As the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, Cathy Russell leads the State Department’s efforts to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls around the world. In this role, she focuses on addressing gender-based violence, promoting women’s full participation in society, investing in adolescent girls, and integrating women’s issues into U.S. foreign policy. She also serves as co-chair of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council and the U.S.-Pakistan Women’s Council, and as a board member for the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s Trust Women initiative, the Wilson Center’s Women in Public Service Initiative, and the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise.
Prior to assuming this position in August 2013, she served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden focusing on military families and higher education. During her tenure at the White House, Ambassador Russell coordinated the development of the Administration’s strategy to prevent and respond to gender-based violence globally. She previously served as a Senior Advisor to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on international women’s issues. During the Clinton Administration, Russell served as Associate Deputy Attorney General. She has also served as Staff Director of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senior Counsel to Senator Patrick J. Leahy. She received a B.A. in Philosophy from Boston College and a J.D. from George Washington University.