Speaker Biography


Luncheon Speaker’s Biography March 25, 2019

Former Ambassador to Australia
Former Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM)

John Berry got to know the US democratic system from the bottom up. He started in management for the Montgomery County government, moving on to become legislative director for U.S. Representative Steny Hoyer, and associate staffer on the House Appropriations Committee. Berry also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary and acting Assistant Secretary for Law Enforcement in the U.S. Treasury Department.

Additional opportunities for public service included positions as director of government relations and as a senior policy advisor at the Smithsonian Institution, and as Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget at the U.S. Department of the Interior during the Clinton administration. John also served as director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and later of the National Zoo.

In 2009, he was appointed by President Obama as the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (and a speaker at COFFE).

In 2013, Mr. Berry was named by President Obama as Ambassador to Australia, where he got to know how the Australian government worked. And following his 3- year tour as the United States Ambassador to Australia, Berry, was named President of the American Australian Association (AAA).

The AAA was founded nearly 70 years ago by Sir Keith Murdoch and a group of prominent American bankers to promote cooperation and understanding between the United States and Australia. It is now the largest and most prestigious non-profit organization in the United States and Australia for building strategic alliances between our countries. Headquartered in New York City, the Association also has regional operations in California and New England and is closely affiliated with the American Australian Association Ltd, in Sydney, the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, and the Perth US Asia Centre at the University of Western Australia.

In announcing Ambassador Berry’s appointment, as the President of the AAA, Board Chairman, Jennifer Nason noted, “John is a visionary leader who is renowned for his exceptional management, change implementation, and representational skills. He is a true friend of Australia and his appointment will bring new momentum and standing to the Association”.

Ambassador Berry was born in Maryland. He holds a BA in Government & Politics from the University of Maryland and an MPA from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University in New York.