Russian President Vladimir Putin has annexed Crimea, stirred up revolt in eastern Ukraine, and has spoken of further adventures in the Baltic states, all the while intervening with Slavic ethnic minorities throughout Europe. . Putin has methodically targeted, through charm, cash, and the fanning of historical and ideological embers, the European Union’s weakest links in a campaign to assert influence in some of Europe’s most troubled corners. One clear goal is to break fragile Western unity over the conflict in Ukraine. Forbes named Putin the world’s most powerful man this year for good reason: Indeed it is not too much to say that Vladimir Putin has put power politics back onto the European map. In this brave new world, the future is uncertain, particularly when dealing with a mercurial personage as Putin. Ambassador Foley knows the area and its history and the key players, particularly Putin. She will offer us an insider’s insights.
Ambassador Foley has had an extensive career in professional management and public service. Prior to serving as US Ambassador to Hungary from 2006 to 2009, she worked at the Export-Import Bank of the United States. After first serving as a Director of the Bank, she was appointed to be First Vice President and Vice Chairman in 2003. Prior to that she worked for 17 years as an executive for PepsiCo in roles including strategic planning, financial management, and mergers and acquisitions. She also worked for Pfizer and The Reader’s Digest. She is on the Board of Directors of Director of Xerium Technologies Inc. and Vista Outdoor, Inc. Ambassador Foley serves as the Chair of the Board of Trustees of The Hungary Initiatives Foundation.
In addition to her business experience, she has held significant volunteer leadership positions, including President of United Way of Northern Westchester and Chairman of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society of Westchester/Putnam Counties. She currently serves as a Trustee at her alma mater, Smith College, where she received her Bachelor of Arts. She also earned an MBA from Harvard University. She is a widow with three children, Catherine, Giff, and James.