Michelle C. Watson is a nonresident senior fellow in the Scowcroft Strategy Initiative of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. She brings more than twenty years of experience focusing on information security, national security, cyber intelligence, and cyber-risk management. She applies her entrepreneurial expertise to her present role as the founder and managing partner of Cyber Intelligent Partners LLC, a Washington-based consulting firm focusing on cyber-risk management, cyber-threat intelligence, geopolitical risks impacting businesses, economic and national-security risks, and insider-threat risks.
Previously Watson served as the co-founder and director of the Cyber Intelligence Initiative at the Institute of World Politics, where she was also vice-president of corporate relations, and focused on the critical relationship between the US government and private sector and on issues like national and economic security. She also cocreated and cotaught the Corporate Statecraft and Cyber Statecraft graduate courses at the institute.
Watson began her career in Silicon Valley working for British Telecom plc in information security and managed-network services, leading business development programs focused on the high-tech sector. As vice-president of British Telecom’s Global Solutions Group, Watson was responsible for leading business development teams based in Europe and North America to win global outsourcing and managed network solutions contracts valued between one million to one-hundred million dollars.
Her academic research as a professor of practice focused on cyber intelligence, corporate statecraft; cyber statecraft, geopolitical risks to businesses, 5G, economic and national-security risks, and nation-state adversaries and threat landscapes. She also cofounded a women’s mentoring program called Women Executives in National Security.
Watson earned a master’s degree in national security from the Institute of World Politics, earned an Executive Leadership Certificate from the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School, and studied international relations at the University of Oxford’s New College. She also earned a certificate in cyber risk management from Harvard University, acquired her BA in political science from the University of Kentucky, and studied data communications at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, California.