Leadership in the Office of the Secretary

Chief of Staff: Rachael Taylor

Rachael Taylor joined the Interior Department as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget before being named Chief of Staff in November 2021. Rachael has more than two decades of public service experience. Prior to joining the Department, she worked on the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations for nearly 16 years, including serving as the Democratic clerk for the Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies since 2012. Earlier in her career, Rachael also served as Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Department of the Treasury and worked for the Office of Vice President Al Gore and in other roles in the United States Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. A West Virginia native, Rachael received a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master’s in Public Administration from American University in Washington, D.C.

Mili Gosar stands in front of trees under a blue sky.

Deputy Chief of Staff – Operations: Mili Gosar

Mili Gosar has over a decade of experience in public service, working for the government and on campaigns in leadership roles around the country. Mili was most recently the Regional Voter Protection Director for the Midwest on the Biden-Harris campaign and also served as Deputy Campaign Manager for the Julián Castro for President campaign. She started her career in her home state of Texas, where she worked in the Texas Senate and at the Texas Attorney General’s Office, along with local government. She is a graduate of American University and the University of Houston Law Center. 


Deputy Chief of Staff – Policy: Kate Kelly

Kate Kelly most recently was the Public Lands Director at the Center for American Progress. During the Obama administration, Kate served as senior advisor to then-Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and also served as communications director on behalf of Secretary Jewell and former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. Prior to joining the Interior Department, Kate worked in the U.S. Senate. Kate received her bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis and hails from Colorado. 

Portrait of Melissa Schwartz in front of cherry blossoms.

Director of Communications: Melissa Schwartz

Melissa Schwartz is a strategic communicator and adjunct professor with two decades of experience in government, the private sector, and at nonprofit organizations. Melissa served as Deputy Chief of Staff/Communications Director for two years at Interior’s former Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. She most recently served as Senior Advisor to Dr. Jill Biden and as Chief Operating Officer at The Bromwich Group, where she oversaw the Crisis Communications and Public Affairs portfolios. Melissa is a former senior spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice and Senator Barbara Mikulski. 

Portrait of Drew Wallace in front of green foliage.

Director of Congressional Affairs: Andrew (Drew) Wallace

A native of Houston, Texas, Drew Wallace has worked in senior policy roles in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. From 2009 to 2021, he served in the office of former Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), finishing as Chief of Staff. Drew has a record of significant contributions to bipartisan legislative successes across a range of issues, in particular energy, the environment, and conservation. He received a B.A. in Political Science from Kenyon College in Ohio and a J.D. from George Mason University School of Law in Virginia. Drew lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife and two sons. 

Portrait of Shantha Ready Alonso.

Director of Intergovernmental and External Affairs: Shantha Ready Alonso

Shantha Ready-Alonso served as Executive Director of Creation Justice Ministries, Community Mobilization Manager for NETWORK Catholic Social Justice Lobby, and Director of the National Council of Churches Poverty Initiative. Shantha is listed among the 2018 “Grist 50 Fixers” and is the recipient of the 2020 National Council of Churches USA J. Irwin Miller Excellence in Ecumenical Leadership award. Shantha holds a Master of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master of Pastoral Studies from Eden Theological Seminary. She did her undergraduate studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Portrait of Raina Thiele, Senior Advisor for Alaska Affairs and Strategic Priorities

Senior Advisor for Alaska Affairs and Strategic Priorities: Raina Thiele

Raina Thiele (Dena’ina Athabascan and Yup’ik) served as Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs in the Obama-Biden White House, where she was the President’s Tribal liaison and advised on arctic and climate issues. She also served at the Office of Management and Budget where she oversaw multi-billion-dollar federal programs. A first-generation college graduate, she received her BA from Yale College and a Master in Public Policy degree from Harvard Kennedy School. She was born and raised in Alaska and her family hails from Pedro Bay village on Lake Iliamna and Alexander Creek. She is an enrolled member of Pedro Bay village.   

Portrait of Heidi Todacheene

Senior Advisor to the Secretary: Heidi Todacheene

Heidi Todacheene is a citizen of Navajo Nation who previously served as Senior Advisor in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs. Heidi served as Legislative Counsel for Congresswoman Deb Haaland and Democratic Director of the Congressional Native American Caucus in the United States Congress. Previously, Heidi worked on intergovernmental affairs, economic development, and public safety issues on behalf of her Nation, served at the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department, and as a civil litigation attorney. Heidi is the first in her family to attend law school and graduated from the University of New Mexico School of Law. She is licensed in New Mexico, Washington D.C., and the U.S. District Court for New Mexico.

Portrait of Portrait of Liz Klein

Senior Counselor to the Secretary: Elizabeth (Liz) Klein

Liz Klein is an experienced attorney who specializes in clean energy, climate change, and environmental issues. She has previously served at Interior, including as Interior’s associate deputy secretary and principal deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Policy, Management and Budget during the Obama administration and as Special Assistant to the Secretary during the Clinton administration. Liz spent several years in private practices specializing in energy and environmental law issues and was a law clerk at the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and its Environmental Enforcement Section. She graduated from the George Washington University with an economics degree and received her J.D. from American University’s Washington College of Law.

Portrait of Maggie Thompson outside, smiling in front of green foliage.

White House Liaison: Maggie Thompson

Maggie Thompson was most recently the North Carolina State Advisor and Chief of Staff for the Biden campaign and served on the campaign’s Education Unity Task Force. Maggie was also the State Director for Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign. She is the former Executive Director of Generation Progress, the youth engagement arm of the Center for American Progress. Maggie also worked in the Obama administration at the White House Council on Environmental Quality and in the office of the Director at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. She graduated with a degree in economics and classical archaeology from Macalester College. 

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