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Sandra Stosz    

Retired United States Coast Guard Vice Admiral, First Woman to Lead a US Armed Forces Service Academy & Author of "Breaking Ice and Breaking Glass: Leading in Uncharted Waters"

Admiral Sandy Stosz is an experienced senior leader who has served and operated in the military, maritime, homeland security, transportation, and academic sectors. Her expertise includes leadership development, strategic vision and planning, change management, training and education, and leading and managing complex organizations.

She started out in the Coast Guard as an ensign serving on polar icebreakers, conducting national security missions from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Her thirty-six-year career was filled with leadership lessons gleaned while breaking ice and breaking glass as the first woman to command an icebreaker on the Great Lakes and to lead a U.S. armed forces service academy.

A line officer, Admiral Stosz served for 12 years at sea. While commanding the medium endurance cutter Reliance she and her crew patrolled off the coast of New York City, keeping the nation safe and secure following the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. She led large Coast Guard organizations during times of crisis and complexity. As Superintendent of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, she was responsible for developing and educating a corps of 1,000 cadets. She also led the Coast Guard’s recruit training center in Cape May, New Jersey where she was responsible for building the Service’s enlisted workforce. She finished her career as the first woman assigned as Deputy Commandant for Mission Support, directing one of the Coast Guard’s largest enterprises. She was responsible for all facets of support for the Coast Guard’s diverse mission set through oversight of human capital, lifecycle engineering and logistics, acquisitions, information technology, training, and education and security.

Admiral Stosz graduated from the Coast Guard Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in Government. She earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management and a Master of National Security Strategy from the National War College. She completed an executive fellowship in national security through the MIT Seminar XXI program and completed the Navy’s Executive Business Course at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler business school.

Admiral Stosz’s military awards include two Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medals, three Legion of Merit Medals and four Meritorious Service Medals. She is the recipient of the National Maritime Historical Society Distinguished Service Award; Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and Airmen’s Club Distinguished Military Leadership Award; Girl Scouts of America Trail Blazer Award, and the Connecticut Woman of the Year award. In 2012, Newsweek’s “The Daily Beast” named her as one of 150 Women who Shake the World.

Following retirement from the Coast Guard, Admiral Stosz established Sandra L. Stosz, LLC, focused on leadership and leader development. She serves as chair of the Coast Guard Academy Sailing Council, a trustee for the James M. Loy Institute for Leadership, a member of the Board of Directors for the Flag and General Officer Network, a member of the Flag and General Officer Advisory Council to the President of Arizona State University, the Darley Defense Advisory Board, and the Government Technology and Services Coalition Editorial Board.

She is the author of "Breaking Ice & Breaking Glass: Leading in Uncharted Waters."

Outside of work, Admiral Stosz enjoys hiking, swimming, birdwatching, beachcombing, and spending time with her family.

Speech Topics

Breaking Ice and Breaking Glass

Leaders eager to make a difference by helping people and organizations be at their best will find Breaking Ice and Breaking Glass: Leading in Uncharted Waters their go-to resource. Today, our nation is like a ship being tossed in tumultuous seas. The winds and waves of change have divided and distanced our society, threatening to wash away the very principles upon which our nation was founded.

Now more than ever, our nation needs leaders anchored with the moral courage to stand strong and steady against the battering waves that, if unchecked, could erode our core values. These inspirational leaders of character will unite people in support of a shared purpose by building the trust and respect necessary for organizations and their people to thrive.

Don’t miss this opportunity to become the leader of character others want to follow!

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