Breaking Ice & Breaking Glass

Breaking Ice and Breaking Glass: Leading in Uncharted Waters by Vice Admiral (Ret.) Sandra Stosz (Koehler books, June 1, 2021, 292 pages)

Today, our nation is like a ship being tossed in tumultuous seas. The winds and waves of change have divided and distanced our society, threatening to wash away the very principles our nation was founded upon. Now more than ever, our nation needs leaders with the moral courage to stand strong and steady-leaders capable of uniting people in support of a shared purpose by building the trust and respect necessary for organizations and their people to thrive.

In Breaking Ice and Breaking Glass, Vice Admiral Sandy Stosz draws upon her forty years of extensive experience and wisdom to provide tools that will help leaders reach their goals and succeed at every level. Character-centered, proven leadership principles emerge from these engaging, personal stories that teach leaders how to find, and then become, an inspiring mentor; implement successful diversity, inclusion, and equity programs; successfully lead in a complex environment; and much more.

Leaders eager to make a difference by helping people and organizations be their best will find Breaking Ice and Breaking Glass: Leading in Uncharted Waters their go-to resource.


Vice Admiral Sandy Stosz served in the United States Coast Guard. She retired after forty years of dedicated service as the first female Vice Admiral. As the author of Breaking Ice and Breaking Glass, she showcases her successes through adaptability, commitment, perseverance, and intelligence. Of her many accomplishments during her lifetime adventure, she was one of the first women to have graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the first woman to command a polar icebreaker on the Great Lakes, the first woman to be assigned as deputy commandant for mission support, and the first woman to achieve the flag rank. The world also recognizes her as one of the most influential women. It is a testament to her outstanding leadership and character.

This is a groundbreaking book that portrays how a female officer in the U.S. Coast Guard took on the stereotypes and turned them into a legacy by paving a way for female leaders to come. Vice Admiral Stosz invites readers inside the world of the U.S. Coast Guard professionals through her lens, highlighting the difficulties and challenges she faced in a male-dominated organization with an emphasis on leading with character. The wisdom and vision shared by remarkable individuals throughout her book validates the author’s success shown through her hard work and core values.

Vice Admiral Stosz explains one other important element of success through her favorite leadership movie, Kung Fu Panda. Even though there is no secret ingredient in this well-liked movie, the reflection of oneself that fills with preparation, performance, and perseverance are useful tools to conquer challenges ahead. Many enjoy this movie because of its happy ending and humorous setting; but how many readers out there have talents like Vice Admiral Stosz that turn something so small into something meaningful? This is just a glimpse of what this book offers.

Final Thoughts

Breaking Ice and Breaking Glass: Leading in Uncharted Waters is compelling and offers insightful perspective–the importance of diversity and how to be a leader with character for others to follow in today’s organization, regardless of gender. It is rich in leadership and will be an inspiration to men and women looking for role models and desiring to be a better leader that makes ethical decisions and good choices. Vice Admiral Sandy Stosz’s stories are captivating and filled with passion and commitment. I highly recommend her book to any leader in the organization and those who are interested in the U.S. Coast Guard professionals.

Dong Logan is a DODReads book review contributor and a Naval Officer. In her free time, she enjoys reading, walking her Golden Retriever, and spending time with the family. For more information on Logan, connect with her on LinkedIn at

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