Ann E. Dunwoody

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If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there.
For a great leader, colleague, friend, or parent to be his best, he has to acknowledge his worst. Throughout my life I've met plenty of superheroes, but the strongest and most effective among them were simply human and knew they weren't perfect.
Nothing- absolutely nothing- can replace the pride and purpose of being a soldier.

Ann Elizabeth Dunwoody (born January 14, 1953) is a retired general of the United States Army. She is the first woman in U.S. military and uniformed service history to achieve a four-star officer rank, receiving her fourth star on November 14, 2008.

In 2005 Dunwoody became the Army's top-ranking female when she received the promotion to lieutenant general (three stars) and became the Army's Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4 (logistics). She was nominated as Commanding General, U.S. Army Materiel Command, by President George W. Bush on June 23, 2008, and confirmed by the Senate one month later. She served in that capacity until August 7, 2012, and retired from the Army on August 15, 2012.

Quotes[edit]

A Higher Standard (2015)[edit]

  • For a great leader, colleague, friend, or parent to be his best, he has to acknowledge his worst. Throughout my life I've met plenty of superheroes, but the strongest and most effective among them were simply human and knew they weren't perfect. They were the men and women who, like my father, believed in their duty to country and sacrificed for others without hesitation. They all had their strengths and weaknesses. They excelled at times; they stumbled at times. But the great ones always made sure they could walk tall by recognizing their own enemy within and confronting it.
    • p. 72
  • Today, particularly in terms of combating terrorism, there are no front lines. Cities and neighborhoods are the battlefields. September 11 was a harsh reminder of this new reality.
    • p. 74
  • Will you encourage your workers to be innovative, or will you promote an environment where the status quo is good enough? Do you have mechanisms to allow all employees to voice opinions and provide feedback without fear of retaliation? Are you accessible, or are you insulated from your people? Good leaders motivate by being seen, by communicating, by engaging, and by taking care of their employees.
    • p. 166
  • If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there.
    • p. 189
  • As a military professional, I knew that the most important element is trust- the vision had to be built on trust. The very basis for why soldiers fight the way they do is the trust they have in their teammates, their fellow soldiers. It's usually less dramatic off the battlefield but still equally important. Without trust in each other and trust in the institution, you will not be able to realize your vision.
    • p. 191
  • For the vision to be taken seriously, the destination- or the goal- has to be attainable. It's your vision, so you need to determine the timing. With your destination in focus, you need to describe who you are, what you do, and how you are going to get there.
    • p. 191
  • I have to laugh when people ask, "How's retired life?" I'm as busy as I've ever been, except now I make my own schedule. I see my husband every day. I finally get to spend regular quality time with family and friends. I no longer miss milestone events such as baby showers, birthdays, graduations, and weddings. I wrote this book. I started a consulting company, First 2 Four, LLC. I serve on multiple boards. I even continue to give speeches at universities and corporate gatherings, despite my continued fear of public speaking. But nothing- absolutely nothing- can replace the pride and purpose of being a soldier.
    • p. 200
  • Not everyone is cut out for the military, but I do believe everyone can and should have the opportunity to participate in a national service endeavor of their choce. Serving in the military can make you a better citizen, employee, and leader. The military provides hands-on experience. It provides leadership training and builds a foundation for a strong work ethic. Corporate America has taken notice and regularly recruits soldiers just as it does Ivy League students.
    • p. 200

Quotes about Dunwoody[edit]

  • General Ann Dunwoody is the former commanding general of one of the Army's largest commands, the US Army Material Command. She is the first woman in US military history to achieve the rank of four-star general. Now retired, she offers strategic insights to companies and corporate boards.
    • Description of Dunwoody on the back of the 2016 custom paperback edition of A Higher Standard produced for the University of Florida
  • In the military it is said that you can often fool your boss, you can sometimes fool your peers, but you cannot fool your soldiers. General Dunwoody commanded the trust and service of her soldiers, not as a function of her rank or position, but rather as a function of her mastery of her profession and her willingness to always place the needs of the soldier first.
    • Deano Roberts, former subordinate to Dunwoody, as quoted by Sheryl Sandberg in the foreword to A Higher Standard: Leadership Strategies from America's First Female Four-Star General (2015), p. xi
  • In this book, Ann Dunwoody writes, "A hero is an average person who has done something extraordinary. As unusual as it is to start a foreword for a book by disagreeing with its author, I have to say that I disagree with Ann. I do not believe anyone would ever describe Ann as an average person. She has certainly done many extraordinary things. And to me, she is a true hero.
    • Sheryl Sandberg, in the foreword to A Higher Standard: Leadership Strategies from America's First Female Four-Star General (2015), p. ix
  • I concluded my book Lean In with my hope that "in the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders." I did not know Ann when I wrote that, but she is exactly who I had in mind. What distinguishes Ann is not that she's a woman, but that she is a spectacular and inspiring leader.
    • Sheryl Sandberg, in the foreword to A Higher Standard: Leadership Strategies from America's First Female Four-Star General (2015), p. x
  • My admiration for Ann is boundless- not just because of what she achieved but how she achieved it. Ann's story is the story of a true soldier. She ends every talk with this: "In the end we're all just soldiers, but that's the highest thing you could claim to be." Her story- and this book- will inspire anyone who wants to serve and lead.
    • Sheryl Sandberg, in the foreword to A Higher Standard: Leadership Strategies from America's First Female Four-Star General (2015), p. xiii

External links[edit]

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