Marc Polymeropoulos

  • Leadership Expert
  • Author of the Forthcoming Book, Finding Clarity in the Shadows
  • Distinguished 26 Year CIA Veteran

Marc Polymeropoulos worked for 26 years at the CIA before retiring in July 2019 at the Senior Intelligence Service level. He was one of CIA’s most highly decorated operations officers who served in multiple field assignments for the U.S. government. He specialized in counterterrorism, the Middle East and South Asia, including extensive time in Iraq and Afghanistan. Prior to his retirement, Marc served at CIA headquarters and was in charge of CIA’s clandestine operations in Europe and Eurasia. He frequently comments on international events in the US media, to include the Washington Post, The New York Times, GQ, Yahoo, CNN, and MSNBC.

Marc has honed a unique leadership style based on nine core principles which he terms “Finding Clarity in the Shadows.” Each principle builds on the next and is designed for real world applicability, where one often operates under time constraints and with a lack of complete situational awareness. Marc describes how one must not fear but instead wildly embrace this ambiguity. His unique leadership style is based on years of hard time on the streets of the third world vice learning leadership from university lectures or books. The “Glue Guy,” “Winning an Oscar,” and “Adversity is the PED to Success” are just some of the principles that his clients will immediately relate to. Marc will provide real work vignettes from the world of intelligence and paramilitary operations, yet also stress that his principles can be used across the private sector in any profession. He also will provide a checklist for clients to immediately utilize and put his principles into practice. Marc will also expound on the principles of "Finding Clarity in the Shadows" in an upcoming book to be published by Harper Collins.

 

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Rave Reviews About Marc Polymeropoulos
Marc was one the finest CIA officers that I encountered in my career. He was tough, smart, and had the honesty and integrity that we demanded from our people. One of the most highly decorated field operations officers of his generation, he led from the front with compassion and conviction for those under his command. If people knew the work he has done in the shadows of the Middle East, Europe, and Russia, they would sleep easier at night.

A Sample of the Groups That Have Hosted Marc Polymeropoulos
  • Baltimore World Affairs Council
  • Tampa Bay Committee on Foreign Relations
  • Boussias Communications
  • MITRE Corporation
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Finding Clarity in the Shadows

Marc reviews his 9 core principles of leadership learned from streets of Baghdad to Cairo and Damascus. They include "Win an Oscar," the "Glue Guy," and "Adversity is the PED to Success."  As one of the CIA's most highly decorated field officers, they served him well, and are universally applicable ...

Marc reviews his 9 core principles of leadership learned from streets of Baghdad to Cairo and Damascus. They include "Win an Oscar," the "Glue Guy," and "Adversity is the PED to Success."  As one of the CIA's most highly decorated field officers, they served him well, and are universally applicable in all walks of life.

Life as an Intelligence Officer in the Age of Twitter

Marc discusses what it was like to serve in this unique time period, which includes a discussion of the "Trump Effect" on recruitment operations and working with foreign liaison. Marc concludes that despite the challenges in dealing with the unorthodox and unconventional style of this President, the ...

Marc discusses what it was like to serve in this unique time period, which includes a discussion of the "Trump Effect" on recruitment operations and working with foreign liaison. Marc concludes that despite the challenges in dealing with the unorthodox and unconventional style of this President, the CIA continues to operate effectively across the globe.

Baseball and the CIA

Marc speaks on the parallels between life in the CIA and baseball.  It is an insightful, funny, and personal talk, filled with principles such as the need to hit .300 in both baseball and espionage operations, how adversity builds character in both worlds, and how you never miss the hit and run sign ...

Marc speaks on the parallels between life in the CIA and baseball.  It is an insightful, funny, and personal talk, filled with principles such as the need to hit .300 in both baseball and espionage operations, how adversity builds character in both worlds, and how you never miss the hit and run sign when your teammates are relying on you.  Coupled with some unique and exciting stories from places like Iraq and Afghanistan, Marc notes that espionage operations strive to do the impossible - just like trying to hit a wicked curve ball.

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<p>Marc Polymeropoulos, Contributor to The Cipher Brief and Just Security</p>

Marc Polymeropoulos, Contributor to The Cipher Brief and Just Security

With extensive and substantive expertise on leadership under pressure and geopolitical and transnational issues related to the Middle East, South Asia, Russia, counterterrorism, and cyber and counter-intelligence, developed over decades of distinguished service with the CIA, MARC POLYMEROPOULOS is a frequent and trusted contributor to both The Cipher Brief and guest writer for Just Security.

Catch his latest analysis and invaluable insights here: 

The Cipher Brief  > >

Just Security  > >

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Biography

Marc Polymeropoulos worked for 26 years at the CIA before retiring in July 2019 at the Senior Intelligence Service level. He was one of CIA’s most highly decorated operations officers who served in multiple field assignments for the U.S. government. He specialized in counterterrorism, the Middle East and South Asia, including extensive time in Iraq and Afghanistan. Prior to his retirement, Marc served at CIA headquarters and was in charge of CIA’s clandestine operations in Europe and Eurasia. He frequently comments on international events in the US media, to include the Washington Post, The New York Times, GQ, Yahoo, CNN, and MSNBC.

Marc has honed a unique leadership style based on nine core principles which he terms “Finding Clarity in the Shadows.” Each principle builds on the next and is designed for real world applicability, where one often operates under time constraints and with a lack of complete situational awareness. Marc describes how one must not fear but instead wildly embrace this ambiguity. His unique leadership style is based on years of hard time on the streets of the third world vice learning leadership from university lectures or books. The “Glue Guy,” “Winning an Oscar,” and “Adversity is the PED to Success” are just some of the principles that his clients will immediately relate to. Marc will provide real work vignettes from the world of intelligence and paramilitary operations, yet also stress that his principles can be used across the private sector in any profession. He also will provide a checklist for clients to immediately utilize and put his principles into practice. Marc will also expound on the principles of "Finding Clarity in the Shadows" in an upcoming book to be published by Harper Collins.

Marc holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Cornell University and lives in northern Virginia with his family.