President Biden nominated former Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Chief of Staff Kiran Ahuja to serve as the agency’s next director, the White House announced Feb. 23.
Ahuja is a former OPM chief of staff under the Obama-Biden administration and served during both Obama-Biden terms. Before spending the final two years in the administration at OPM, her first stint included a six-year run as the executive director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
“I have spent the better part of my career addressing systemic barriers affecting communities of color through litigation, policy and grassroots advocacy, working inside government to affect change, and through philanthropic support and engagement,” Ahuja says in her LinkedIn bio. “I am passionate about creating and managing institutions that are mission-driven, customer-service and community-oriented, responsive, innovative and committed to the highest ideals of compassion and social responsibility.”
A trial lawyer by trade, Ahuja began her career as a trial attorney working for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, which included litigating cases that revolved around desegregation and education, and she also worked on a working group that helped work on issues affecting immigrant communities post-9/11.
Ahuja bookended her work in the White House and at OPM in the non-profit sector. She served as the founding executive director for the National Asian Pacific American Women’s forum from 2003-08 and will come to the Biden-Harris administration after spending nearly the last four years as CEO of Philanthropy Northwest in Seattle.