Michelle DiGruttolo, MBA, MA is a dynamic and influential speaker, known for high-energy keynotes that combine keen geopolitical knowledge and her ability to decode current events, taking audiences beyond the headlines to help them make sense of complex issues and discover hidden trends, patterns, and relationships.
Her experience as a former Daily Intelligence Briefer to President Obama underpins her credibility as a seasoned advisor and expert strategist. A decision-shaping influencer, Michelle has analyzed, packaged, and presented critical information to executive leaders in the White House, the Cabinet, the Congress, and the Pentagon. In that role, she drew on her decades of intelligence expertise to craft and deliver executive presentations about national security threats stemming from terrorism, illicit finance, rogue cyber and other advanced technologies, nuclear and biological weapons proliferation, space, and the growing military capabilities of threat actors like China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea.
Michelle’s professional background is deeply rooted in critical intelligence roles where she led multidisciplinary intelligence teams around the world. A combat veteran, Michelle draws on her experiences and networks in the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America to explore how seemingly unrelated world events and behind the scenes geopolitical machinations can create unexpected outcomes. Her insightful presentations offer audiences a glimpse behind the curtain or a bird’s eye view into the often-opaque decision-making of both state and non-state actors and leave her audiences with a richer understanding of geopolitical aims strategies.
As the founder and principal advisor of Sage Raven Advisory, Michelle leverages her impressive three-decade career in intelligence and leadership to advise C-suite executives and boards on geopolitical, climate, cyber, and emerging technology risks that impact global operations, supply chains, investments, and strategic plans. Prior to launching Sage Raven, Michelle co-founded an award-winning professional services consulting firm where she built a successful, technology-enabled geopolitical consulting practice advising clients in industries spanning energy, finance, manufacturing, mining, and technology.
Previously, Michelle served as an intelligence officer for over 20 years in the U.S. Army, holding leadership roles in critical intelligence functions including collection, analysis, production, and reporting. When she’s not gushing about geopolitics, you can find her with at least one of her four boys and her husband on the trail, in the kitchen, or at the lake.
Michelle holds an MBA from the University of Virginia and a master’s in political science from the University of North Carolina, among other advanced qualifications.
2023 marked a significant shift in the global landscape, signaling a period of deep-rooted change, uncertainty, and instability poised to reconfigure international politics and transform the landscape for global commerce, international security, and global growth. The ongoing conflict in Ukraine, reignited tensions in the Middle East, the Balkans, the Caucuses, and the South China Sea, coupled with frequent coups across Africa and escalating aggression everywhere suggest we’re transitioning to a new, more dangerous and volatile era of great power politics.
Now imagine a world where a melting glacier ignites a geopolitical firestorm, where the gap between the digital haves and have-nots carves a chasm deep enough to shift the global balance of power, where an isolated peninsula has the potential to redraw international boundaries overnight, and where disputed waters could suddenly turn into a battleground for superpowers.
Welcome to ‘Fault Lines, Fissures, Fractures, and Flashpoints’ — a journey through the hidden triggers that stand to not only reshape nations but also redefine our future, where today’s overlooked tensions are tomorrow’s headlines. Join Michelle to explore a world where unseen political fault lines beneath our feet can suddenly shift, transforming the geopolitical landscape overnight. Where tiny cracks in the global framework widen into chasms that redraw borders and rewrite the rules of international engagement. This is not the plot of a thriller novel; it’s the reality of today’s global dynamics that will shape the future of global politics, economics, and security. Let’s explore and map the unseen forces that could awaken to challenge our assumptions and test our preparedness in the face of global change.
– Learn the Impact of Geopolitical Tensions: Recognize how current conflicts and reignited tensions in places like Ukraine, the Middle East, and the South China Sea are indicative of a larger transition in the geopolitical arena, with implications for global commerce and security.
– Understand how transformative International Dynamics are changing our Future: Discover the current events and tensions that are altering the global balance of power.
– Use Predictive Analysis: Identify and understand “hidden triggers” that could lead to significant geopolitical shifts, ensuring that today’s overlooked tensions don’t become tomorrow’s crises.
In a world awash with uncertainty, the extraordinary and the unforeseen can truly captivate our imaginations and jolt our realities. Picture a ‘Black Swan’—a rare, unforeseen event with the power to upend economies and governments overnight. Now, imagine a ‘Gray Duck’—an event lurking just beneath the surface of our expectations, its impact looming but not yet clear. And what of the ‘Pink Flamingo’? An outlier so striking, so unexpected, that it seems to belong to the realm of fiction—until it lands with a splash, altering the course of history.
Join Michelle to traverse the geopolitical landscape where the unexpected can redefine the very fabric of our society overnight, as the rare and the unthinkable lie in wait alongside mundane global and political events. Learn the tools and methods to confidently navigate a treacherous landscape where Black Swans emerge from the shadows to upend economies, Gray Ducks glide silently on the surface while concealing the tides of change beneath, and Pink Flamingoes stand as vibrant harbingers of the extraordinary risks lurking in the corners of global politics and dive deeply into the heart of probability on a voyage into the heart of uncertainty itself, where the next world-altering event could be just around the corner.
– Understand Black Swans: An awareness that unpredictable and high-impact events, such as the sudden political collapse of a major economy or an unexpected severe climate event, can and do occur. The audience will understand the nature of these events, their potential signs, and the importance of resilience and adaptability in the face of such challenges.
– Insight into Gray Ducks: How to identify high-impact events that are probable, but whose timing and extent are unclear. Methods to monitor the known unknowns and understanding how to evaluate their potential impact, design flexible response strategies, and prepare for them through strategic forecasting and planning.
– Recognize Pink Flamingoes: An appreciation for the low-probability, high-impact events that seem almost impossible until they happen. Understanding the importance of contingency planning and the importance of considering even the seemingly implausible scenarios in risk assessments.
– The importance of Resilience and Adaptability in the Face of Unknown Risks: Building adaptable strategies (I&W frameworks) that can withstand the shocks of Black Swans, adjust to the uncertainty of Gray Ducks, and maintain vigilance for Pink Flamingoes.
Have you ever wondered how intelligence officers operate in the world of shadows and secrets? How do they find the right data or sift through the terabytes of available information to find the most valuable and impactful intelligence? After they’ve found the right information, how do they package and present it for executive decision-making? Join Michelle, a former White House intelligence advisor as she peels back the curtain to reveal the art and science of intelligence foresight and analysis. With a deft blend of open-source intelligence, razor-sharp analytical tradecraft, and an armful of personal anecdotes, Michelle guides you through the labyrinth of global information, distinguishing the faint but critical signals from the cacophony of noise. In this interactive presentation, the audience will learn the methodology of intelligence alchemy—turning the raw data of the present into the golden insights of tomorrow. Prepare to navigate the complexities of intelligence with the precision of a strategist and the insight of a seer, gaining the ultimate competitive edge as she offers the audience a glimpse into the whispering arts of intelligence and shows you how to turn foresight into competitive advantage.
– Tenets of Intelligence Tradecraft: Learn the secrets of harnessing open-source materials to forecast future events.
– Anticipatory Insight: Discover how to interpret subtle cues that signal emerging trends and unseen opportunities.
– Decision-Making Superiority: Gain actionable intelligence methods that confer strategic advantages and informed decision-making.
– Impact Analysis: Understanding how insightful intelligence safeguards and amplifies value in a competitive world.
– Executive Packaging and Delivery: Learn how the packaging and presentation of information can dramatically affect the decision-making process.
In the high-stakes chess game of global power, every move is a delicate dance of rivalry and reliance. As globalization transforms itself on the threshold of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it continues to intertwine the fates of superpowers. Prepare to dive into a realm where cyberspace is the new battlefield, alliances shift like sand, and economic ties are weapons as much as they are bonds.
“Unraveling the Ties of Titans” offers a bold glimpse into the art of power played at the grandmasters’ level. This isn’t just about nations jostling on the world stage; it’s about understanding how globalization, climate change, and extreme politics have redefined the rules of engagement. Embark on an intellectual odyssey to decipher backroom diplomacy behind the scenes in Moscow, Washington, Beijing and elsewhere, reveal the silent wars waged in cyberspace, and expose the fragile threads that bind the titans of our time.
This is your invitation to peer behind the curtain of great power competition in the era of globalization. Sit back, buckle up, and let a former intelligence officer decode the strategies reshaping our world and navigate the tightrope of great power politics where one slip could change everything. Join Michelle and prepare to be enlightened, engaged, and empowered to confront the unfolding geopolitical drama of our times as this White House intelligence advisor officer strips back the layers of political, economic, social, and digital interplay that dictate the new rules of international engagement.
– Interconnectedness of Global Events: Explore the relationships between the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, tensions in the Middle East, the Balkans, the Caucasus, and the South China Sea, to understand how interconnected and fragile the geopolitical landscape is.
– Globalization’s Double-Edged Sword: Understand globalization’s role in both connecting and complicating the relationships between major powers, with a particular focus on economic and digital interdependence and its correspondence to national and economic security.
– Strategic Interdependence: Recognize how the economic ties between nations can act as both a buffer against outright conflict and a source of leverage in geopolitical negotiations.
– Digital Realm as the New Frontier: Accept the growing importance of cyber capabilities and information warfare in the arsenal of great powers and how this redefines traditional military and diplomatic strategies.
Did the Hamas attacks on Israel catch you by surprise? Do you want to understand how those attacks are related to the conflict in Ukraine or to the price of your next car? If you do, join Michelle as she dives into the heart of the current Middle East volatility, embarking on an odyssey that clearly connects the events and decisions underway and maps how these conflicts ripple out, touching every corner of the globe. She will guide you through the labyrinth of alliances and enmities, unveiling the economic tremors and strategic shifts that redraw the map far beyond the dunes of the desert and into the heart of a region where the echoes of conflict reverberate across the globe, where ancient lands have become chessboards for modern power plays, and where every grain of sand could tell its own story of cultural clashes, economic upheavals, and strategic gambits. Prepare to be enthralled as we unravel the intricate tapestry of history, politics, and strategy that makes the Middle East a pivotal axis of global change. This is your map to navigate the shifting geopolitical sands that shape our world. Prepare yourselves for a narrative that navigates through the dunes of diplomacy and the mirages of media narratives, offering a clear vision of how the Middle East’s tumultuous terrain can shift the world’s geopolitical ground beneath our feet.
– Ripple Effects of Regional Conflicts: Gain an understanding of how even localized Middle Eastern conflicts can have outsized global consequences here and elsewhere.
– Interconnected Economies: Learn how intertwined are the fates of global markets with Middle Eastern stability and appreciate the far-reaching impact of regional instability on global energy markets and trade routes.
– Strategic Global Alliances: See how these conflicts shape and reshape alliances, alter security strategies, and redefine the balance of power.
Imagine a single vote cast in the heartland of America swaying the balance of power in distant capitals. The 2024 US elections are not just a contest of parties, but a pivot point for the world order. With each ballot tallied, the fate of nations hangs in the balance, teetering on the edge of stability or upheaval. Around the globe, bated breaths and watchful eyes are locked on the unfolding drama of the US elections, as the very destiny of international alliances and power structures awaits the final count. Join Michelle for an intriguing and insightful analysis of the spectrum of scenarios and geopolitical outcomes that could cascade from the results of America’s presidential elections. Each of the candidates will have strikingly different foreign and domestic policies that have the potential to recalibrate the fortunes of nations, alliances, and corporations.
– Global Repercussions of Domestic Choices: Gain insight into how the outcomes of US elections can reshape alliances, economic agreements, and international policies.
– Forecasting Foreign Policy Shifts: Learn to read the undercurrents of campaign promises and candidate positions to predict or anticipate potential changes in US foreign policy and prepare for their strategic implications across global markets, defense postures, and international law.
– Strategic Preparedness: Gain the knowledge needed to navigate and adapt to the impending shifts in the geopolitical landscape post-election.
– Global Influence of Domestic Policy: Understand how the domestic policy platforms of presidential candidates can influence international economics, diplomacy, and security.
– US Election as a World Event: Recognize the US election’s role as a global event with the power to alter the balance of power, trade agreements, and collective security measures.
The mere mention of climate change can raise the temperature of any room—but often that warming results more from political friction than fossil fuels. Over the last decade, climate change and its associated drivers has driven wedges between allies, adversaries, academics, and Americans. So how should we think about climate change in terms of the intricate nexus between its escalating impacts and the increasing incidences of global conflicts? How did climate change contribute to the Russian decision to invade Ukraine? How is climate change disrupting maritime commerce, human migration, and economic flows? Climatic changes are not just environmental issues but catalysts for geopolitical power plays and local skirmishes. Join the discussion for insights into how resource scarcity, forced migrations, and climate-induced economic stresses become flashpoints for regional and international tensions.
Slice through the fog of the climate debate to reveal a world where the heat isn’t just atmospheric—it’s geopolitical. Join Michelle to discover how the silent surge of temperatures is redrawing alliances and igniting flashpoints, from the thawing Arctic battlegrounds to drought-stricken streets where conflict flares over scarce water. This isn’t your average climate talk, it’s a journey into the heart of global disputes, forecasting the next storm of conflict in a world where the climate is as a much a player as any nation.
– Climate as a Catalyst: Understand climate change as a potent instigator in the global arena, where environmental shifts lead to power shifts.
– Conflict Connection: See beyond the weather to witness how climate-driven changes are directly influencing the landscape of conflict.
– Geopolitical Domino Effect: Discover how ecological stresses are pulling at the seams of international alliances and redefining age-old enmities.
– Indications & Warnings: Waypoints, Signposts, Warnings, and Indicators to Watch for.
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"I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for your recent presentation at ARB Trading Group. Your unique vantage point on current global affairs is both informative and insightful. Your ability to deconstruct complex dynamics and relationships, and present them in a way that can be easily understood, is much appreciated. The merit and legitimacy of your knowledge base, born out of years of service and learning, are undeniable. Having you distill and impart some of that knowledge on to our members was a valuable experience. The feedback was unanimous: our members felt they had gained an understanding, and were better able to relate global events to market dynamics. Among the feedback we got, we'd like to highlight what members appreciated most. The concise nature of your presentation, the preparedness, the focused approach, and your communication skills are all elements that stood out. We thank you again Michelle, and we look forward to more thought-provoking exchanges in the near future."
ARB Trading Group
“Liliuokalani Trust first met Michelle after her speaking engagement at a conference in Austin, TX, where she expertly broke down the Russia-Ukraine conflict and its effects on the global economy in a short period of time for a group of investors. Impressed with her background, expertise, and insight, Michelle was invited to speak at an organization-wide event about the Geopolitics of Climate Change. Michelle's captivating presence, coupled with her eloquent and passionate delivery, resulted in a thought-provoking presentation that left our audience of youth-serving professionals eager to learn more. Her ability to connect with a range of audiences on both an intellectual and emotional level was truly remarkable. I highly recommend Michelle as a speaker whose expertise and charisma create an unforgettable and educational experience for all.”
Investment Manager, Liliuokalani Trust
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