Alma R. Candelaria serves as the Director of the International Visitor Leadership Program at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). The International Visitor Leadership Program annually brings to the United States approximately 5,000 foreign nationals from all over the world to meet and confer with their professional counterparts and to experience America firsthand. The visitors, who are selected by American Foreign Service officers overseas, are current or emerging leaders in government, politics, the media, education, the arts, business and other fields.

Prior to joining the Department of State, Ms. Candelaria enjoyed a long and varied career in the nonprofit world, and the executive and legislative branches of government. Early in her career, Ms. Candelaria ran two national leadership programs training high school and undergraduate students on the intricacies of public policymaking at the state and national level. She served in the Clinton Administration at the Department of Labor and the Small Business Administration. Most recently, she served as the Deputy Executive Director for the United States House of Representatives at the Office of Compliance (OOC). The OOC is an independent nonpartisan agency established in the legislative branch to administer and enforce the Congressional Accountability Act (CAA). Ms. Candelaria helped design and implement the Office’s statutory responsibilities to educate Members of Congress, their staffs and other employing authorities of the legislative branch on the CAA.

After nearly 20 years in the Federal Government, Ms. Candelaria left the public sector to become President of 11i Networks Inc., an information technology and security company. In 2008, she launched Candelaria & Associates, LLC—a management and government affairs company based in Washington, D.C. The connective tissue throughout her professional career has been public policy. A problem-solver at heart, Ms. Candelaria enjoys finding solutions, capturing lessons and teaching others.

In her down time, Alma trades stock options, gardens organically and writes. She has recently authored a children’s book on success principles.