President Joe Biden recently announced the nomination of Statesboro native, Reta Jo Lewis, for the position of President and Chair of the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of the United States.

Lewis is the first African American woman to be nominated for the position of President and Chair of the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of the United States.

Lewis is the daughter of the late Mr. Charlie Lewis Sr. and Mrs. Alethia Simmons Lewis; two very influential Statesboro community advocates and entrepreneurs who owned various small business in Statesboro for 56 years.

Reta Jo Lewis, Statesboro Native and President Biden nominee for President and Chair of the Export- Import (EXIM) Bank of the United States Credit: GMFUS Photographer

Reta Jo Lewis has over 25 years of leadership experience in international affairs, legal, public policy, business and regulatory affairs, and subnational diplomacy.

She is a Senior Fellow and Director of Congressional Affairs at the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF).

At GMF, Lewis leads and oversees initiatives, programs, and bipartisan exchanges for members of the U.S. Congress and their European counterparts.

She joined GMF in 2015 as a Senior Resident Fellow with the Transatlantic Leadership Program, where she focused on leadership development and subnational diplomacy efforts. 

Lewis established and leads GMF’s Women of Color in Transatlantic Leadership Program. 

Extensive leadership credentials

Prior to joining GMF, she served as the first-ever Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs under Secretary Hillary Clinton at the U.S. Department of State during the Obama-Biden Administration.

As Special Representative, Lewis was the chief diplomat in charge of the international efforts to build and support strategic relationships between the U.S. Department of State, state and local leaders, and their foreign counterparts.

In 2013, she was awarded the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award.

Prior to joining the State Department, Ms. Lewis was Of Counsel at Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP. 

Previous legal experience includes serving as a Shareholder at one of the largest international law firms, Greenberg Traurig LLP.

Her legal practice focused on providing strategic corporate, legal, and consulting counsel to the firms’ business, public finance, regulatory, and state and local clients.

Ms. Lewis was the first African-American woman to serve as Vice President and Counselor to the President at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

She led the Chamber’s initiatives focused on fostering strategic alliances between small businesses, especially women- and minority-owned businesses, entrepreneurs, and executives.

Prior to her tenure at the Chamber, she was Special Assistant for Political Affairs to President Bill Clinton.

She is a Life Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Member of the Board of the Leadership Council for Women in National Security.

Ms. Lewis received a J.D. from Emory University School of Law, an M.S.A.J. from American University, and a B.A. from the University of Georgia.

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