Caroline Noelle Walsh

Researcher, Author, Comic, Coach, Athlete, Veteran, Instructor

Caroline is a leadership researcher and coach, specializing in ethical leadership practices (accountability, self-development, and communication) and exploring the art of standup comedy to build leadership skills.

 Beyond her scholarly pursuits, she is the author of the comedic memoir, "Fairly Smooth Operator." Adding to her vibrant repertoire, she imparts her comedic wisdom as a standup comedy instructor, collaborating with the Armed Services Arts Partnership to spread laughter and creative expression.


Caroline's primary focus lies in the realm of ethical leadership. She spearheaded a qualitative study that delved into the perspective of ethical leadership as perceived by lower-ranking individuals within the military. This study gained recognition through presentations at both the US and European chapters of the International Society of Military Ethics and the Society of Business Ethics.

At present, Caroline is researching the ethical leadership perspectives embraced by CIA leaders to cultivate an atmosphere of integrity within the organization. Her study sheds light on the intricacies these leaders navigate, skillfully balancing the multifaceted tensions inherent to intelligence operations. 

Caroline's research passion extends to fostering inclusive governance. Her involvement in a study centered around the diversity of transnational NGO boards speaks to her dedication to amplifying voices across a spectrum of backgrounds. Her contributions encompassed facilitating data collection and analysis.

Workshops  & Coaching

Standup Comedy for Leadership Development: This group 2-hour workshop will have you laughing, reflecting, and connecting as you learn and practice standup comedy skills that support your self-development as a leader in all areas of your life.  Humor has the remarkable ability to bridge gaps, improve our health, and transform perspectives. In this interactive workshop, we explore the art of standup comedy through discussion, brainstorming about what's funny in our lives, and learning the structure of a standup comedy joke. Together, we discover how humor can elevate our outlook, support our humility, and rewire our brains for a more optimistic and resilient approach to leadership.

Sometimes you have a decision or direction you want to explore in your life, but you may find yourself going in circles without moving forward. Caroline supports clients in their career or life decisions and managing the unknown that comes with change. She and her clients talk about all sides of the person and issues and uses assessments to support self-knowledge and pattern recognition.

Artful Expression

When people ask why I joined the Coast Guard, I respond that I was 22, blond, and fit. In most military services that is guaranteed sexual harassment. 

Why not join the one with the ocean breeze?

(see full story in her book: available on Amazon)


Caroline is a PhD student in the University of San Diego's Leadership Studies program.  She is a Coast Guard and CIA veteran who also instructs comedy courses for the Armed Service Arts Partnership.

Caroline grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio before heading west to play soccer at California State University Monterey Bay. She graduated with a bachelors degree in Psychology from California State University Channel Islands and earned her master's in Homeland Security from Pennsylvania State University's College of Medicine while she was enlisted on active duty. 

She became an officer in the Coast Guard Reserves, supporting a deployment to Guantanamo Bay, before focusing on her career at the CIA.

Check out her books & social:

Instagram: @Carolinenoelle_art