Chief of Staff, Senior Vice President
Jessica O’Connell is the Chief of Staff and Senior Vice President at American Progress. Previously, as the national field director at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, she helped organize influential statewide networks of more than 400 nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions, Fortune 500 companies, and think tanks on international affairs budget issues. Over the past decade, O’Connell has helped elect U.S. federal and statewide political candidates throughout the country and served as a political and management consultant, including work in Italy, Spain, and Brazil. As the national director of operations for Hillary Clinton for President, she helped the presidential campaign grow from 10 people in two states to more than 1,500 staff in offices nationwide.
O’Connell served as the chief operating officer for strategic online communications and technology firm EchoDitto, where she was responsible for the day-to-day management of the company, which expanded to New York City and Boston. She also managed the client and creative services team, providing strategic guidance and ensuring quality new-media and online campaigns for national and international progressive clients. Throughout her career, O’Connell has raised millions of dollars for progressive issues, candidates, and causes, including EMILY’s List—where she served as the deputy director of major gifts and events—and later the Children’s Defense Fund, where she served as the development director. In 2009 O’Connell founded Youth Trek, a 501(c)(3) organization that uses travel to broaden the horizons of girls from underserved areas and introduce them to careers, cultures, and communities beyond their own neighborhoods. She has been a trainer and panelist for American University: Women in Politics Institute (WELead), EMILY’s List Campaign Corps, National Student Partnership, Veterans Campaign, and the Emerging Leaders Program. O’Connell holds a B.A. from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and an M.B.A. from the University of Denver.