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About RD

Photo of Under Secretary MensahBiography for Lisa Mensah, Under Secretary, Rural Development U.S. Department of Agriculture

Lisa Afua Serwah Mensah was nominated by President Obama for the position of Under Secretary of USDA Rural Development and she was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in November of 2014.

Ms. Mensah provides leadership for three USDA agencies charged with improving the economic wellbeing of rural America: the Rural Housing Service, the Rural Utilities Service and the Rural Business-Cooperative Service.  Together, these agencies provide critical infrastructure investments in the form of loans and grants for rural housing, high-speed broadband access, telephone, electric and water utilities, renewable energy generation and conservation, local and regional food systems, community facilities, and small business development in rural America.

An expert in using financial tools to improve the economic security of the working poor, Ms. Mensah has experience in the private financial sector and has worked extensively on small and micro business development, housing, financial and savings policy.

Prior to joining USDA, she was the founding Executive Director of the Initiative on Financial Security at the Aspen Institute. In that role she led a national bi-partisan effort with leaders of financial institutions, non-profit executives and experts to promote solutions to the complex problems of helping more Americans save money, buy homes, and finance retirement.  Ms. Mensah began her career in commercial banking at Citibank before joining the Ford Foundation where she was responsible for the country’s largest philanthropic grant and loan portfolio of investments in rural America. 

Ms. Mensah holds an M.A. from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of The Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. from Harvard University.  Born and raised in Oregon, she is the daughter of an immigrant from Ghana and of a former Iowa farm girl.  She resides in Maryland with her husband and two children.

(Updated December 2014)

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See Also
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Last Modified:12/12/2014 
 
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