Maria Otero currently serves on the board of directors of Development Alternatives, Inc., a global development company. Ms. Otero’s expansive career focused on empowering those less fortunate around the world. Her extensive public service and microfinance experience help Herbalife deliver on its mission to help people live healthy, active lifestyles.
In 2009, she was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs. In 2012, Secretary Clinton named Maria Otero as undersecretary for civilian security, democracy and human rights, a newly created office and position at the State Department, where she served until 2013. During her time at the Department of State, Undersecretary Otero also served as the President’s special coordinator for Tibetan issues. She became the highest-ranking Hispanic official at the State Department and the first Latina undersecretary in its history. She was appointed by President Clinton to chair the board of the Inter-American Foundation and by President Bush to serve as vice-chair on the board of the U.S. Institute of Peace. In 2006, she was appointed by Secretary General Kofi Annan to the U.N. Advisors Group on Inclusive Financial Sectors. She also chaired the board of Bread for the World and served on the boards of the Calvert Foundation and BRAC in Bangladesh.
From 2000 to 2009, Ms. Otero served as president and CEO of Accion International, a global microfinance organization operating in 26 countries. In that capacity, she chaired the board of Accion Investments, a global equity investment fund, and represented Accion on the board of several microfinance banks. Ms. Otero also worked as an economist for Latin America and the Caribbean in the Women in Development Office of USAID. She is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations.
Ms. Otero holds an M.A. in literature from the University of Maryland; an M.A. in international relations from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University; and an honorary doctorate of humane letters.