My Name is… My name is Nefeterius Akeli McPherson. I was named after the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, who’s name means “the beautiful one has come,” but my dad changed the name a little to make it unique for me.
The reason you are reading about me is…The reason you are reading about me is because I am the press secretary for United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk. Ambassador Kirk is a member of President Obama’s Cabinet and is the chief trade negotiator for the United States. I am a political appointee with the Obama Administration and I am the lead spokeswoman for the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on issues related to Africa, Europe & the Middle East, Japan, agriculture, intellectual property, labor and our World Trade Organization legal cases.
Right now I’m working on…The great thing about being a press secretary at USTR is that each day is different and every day I deal with various international trade issues between the United States and other countries. Right now I am working to secure some feature articles on Ambassador Kirk in a few magazines, setting up press interviews to give Ambassador Kirk the opportunity to reiterate to Americans why international trade is good for the U.S. economy, and responding to reporters’ daily questions to make sure they fully understand the international trade issues they are writing articles about.
But if I wasn’t, I’d be… I am a lawyer. I graduated from Southern Methodist University (SMU) Dedman School of Law and I am licensed in Texas. So if I wasn’t working at USTR, I would be practicing international trade law, labor and employment law or intellectual property law at a law firm in D.C. or Texas.
I can’t stand when people… I can’t stand when people take themselves too seriously. No matter how successful you have or will become, it is important to stay humble, never take yourself too seriously, help open doors and pave the way for others just like someone opened a door and paved the way for you, and always remember how you got to where you are today.
But I love it when people… But I love it when people want to learn more about international trade. Trade is often a subject that people wrongfully assume does more harm than good to our economy. I love talking to people about the United States’ trading relationship with other countries and how/why it benefits our farmers, ranchers, and even our small and medium sized business owners in the long run.
One thing I do every day is… One thing I do every day is answer questions from local, national and international reporters. Every day reporters reach out to me with questions about different international trade issues, such as Brazil cotton, Russia poultry, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, the African Growth and Opportunity Act, and China tires to name a few. When reporters seek a USTR comment, my job is to answer the questions to the best of my ability.
If you happen to run into me in the street… If you happen to run into me in the street, please smile at me and say hello. I am from Texas and I’m so used to people smiling at each other, saying hello and having a pleasant disposition. I don’t see that a lot on the East Coast. People don’t smile enough these days and that’s very unfortunate.
The Best piece of advice I ever received was… “Opportunity has no sense of timing” is the best piece of advice I ever received from Ambassador Kirk. I am a planner but Ambassador Kirk has helped me see that sometimes opportunities in life come along when we least expect them to, and we have to be ready to seize them … even if that means changing the direction we originally thought our life would go in.
If I had to coin it, my message would be… If I had to coin it, my message would be to “Never underestimate the power of networking.” You never know how the person you meet today could possibly make a difference in your life, personally and professionally, tomorrow. So be sure to spend time talking to people and building relationships. Talk to people often.
My future plans and projects include… My future plans and projects include me one day transitioning from USTR to a law firm and using the skills and international trade experience I have gained in the legal capacity. I also plan to continue educating others about the importance of organ donation. Organ donation is something that is very near and dear to my heart. If you are not an organ donor, please become one today.
Big Ups to… Big Ups to my mother Katharyn McPherson; Ambassador Kirk and his wife Matrice Ellis-Kirk; my Godmother Kathy Nealy; my mentor DeMetris Sampson; my pastor in Dallas, Rev. Dr. Frederick D. Haynes III of Friendship-West Baptist Church; my teachers at Sugar Loaf Elementary School, Nolan Middle School and C.E. Ellison High School – all in Killeen, Texas; as well as my undergraduate professors at SMU, my graduate professors at the University of Texas at Dallas and my law school professors at SMU Dedman School of Law. Thank you for helping me become the person I am today.
Nefeterius Akeli McPherson is the press secretary for the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). She has 14 years of combined public relations, government affairs, public policy, law related and political campaign experience. In her current position, McPherson serves as the lead USTR spokeswoman on all agriculture, intellectual property and labor issues, as well as issues pertaining to World Trade Organization legal cases, the Europe and the Middle East, Africa and Japan. She is also responsible for securing local, national and international media interviews for USTR officials that convey the agency’s trade messages when appropriate and staffing United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Deputy United States Trade Representatives Demetrios Marantis and Miriam Sapiro and other senior USTR officials during media interviews, press related events as well as domestic and international trips.
Prior to working for USTR, McPherson attended law school at Southern Methodist University (SMU) Dedman School of Law. She also worked for Ambassador Kirk when he was Mayor of Dallas and when he ran for the United States Senate in 2002 as the Democratic nominee. McPherson received her Bachelor’s in English from SMU, Master of Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Dallas and her Juris Doctor from SMU Dedman School of Law.
McPherson, a fifth generation Texan, was born and raised in Killeen, Texas. She lived in Dallas for 17 years before moving to D.C. in 2009 to work for the Obama Administration. McPherson is a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan who spends her spare time educating others about the importance of organ donation. Her mother, Katharyn McPherson, lives in Killeen and her sister, Tamara Pizzoli, lives in Italy with her husband and son.