State Director for Texas
Lillian Salerno returns to USDA as the RD State Director in Texas with over two decades of experience leading teams in government and industry. Prior to her current appointment, Salerno served in the Obama-Biden Administration for six years, first as the Rural Business Administrator and later as Deputy Undersecretary for Rural Development. As Deputy Undersecretary, 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 for new and beginning farmers. Lillian has a long history advocating for and protecting vulnerable populations. As a young attorney, Salerno was regularly designated as court appointed counsel for vulnerable and Spanish-speaking only Texans in need of an advocate. Her work experience has made her an advocate for delivering resources based on community needs. 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. She is also a graduate of the Executive Leadership Program offered by Harvard University.