Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Sally Jewell (2013- ): Secretary of the Interior

Sally Jewell was born in England and moved to the United States in 1959, when her father came to the University of Washington in Seattle for a fellowship in anesthesiology. She grew up in the Seattle area and graduated from Renton High School in 1973. She then attended the University of Washington, earning a degree in mechanical engineering.

After college, she went to work in the oil fields of Oklahoma for Mobil Oil Corporation. She then moved into commercial banking as an oil and gas expert who helped guide banks making loans to oil companies. In 1996 Jewell joined the board of the Recreation Equipment, Inc. (REI) and became the company's chief operating officer in 2000. Five years later, she was promoted to REI's chief executive officer and helped the company grow and improve its profitability. As an avid outdoor enthusiast, Jewell enjoyed mountain climbing, hiking, kayaking, and skiing.

President Barack Obama nominated Jewell to head the Department of the Interior after the resignation of previous secretary, Ken Salazar. Although she had never held political office, Jewell was confirmed in April 2013. As secretary, she pledged to promote outdoor recreation, to increase renewable energy production, and to balance conserving federal lands with utilizing them for economic gain.