Mary Beth Maxwell

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Mary Beth Maxwell

Mary Beth Maxwell was founding executive director of American Rights at Work.

Now Senior Vice President for Programs, Research and Training Human Rights Campaign.

FRSO interest


Circa 1988 Freedom Road Socialist Organization compiled a "White Contact" list. It comprised of people Freedom Road would like to work with or to recruit.

The list included Mary Beth Maxwell, former Marquette Progressive Student Network activist. Knows Richard from Chicago. Richard Saks?

Joins HRC

September 11, 2015 the Human Rights Campaign , the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, announced that Mary Beth Maxwell will serve as the organization’s new Senior Vice President for Programs, Research and Training. In this position, Maxwell will lead the groundbreaking and innovative efforts of HRC’s educational arm, the HRC Foundation. She will oversee the organization's public education and programmatic efforts covering a wide range of issues affecting LGBT people, including workplace; children, youth and families; health, aging and HIV and AIDS; religion and faith; and LGBT rights abroad.

“Mary Beth’s extraordinary leadership, management experience, and vision will be invaluable to the growth and future successes of our Foundation’s tremendously important work,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “I’m thrilled that she’s joining the team, and I know that with MB at the helm, the Foundation’s programs will expand their reach, and continue to have a profound impact on the lives of LGBT people at home, at work, and in every community.”

“I am very excited to be joining the HRC team at this incredible moment for our community,” said Mary Beth Maxwell. “Although unimaginable progress has been made, we still have so much to do to ensure that all LGBT people are fully equal under the law and can pursue opportunity, raise their families, and live their lives free of fear.”

Maxwell currently serves in the Obama Administration as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). She has held various other senior roles at DOL since joining the Administration in 2009, including Deputy Chief of Staff for the Department, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Labor, and Acting Deputy Administrator for the Wage and Hour Division. She has been a key figure in shaping the Administration’s policy agenda for working families, including raising the minimum wage, expanding paid leave, ensuring labor standards for home care workers, and advocating for collective bargaining rights and workers’ voice in the workplace. She played a lead role in the Administration’s many accomplishments for LGBT workers, including President Obama’s Executive Order ensuring non-discrimination for LGBT employees of federal contractors, FMLA coverage for LGBT families, and ensuring transgender equality and inclusion in DOL programs and policies.

"Throughout my career, I have had the privilege of knowing some of the great leaders in our nation’s ongoing fight for equality,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez.“Over the last two years, I have seen firsthand why Mary Beth Maxwell’s name belongs in their ranks. From worker and labor rights to gender equality and leveling the playing field for America’s LGBT community, MB’s strength, determination, and passion for social justice are quite simply a force to be reckoned with. While I will miss her signature laugh, I know she’ll continue causing the kind of ‘good trouble’ that changes the world.”

Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Maxwell was the Founding Executive Director of American Rights at Work, a leading voice for modernizing and reforming our nation’s labor laws. She has also served in various other senior-level positions at Jobs with Justice, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the United States Student Association. She lives in Washington, DC with her 14-year-old son.[1]

Labor Secretary possible

In 2008, Mary Beth Maxwell was on the short list for the U.S. Secretary of Labor position. Her American Rights at Work colleague David Bonior was a major backer[2];

For the rainbow cabinet of the nation’s first African American president, Mary Beth Maxwell is the perfect labor secretary you’ve probably never heard of: a gay woman, community organizer and labor leader with an adopted African American son. And this founding executive director of American Rights at Work is about to get the full-court press.
Maxwell already had the strong backing of former Rep. David Bonior, who despite repeated attempts to get his name removed from consideration continues to be on the short list of potential labor secretaries. Bonior, 63 years old, says it is time for his generation to turn over power to a new generation, and Maxwell, whose labor-backed organization pushes for expanded collective bargaining rights, is his pick.

American Rights at Work treasurer Hilda Solis, eventually got the position.

Steve Phillips on Maxwell


A December 2008 email from Steve Phillips to John Podesta;

Hi John - Not sure how far along things are with Labor Secretary, but if Mary Beth Maxwell is being seriously considered, and you want my input, I'm happy to share what I know. We were college student activists together back in the day, and a number of my friends have worked closely with her. I do think she would send a strong signal to young people and the left and attract very top-level talent to work with her, some of whom might not otherwise consider working in government.

National Leading From the Inside Out Alum

Mary Beth Maxwell, Special Advisor to Secretary Of Labor, US Department of Labor, was a 2007 Rockwood Leadership Institute National Leading From the Inside Out Alum.[3]