Alumni Profile

Jennifer Nealin Parker
Former Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development; former Director, Office of Transition Initiatives, Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, U.S. Agency for International Development
MPA, Class of 2008

Nealin Parker, MPA '08, former Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on March 14, 2014. As Chief of Staff for Secretary Julián Castro and former Secretary Shaun Donovan, Nealin was a key member of the leadership team who helped oversee more than 8,000 employees and a $46 billion annual budget. Known for her ability to distill complex information, build consensus on tough issues and for her highly effective, personal management style, Nealin has helped lead large, complex organizations across the public and private sectors. Prior to HUD, Nealin was the Acting Director of the Office of Transition Initiatives at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID/OTI). OTI was established after the fall of the Berlin Wall to provide rapid response to political crises globally. The office is recognized for its innovation, agility, and focus on effective management. Among its portfolio during her tenure were programs in Afghanistan, Burma, Kenya, Libya, and Syria. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, she served as Chief of Staff for the Center on International Cooperation in New York City, where she was responsible for strategy, managing front office and administrative staff, raising core funds, and overseeing multiple technical/policy portfolios. Nealin has brought to these endeavors over 10 years of experience working on issues of poverty, health, and conflict with governments, non-governmental organizations, and think tanks, including the Carter Center, IFES, the Bobst Center on Peace and Justice, the Treatment Action Campaign, and the Brookings Institution. Nealin earned a Master’s in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School and a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from the University of Virginia. In 2013 she was selected as one of 20 inaugural participants in the President’s Leadership Group. She is a member of the International Society of Women Geographers and a Truman Fellow in National Security.