Prior to joining the Russell Group in 2017, Karla Thieman served as the USDA Chief of Staff to Secretary Tom Vilsack. Karla first joined the USDA in 2014, serving as a Senior Policy Advisor to Secretary Vilsack and later as Chief of Staff to Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden. Previously Karla also worked for the Senate Agriculture Committee for more than five years, serving under three Chairs of the Committee: Senator Tom Harkin, Senator Blanche Lincoln, and Senator Debbie Stabenow. As senior professional staff on the Agriculture Committee, she handled a portfolio that included livestock, food safety, dairy, energy and climate change.
Karla previously served in leadership positions on the campaigns of Senators McCaskill, Udall and Bennet.
Karla grew up on a third-generation family farm in central Missouri where her family raised cattle, corn and soybeans. She has a degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Missouri.