Lorena Orozco McElwain
Chief of Staff, USDA Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights

Lorena Orozco McElwain

Ms. Lorena McElwain serves as Chief of Staff in the USDA Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.  In this capacity, Ms. McElwain provides leadership and oversight to a diverse team of professionals in the planning, implementation and execution of equal employment opportunity and civil rights programs for the USDA’s workforce and customers.  Ms. McElwain was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in 2009 and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her position, having served in various civil rights and operations management leadership positions throughout her Federal career. 

Ms. McElwain began Federal service in 1999 as a Statistician with the U.S. Census Bureau, where she used her multilingual skills to conduct language research as a source of non-sampling error, and to eliminate barriers to enumerating minority and linguistically-isolated populations.  Since 2005, she has applied her program evaluation skills to agency operations, helping leadership make data-driven decisions and improve public administration practices. 

Prior to her appointment as Chief of Staff, Ms. McElwain served as Director of Business Management and Planning for the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).  In this capacity, Ms. McElwain led the Commission’s strategic planning activities, process improvement, program evaluation, corporate reform, and execution of business management functions.  Some of her other leadership positions include Director of CFTC’s Office of Minority and Women Inclusion; Deputy Assistant Administrator for the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS); Deputy Director of the Library of Congress’ Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; and Civil Rights Director for the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).

Ms. McElwain is a first-generation college graduate, having earned a master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and a graduate certificate from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service.   In addition, she is a graduate of the SES Candidate Development Program and American University’s Key Executive Leadership Program.