Janice L. Jacobs is an esteemed and internationally renowned retired ambassador and consular who has traveled across the globe in light of her involvement in government affairs. Delving into the field of international affairs and exchange from a young age due to the influence of her father, who worked for USAID, she lived in Ethiopia and learned French. After living in Ethiopia for a brief time, her family relocated to Bangkok, Thailand. As a result of her extensive overseas travels as an adolescent, Ms. Jacobs wanted to become involved international affairs.
Most recently serving as a transparency coordinator at the United States Department of State from 2015 to 2016, Ms. Jacobs formerly served as a visiting lecturer at Southern Illinois University in 2014 and the assistant secretary for consular affairs at the United States Department of State from 2008 to 2014. Throughout her career, she has traveled to Dakar, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, France, Ethiopia and Nigeria as an ambassador and consular officer. Commencing her career at Edison Junior High School as a French and Spanish teacher in 1969, she soon entered the field of government affairs, becoming a consular officer and economic officer with the American Embassy in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1980. She soon became employed with the United States Department of State on a full-ti me basis, holding such prominent roles as senior watch officer at the Operations Center, principal officer and American consulate; deputy director of the Officer of Cuban Affairs;
and an ambassador to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, among others.
Among the notable highlights of her career, Ms. Jacobs recalls the work she performed after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. She and her team were able to make significant changes on change management in light of the tragedy. In addition, she helped aid young officers in leadership development to help transform them into better officers and managers. After she retired from her role as assistant secretary for consular affairs, the state department adopted the leadership and management principles she created in the bureau.
Ms. Jacobs is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and the Sigma Kappa Sorority. In recognition of her exceptional contributions to government, she was awarded an honorary doctorate in public service from Southern Illinois University in May 2018. In addition, she has earned several presidential rank awards and superior honor awards from the United States Department of State.
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