• George W. Bush Presidential Center

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  • Through our three Impact Centers — Domestic Excellence, Global Leadership, and our Engagement Agenda — we focus on developing leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today’s most pressing challenges.

Barbara M. Barrett

Barbara M. Barrett

Board of Directors, George W. Bush Presidential Center

Barbara Barrett was nominated by President George W. Bush on March 13, 2008 and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on April 29, 2008 to serve as US Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Finland.

Today, Barrett serves on the governing boards of the Smithsonian Institution, RAND, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Horatio Alger Association and Lasker Foundation. She owns Triple Creek Guest Ranch, A Montana Hideaway, twice rated the #1 hotel in the world.

Earlier, Barrett was on the board of The Aerospace Corporation where she served four terms as Chairman, interim president of Thunderbird School of Global Management, a fellow teaching Leadership at Harvard, CEO of the American Management Association and a partner in a large Phoenix law firm. She served on the governing boards of Raytheon, Mayo Clinic, Exponent, Hershey and Piper Aircraft and was founding chairman of an Arizona bank. Before she was 30, Barrett was an officer of two global Fortune 500 companies. 

Barrett served President George W. Bush as senior advisor to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and chair of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. She chaired the State Department’s Women’s Economic Empowerment Working Group and was a member of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council. She founded Project Artemis, a program to train and mentor Afghan women entrepreneurs at Thunderbird, which has been emulated in scores of other nations.

In the Reagan/Bush Administration, Barrett was deputy administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration and vice chairman of the U.S. Civil Aeronautics Board. She also chaired the Commerce Secretary’s biennial Export Conference and the Arizona District Export Council and was a member of the President’s Advisory Committee on Trade Negotiations. 

Barrett received the Horatio Alger Distinguished Americans Award, the Secretary Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service, The Arizona Chamber of Commerce Heritage Award and six honorary degrees.

An instrument-rated pilot, Barrett trained at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, and Baikonur, Kazakhstan, culminating in certification for space travel on the Soyuz TMA-16 to the International Space Station.