Holly Ham was appointed on Nov. 13, 2017, to the position of executive director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), housed in the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. In this capacity, she is responsible for directing the efforts of the Initiative and of the Presidential Advisory Commission on AAPIs to advise federal agency leadership on the implementation and coordination of federal programs as they relate to AAPIs across executive departments and agencies. The Initiative works with these entities to improve the quality of life and opportunities for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders through increased access to, and participation in, federal programs in which they may be underserved.
Ham previously served as assistant secretary for management at the U.S. Department of Education. In this role, she led a senior team that manages a broad operations portfolio serving all employees and contractors in support of the Department's mission.
Prior to joining the Department, Ham had an extensive career in private enterprise focused on increasing organizations' productivity through technology. She spent the early part of her career as a management consultant for Fortune 100 firms seeking to optimize strategic sourcing, procurement, finance and accounting, and human resources operations. Her work enabled hundreds of millions of dollars of ongoing savings for those firms by increasing efficiency through a combined model of business improvement processes, technology, and redeploying and retraining human talent.
Ham led multiple teams working closely with corporate executives to provide strategic solutions to complex senior-level challenges, including enterprise data management and security, enterprise resource planning initiatives and enhancements, applications modernization, and cloud initiatives. Each strategic solution was required to address a myriad of challenges, garner support across business divisions, and exhibit long-term return on investment for users and shareholders.
Ham is a fellow at the Asian Pacific American Women's Leadership Institute (APAWLI) through the Center for Asian Pacific American Women. She has also long been involved in efforts supporting families and students in need, serving on the board of directors for Skills for Living, Inc. and advising the board of Financial Mentors of America.
Ham is a graduate of the University of Houston, where she received both her Bachelor and Master of Business Administration degrees, graduating as a member of Beta Gamma Sigma. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and two children.