Krish O'mara Vignarajah

President & CEO
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

Krish has committed her career to public service because she knows how differently life could have turned out. Krish was 9-months old when she and her family escaped a country on the brink of civil war and built a life in Maryland. Her parents came to this country with no jobs and $200 in their pockets.

Krish recently finished serving as Policy Director for Michelle Obama and led the First Lady’s signature Let Girls Learn initiative. Before the White House, she served as Senior Advisor at the State Department under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of State John Kerry.
Before joining the White House, Krish worked at McKinsey & Company, where she consulted for Fortune 100 companies, practiced law at Jenner & Block in Washington, DC, clerked for Chief Judge Michael Boudin on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and taught at Georgetown University as an adjunct.

Krish is a graduate of Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County and then attended Yale College, where she earned a Master’s degree in Political Science and a B.S. in Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She was a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University, where she received an M.Phil. in International Relations, before returning to Yale Law School, where she served on the Yale Law Journal.

Krish’s interest in public service and grassroots politics began at an early age. In elementary school, Krish went knocking door to door with her mother in support of Senator Barbara Mikulski when she won her historic first race for the Senate. In college, Krish worked for another great public servant when she spent her summer back from college working for Senator Paul Sarbanes.

Krish and her husband, Collin O’Mara are the parents of a young daughter, Alana.



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Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.