Maria Echaveste is a co-founder and partner of the Nueva Vista Group (NVG), a government relations firm specializing in public policy, advocacy, strategic advice, and outreach. Prior to NVC, she served as Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for President Clinton from May 1998 through January 2001 and as Director of the Office of Public Liaison at the White House from February 1997 to May 1998. As Deputy Chief of Staff, Echaveste  managed policy initiatives and developed legislative and communications strategies for the White House regarding various policy issues including immigration, education, civil rights,  bankruptcy, trade (Caribbean Basin Initiative and Africa Growth Opportunity Act), Plan Colombia (federal effort to assist Colombia in its anti-drug campaign), Latin America, AIDS and Africa, New Markets (federal effort to attract investment in under served communities) and many other issues.

Prior to working in the White House, Echaveste served as the Administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division, from June 1993 to early 1997. She is involved in politics and national policy as a member of the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee. Echaveste is also a member of the Board of Directors of People for the American Way, the Children's Law Center of Washington, D.C., and CARE, a humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. Echaveste received a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Stanford University and her J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. She worked as an attorney specializing in corporate litigation for firms in Los Angeles and New York.