Algene Sajery

Algene Sajery is a seasoned foreign policy strategist with over 20 years of legislative and political affairs experience in the U.S. Congress, as a presidential political appointee, and in the corporate and nonprofit sectors.

Algene is the founder and CEO of Catalyst Global Strategies, LLC. A native of Liberia, West Africa who came to the U.S. at age 3 as a political asylee, Algene launched Catalyst in 2020 to help advance, fund, and scale policies and initiatives that improve the lives and livelihoods of people in the developing world.

After launching Catalyst, Algene took a leave of absence in January 2021 to return to public service when she was appointed by the Biden-Harris Administration to serve as vice president of the Office of External Affairs and head of Global Gender Equity Initiatives at the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). In this capacity, she led a team of public affairs professionals, spearheaded the agency’s 2X gender-lens investing initiative, and supported agency diversity, equity and inclusion, and employee engagement efforts. A member of the DFC’s Executive Leadership Team, Algene sat on the agency’s Investment Committee, evaluating transactions over $20 million, and engaged with the Board of Directors and Development Advisory Council. She also served as the agency’s designer to the White  House Gender Policy Council.

Algene previously spent nearly two decades on Capitol Hill. She was senior foreign policy and national security advisor to U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (MD) from 2012-2020 and, from 2015-2018, concurrently she was democratic policy director of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (SFRC),  making history as the first African American and first African diasporan to serve in a senior leadership role on the prestigious committee. Algene previously held leadership roles in the House of Representatives, including as Democratic staff director for the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights under the leadership of the late Rep. Donald Payne, Sr. (NJ; chief of staff and legislative director to Rep. Yvette Clarke (NY); and press secretary to the late Rep. John Conyers (MI). During her tenure in Congress, Algene co-led legislative and oversight efforts aimed at improving diversity, equity, and inclusion, in the federal foreign policy and national security workforce,  led food aid reform and food security oversight and policy-making efforts, co-founded the Congressional African Staff Association and served as staff lead on several congressional caucuses and task forces, including the Senate National Security Working Group, HIV/AIDS Caucus, the Sudan Caucus, and the CBC’s Foreign Policy and National Security Task Force. A highly effective legislative strategist and coalition builder, Algene has drafted or negotiated several landmark human rights, national security and foreign policy laws, including the Global Magnitsky Human Rights and Accountability Act, the Global Food Security Act, the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act, the Syrian War Crimes and Accountability Act, the Electrify Africa Act, the Diversity in National Security Act, the Foreign Assistance Transparency and Accountability Act (FATAA),  and the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment (WEEE) Act.

Algene has worked on two presidential campaigns; as a political strategist in the private sector; and at nongovernmental institutions, including the Brookings Institution and the Institute of International Education. Most recently, Algene volunteered on the foreign policy and counterterrorism working group for the Biden for President campaign, and on the Biden-Harris Transition’s mock hearing team that helped prepare Secretary of State Tony Blinken for his Senate confirmation hearing.

In her spare time, Algene hosts The Minority Leaders Podcast highlighting the career journeys of women of color in policymaking and politics. She is on the Board of Directors of the Leadership Council for Women in National Security (LCWINS).

Algene holds bachelor’s degrees in English and African American Studies from Howard University, and completed graduate studies in Global Security at John Hopkins University. She earned a 2020 certification from Harvard Kennedy School Senior Executives in National and International Security. Algene is also in the 2023 cohort of the National Security Scholars and Practitioners Program (NSSPP), a thought leadership program of the Johns Hopkins University Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies. She holds an active Top Secret /SCI Security Clearance.

Term Expires: December 31, 2025.