Margaret Peterlin


Personal Information

Margaret Peterlin is an agile leader who flexibly transitions across industries and organizations, having recently served as the third-ranking official at the U.S. Department of State, as Chief of Staff to Secretary Rex Tillerson.  Previously, she was as a global executive at Mars, Inc, co-led a large, Federal Agency, worked for both the Speaker, and the Majority Leader, of the House of Representatives, clerked for a U.S. Court of Appeals Judge, and served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy.     While Chief of Staff, Margaret managed the Office of the Secretary, for a department of 77,000 globallydistributed employees.  Diplomatically, she participated in engagements with more than 35 heads of state and 80 foreign ministers.  The Secretary relied on Ms. Peterlin as his representative in the interagency process. Prior to this role, Mars, Inc depended on Ms. Peterlin to increase ROI for manufacturing technology.  As the Global Technology Strategy Officer, Ms. Peterlin developed the framework to identify and prioritize Mars, Inc.’s tier-one risks and opportunities.  This corporate officer role included reshaping the Board’s Technology Committee.    

 At the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), Ms. Peterlin served as the Deputy Undersecretary for Intellectual Property (IP) and the Deputy Director of the USPTO.  As Deputy Director, Ms. Peterlin operated as the COO to provide strategic leadership to over 9,700 (mostly unionized) employees, 2,600 contractors, and management of a $2.1B budget.  As Deputy Undersecretary, Ms. Peterlin advised the Office of the President and the Secretary of Commerce on IP, led U.S. delegations abroad, and testified before Congress.    

 Before her shift to the Executive Branch, Ms. Peterlin served as a Policy Analyst and Counsel for Legal Policy for the Speaker of the House, eventually serving as his National Security Advisor.  As Senior Staff, Ms. Peterlin advised the Speaker and other House and Congressional Leaders on legislative policy and strategy.  Ms. Peterlin’s first job on Capitol Hill was as the General Counsel and Policy Analyst for the Majority Leader.  During this time, she was the primary House negotiator for the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.     

 Ms. Peterlin proudly followed her dad’s example by beginning her career as a Commissioned Officer.   In the U.S. Navy she achieved the highest Communications Ashore qualifications 1 year early.  Ms. Peterlin served as a White House Social Aide (1 of 12 Navy-wide) and received Navy Commendation and Navy Achievement Medals.  Her formal education includes a bachelor’s degree from The College of Holy Cross on a four-year scholarship.  She earned her JD, cum laude, from the University of Chicago where she was the founding Editor-in-Chief of The Chicago Journal of International Law.  Following graduation, she served as a judicial clerk for The Honorable Jerry E. Smith, for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, located in Houston, Texas  

Margaret joined AT&T Services, Inc. in 2018 and was appointed Senior Vice President-Global External and Public Affairs. Ms. Peterlin is responsible for all external and regulatory affairs outside the United States.  Here in the U.S., Ms. Peterlin is responsible for public affairs strategy and D.C.-based media, including management of senior outside consultants and advisors and the relationships with key influentials and leaders.  In addition, Ms. Peterlin holds a key leadership role in AT&T’s cohesive strategy across Federal agencies.