Wednesday, December 9, 2020 - Veteran Obama staffer Heather Higginbottom joins Jim Papa to discuss her career in government and politics. Heather has spent time in both the public and private sectors and has a unique perspective on how each experience has impacted her outlook on bringing change to America. She currently serves as the head of the new JPMorgan Chase PolicyCenter.
Heather Higginbottom – born in New York – graduated from the University of Rochester in 1994 with her B.A. in political science, followed by her graduation from George Washington University in 1999 with her M.A. in public policy. After graduating from GWU, Heather became a Legislative Assistant and Deputy Legislative Director for Senator John Kerry, a role which she held from July 1999 until April 2003 when she began working as his Deputy Policy Director until November 2004.
In January 2005, Heather founded and was Executive Director for The American Security Project, where she worked until January 2006, at which time she returned to Senator John Kerry’s office as Legislative Director, a role she left in 2007 when she became Policy Director for Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. After the 2008 election, she worked on the Obama Transition Team as Staff Secretary, moving into a full-time role in the Obama Administration as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council – where she worked from January 2009 to January 2011.
In January 2011, Heather became Counselor to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, being confirmed 64-36 to the role. Eventually, she became the Deputy Director in October 2011, where she served as the Chief Operating Office of the OMB and a principal architect of the federal budget. In February 2013, after John Kerry’s confirmation as the Secretary of State, Heather moved over to the State Department, where she worked as the Counselor to the Secretary until December 2013, at which time she became the Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, where she was once again confirmed by the Senate, this time 74-17. She was the first female Deputy Secretary of State and held this role for just over three years through January 2017. In this role, Heather shared in the global responsibilities for U.S. foreign policy and had broad management and programmatic oversight responsibilities for both the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development. She was also the Obama Administration official responsible for negotiating the agreement with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to bring relief to approximately 1,200 asylum seeks on the islands of Nauru and Manus, most of which were held in detention centers.
In March 2017, she moved into a role as the Chief Operating Officer at CARE – a major humanitarian agency delivering emergency relief and long-term international development to fight global poverty. She eventually left and is now the President of the JPMorgan Chase PolicyCenter, which develops and advances sustainable, evidence-based policy solutions to drive inclusive economic growth in the US and around the world.