Leaders show their true skill and abilities at times of crisis or challenge. Juliette Kayyem's career is made of such moments. From Massachusetts to Washington, DC and around the world, she has been the person turned to when decision making matters most, leading with a calm demeanor, determined approach, and ability to bring people together.
An appointee to both Governor Deval Patrick and President Barack Obama’s Administrations, she has made government work for citizens when it matters the most. As a homeland security expert, Juliette knows what it means to bring together every facet of society and work towards common solutions with a clear path forward. Her career is proof that progressive politics and safety and security policy strengthen one another.
Juliette started her career as a civil rights attorney, litigating cases involving the rights of children and defending progressive and just causes. She advocated through federal authority to have one of the first anti-bullying case resolved and argued for VMI and The Citadel to open its doors.
Juliette then moved into public safety and homeland security, serving as Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s homeland security adviser. After several years overseeing the 8,000-plus member Massachusetts National Guard, the commonwealth’s strategic security planning, and the distribution of homeland security funds she was tapped by President-elect Obama to be part of his transition team before being chosen as Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security.
As Assistant Secretary, Juliette was responsible for coordinated and consistent planning between the federal government and all of its state, local, and territorial partners on issues as varied as immigration, intelligence sharing, military affairs, immigration reform, and the response to crises such as H1N1, the December 25th attempted terrorist attack, the Haiti earthquake and the BP oil spill. For her exemplary leadership in the wake of the BP spill, coordinating 60 federal agencies over five states, Juliette was awarded the Coast Guard’s highest civilian honor.
Her management approach – to engage citizens, communities, legislators, the private sector and government – for a collective cause is what she will bring to the statehouse. She has worked in both state and federal government and understands that Massachusetts must continue to serve as a magnet for people, investments and trade as it continues to lead in progressive causes. She was responsible for major investment and job creating efforts including the state’s first communications strategy to guide millions of dollars in public safety investments, the move of the Mass. National Guard headquarters to Hanscom Military Base, and serving on the Mass. Maritime committee to ensure that our ports remain vibrant and safe hubs of recreation and commerce. In her time in state government, she worked throughout the state to guide investments and planning for the needs of local communities.
A proven leader as well as a proven communicator, Juliette has taught new leaders in public safety and the military at Harvard’s Kennedy School, served as a CNN analyst, and was a columnist for the Boston Globe. In 2013 she was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for her series urging the Pentagon to end its female combat exclusion rule, a prohibition the military has since lifted in recognition of women’s contribution to the war effort.
Juliette is the daughter of a Christian Lebanese immigrant family and values the inclusive and generous spirit of this state. Raising her three children in an interfaith marriage, she is a member of Temple Sinai in Brookline, MA. She lives with her husband and their schoolage children in Cambridge.