Women of Influence 2023: Lauren Swartz, World Affairs Council of Philadelphia
October 12, 2023

Women of Influence 2023: Lauren Swartz, World Affairs Council of Philadelphia

World Affairs' CEO and President, Lauren Swartz

Photo credit: Brandon Ballard

Lauren Swartz

Despite assuming the role of president and CEO of the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia just months into a global pandemic, Lauren Swartz hit the ground running.

In her three years helming the nonpartisan group dedicated to educating and connecting Philadelphians with influential figures around the globe and positioning the city as a hub for business, she has completed a merger, increased revenue by nearly 50% and grown corporate membership more than 25%. In July, the council completed its merger with Citizens Diplomacy International Philadelphia, a move that grew its headcount and its impact. Her role at the council builds on a career in international diplomacy, having served as the City of Philadelphia’s deputy commerce director for international business and global strategy previously.


B.A., Randolph-Macon Women’s College (now Randolph College)

Originally from:

A little bit of everywhere – I grew up in six states

A word that best describes me:


My first big break:

When I was 28, I was recruited to become the market leader of a company I had worked for in the past. I thought the recruiter was kidding! The reputation I had built trumped concerns about my youth.

My proudest career accomplishment:

Leading through the pandemic, while completing a merger. I started this role in September 2020, and since then have grown revenue, retained top talent, moved offices, expanded the board, and had a lot of fun with a great team.

The most influential people on my career:

My parents. They always worked hard, led with integrity, took chances, and made me sit through extremely long and boring dinner conversations about sales quotas, margins, technology, bosses and strategy. I got a mini-MBA from them and learned how to treat people.

How I’m using my influence to impact change:

With over 95% of the global population and the majority of economic growth occurring outside of the U.S., my goal is to broaden and deepen the Philadelphia region’s international connectivity and opportunity to create prosperity at home.

To uplift other women, I:

Show up authentically, sharing my challenges and decision-making rather than hiding my problems. Sharing my struggles with everything from childcare to mergers hopefully inspires others to know that they can still crush it at work despite not everything being perfect.

A female business icon I admire:

Madeleine Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State

A part of my daily routine I can’t live without:

List making to set priorities – the process calms me!

For fun I like to:

Host dinner parties

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