However that’s altering, Ms. Sherman mentioned.
“Take a look at this room — now we have three ladies sitting right here, considered one of whom is a lady of colour. And one white man,” she mentioned throughout a candid second, motioning to a reporter and two workers members who had been sitting close by, in a gathering room exterior her private workplace.
She credited each Mr. Biden and Mr. Blinken with making an attempt to diversify America’s overwhelmingly white diplomatic corps. And whereas “all establishments are arduous to alter,” Ms. Sherman mentioned, “this one is especially arduous as a result of nationwide safety and international coverage haven’t been a spot for ladies, not to mention folks of colour.”
“That’s not the best way the world ought to be,” she mentioned.
Her strategy is a rejection of each the swagger that Mike Pompeo, who served as Mr. Trump’s second secretary of state, tried to impose on America’s diplomatic corps, with little success, in addition to his ridiculing of multiculturalism.
But Ms. Sherman is not any pushover, and her no-nonsense perspective has unnerved many in her wake.
“She’s this consummate skilled who has a little bit of a pointy edge to her, so that you knew you needed to be well-prepared otherwise you’ll see the door fairly shortly,” mentioned Rose Gottemoeller, a former underneath secretary of state for arms management and worldwide safety, who labored with Ms. Sherman on the State Division in the course of the Obama administration. “She got here proper again at you with zinger questions.”
Ms. Gottemoeller additionally recalled Ms. Sherman going out of her approach to advise and assist a fellow colleague by way of a frightening well being difficulty. “I actually was a bit shocked that she’d gone to these lengths, however to me, that exhibits her empathy,” mentioned Ms. Gottemoeller, who most not too long ago served three years because the deputy secretary normal of the North Atlantic Treaty Group.
Ms. Sherman is as open in dissecting her personal disappointments as she is in counseling others about theirs. And whereas she is the primary girl deputy secretary of state — a truth that’s “a bit of ridiculous,” she mentioned, given the place was established in 1972 — that is technically not the primary time she has held the job.
In 2014, in the course of the Iran negotiations, she was quietly instructed she may anticipate to be nominated for the place after William J. Burns, the present C.I.A. director who was then the State Division’s deputy, retired that 12 months.