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Shirley Sagawa

Shirley Sagawa Headshot

Shirley Sagawa graduated magna cum laude from Smith College. She holds a Master of Science in public policy from the London School of Economics and is a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, where she was the notes editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Shirley Sagawa began her career as Chief Counsel for Youth Policy and Education for the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee from 1987-1991. She was appointed to the Commission on National and Community Service by President George H. W. Bush in August of 1991. While on the Commission, Sagawa also served as Senior Counsel and Director of Family and Youth Policy for the National Women’s Law Center.

In January of 1993, Sagawa began working for the White House Domestic Policy Council as Special Assistant to the President and an advisor to the First Lady on domestic policy issues. In October 1993, upon the creation of the Corporation for National Service (CNS), Sagawa began working in the positions of Managing Director, Executive Director, and Executive Vice President of CNS until her move to the First Lady’s Office.

Handwritten Note

Within the First Lady’s Office, Shirley Sagawa was Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff to the First Lady from October 1998 to January 2001. In her position, Sagawa acted as backup to Chief of Staff Melanne Verveer, and handled a range of administrative tasks as well as assisting in the coordination of events relating to women, children, health care, national service, philanthropy, the Millennium, and White House preservation.

In 1999, Sagawa and Eli Segal co-authored the book, Common Interest, Common Good: Creating Value through Business and Social Sector Partnerships. After leaving the White House, Shirley Sagawa co-founded Sagawa/Jospin Consulting Firm with Deb Jospin and co-authored (with Jospin) the book, The Charismatic Organization.

More recently, Shirley Sagawa has served as a Visiting Fellow at American Progress and on the boards of directors of the National Women’s Law Center, City Year, and Pyramid Atlantic.

On April 20, 2021, President Joseph Biden nominated Shirley Sagawa to the Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Collections related to Shirley Sagawa

2013-0124-S - This collection consists of the records of Shirley Sagawa from her time in the First Lady’s Office. 

2013-0661-F Segment 1 - This collection consists of records related to National Service and AmeriCorps. 

2013-0661-F Segment 2 - This collection consists of records related to National Service and AmeriCorps.

Shirley Sagawa's Personal Papers

Indiana University: Shirley Sagawa Papers, 1991-2016 - This collection of personal papers contains records concerning the Corporation for National and Community Service.