American Swiss Foundation

Leader Spotlight

NEILYNNicole Neily (Young Leader 2011)

Vice President, Dezenhall Resources

What do you like most about Switzerland?
It’s tidy, orderly, and everyone is punctual – that really appeals to my Type A personality! Also, I love how cheese-centric it is. A country with fondue & raclette as its signature dishes is A-OK with me.

What do you like most about the U.S.?
Boundless optimism and confidence; people are entrepreneurs and risk-takers!

What defines your leadership style?
I like to give people space to operate – I set parameters and expectations, but I’m not a micromanager. I’ll check in with my colleagues on progress, to make sure things stay on schedule, but I trust that my coworkers will know how to do their job better than I can. And I think it’s good for morale.

Who inspires you?
Margaret Thatcher, John Stossel, Aung San Suu Kyi, Sheryl Sandberg, Sergey Brin, Hillary Clinton… a wide variety of people! They’re all great role models for different reasons. I’m inspired by brave individuals who stand up for what they believe in and become luminaries in their field, or titans of industry, or heads of state.

What is your greatest achievement?
 I helped to create the Cato Institute’s external relations department, fostering relationships with think tanks and advocacy groups on both sides of the aisle in DC, the states, and internationally – which enabled us to spread our message to a much wider audience.

Do you have any weaknesses?
I’m a perfectionist… and I tend to hold others to the standard that I hold myself. Perhaps that can be a bit overwhelming at times!

Where do you live?
Arlington, VA, with my husband, my Shiba Inu puppy, and in a few months… a baby!

What is your favorite place in the world?
I’m supposed to say Switzerland, right? Italy is a close second though.

What is the best book you ever read?
King Leopold’s Ghost, by Adam Hochschild, on the Belgian colonization of the Congo. It’s a meticulously researched, detailed, and heartbreaking look at an overlooked period of history – and we’re still seeing the repercussions of it today. I’m absolutely obsessed with the DRC and would love to visit someday.

What is your goal in life?
Personally: to be a good wife and mother; professionally: write a book or two, and maybe become a cabinet secretary or ambassador. I’d host a TV show in a pinch, though.



About Nicole Neily

Nicole Kurokawa Neily is a VP at Dezenhall Resources. Until 2012, she was the Executive Director of the Independent Women's Forum, and previously served as a Senior Policy Analyst and Senior Fellow for IWF. Prior to returning to IWF, Nicole worked as Director of Research Analysis for the Winston Group, a public opinion and message design firm, and was both Manager of External Relations and Media Manager at the Cato Institute. In addition, she has authored several papers for the Illinois Policy Institute and Americans for Prosperity- Illinois. Nicole’s work has been published widely in print and online outlets. She appears frequently on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, Fox Business, CNBC, PBS, and CBN, and is a regular guest on radio programs across the country. Nicole holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of Illinois, and a Master of Public Policy degree from Pepperdine University's School of Public Policy.

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