Wandra Mitchell is an international expert, distinguished lecturer, and international development practitioner with an extensive background working in economic assistance programs domestically and abroad. She provides advisory services to global entities on program implementation, particularly with respect to joint public-private sector economic empowerment initiatives, and on capacity building for organizations involved in those initiatives.
She also has significant experience in U.S. community enrichment programs including, for example, as legal counsel for indigent elderly on a myriad of matters affecting that group; as the District of Columbia Street Law program attorney, a program that educates high school students about their legal rights; as counsel for the "Georgia 100" initiative which provided a six-month mentoring program for young professional women; and as a voting rights counsel assisting potential U.S. voters in navigating impediments to voting.
Most recently, Ms. Mitchell resided in Abuja, Nigeria where she directed the US Government's four-year initiative to promote transparency and accountability in that country through regulatory and policy reform in public fiscal management, public procurement, agriculture, biotechnology, alternative dispute resolution paradigms, and in open government practices. Geographically, the initiative involved all major Nigerian federal government agencies, 5 state and local governments, and the indigenous advocacy groups monitoring those public sector agencies. A key component to the initiative was devoted to strengthening the the capacity of the public agencies and community advocacy groups to perform their respective duties. Ms. Mitchell also developed the targets and indicators for the Initiative's Performance Monitoring Plan, and was responsible for the quarterly reporting thereunder.
Ms. Mitchell began her professional career in 1981 as Associate Attorney at Steptoe & Johnson LLC, a Washington, DC. corporate law firm. While at Steptoe, Ms Mitchell worked --Pro Bono-- with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law leading the successful lawsuit she filed on behalf of black city councilmen against the City of Petersburg, Virginia challenging the latter's racial gerrymandering of voting precincts. Ms. Mitchell also has experience in the education sector. She was a distinguished lecturer on international law and economic development issues and Visiting Professor of International Law at Duke Law School and North Carolina Central Law School (1998-2000), both in Durham, North Carolina. She coordinated the "Sister-School" relationship between the U.S. law schools and the Ghana School of Law. In the coordinator role, Ms. Mitchell raised funding for a semester-long visit of two professors from the Ghana sister school, and for a Durham law student to visit Ghana Law School.
Ms. Mitchell was appointed by President Clinton as the first woman to head USAID's (U.S. Agency for International Development) Legal Office where she directed a staff of 70 attorneys worldwide as General Counsel and served as a member of the executive management team of the Agency from 1993 to 1996. Ms. Mitchell began her international development aid career in 1984, during a prior sojourn at USAID as a foreign service lawyer assigned to USAID’s West Africa Regional Office in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
Prior to her appointment as USAID’s General Counsel, Ms. Mitchell was Senior International Counsel at Mobil Corporation, providing legal services to the commodity risk management and centralized supply group. She had primary responsibility for long term supply agreements, and provided legal support services for NYMEX-traded energy futures and options, as well as negotiating over-the- counter derivatives and energy forward contracts.
Ms. Mitchell is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of FISK University and received her J.D. from YALE Law School. She clerked for the Honorable Damon J. Keith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. She serves on the advisory board of the UN Foundation, National Capitol Area, and in numerous professional and charitable organizations. Ms. Mitchell continues to enjoy working in culturally diverse and progressive environments.