Keynote Speaker Secretary Janet L. Yellen

Secretary Janet YellenJanet L. Yellen serves as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Her historic appointment marks the first time a woman has led the Department charged with maintaining a strong economy at home and abroad and creating economic opportunities for all Americans. During her nearly 50 years of work in academia and public service, she has been a trailblazer, including her appointment to be the first woman Chair the Federal Reserve.

Secretary Yellen graduated from Brown University and earned a PhD in economics at Yale University, serving as an assistant professor at Harvard University before accepting a position at the Federal Reserve in 1976.

In 1980, Secretary Yellen joined the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley, where she taught for the next 14 years. Her scholarship has focused on a range of issues involving labor and macroeconomics. Her work on “efficiency wages” with her husband, George Akerlof, focused on why firms often choose to pay more than the minimum needed to hire employees. These businesses, they found, are often making a wise decision. Firms that offer better pay and working conditions tend to be rewarded with higher morale, reduced turnover and greater productivity.

In 1994, Dr. Yellen was appointed to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Three years later, she was named Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

In 2004, Secretary Yellen returned to the Federal Reserve, this time as President of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. From that post, she spotted a worrying economic trend – a bubble in home values. When the housing bubble popped in 2008, Secretary Yellen helped manage the resulting financial crisis and recession. In 2010, she was appointed as the Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve, before being nominated to the chairmanship in 2014. She chaired the Federal Reserve until 2018 overseeing the Federal Reserve System, the central bank of the United States, as it performed its function to promote stable economic growth and strong national employment.