The Department of Commerce (DoC) has appointed Ines Hernandez to a newly created role as the agency’s counselor for equity.

In her new role, Hernandez will work with senior leadership across all 13 of the department’s bureaus to institutionalize equity across DoC activities and advance the agency’s equity agenda.

She will also work closely with the DoC Equity (DEIA) Council – established in 2021 – co-chaired by Deputy Secretary Don Graves and Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade Diane Farrell.

“I am honored to have been selected as the first counselor for equity by the U.S. Department of Commerce and look forward to guiding Federal resources to communities nationwide so that we can grow an economy that works for everyone,” Hernandez said in a press release.

“My years of experience working to bring financial inclusion and economic empowerment to culturally diverse communities will guide me as I continue to advocate for economic mobility at the national level,” she added.

The new appointment comes after President Biden issued his executive order last week aimed at advancing racial equity and support for underserved communities in the United States.

Hernandez comes to the Department of Commerce with over 20 years of experience building cross-sector consensus. Most recently, she served as a trusted counselor for StartUP FIU, Florida International University’s innovation hub.

In that role, she advised the hub’s economic development program and “put innovative frameworks in place to ensure the organization’s reach extended to all South Florida communities,” according to the press release.

The Commerce Department also noted that Hernandez “has extensive experience navigating intersecting issues, including financial inclusion, small business development, workforce development, affordable housing, climate policy, public health, and equity.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.