Deputy Associate Administrator & COO
Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)
Karen T. Comfort is currently the Deputy Associate Administrator/Deputy Chief Operating Officer for the Agricultural Marketing Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As Deputy Associate Administrator, Ms. Comfort leads the Agency’s overall direction, coordination and continuous evaluation of Agency operations, with special emphasis on new and emerging programs. She oversees the Agency’s strategic planning, civil rights and special emphasis planning, human capital planning and recruitment planning. In addition, Ms. Comfort leads overall Agency recruitment. She is the Chair of the Agency’s first Recruitment and Hiring Functional Committee. In this role, Ms. Comfort monitors, and implements measures to improve workforce diversity through recruitment, outreach and employee development programs designed to enhance the hiring and retention of highly qualified employees from diverse backgrounds. Ms. Comfort has worked at USDA for over 20 years, serving in numerous leadership roles and on various Departmental Taskforces, Committees, and Initiatives. One of her most recent notable accomplishments was serving as the 2014 Feds Feed Families (FFF) Campaign’s National Program Manager on behalf of the Secretary of Agriculture. As the FFF National Program Manager, Ms. Comfort represented the Office of the Secretary, leading National Chairs and Champions across 40 Federal Departments and Agencies; and promoting the annual FFF government-wide initiative in which Federal employees in the Washington metropolitan area and around the world donate perishable and non-perishable food items to food banks, food pantries, and shelters. Under Ms. Comfort’s leadership, Federal employees donated over 14.8 million pounds of food, and her campaign is considered the most successful since the FFF initiative started in 2009.