Catherine A. Novelli
President of Listening for America
Catherine A. Novelli is the President of Listening for America, a non-partisan organization dedicated to forging a new vision of U.S. international trade engagement. She served as Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment on from 2014 to 2017, reporting directly to the Secretary of State. She led the State Department’s efforts to develop and implement economic growth, energy, ocean, environmental, and science and technology policies to promote economic prosperity and address global challenges in a transparent, rules-based, and sustainable system. She was also the State Department’s Senior Coordinator for International Information Technology Diplomacy. Ms. Novelli served on the board of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) with a portfolio of over $21 billion.
In addition to her global role on economic engagement and opening markets for U.S. products and services, Under Secretary Novelli launched the Global Connect Initiative, an innovative partnership with governments, multilateral development banks and the private sector to connect 1.5 billion people to the internet. She spearheaded the first-of- its-kind Our Ocean movement which, during her tenure, has resulted in $10 billion for Ocean conservation from governments, private sector, NGOs and philanthropists and catalyzed governments worldwide to create over 11 million square kilometers of Marine Protected Areas — roughly the size of the continent of Africa. Under Secretary Novelli has engaged extensively to promote adoption of renewable energy, including with China, India, and in Africa. She has also elevated international diplomacy on innovation in science and technology.
Prior to assuming her duties as Under Secretary of State, she spent seven years as Vice President, Worldwide Government Affairs at Apple Inc. In that role, Ms. Novelli headed a multinational international team responsible for Apple’s federal, international, and state and local government relations and public policy. A key accomplishment includes leading the team that gained first-time approval to market the iPhone in China.
Prior to her position at Apple, Ms. Novelli was a partner in the law firm of Mayer Brown International where she provided legal and policy advice to Fortune 100 companies.
Formerly Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Europe & the Mediterranean, Ms. Novelli coordinated U.S. trade and investment policy for the over 65 countries of Western Europe, Central Europe, Russia, the NIS, the Middle East and Northern Africa. She has taken a leading role in many of the most important U.S. trade negotiations in Europe, Russia, the Middle East, and North Africa. As the point person for the $1 trillion economic relationship between the United States and Europe, Ms. Novelli led efforts to ensure access to the European market for U.S. manufactured and agricultural products.
Ms. Novelli was the lead strategist in creating the United States’ free trade agenda with the Middle East. She led free trade agreement negotiations with Jordan, Morocco and Bahrain, Oman and United Arab Emirates. She chaired the Trade and Investment Framework Councils with a number of countries in the region, including Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Algeria. As the Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia, she negotiated most of the bilateral trade and investment agreements that underpin our economic relationship in that region.
Ms. Novelli currently serves on the Board of the National Wildlife Federation and the Board of the Pristine Seas Initiative of the National Geographic Society, which is dedicated to promoting ocean conservation. She was also named an Ocean Elder.
Ms. Novelli is a graduate of Tufts University, holds a law degree from the University of Michigan and a Master of Laws from University of London (with concentrations in international and comparative law at the London School of Economics and School of Oriental and Asian Studies).