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Press Release

Wednesday, May 25, 2022
Contact: Office of Communications
Tel: 202-594-6827

RELEASE: Office of Personnel Management Announces Additional Key Staff Appointments

Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced additional Biden-Harris Administration political appointees. These diverse and accomplished individuals bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the agency and will work to quickly advance key priorities for the Biden-Harris Administration. 

Tiffany Avila, Confidential Assistant, Office of the Director 

Tiffany most recently served on the Leadership and Training team at the White House Presidential Personnel Office. Prior to serving in the Administration, she worked as an organizer and Regional Organizing Director on the Biden for President Campaign, the Biden-Harris Campaign, and the Georgia Senate Race. She also worked in the non-profit sector with various organizations supporting youth in Camden, NJ and Philadelphia, PA. Tiffany received her BA in Africana Studies and History from Rowan University. 

Eric Bursch, Deputy Director, Office of Congressional, Legislative, and Intergovernmental Affairs 

Before joining OPM, Eric spent over a decade on Capitol Hill, serving in a number of positions in several different offices. He spent the past seven years as Staff Director for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee that has oversight of the federal workforce, first under Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (ND) and then Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (AZ). Eric also worked for Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (SD), both as a congressional caseworker in her state office and a Legislative Assistant in D.C. Eric is a graduate of Chico State University in California, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. Before entering public service, he worked as a sports reporter and editor at four newspapers in Nebraska and South Dakota. 

Khalilah M. Harris, EdD, JD, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the Director 

Most recently, Dr. Harris led the K12 Education Policy team at Center for American Progress and was a non-resident senior fellow with the Maryland Center on Economic Policy. From 2016-2017, she served as a Senior Advisor to the Director at OPM during the Obama-Biden Administration, where her portfolio included managing labor relations, supporting national efforts at diversity, equity and inclusion in the federal workforce including staffing the White House Diversity and Inclusion in Government Council where she devised and implemented the first ever White House Summit on Diversity and Inclusion in Government. From 2013-2015, she served with the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African-Americans first as a graduate fellow and then as its first Deputy Director. Her most important job is mother to her three children. Dr. Harris is a proud alumnus of Morgan State University and obtained her doctorate in Educational Leadership and Organizational Development from the University of Pennsylvania and her law degree from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.  

Kemba Hendrix, Senior Advisor to the Director, Office of the Director 

Kemba most recently served as a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Advisor at OPM. Prior to coming to OPM, Kemba served as the Inaugural Executive Director for the House Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the U.S. House of Representatives and has worked within several agencies including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and the U.S. Department of State as a legal advisor to the Chief Diversity Officer and Office of Civil Rights. Kemba holds a Bachelor's degree from Xavier University and a Juris Doctorate from Howard University School of Law. 

Yahaira Lopez, Chief of Staff, Human Resources Solutions 

Yahaira has led operations management and human capital strategy for a variety of corporate, governmental, and political organizations for almost 20 years. Most recently she served as Deputy Chief of Staff at the US Department of Energy (DOE) overseeing operations within the Office of Secretary Granholm. During her tenure at DOE, she was detailed to OPM to serve as a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Advisor. She served in the Obama Administration at three different federal agencies, first managing environmental policy initiatives at the Department of Agriculture, and later pivoting to political personnel at the Department of Defense and the Department of Transportation. She holds a B.S. in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico-Humacao and is a Certified Nonprofit Professional. 

María Pastrana Luján, Director of Public Engagement, Office of the Director 

Prior to her appointment at OPM, María was the Associate Chief for Regional Engagement at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). During her time at CISA, María also served as External Affairs Officer for Operation Allies Welcome. María’s earlier positions include Deputy Director for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); Intergovernmental Affairs Chief and multilingual engagement lead at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (UCSIS); Advisor on in-language outreach for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders; and Senior Advisor at the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. In each of these roles, María has led efforts to provide equitable access to federal tools and resources for state, local, tribal, and territorial stakeholders, including limited English proficient (LEP) communities. María is a graduate of San Diego State University.  

Webb Lyons, Deputy General Counsel, Office of the General Counsel 

Before joining the Biden-Harris Administration, Webb most recently served as a Counsel in the Washington, DC office of WilmerHale, where he had a diverse litigation and investigations practice.  Earlier in his career, Webb served as a law clerk to the Honorable Vince Chhabria of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. He also served as the Director of Initiatives for the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham and as the Assistant to the President at the National Alliance to End Homelessness. Webb is a graduate of Yale Law School and Birmingham-Southern College.    

Benjamin C. Mizer, General Counsel, Office of the General Counsel 

Most recently, Mizer was a litigation partner at Jones Day. At the Department of Justice during the Obama-Biden Administration, Ben served as the head of the Civil Division, where he oversaw the defense of federal laws and of President Obama’s signature policy achievements. He was previously a senior advisor to Attorney General Eric Holder and a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel. In other prior roles, he served as the Solicitor General of Ohio and as an Associate Legal Officer at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands. He clerked for Judge Judith W. Rogers on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and for Justice John Paul Stevens on the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a graduate of Michigan Law School and the College of Wooster. 

David Padrino, Chief Transformation Officer, Office of the Director 

Padrino serves as OPM’s first Chief Transformation Officer and is currently in a dual role as the Executive Director for the Office of Human Capital Data Management and Modernization. The Chief Transformation Officer role will help the agency transform its capability and capacity to successfully implement the OPM Strategic Plan, President’s Management Agenda initiatives and OPM Director priorities. Prior to serving in the Biden-Harris Administration, Padrino served as Colorado’s first Chief Performance Officer in the Administration of Governor John Hickenlooper.  He spent over seven years at the Boston Consulting Group and worked at New York City’s Workforce Investment Board. Padrino has an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, a BA in History from Vassar College and was a Coro Fellow in New York City. 

Ricardo Rauseo Landa, Special Assistant, Office of Communications 

Prior to joining OPM, Rauseo served as the Constituency Media Manager for the press team at the Center for American Progress, where he worked on Hispanic and international media. Before that, he was a communications and event management intern at the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Leuven, Belgium. He is also an alumnus of the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute, where he interned in the House of Representatives. Rauseo graduated cum laude from the University of Florida, with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies and Anthropology. 

Janice Underwood, PhD, Director, Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility 

Dr. Underwood joins the Biden-Harris Administration having most recently served as the inaugural Virginia Chief Diversity Officer in Governor Ralph Northam’s cabinet. Dr. Underwood has worked for 20+ years to make structural inequity visible in government and education, with a focus on effectively addressing root causes, as a state official, teacher educator, a nationally certified special education teacher, academic researcher, higher education administrator, and diversity trainer.  Most notably, she has been nationally recognized for her contribution to advancing equity initiatives at the intersection of government and politics, including launching the first statewide DEI strategy across 100+ state agencies in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Janice is a graduate of Hampton University and Old Dominion University. 

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The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is the leader in workforce management for the federal government. Our agency builds, strengthens, and serves a federal workforce of 2.2 million employees with programs like hiring assistance, healthcare and insurance, retirement benefits, and much more. We provide agencies with policies, guidance, and best practices for supporting federal workers, so they can best serve the American people.

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