Elizabeth M. Allen, Williamsville High School, Class of 2002
Liz Allen currently serves as Special Assistant to the President of the United States and Director of Message Planning at the White House, executing communications strategy and public events for President Barack Obama. In this role, she has recently presided over the planning of a number of Presidential “firsts” including President Obama’s travel to the Arctic Circle in Alaska, and visit to a federal penitentiary in Oklahoma to meet with inmates, to bring attention to the issues of climate change and criminal justice reform, respectively. She also coordinates media appearances by the President, including recent interviews for Marc Maron’s podcast, “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart, and NBC’s “Running Wild with Bear Grylls.”
Liz’s job at the White House came after serving as Director of Public Affairs for Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State where she focused on the impact of people-to-people diplomacy and the importance of international education and exchange programs. Prior to her time at the State Department, Liz worked for five years in Vice President Biden’s press office, including as his Deputy Communications Director. She traveled extensively throughout the United States and to over 30 foreign countries and 5 continents with the Vice President and Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden, including trips to some of the most volatile parts of the world such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
As a college student at the State University of New York College at Geneseo, Liz completed the Semester-at-Sea program, traveling around the world while taking classes aboard the ship and visiting ten different countries, an experience that heralded the course of her future career. She graduated from college in 2006 with a degree in Political Science and Sociology and began her career working at the U.S. Department of State on human trafficking and international women's issues.
Liz got her start in politics at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado as the Associate Director of Operations for Security. Following the convention, she joined the Obama-Biden Presidential Campaign and moved to Philadelphia to work on voter mobilization as the Director of “Get Out the Vote” (GOTV) Operations at the campaign’s Pennsylvania State Headquarters. After the 2008 election, Liz worked on the 2009 Presidential Inauguration.
As a student at South High School, Liz was Student Congress Vice President as a senior, after having served on the Executive Board years prior. She was also part of the inaugural Student Recognition Council, and a member of the South women’s swim team all four years, including two as Captain.
Liz is a proud Buffalo native and a devoted Buffalo Bills fan who has enjoyed discovering “Buffalo connections” throughout DC and around the world. When not at work, she joins other Western New York expatriates at the designated “Bills’ Bar” in Washington to watch games on Sunday afternoons.