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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

  • Steven Cohen – Member, Board of Trustees of the Harry S Truman Scholarship Foundation
  • Thomas P. Kelly III – Ambassador to the Republic of Djibouti, Department of State
  • Jane Nishida – Assistant Administrator for International and Tribal Affairs, Environmental Protection Agency
  • Sunil Sabharwal – United States Alternate Executive Director, International Monetary Fund
  • Gordon O. Tanner – General Counsel of the Department of the Air Force, Department of Defense 

President Obama also announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:

  • Karen L. Braitmayer – Member, Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Access Board
  • Janice Lehrer-Stein – Member, National Council on Disability
  • Benro T. Ogunyipe – Member, National Council on Disability
  • Katherine D. Seelman – Member, National Council on Disability
  • Royal P. Walker, Jr. – Member, National Council on Disability

President Obama said, “I am grateful these accomplished men and women have agreed to join this Administration, and I’m confident they will serve ably in these important roles. I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years.”

President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

Steven Cohen, Nominee for Member, Board of Trustees of the Harry S Truman Scholarship Foundation
Steven Cohen is the founder and President of the Cohen Law Group and a co-founder of the Whistleblower Advocates Network.  Mr. Cohen is also Of Counsel to the firm Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym.  He is on the Board of Trustees for Beloit College and the TCS Education System, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Mikva Challenge Foundation.  He serves on the President’s Council of the Taxpayers Against Fraud Educational Fund and the Northwestern University Center on Wrongful Convictions.  He was first appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Harry S Truman Scholarship Foundation in 2012.  Mr. Cohen received a B.A. from Beloit College and a J.D. from the Northwestern University School of Law. 

Thomas P. Kelly III, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Djibouti, Department of State
Thomas P. Kelly III, a career member of the Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, is Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs at the Department of State, a position he has held since 2011.  From 2010 to 2011, he was Consul General and Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  He served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina from 2007 to 2010 and as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Vilnius, Lithuania from 2004 to 2007.  From 2000 to 2004, he served in the U.S. Embassy in Quito, Ecuador, first as Economic Officer and then as Economic Counselor.  From 1998 to 2000, Mr. Kelly was Director for Japan Policy Planning at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in Washington, D.C. , and from 1994 to 1998 he served as Trade Attaché at the U.S. Mission to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, France.  His previous assignments with the Department of State include: Economic Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Santiago, Chile, Staff Assistant and Financial Economist in the Bureau of Economic Affairs, and Commercial Attaché and Vice Consul at the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador, El Salvador.  Mr. Kelly received a B.S. in Foreign Service and an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University, and an M.A. in International Development Policy from Stanford University.

Jane Nishida, Nominee for Assistant Administrator for International and Tribal Affairs, Environmental Protection Agency
Jane Nishida is the Acting Assistant Administrator for International Affairs and Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for International Affairs at the Environmental Protection Agency, a position she has held since December 2013.  Prior to this, Ms. Nishida served as the Director of the Office of Regional and Bilateral Affairs within the Office of International and Tribal Affairs from 2011 to 2013.  Previously, Ms. Nishida was the Senior Environmental Institutions Specialist at the World Bank from 2004 to 2011, and the Senior Policy Advisor at the Planning and Development Corporation from 2002 to 2004.  From 1995 to 2002, Ms. Nishida was Secretary of the Maryland Department of Environment, and served as the Maryland Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation from 1991 to 1995.  From 1984 to 1991, she served as Deputy and Assistant Legislative Officer for the Governor of Maryland.  Ms. Nishida was Committee Counsel to the House Environmental Matters Committee and Senate Economic Affairs Committee of the Maryland General Assembly from 1980 to 1984.  She received a B.A. from Lewis and Clark College and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. 

Sunil Sabharwal, Nominee for United States Alternate Executive Director, International Monetary Fund
Sunil Sabharwal has been an independent investor in the payments sector since 2006.  He was the Chairman of the Board of Ogone, a European ecommerce payment services company, from 2011 to 2013.  He advised Warburg Pincus on its acquisition of easycash, a German network services company, subsequently becoming a Board Advisor from 2006 to 2009.  From 2003 to 2006, Mr. Sabharwal was Senior Vice President of Strategic Investments at First Data Corporation/Western Union.  From 1997 to 2003, he held several positions at GE Capital, including Managing Director. From 1992 to 1996 he worked at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, most recently as Principal Banker.  Mr. Sabharwal received a B.S. from The Ohio State University and an M.S. from the London Business School.

Gordon O. Tanner, Nominee for General Counsel of the Department of the Air Force, Department of Defense
Gordon O. Tanner is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, a position he has held since 2013.  From 2012 to 2013, Mr. Tanner served as the Principal Deputy General Counsel of the Air Force.  From 2011 to 2012, Mr. Tanner served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Reserve Affairs, after serving as the Deputy General Counsel of the Air Force for Environment and Installations from 2008 to 2011.  He was the Associate General Counsel of the Office of the Air Force General Counsel from 2000 to 2008.  Mr. Tanner worked in the private sector providing counsel to international real estate joint ventures, technology and financial institutions from 1977 to 1997, and he has 27 years of service in the Air Force, including active duty from 1973 to 1977.  Mr. Tanner received a B.A. from the University of Alabama and a J.D. from Vanderbilt University.

President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:

Karen L. Braitmayer, Appointee for Member, Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Access Board
Karen L. Braitmayer is the founder of Karen Braitmayer, FAIA, an architectural consulting firm specializing in accessibility and accessible design located in Seattle, Washington.  She advises state agencies, local governments, school districts, developers, and architects on accessibility for housing, commercial, retail, institutional and educational projects.   Ms. Braitmayer is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and served on the Advisory Board of the Northwest ADA Center and the Board of the Northwest Center.  She was first appointed to the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Access Board in 2010.  Ms. Braitmayer is a member of the Association for Women in Architecture and the Disability Initiative Advisory Committee of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.  She served as a member of the Washington State Building Code Council from 1994 to 2001.  Ms. Braitmayer received a B.A. from Rice University and an M.Arch. from the University of Houston.

Janice Lehrer-Stein, Appointee for Member, National Council on Disability
Janice Lehrer-Stein is a former labor and employment discrimination litigator in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, California. She was first appointed to the National Council on Disability in 2011, and serves as its Chairperson of Access and Integration. She served as its Vice Chairperson from 2011 to 2013.  She is a National Trustee of the Foundation Fighting Blindness.  Ms. Lehrer-Stein is a member of the California and New York Advisory Boards of Disability Rights Advocates, a non-profit law firm that seeks to improve access and secure the civil rights of individuals with disabilities.  She is a former member of the board of Medical Research Charities.  Ms. Lehrer-Stein,  who is legally blind, received a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from the University of Toronto.

Benro T. Ogunyipe, Appointee for Member, National Council on Disability
Benro T. Ogunyipe is an Accessibility Specialist for the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS), a position he has held since 2004.  He also serves in various roles at the DHS Bureau of Accessibility and Job Accommodation in Chicago, including Bureau Legislative Liaison and Communications Access Trainer.  He is a member of Chicagoland Black Deaf Advocates, the National Association of the Deaf, and the Illinois Association of the Deaf.  He served as President of National Black Deaf Advocates, Inc. from 2011 to 2013, and served as Vice President and Chairman of the Board from 2007 to 2011.  He was a Commissioner and Vice Chair of the Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission from 2007 to 2012.  Mr. Ogunyipe received a B.A. from Gallaudet University and an M.P.A. from the School of Public Service at DePaul University.

Dr. Katherine D. Seelman, Appointee for Member, National Council on Disability
Dr. Katherine D. Seelman is Associate Dean and Professor of Rehabilitation Sciences and Technology at the University of Pittsburgh, a position she has held since 2001.  From 2006 to 2013 she served as Co-Research Director of the National Science Foundation Quality of Life Technology Engineering Center, before becoming Senior Policy Advisor in 2013.  Dr. Seelman was Director of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research at the U.S. Department of Education from 1994 to 2001.  She was Director of Program Development for the Administration of Developmental Disabilities at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 1993 to 1994, and previously, she was a Research Specialist at the National Council on Disability from 1989 to 1993.  Dr. Seelman was one of two members from the U.S. to serve on the World Health Organization/World Bank’s international committee guiding the development of the first World Report on Disability.  She presented a section of the report for which she was principle author at its  launch in 2011 at the United Nations.  She serves on the Advisory Board at George Mason University’s Center for the Study of Chronic Illness and Disability, and a member of the Society for Disability Studies and the American Public Health Association.  Dr. Seelman received a B.A. from Hunter College and an M.A. and Ph.D. from New York University.

Royal P. Walker, Jr., Appointee for Member, National Council on Disability
Royal P. Walker, Jr. is currently Executive Director of the Institute for Disability Studies at The University of Southern Mississippi, a position he has held since 2008.  He first joined the Institute for Disability Studies as Associate Director and Instructor in 1992.  Additionally, Mr. Walker is a consultant at Royal Walker, Jr., J.D. & Associates, Inc., a strategic planning and training firm he founded in 1992.  He was Executive Director of the Gaming Commission of the Mississippi State Tax Commission from 1991 to 1992, and Director of the Division of Budget and Policy Development at the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration from 1990 to 1991.  Mr. Walker is a past president of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities.  He has served on the board of directors of the American Task Force for the Homeless, the Governor’s Interagency Coordinating Council for Children with Special Needs, the Mississippi Council on Developmental Disabilities, and the Mississippi March of Dimes.  Mr. Walker received a B.A. from Jackson State University and a J.D. from Texas Southern University.