But that is changing, Ms. Sherman said.
“Look at this room – we have three women sitting here, one of whom is a woman of color. And a white man, ”she said in a blunt moment, gesturing to a reporter and two staff who were sitting nearby in a meeting room outside her personal office. .
She gave Mr. Biden and Mr. Blinken credit for trying to diversify America’s overwhelmingly white diplomatic corps. And while “all institutions are difficult to change,” Ms. Sherman said, “this one is especially difficult because national security and foreign policy have not been reserved for women, let alone people of color. “.
“This is not how the world should be,” she said.
His approach is a rejection both of the arrogance that Mike Pompeo, who was Mr. Trump’s second Secretary of State, attempted to impose on the US diplomatic corps, with little success, as well as his ridiculing multiculturalism.
Still, Ms. Sherman is no child’s play, and her pragmatic demeanor has edgy many in her wake.
“It’s this accomplished professional who has a bit of keenness going for her, so you knew you had to be well prepared or you’ll see the door pretty quickly,” said Rose Gottemoeller, former Under-Secretary of State for Humanitarian Control. armaments. and international security, who worked with Ms. Sherman in the State Department during the Obama administration. “She came right back to you with zinger questions.”
Ms Gottemoeller also recalled that Ms Sherman had gone out of her way to counsel and support a coworker with a disheartening health problem. “I was really a little surprised that she had come this far, but for me it shows her empathy,” said Ms Gottemoeller, who recently served as Deputy Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. during three years.
Ms. Sherman is as open to dissecting her own disappointments as she is to advising others about theirs. And although she is the first female Deputy Secretary of State – a fact “a little ridiculous”, she said, given that the post was created in 1972 – it is technically not the first time. that she occupies this position.
In 2014, during negotiations with Iran, she was quietly told that she could expect to be appointed for the post after William J. Burns, the current director of the CIA who was then deputy in the department of State, retired that year.