Catherine M. Russell

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Catherine "Cathy" M. Russell
Chief of Staff to the Second Lady of the United States
In office
January 20, 2009 – 2013
Vice President Joe Biden
Succeeded by Sheila Nix
Personal details
Spouse(s) Tom Donilon
Children two
Residence Washington, D.C.
Alma mater Boston College, The George Washington University Law School

Catherine M. Russell is the United States Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues, appointed on May 8, 2013.[1]


Russell began her career on Capitol Hill, as Counsel and then Senior Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Technology Subcommittee, chaired by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). She then served as Staff Director to the Senate Judiciary Committee under Chairman Joseph Biden (D-De).[2][3]

Russell served as Associate Deputy Attorney General to Janet Reno. She worked as senior adviser to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where she specialized in international women’s issues.

Russell is a longtime adviser to Vice President Joe Biden’s wife, Jill Biden. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Russell was tapped to serve as chief of staff to then-second lady-elect Jill Biden. She then served as Chief of Staff to the spouse of Vice President of the United States from January 2009.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Russell is married to Tom Donilon, who is the former National Security Advisor to President Barack Obama.[2][4] Her brother-in-law is Mike Donilon, a lawyer and political consultant who serves as Counselor to Vice President Joe Biden.


Russell graduated from Boston College and received her J.D. from The George Washington University.[5]


  1. ^ Catherine M. Russell - U.S. Department of State biography [1]
  2. ^ a b c Who Runs Government. "Catherine Russell: Why She Matters", "".
  3. ^ The George Washington University. "Building the New Administration:White House Staff--Biographies as provided by the Transition*", "George Washington University".
  4. ^ Vogel, Kenneth P."15 Obama administration power couples", "Politico", June 15, 2009.
  5. ^ "Catherine Russell." The Washington Post, July 26, 2012.

External links[edit]