Maria Echaveste, a senior fellow at the UC Berkeley Center for Latin American Studies, has built a distinguished career working as a public policy consultant, lecturer, a senior White House official, long-time community leader, and corporate attorney. Her current work focuses on immigration, civic engagement, labor rights and education. Additionally, she is a Senior Fellow with the Opportunity Institute, a non-profit working to accelerate improvements to our nation’s public education system and improve social and economic mobility. For the 2015-2016 academic year, she was also a Visiting Scholar with the Berkeley Food Institute, a multi-disciplinary center at UC Berkeley, focused on transforming our nation’s food system.
Prior to cofounding the strategic and policy consulting group NVG, LLC, in 2002, she served as Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for President Clinton from 1998 to 2001. In that position, she focused on issues relating to immigration, civil rights, education, finance, Mexico and Latin America. She also previously served as Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division at the US Department of Labor from 1993 to 1997.
Currently, Echaveste served until recently on the board of directors of the California Healthcare Foundation, and currently serves on the board of the Level Playing Field Institute and Mi Familia Vota. In 2015, Governor Brown appointed Ms Echaveste as vice-chair of International Trade and Investment Advisory Committee. In 2009, then-Secretary Hillary Clinton appointed her as a special representative to Bolivia. She subsequently joined the board of the US-Mexico Foundation to help develop its Mexican-American Leadership Initiative in 2010. President Obama nominated Echaveste to be the US Ambassador to Mexico in 2014; however, changes in the US Senate in November 2014 made confirmation highly unlikely and she withdrew her nomination in January 2015. She is also a member of the Democratic National Committee and engaged on issues of political empowerment of all Americans.
Recipient of various awards and honors over the years, she recently received the Eagle Leadership Award on March 21, 2018, from the Latino Leaders Network and on April 4, 2018, the Darius and Sarah Anderson Distinguished Service Award from the Institute of Governmental Studies, UC Berkeley.
Ms. Echaveste received a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from Stanford University in 1976. In 1980, Ms. Echaveste received a Juris Doctor from the University of California at Berkeley.