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Lillian Salerno

photo of Lillian Salerno

Lillian Salerno

Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development

Lillian Salerno currently serves as Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development.  Prior to this appointment, Lillian served as the RD State Director in Texas where she oversaw multiple loan and grant programs designed to increase opportunities for rural Texans.  Lillian has a background in business and  manufacturing and applied her entrepreneurial skills to growing multiple businesses in Texas.  

Salerno also served in the Obama-Biden Administration for six years, first as the Rural Business-Cooperative Service Administrator and later as Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development. As Deputy Under Secretary, Lillian was a member of the White House Rural Council where she provided a voice for rural Americans and their concerns regarding economic development, innovation, entrepreneurship, and access to capital.  She also served on the Interagency Task Force focused on the rural opioid epidemic as well as the National Economic Council “Investing in Manufacturing Communities” initiative.

Lillian has a long history advocating for small business and has testified before Congress on multiple occasions.  She has served on the Advisory Board for the George Washington Center in Washington, DC and chaired IASIT, an international NGO in Geneva focused on protecting vulnerable populations. In her role as an HIV prevention advocate, she worked on protecting nurses from infectious disease during the HIV epidemic.  As a young attorney, Salerno was regularly designated as court appointed counsel for vulnerable Texans.  Lillian is an experienced coalition builder which she attributes to growing up in rural Texas as one of nine children.  Lillian holds a bachelor’s degree in Latin American studies from the University of Texas at Austin, a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of North Texas, and a Juris Doctor from Southern Methodist University.