The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program is delighted to host Mary Elizabeth Taylor as a visiting expert in residence for the 2020-2021 Autumn and Winter quarters.
As the youngest, and first Black person to ever serve as Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs, Taylor’s numerous accomplishments in public service on Capitol Hill, at the White House, and at the State Department are testaments to her effective leadership.
Through an intimate seminar titled “Strength in Leadership,” Taylor will cover a range of topics with scholars, including: consensus building and navigating lines of difference, relationship building, making tough ethical decisions, and stepping into leadership roles early in career. Taylor’s insights will present scholars with an opportunity to learn about best practices, how to gain respect and command authority. During her stay, Taylor will share her experiences with scholars who are committed to issues of public service, social justice and equity, and are on a path to be influential leaders in their communities.
“The Knight-Hennesy Scholars program has shown me a warm welcome, and I’m thrilled to work with the exceptional students at Stanford University,” Taylor said.
Taylor has spent the past decade navigating the highest levels of the U.S. federal government, earning an esteemed reputation for building bipartisan consensus in challenging political environments. In 2018, Taylor was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be the 32nd Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs. Reporting directly to the Secretary of State, Taylor served as the State Department’s lead interlocutor with the legislative branch, overseeing a team of 60 department professionals facilitating dialogue and coordination with Congress. Previously, Taylor served in the White House as Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, where she led the successful Senate confirmation strategies of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, CIA Director Gina Haspel, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. Earlier, she worked on the U.S. Senate floor for Leader McConnell.
A native Washingtonian, Taylor earned her bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Spanish from Bryn Mawr College. She also serves as a Fellow at the Harvard Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. In 2018, she was listed on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.
The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program is a graduate level fellowship program that aims to develop a multidisciplinary, multicultural community of future global leaders to address the world’s most complex challenges. Scholars participate in an experiential leadership program known as the King Global Leadership Program (KGLP) and receive funding for their Stanford graduate education. Visiting experts come alongside scholars to consult, train, and advise them on a contemporary area of expertise. Previous visiting experts in the program include Michael Specter, Karith Foster, and Raymond Braun.
Note: Due to the current restrictions on visitors to Stanford due to COVID-19, Taylor's residency with the program will be conducted virtually.