Meet the Women of OPIC: Mildred Callear
March is National Women's History Month, a time to recognize the contributions that women have made to our nation. Everyday throughout the month of March, we will feature one of OPIC's 126 women employees in our Meet the Women of OPIC series. Learn about our diverse workforce and what inspires them to work for the Agency.
Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Department of Financial and Portfolio Management
Tell us a little about yourself:
After growing up in a small town in the Midwest in Southern Illinois, I came to Washington to attend law school at Georgetown. After law school, I worked for a New York firm with offices in DC doing a variety of litigation. After a few years, I found my way to OPIC and held a variety of positions here, including serving as Acting President during more than one transition. I left in 2001 and spent a dozen years at an SME private equity fund manager, Small Enterprise Assistance Funds, with offices in 15 countries. I returned to OPIC in 2014.
What do you like best about working at OPIC?
The best thing about working at OPIC is how it links you to the world and helps you make sense of the connections. We see every day how domestic policies affect US policy abroad and how US foreign policy can affect both business interest in investing as well as foreign government interest in attracting investment. And when we help make investment happen, we not only facilitate change in the business world, we make an impact in the lives of everyday people. As the adoptive parent of two daughters from Georgia, I am acutely aware that geography can affect destiny and I feel good knowing that what we do each day makes a difference by bolstering economies. We are all lucky--not everyone has the chance to turn policy into practical reality.
Is there a woman who has inspired you?
Early in my career, there were really no women in senior positions where I worked. I was the second woman in the DC office of my law firm, but no women partners. And when I arrived at OPIC, there were no women VPs. There was no chance I would be running into my boss in the Ladies Room! So inspiration came from my sister, a pioneering civil engineer at a time when the industry had about 2% women, female peers who were figuring out how to make their careers work and from very encouraging male bosses and role models who valued competence and independence. And a mother and father who encouraged their daughters not to set limits on what they aspired to do.
Will you share an interesting fact about yourself?
I live in Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve, so I stay grounded by being a part-time shepherd. We are in lambing season right now and so I am fortunate that my two daughters and husband do the lion’s share of the work. We have had 25 lambs born so far this year. In addition to our sheep, we have goats, chickens, a couple of bunnies and cattle from time to time (as well as three cats and three dogs). When I am not helping out with the farm, I tend to my duties as mayor of the small town of Barnesville, Maryland (population 170).