Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are contributing to the president's vision of winning the future through their work.
As Chief of Staff I run the office of the Secretary, and ensure Secretary Locke’s priorities and initiatives are executed by the Department. I work with the Secretary daily managing his workload and departmental staff to assist him with carrying out the President’s vision for “Winning the Future.” Whether it is through launching the National Export Initiative or completing the 2010 Census on time and under budget, I make sure the department works efficiently and effectively to strengthen America’s economy through the Secretary’s vision.
Through our work we also have the unique opportunity to help American small businesses first hand, including those run by women. Just this month, Acting Deputy Secretary Becky Blank and the Economics and Statistics Administration released the first comprehensive federal report in decades on the conditions of “Women in America.” (PDF) The Department works continuously to address the challenges faced by women and girls especially in regard to the economic struggles they face. Through awarding startup grants or making export information and guidance available to those businesses ready to expand, the Commerce Department provides guidance daily to women entrepreneurs and business owners in order to foster the growth of the U.S. economy. Women have dramatically reshaped their role in the workforce over the past several decades and the U.S. economy will only benefit as more women continue to grow their businesses.
Fostering the development of women whether through business or politics has always been an interest of mine. Before joining the Obama Administration I served as the executive director of EMILY's List from 2004-2008, overseeing the national staff and directing the strategic direction of the organization to provide a full-service political team to female candidates in the Democratic Party. This position allowed me to work with many great women and advocate on their behalf to ensure women had a place in the halls of Congress each year, including Senator Barbara Mikulski who introduced the Fair Pay Act of 2009 which became the first act of congress signed into law by President Obama. Through steps like this women will only continue to make strides in the business and political sectors.
Everyone needs help on the way up and through my years working in politics I have had the opportunity to work with a number of incredible women. I’ve been fortunate to learn from all of them and to those on their way up, my advice is to be flexible. Work to find opportunities that offer the chance to go beyond what is asked of you on a daily basis. Take chances and speak up in every role you are offered.
Ellen Moran serves as Chief of Staff to Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and was appointed May 11, 2009. Prior to joining the Department of Commerce, Ellen served as White House Director of Communications during the early months of the Obama Administration. From 2004-2008, Ellen was executive director of EMILY's List, the largest financial and strategic resource for Democratic women candidates. Ellen's political background includes managing governor, Senate and House campaigns, as well as helping to plan both of President Clinton’s inaugurals. She oversaw international democracy work in Indonesia for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Ellen graduated with BA’s in English Literature and Political Science from Wheaton College, Norton, Mass. She is married to Kirk Fabel and currently resides in Chevy Chase, MD with their two children.