Michele Wucker

Michele Wucker

Michele Wucker

Michele Wucker ( is an award-winning global thought leader and strategist with experience in the global economy, public policy, and crisis management and anticipation. Michele founded Gray Rhino & Company in 2015 to help decision-makers and investors strategize responses to “gray rhino” risks that are neglected despite — and all too often because of — their obviousness. Her third book, The Gray Rhino: How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore, is an international best-seller that has influenced decision-makers at the highest levels. The Chinese government’s use of the term “gray rhino” to signal a crackdown on financial risk caused a sharp drop in Chinese stock prices and made global headlines.

Recognized as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and a Guggenheim Fellow, among other honors, Michele has been featured often in major media and has delivered presentations and moderated discussions on five continents. Her previous leadership positions include vice president for studies at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs; president of the World Policy Institute, where she led a dramatic turnaround; and Latin America Bureau chief at International Financing Review, where she sounded early warnings about the Argentine financial crisis and lack of sovereign debt restructuring mechanisms. She also has taught at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Michele holds a B.A. in French and policy studies from Rice University, and a master’s degree in international affairs and a certificate in Latin American studies from Columbia University. She completed an executive education course on global leadership and policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Speech Summary

Contact us for more information on booking Michele for your next event, or call Stephanie Savage at 630‑563‑6454.

Gray Rhino Proofing Your Future:
A New Way to Think About Risk and Response

Gray Rhino events are highly probable, give clear warnings and have high impact. Unlike the unimaginable black swan or the unmentionable elephant in the room, gray rhinos give clear signals that many people recognize — and they offer a choice to respond or get trampled. Yet all too often, leaders fail to plan for, recognize or deal with these obvious dangers: financial crisis, market shifts, leadership succession, digital disruption, failing infrastructure, demographic shocks, climate change and more.

  • Why don’t businesses and governments do better at heading off highly obvious challenges?

  • Why are the most successful organizations the ones that identify and confront gray rhino threats?

  • What strategies can you use to manage the gray rhinos at your organization or in your industry?

  • What are the global gray rhinos you should be planning for now?

  • How can you harness your gray rhinos to catalyze innovation and turn challenge into opportunity?

Michele’s provocative talk lays out a framework for recognizing and prioritizing your gray rhinos, and can be customized for your industry or audience. She will leave you with fresh perspectives on the pitfalls and opportunities at the five stages of a gray rhino, from denial to action — not just to avoid highly obvious dangers but also to see opportunities where others do not.

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