Maria Echaveste (Chair)

2018
Senior Fellow
UC Berkeley Center for Latin American Studies

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 increase economic and social mobility, beginning with improvements to our nation’s public education system focused on equity and the most vulnerable communities.  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 serves on the board of directors of the the Level Playing Field Institute and Mi Familia Vota. She recently ended her service on the Board of Directors of California Healthcare Foundation, and previously served on the Boards of CARE, MALDEF and People for the American Way, among others. 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.  In 2014, President Obama nominated her to be the US Ambassador to Mexico; she withdrew her nomination in January 2015 after a change in US Senate leadership. 

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.