Lynn Malerba ’08 MPA became the first female chief of the Mohegan Tribe in modern history in 2010, and uses the lessons she learned in UConn’s master’s of public administration program on a regular basis in that role.
She will now take her UConn degree to the national stage, as she was recently named Treasurer of the United States by President Joe Biden. She will be the first Native American to hold this position.
“I am honored to be chosen for the position of Treasurer,” says Malerba. “Since becoming Chief, I have done a lot of policy works at the federal level. I have done a lot of work with policy and issues around economic development for tribes and how we might improve some of the processes.”
Malerba initially gained experience at the Department of the Treasury when she was appointed to the Treasury Tribal Advisory Committee.
“Tribes are different from other local municipalities and state governments because we don’t tax our citizens to provide services, we depend on economic development,” she says. “We want to make sure that we are able to level the playing field in terms of what tribes are able to do versus what municipalities are able to do.”
Malerba will remain Chief of the Mohegan Tribe while serving her new role under Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen.
“I think that the most important role of the Treasurer is community development and engagement,” says Malerba. “It’s really understanding what communities are looking for and what they find some of the barriers are. Then it’s my responsibility to represent and articulate those issues to the Secretary so that we can work together on good policy.
“The most unique role of the Treasurer is to be an ambassador for the Secretary and senior leadership at the Treasury, but also to be an ambassador for the communities that we serve, so I see a real duality there.”
As Treasurer, Malerba will also supervise the newly established Office of Tribal and Native Affairs that will house staff directly dedicated to communication with tribal nations and the hub for tribal policy.
“I am deeply honored that Chief Malerba will serve as the nation’s Treasurer and spearhead the department’s new Office of Tribal and Native Affairs. This is an historic appointment,” says Yellen. “Her leadership and experience will deepen our commitment to help expand economic opportunities for all Tribal communities.”
In addition, the treasurer directly oversees the U.S. Mint, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Fort Knox, and is a key liaison with the Federal Reserve.
Malerba had a long career in nursing at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London, including serving as the Director of Cardiology and Pulmonary Services.
She then joined tribal government at Mohegan as Executive Director of Health and Human Services and later was chairwoman of the Tribal Council. It was at that point that she enrolled in UConn’s MPA program.
“I had spent my life in critical care nursing and hospital administration when I began to work for the tribe, so I thought it was important for me to get a master’s degree,” says Malerba. “Public policy and administration was really the new role I was performing at that point, so I wanted to make sure I had the academic underpinnings to be effective. The UConn program was a really good experience for me.”
Malerba completed her UConn studies taking only one course a semester, which was typical of her professional and academic career.
“It seems like I have been working and going to school in tandem for my entire life,” says Malerba. She also has a nursing degree from the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford and a doctor of nursing practice from Yale.
“The MPA program raised my skill level in terms of how I assess and evaluate our programming and how I might develop new programming in the future,” Malerba says. “It helped me a lot with economic policy.”
“I have known Lynn Malerba for many years, first at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital and more recently at the Mohegan Tribe where I work in the Family Services Behavioral Health Department,” says Nancy G. M. Miner ’73 (NUR), ’78 MS. “Both as a nurse and as a leader, Lynn is a compassionate, dedicated, brilliant woman. It is such an honor to know her and I know she will be an outstanding addition to the U.S. Treasury Department. She has the resilience, creativity, and social and leadership skills to serve our nation admirably.”
“As nurses, we are delighted that Lynn Malerba’s leadership continues to be recognized, now at the national level, in her new role as Treasurer of the United States,” says UConn School of Nursing Dean Deborah Chyun. “She serves as a model for all nurses to become active in policy and public service.”
A unique role of Malerba’s new position as Treasurer is that her signature will now appear on all United States paper currency, along with Yellen’s.
“My family is very excited about that and wants to frame one of every denomination,” says Malerba. “What is really exciting is that Secretary Yellen is the first female Secretary of the Treasury, so for the first time in our country’s history two women are going to be signing the currency. I think that is truly historic and groundbreaking.”