Mona Sutphen Becomes Co-Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy

November 16, 2008

Katy Ronkin

On November 16, 2008, President-elect Barack Obama announced that Mona Sutphen would serve in his administration as Co-Deputy Chief of Staff for policy. She was the first Black woman and the first Black Jewish woman ever to hold this position. Sutphen worked for the Obama administration from 2009 until February 2011. During her time in the White House, she advised the President on issues ranging from regulatory matters to economic policy. Prior to that, she worked in the private sector before joining then-Senator Obama as a foreign policy adviser on both his presidential campaign and during the Obama-Biden transition.

After graduating from Mount Holyoke College and earning a master’s degree from the London School of Economics, Sutphen worked as a US Foreign Service Officer from 1991 to 2000. During the Clinton administration, she served on the staff of the National Security Council, the US Mission to the UN, the Office of the High Representative in Sarajevo, and at the US Embassy of Bangkok. As of 2020, Sutphen is a senior advisor at Vistria Group LLC, a private equity firm in Chicago. She also serves as Board Chair for Human Rights First and sits on the International Rescue Committee Board of Directors.


Dunham, Jillian. "Inside the Real West Wing" Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly, Fall 2009, 11-15. Accessed September 30, 2020.; Human Rights First. "Mona Sutphen and Michael Rozen to Serve as Board Chairs of Human Rights First." News release. November 21, 2019. Accessed October 14, 2020.; International Rescue Committee. "IRC Board of Directors and Board of Advisors." Last modified 2020. Accessed October 14, 2020.; Mount Holyoke College. "Mona Sutphen." Mount Holyoke College. Last modified 2020. Accessed September 30, 2020.; The Office of the President-Elect. "President-elect Barack Obama Announces Additional Key White House Staff." News release. November 16, 2008. Accessed September 30, 2020.; Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. "Mona Sutphen." Miller Center. Last modified 2019. Accessed September 30, 2020.; Washington Speakers Bureau. "Mona Sutphen." WSB. Last modified 2020. Accessed September 30, 2020.; Wilson, Scott. "White House Deputy Chief of Staff Mona Sutphen Has a World of Experience." Washington Post. Last modified April 14, 2009. Accessed September 30, 2020.


Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Mona Sutphen, courtesy of Creative Commons

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Mona Sutphen Becomes Co-Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy." (Viewed on October 3, 2022) <>.


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Get JWA in your inbox