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ASU Thunderbird alum Siobhan MacDermott to deliver keynote at spring convocation

Headshot of Siobhan MacDermott

Siobhan MacDermott, a 2005 graduate of Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University, will serve as the keynote speaker at the spring 2023 convocation ceremony on May 9.

May 03, 2023

Siobhan MacDermott, partner at The Consello Group and alumna, will deliver the keynote address at Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University’s spring 2023 convocation. 

With a career spanning over 25 years at the intersection of global business, banking, intelligence and technology, MacDermott advises CEOs and boards on finance, intelligence, cybersecurity and global risk as part of her work at The Consello Group. She has worked in more than 10 countries and speaks five languages, exemplifying the true T-bird spirit.

"Throughout Siobhan's impressive career, she has consistently demonstrated a deep understanding and appreciation for working across borders and cultures. Her journey and expertise are a shining example of what it means to be a leader in today's interconnected world. We are thrilled to welcome her back at our spring 2023 convocation, where her insights and experiences will undoubtedly inspire our students to pursue impactful careers and contribute to building a more sustainable and inclusive world," said Thunderbird Dean Sanjeev Khagram.

MacDermott's childhood experiences of growing up all over the world, and learning about different cultures from an early age, have made her a natural fit for the global arena.

"Anything global was like a magnet for me. It was my safe place because I intuitively understood all the complexities of working across borders, culture and language," she said. 

MacDermott's global perspective has helped fuel her passion for tackling global, complicated problems that are seemingly unsolvable.

"It's an understanding of the intersection between geopolitics and risk, balanced with market opportunity. It's from having lived and worked in several countries and not having lived in an ‘expat’ community. It's from valuing different perspectives, but mostly being open-minded."

Prior to her current role, MacDermott served as the vice chairman of Global Corporate and Investment Banking team at Bank of America, where she also headed the Global Cyber Public Policy team. She has held various leadership positions in Silicon Valley and abroad, including chief investment officer for AVG Technologies in the Czech Republic, London and the Netherlands. MacDermott has consulted Fortune 500 boards on geopolitics and cybersecurity and led the cyber economics practice at Ernst & Young.

MacDermott's contributions to the field of global business are not limited to her professional work, as she is also an accomplished author of six books. Currently, she is a professor of practice at Thunderbird, where she also earned a Master of Business Administration in international business. She serves on the Thunderbird Global Alumni Network (TGAN) Advisory Council. MacDermott also holds a Global Master of Arts in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and a Bachelor of Arts in German language and literature from Temple University.

According to MacDermott, Thunderbird was foundational for her career in global business. 

"The curriculum, particularly in cross-cultural communications and negotiations, was invaluable," she said. 

Thunderbird's emphasis on developing a global mindset has been crucial to her success in the field. She credits her diverse background, and the lessons she learned at Thunderbird, with helping her approach global problems with creativity, empathy and strategic thinking.

The spring 2023 class

Thunderbird will recognize over 280 graduates during the spring 2023 convocation ceremony taking place on Tuesday, May 9, at Phoenix Symphony Hall in downtown Phoenix.

One of Thunderbird's most time-honored traditions is the Parade of International Flags, started by students in 1977. Students carry flags from different nations and introduce themselves as they share their culture from their home countries. Graduating Thunderbird students represent more than 35 countries and regions, including Argentina, China, Colombia, Comanche Nation, Côte D'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Dominican Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, El Salvador, France, Germany, Ghana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Jordan, Liberia, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and the United States.

Notable graduates

ASU Thunderbird graduate aims to empower communities for more democratic world

Victor Oleynik has always been passionate about international business and politics, which led him to study at Thunderbird School of Global Management at ASU. Originally from Ukraine but having spent most of his life in Moscow, Oleynik knew that he needed to broaden his perspective and build cross-border connections through a degree program that would equip him with a global mindset.

"By empowering individuals and communities to speak out and engage in meaningful dialogue, we can help build a world that is more tolerant, compassionate and democratic," he said.

Thunderbird Outstanding Graduate Student, physician dreams of scaling global health care

Dr. June Lau was already immersed in a career in medicine when she came across Thunderbird School of Global Management at ASU, previously working as an emergency physician in her home country of Malaysia. 

“I feel immense gratitude towards Marshall Parke '77 for establishing the Thunderbird SHARE Fellowship, which has granted me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pursue my passion for improving health care and making the world a better place,” Lau said.

Thunderbird Outstanding Undergraduate vows to honor Latin American roots

Although Grecia Cubillas was born in Tucson, Arizona, she was raised in Santa Ana, a small town in Sonora, Mexico, and spent her formative years outside of the United States. Cubillas will graduate from Thunderbird School of Global Management at ASU with a bachelor's degree in global management and from Barrett, The Honors College. She has also been named Thunderbird's Spring 2023 Outstanding Undergraduate Student. 

“I am eager to return to my roots, and I believe Latin America has all the capabilities and resources to become a successful and promising region for business and people,” she said. “Coming from a very small town, I would have never thought one day I would meet people from almost everywhere in the world, but thanks to Thunderbird I have. I’ve learned so much about the world from the people I’ve met, which makes me feel confident about the choice I made.”

Learn more about a few of Thunderbird’s notable spring 2023 graduates:

Thunderbird graduate leverages degree to drive global impact

Thunderbird graduate uses education, community to land position at Bank of America

Thunderbird graduate transitions from health care to global affairs, aims to make impact in government

Thunderbird journey inspires online graduate to work, live abroad

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