Molly Millerwise Meiners, B.B.A.'01
Crashing on the floor of her sister’s apartment as she completed two internships in Washington, D.C.—that was the beginning of Molly Millerwise Meiners’ career. Her goal: to work on Capitol Hill. Soon after graduation, she became press assistant and then deputy press secretary for the House Republican Conference and later served as the press secretary for the Ways and Means Committee.
Those experiences ignited a passion for public policy in Meiners, who hungered for the next opportunity to use her skills crafting messages to educate the American public about critical issues.
She then became a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of the Treasury, followed by director of public affairs. When she entered that role, the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence was about to launch as a response to post-9/11 threats, and Meiners played a crucial role in communicating about those efforts, among others.
“There were a lot of firsts in that position,” says Meiners. “Shutting down terrorist networks by tracing dirty money or applying financial pressure were new areas for me and increasingly important tactics for national security. Our policy initiatives combatted terrorist organizations and had an impact on everything from preventing nuclear proliferation in Iran and North Korea, to stopping human rights abuses, to shutting down narcotics traffickers’ financial webs.”
Meiners eventually became the principal deputy assistant secretary for public affairs at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, helping to drive day-to-day press strategy. After two years in that role, she became chief communications officer at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, which will soon evolve into the new U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). The new agency will be a modernized entity that brings together the capabilities of OPIC and USAID’s Development Credit Authority, introducing new and innovative financial products to better bring private capital to the developing world.
“It’s exciting to be able to amplify the tools available to us,” says Meiners. “Through modernization and collaboration, we are able to invest in international projects that are beneficial to many countries and their citizens while respecting each nation’s sovereignty. We partner in creating jobs and investing capital in needed infrastructure—projects that mutually benefit all involved.”
One compelling example of the agency’s work are its projects that bring clean water to villages—and the economic impact that those projects have on families. “It is common for someone in a developing nation, often a woman in the household, to have to walk several hours to get water for the family’s daily use,” says Meiners. “With ready access to clean water, women are able to work outside the home. The economic impact that these projects have when multiplied is significant.”
When asked to identify a critical challenge facing our world today, given her vantage point, Meiners replies quickly, “The economic empowerment of women. All the data supports that women who can earn their own income reinvest it in their communities and families, and that drives economic growth and freedom.”