Kerry McBride is a 32-year veteran of the United States Government, Department of State. She began her career in June 1989, just after graduating from Washington & Jefferson College. Since then, she has continued taking positions of increasing scope and complexity, demonstrating strong management skills and an understanding of how the Department of State’s mission fits into overall U.S. policies.
She has spent the majority of her career as a management officer with the Department of State in Washington, D.C., and served over 10 years overseas in U.S. Embassies in Bangkok, Thailand; Amman, Jordan; Kabul, Afghanistan; Ankara, Turkey; and Paris, France. During her time abroad, she focused on Embassy operations (budget and finance, housing, human resources, logistics, and security) and ensuring U.S. diplomats serving abroad are given the highest level of support.
Shortly after 9/11, Kerry traveled to Kabul, Afghanistan, to help re-establish the U.S. Embassy presence as it had been shuttered since 1989. Although she was entering a country in January 2002 that had been suppressing females for 13 years, Kerry made an immediate connection with the people of Afghanistan through her openness, honesty, and compassion for their struggles. She spent a total of 13 months in Afghanistan – working with civilians, military, and the local Afghan population. She helped determine the way forward for the Embassy, developing short- and long-term strategies regarding staffing, housing, office space, etc.
Kerry entered the Senior Executive Service in 2017. Her senior level positions include the management of offices across Europe and Asia; leadership of the medical services in the foreign field; helping to orchestrate the drawdown of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan; and human capital management overseeing domestic and foreign field requirements.
A W&J History and French double major, Kerry’s French language ability helped her through six months in West Africa (Bamako, Mali); two weeks in Port au Prince, Haiti, after the devastating earthquake in 2010; and, finally, two years in Paris, France, where she served in a leadership position at the U.S. Embassy. She credits her success to having a diverse, broad background, strong critical thinking skills, and an open mind.
Kerry has an innate talent for putting herself in others’ shoes and understanding how they think, which has helped her not only develop stronger leadership skills but was key to her success overseas dealing with a multitude of cultures and languages.
Kerry currently lives and serves in Washington, D.C.