Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

Adjunct Senior Fellow for Women and Foreign Policy

About the Expert

Expert Bio

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is the author of the New York Times bestsellers, The Dressmaker of Khair Khana (2011), about a young entrepreneur who supported her community under the Taliban, Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield (2015), and The Daughters of Kobani (2021).  

Lemmon serves as an adjunct senior fellow with the Women and Foreign Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations, along with private sector leadership roles in emerging technology for national security start-ups, and began writing about entrepreneurship in conflict and post-conflict zones while studying for her MBA at Harvard following a decade covering politics at the ABC News Political Unit. This work on entrepreneurship from Afghanistan, Rwanda, Liberia, Bosnia, and beyond has been published by the World Bank, Harvard Business School, the Financial Times, Harvard Business Review, and CNN, among others.

At the Women and Foreign Policy Program her work has focused on the role of economic development and the contributions of women and girls in Afghanistan, as well as entrepreneurship in fragile states and the fight against child marriage. She also has contributed to projects on maternal health and human trafficking.

Lemmon holds an MBA from Harvard and received the Dean’s Award for her work on women’s entrepreneurship. Following MBA study, she led public policy analysis during the global financial crisis at the global investment firm PIMCO. In addition to serving as a Robert Bosch Fellow in Germany, she served as a Fulbright scholar in Spain, on the board of the international aid organization Mercy Corps, and is a member of the Bretton Woods Committee. She speaks Spanish, German, and French and is conversant in Dari and Kurmanci.  


  • Mercy Corps, board of directors
  • ICRW, leadership council 
  • Rebellion Defense, chief marketing officer

Current Projects