Shirley M. Ross

Photo of Shirley Ross
Senior Behavioral/Social Scientist
Washington Office


Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology, George Washington University; M. Phil in industrial/organizational psychology, George Washington University; B.A. in industrial/organizational psychology, University of Missouri at St. Louis


Shirley Ross is a senior behavioral scientist with the RAND Corporation, working primarily with DoD.  She serves as principal investigator for numerous projects supporting the Air Force and the Space Force. Her areas of deep expertise include the design and execution of human capital strategies, organization development/change strategies, and application of corporate/private sector best practices to DoD.  Her work contributed to the formation and structure of the Space Force.

Prior to RAND, Ross was the Senior Advisor for Talent Management at the Air Staff, Pentagon. During this appointment, she worked closely with the Nuclear Enterprise and authored and led the execution of the first Human Capital Strategy/Three Year Plan (2010-2102) for the Nuclear Enterprise.

In her corporate career, Ross held positions across diverse industries, including Vice President of Executive Leadership, Learning, and Organizational Effectiveness for Raytheon Co., $22B defense and government electronics, space, and information technology corporation; Vice President of Talent Management and Organization Development for Merck & Co., a $20B leader in the pharmaceutical industry; and Vice President of Human Capital Strategy and Development for Williams-Sonoma, parent company of several leading retail brands. She also spent five years with Anheuser-Busch Companies before moving into executive selection and talent-based consulting in the high-tech sector.

Ross is a former Air Force officer and served in both Intelligence and Behavioral Sciences. She has an M.Phil and Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from The George Washington University and is a licensed psychologist.  A list of publications available on request.

Honors & Awards

  • RAND Gold Medal 2020 for research excellence