Kelly DeGraff is currently serving as the Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for the National Preparedness Directorate.
DeGraff’s leadership career spans over 20 years and includes executive roles in the government, nonprofit, and private sectors. Most recently she served as the Deputy Director for the USDA’s Office of Homeland Security where she led a department wide initiative to refresh the vision, mission, and values enabling staff to deliver results and adapt to new challenges and opportunities.
At FIMA, DeGraff served as the Insurance and Mitigation Readiness Division (IMRD) Director, leading the Hazard Mitigation Cadre, FEMA’s fourth largest post-disaster workforce with over 1,600 full-time and intermittent employees. She oversaw field operations, strengthened communications, and built capacity, by managing human resources, acquisition planning, and training and development to ensure the Cadre workforce was resourced to achieve its mission. Kelly led a Resilience-wide approach to COVID-19 operations and staffing, leading workforce planning and coordination of Resilience’s ability to support an initial operating capability of over 4 million vaccinations per day.
Prior to joining FEMA, Kelly was a senior executive with AmeriCorps where she served as the Director of Disaster Services and the principal advisor to the White House. She provided leadership and operational direction in briefing Congress, OMB, and critical stakeholders on programs, budgets, and efficiencies. She led an AmeriCorps reorganization to increase efficiency, eliminate redundancies, and launched a new disasters services office. Ms. DeGraff also leveraged several partnerships resulting in the launch of national programs including the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, FEMA Corps, Resilience AmeriCorps, and she built multi-agency coalitions including the US Coast Guard, EPA, and the Council on Environmental Quality in response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill.
In 2012 and 2014 DeGraff was a finalist for the Partnership for Public Service Samuel J. Hyman Award for her work in responding to the Joplin MO Tornado, launching FEMA Corps, and leading volunteer efforts during Hurricane Sandy. She is part of the DHS Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program and is a Senior Executive Fellow with Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. DeGraff has a BS in Environmental Science and is a graduate of Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health National Preparedness Leadership Institute (NPLI).