Anita McBride

Advisor to the Board

With service spanning more than 30 years as a White House advisor, chief of staff, public diplomacy advisor and human rights and women’s empowerment advocate, the influence of Anita McBride’s body of work is recognized in Washington and around the globe.

Anita McBride is Executive-in-Residence at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies in the School of Public Affairs at American University in Washington, D.C. She directs programming and national conferences on the legacies of America’s first ladies (the First Ladies Initiative) and their historical influence on politics, policy, and global diplomacy.

McBride’s White House service spans two decades and three presidential administrations. She previously served as Assistant to President George W. Bush and Chief of Staff to First Lady Laura Bush from 2005 to 2009, directing the staff’s work on the wide variety of domestic and global initiatives in which Mrs. Bush was involved. She had primary responsibility for the First Lady’s efforts to support US foreign policy objectives in human rights, women’s empowerment, global health and human freedom. She served as director of White House Personnel under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush and as director of the U.S. Speaker’s Bureau at the United States Information Agency.

Also under President George W. Bush, McBride served as a special assistant for White House Management; as senior advisor in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Organizations and as the State Department’s White House liaison. She co-founded the RAND African First Ladies Initiative and Fellowship program, partnering with Africa’s first ladies to champion change for health and education, and to train their staff and advisors in strategies for establishing and managing an effective First Lady’s office.

McBride is an advisor to the George W. Bush Institute and has served as a strategic consultant to several global non-profit organizations including CARE. She is a member of several organizations, including the US Afghan Women’s Council and the White House Historical Association, and served for 11 years on the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board including as Chair and Vice Chair.