President-elect Joe Biden appoints new White House senior staff

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President-elect Joe Biden on Friday announced new members of his White House senior staff.

Biden appointed Mala Adiga as Policy Director to Dr. Jill Biden, Carlos Elizondo as White House Social Secretary, Cathy Russell as Director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, and Louisa Terrell as Director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs.

“I’m proud to name additional members of our team who will help deliver the change America needs in these difficult times. Their dedication to overcoming the challenges facing our country today are rooted in their diverse backgrounds and experiences. They will serve the American people and help build back better, creating a more just, equitable, and united nation,” said President-elect Joe Biden.

Incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain added: “To bring President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris’ agenda to life you must have a boundless team of experts ready for day one. Today’s appointees are respected leaders who will bring a commitment to serving the American people each and every day. They will support our work to build an administration and White House that represents America and delivers results.”

Biographies of the appointees are listed below in alphabetical order: 

Mala Adiga, Policy Director to Dr. Jill Biden

Mala Adiga served as a senior advisor to Dr. Jill Biden and a senior policy advisor on the Biden-Harris Campaign. Previously, Adiga was Director for Higher Education and Military Families at the Biden Foundation. During the Obama-Biden administration, Adiga served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Academic Programs at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, in the Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues as Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the Ambassador-at-Large, and as Director for Human Rights on the National Security Staff. Prior to that, she was Counsel to the Associate Attorney General in the Department of Justice. Before entering government service, Adiga worked on the Obama-Biden 2008 presidential campaign. Prior to the campaign, she was a litigation associate at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Chicago and clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Philip Simon in the Northern District of Indiana. A native of Illinois, Adiga is a graduate of Grinnell College, the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, and the University of Chicago Law School. 

Carlos Elizondo, White House Social Secretary

Carlos Elizondo was a Special Assistant to the President and Social Secretary to Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden for all eight years of the Obama-Biden administration, the first Hispanic American appointed to this position. In this role, he had responsibility for planning, managing, and successfully executing all events hosted by the Vice President and his family, to include visits by world leaders, members of Congress, business leaders, and other high-ranking dignitaries and celebrities. During the Clinton-Gore administration, Elizondo served in both the White House and in the Office of the U.S. Chief of Protocol, where he managed numerous state visits, Papal visits, the Centennial Olympic Games, the NATO 50th Anniversary Summit and other international summits. Elizondo has held several positions outside of government, including Senior Director of Presidential Events at Georgetown University, Manager of Special Activities and Protocol at Walt Disney World, and as an Estate Manager overseeing operations for a private family estate. Originally from Texas, Elizondo is a graduate of the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio. He and his partner reside in Washington, D.C. 

Cathy Russell, Director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel

Ambassador Cathy Russell serves on the Advisory Board of the Biden-Harris Transition Team and served as Vice Chair of the Biden-Harris Campaign. Before that, Ambassador Russell was a resident fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. During the Obama-Biden administration, Ambassador Russell served for all eight years at the White House and the U.S. Department of State, including as Deputy Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden and the U.S. Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues, where she led efforts to integrate women’s issues into US foreign policy. Previously, she served as the senior advisor on international women’s issues on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as Associate Deputy Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice, as the Staff Director of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and as Senior Counsel to Senator Patrick J. Leahy. Ambassador Russell serves on multiple boards and advisory committees, including board co-chair of the Women’s Foreign Policy Group, a board member of Women for Women International, as well as a member of the Sesame Street Global Advisory Group, the Leadership Council for Women in National Security Steering Committee, the National Security Action Advisory Council, the Thomson Reuters Trust Women Foundation, and the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council.  A native of Pennsylvania, Ambassador Russell graduated from Boston College and the George Washington University Law School.

Louisa Terrell, Director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs

Louisa Terrell currently oversees legislative affairs for the Biden-Harris Transition Team. Terrell’s two decades of experience includes leadership roles in the public and private sectors, including as Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs in the Obama-Biden administration. Prior to that, she served as an Advisor to Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and worked for several years on Capitol Hill, including as Deputy Chief of Staff for then-U.S. Senator Biden and Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Cory Booker. Terrell’s work outside of government has included roles as the Deputy General Counsel and Head of Public Affairs at McKinsey & Company, Executive Director of the Biden Foundation, Senior Director for Federal Policy & Strategy at Yahoo!, and Director of Public Policy at Facebook. Originally from Delaware, Terrell is a graduate of Tufts University and Boston College School of Law, and lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and two daughters

Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Based in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America, Simon leads a brilliant team of reporters, freelance journalists, analysts, researchers and contributors from around the world to run TODAY NEWS AFRICA as editor-in-chief. Simon Ateba's journalistic experience spans over 10 years and covers many beats, including business and investment, information technology, politics, diplomacy, human rights, science reporting and much more. Write him: simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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