Travis Sullivan

September 17, 2013

Vice-President of Strategy & Business Capture for Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS)


Travis Sullivan

Named to this position in August 2012, he leads the team responsible for facilitating and driving BDS decisions on business strategy, adjacent market efforts, competitive assessments, mergers and acquisitions, and business capture activities.

Prior to his current assignment, Travis was vice president of International Strategy and Business Development for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, where he oversaw the global team responsible for developing and coordinating an integrated global strategy to advance business objectives in key markets. Travis’ team also negotiated and managed industrial partnerships in select international markets to expand commercial opportunities for Boeing.

Travis was previously the director of policy and strategic planning at the U.S. Department of Commerce. Prior to this appointment, he worked at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, as director of geopolitical and policy analysis, following his assignment as director of international trade policy. He also served as the senior policy advisor to U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) for foreign affairs, national security and trade, and an international trade specialist at the U.S. Department of Commerce. Prior to this, he worked at the White House and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

Travis earned bachelor’s degrees in international studies and political science from the University of Washington; a master’s degree in international affairs from the Elliott School of International Studies at George Washington University; and a Ph.D. in international relations theory from Johns Hopkins University. He is also a graduate of the Executive General Management Program at Harvard Business School.

Travis is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy; a delegate in the U.S.-Japan Leadership Program; and a member of the Advisory Board for the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. In 2012, he received a University of Washington “Timeless Award,” which recognized distinguished alumni to commemorate the university’s 150-year anniversary.



Why did you apply to the Young Leaders Program? What are you seeking to get out of it?

The US-France relationship is clearly one of the world’s most important – economically, politically and culturally – and in applying to the FAF Young Leaders Program, I see a great opportunity to be a more active participant and supporter in bolstering our nations’ ties.   By participating, I look forward to learning more about France and being part of an impressive community of leaders dedicated to strengthening mutual understanding and stronger bilateral ties.


What is an interesting fact about you that some people might not know?

While I have never lived in France, Paris has a special place in my heart – I proposed to my wife in that beautiful city!


What did you aspire to be when you were young?

Depending on the day, my aspirations included becoming a surgeon, an FBI agent, professional soccer player, rock star, and a Top Gun fighter pilot!


You are obviously highly accomplished professionally.  What is one mistake you made that was a great learning lesson?

Early in my career, I mistakenly believed that I could micro-manage and control my future career path – leaving a lot of frustration and impatience that things were not happening according to plan.  I have since come to believe that our careers – and lives – are shaped in many ways by myriad factors, events, coincidences and opportunities that are outside of our control.  The best approach for me has been to work hard, pursue interesting experiences, and stay flexible and willing to take on exciting new opportunities that come my way.

Learn more about  the 2013 Young Leaders

Learn more about the Young Leader Program