship. She has been a source for major U.S. and international media including The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Reuters, CNN, CNBC, Fox News, MSNBC, and National Public Radio.
In 2015, she founded Gray Rhino & Company to help leaders and organizations to identify and strategize their responses to known risks. Previously, she was Vice President of Studies at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Before that, she was President of the World Policy Institute, a New York based center for global policy thought leadership, and Publisher of World Policy Journal. In 2007, she oversaw the re-incorporation of the World Policy Institute as a free-standing organization after its separation from The New School, a New York City based university. Michele also is a former Latin America bureau chief for International Financing Review; a debt correspondent for Dow Jones Emerging Markets Report; and a general assignment reporter for the Milwaukee Sentinel.
She has written for many U.S. and Latin American publications including AmericaEconomia, CNN.com, Foreign Policy, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Internationale Politik, Newsday, The New York Times, The (New York) Observer, Texas Observer, Valor Economico, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, World Economic Forum Agenda, and World Policy Journal.
Michele holds a bachelor’s degree from Rice University. She also earned a master’s degree and certificate in Latin American studies from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, where she later became an adjunct associate professor teaching writing for international affairs. In addition, she completed a course on global leadership and public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
She is a mentor-editor for The OpEd Project and a founding member of the Border of Lights arts collective. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, PEN, and the Authors Guild. She also is an Oxfam Sisters on the Planet Ambassador.