About the Expert

Expert Bio

Laura Taylor-Kale is a fellow for Innovation and Economic Competitiveness at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Her work focuses on innovation, industrial policy, economic competitiveness, and the role of business in society, and the changing nature of work.  Her work contributes to the Renewing America Initiative. 

Taylor-Kale served as a CFR international affairs fellow from 2017 to 2018, when she was also deputy director of CFR’s Independent Task Force on the future of the U.S. workforce and co-author of the Task Force’s published report, The Work Ahead: Machines, Skills, and U.S. Leadership in the Twenty-First Century.   

Taylor-Kale has extensive experience in public service and international development finance.  She previously served in the President Barack H. Obama administration as the deputy assistant secretary for manufacturing in the International Trade Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce from 2016 to 2017.  In this role, she oversaw a broad portfolio of programs and trade policies aimed at increasing the international competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers.  Managing a team of fifty international trade professionals, she was responsible for maintaining relationships with industry stakeholders in energy, environmental, health, information, transportation, and machinery technologies.  She and her team focused on boosting U.S. exports of manufactured products and advancing trade policies that increase global opportunities for U.S. manufacturers.  From 2014 to 2016, Taylor-Kale served as the senior advisor to the president and CEO for policy and operations at the U.S. Development Finance Corporation where she coordinated policy on investments in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. 

Taylor-Kale joined the Obama administration from the World Bank where she was special assistant to the vice president for sustainable development and climate change.  Prior to the World Bank, she was a career foreign service officer in the U.S. Department of State from 2003 to 2012.  She served in U.S. embassies as an economic affairs officer in Afghanistan, a political affairs officer in Cote d’Ivoire, a consular officer and special assistant to the Ambassador in India, and in Washington, DC as the Asian Development Bank desk officer.  Taylor-Kale was also the first State Department foreign service officer to serve as an advisor to the U.S. executive director on the World Bank Group’s Board of Directors.  She coordinated with U.S. Treasury and other government agencies to develop official U.S. positions on World Bank, MIGA, and IFC loans, investments, and strategies for South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East and North Africa.    

Taylor-Kale has lived and worked extensively in Africa and South Asia and has studied French, Hindi, and Wolof.  She is also a former Boren and Pickering Foreign Affairs undergraduate fellow, a former term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and an International Career Advancement Program (ICAP) Fellow.  She has served as an expert on the Markle Foundation Rework America Task Force and the advisory board of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Global Development and Economic Opportunity Fund, and is currently a member of the EU/US Transatlantic Expert Group on the Future of Work.  She has been a visiting lecturer at Princeton University and a member of the dean’s advisory council of Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs.  She has earned a BA in economics and anthropology from Smith College; an MPA from the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University; an MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business, and a PhD in management science and engineering from Stanford University specializing in organizations, technology, and entrepreneurship. 

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