Ambassador Capricia Penavic Marshall was sworn in as Chief of Protocol of the United States, with the rank of Ambassador, on August 3, 2009.
As the Chief of Protocol, Ambassador Marshall leads the Office of Protocol in its mission to advance the foreign policy of the Obama Administration by creating and fostering an environment for successful diplomacy. As the first hand that welcomes Kings, Queens, Presidents and Prime Ministers to the United States, Ambassador Marshall serves on the front lines of diplomatic engagement building bridges and fostering understanding between people and governments.
With an acute attention to detail, Ambassador Marshall oversees the work of the six divisions of Protocol – Visits, Ceremonials, Diplomatic Affairs, Diplomatic Partnerships, Blair House and Management – in setting the stage for diplomacy and ensuring that international protocol is executed to the highest standard. She serves as the primary liaison for visiting dignitaries meeting with the President, Vice President, Secretary of State and other Administration officials, and manages and executes protocol arrangements for Presidential travel abroad. Since assuming her post, Ambassador Marshall has executed several State Visits, multiple major international conferences, and hundreds of bilateral meetings between foreign leaders and President Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretary Clinton, Mrs. Obama and other high-ranking officials both in the United States and abroad.
Ambassador Marshall uses her deep knowledge and understanding of the nexus of culture and foreign policy to foster international goodwill and cultivate relationships. Utilizing traditional tools of diplomacy, and new and innovative methods of communication and conversation, Ambassador Marshall launched a new division in the Protocol office, Diplomatic Partnerships. Through programming under this division she has introduced the foreign Diplomatic Corps to business, government and community leaders across America creating positive and substantive partnerships and relationships.
Ambassador Marshall has worked in a variety of capacities for President and Secretary Clinton before joining her team at the State Department. From 1993 to 1997, Ambassador Marshall served as Special Assistant to the First Lady in the White House. She traveled extensively with the First Lady coordinating her agenda, meetings and public appearances. In 1997, Ambassador Marshall was appointed Deputy Assistant to the President and Social Secretary to the White House. At age 32, she was the youngest Social Secretary in modern times and was responsible for the planning and execution of all White House international and domestic events.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Ambassador Marshall is a first-generation American born to a father of Croatian descent and a mother of Mexican heritage. She graduated from Purdue University in 1986, and received a law degree in 1990 from Case Western Reserve University School of Law, where she served as Student Bar Association President.
Ambassador Marshall is married. They have one son.