Michele Wucker

Michele Wucker

Instructor, Master of Public Safety

Michele Wucker is a global risk and economic policy expert, best-selling author, strategic advisor, and educator. She coined the term “gray rhino” to counter leaders’ surprising vulnerability to obvious, probable, impactful risks. The concept and accompanying analytical framework are the subject of her influential global bestseller, "The Gray Rhino." The sequel, "You are What You Risk," explores the psychological, physiological, cultural, organizational and policy influences on individual and group risk choices.

The gray rhino metaphor has moved markets, shaped financial policies and made headlines in more than 75 countries –especially China– and 35 languages. It has become emblematic of the ignored warnings ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic. The accompanying framework has been adopted across U.S. national security and emergency preparedness communities. It has shaped discussions at the World Economic Forum, NATO, the United Nations, the Munich Security Forum, Drucker Forum and high-level gatherings on ESG and climate.

A former media and think tank executive who wrote about emerging market finance early in her career, Wucker is founder of the Chicago based strategic advisory firm, Gray Rhino & Company. She speaks regularly to high-level audiences on risk, the global economy and decision-making. She is on the faculty of the DCRO Risk Governance Institute and an advisor to the India affiliate of the Institute for International Risk Management and the think tank APRI Armenia.

Wucker holds a BA from Rice University and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University (SIPA), where she later was an adjunct associate professor. She earned a certificate in Global Leadership and Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She has served on high-level academic and policy task forces including the World Economic Forum Global Futures Council on Frontier Risks (2020-22); SUNY-Levin Institute New York in the World Advisory Council; and Brookings-Duke Immigration Policy Roundtable.

Her first two books were the well-reviewed "Why the Cocks Fight: Dominicans, Haitians, and the Struggle for Hispaniola" and "Lockout: Why America Keeps Getting Immigration Wrong When our Prosperity Depends on Getting It Right." All four books have been taught widely in undergraduate, graduate, and executive education programs.

The World Economic Forum recognized Wucker as a 2009 Young Global Leader; her other honors include a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship, 2008 American Council on Germany Young Leader on the Future of Europe, 2010 Women's Media Center Woman Making History. Wucker is published and cited often in leading publications and broadcast media.