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President's Biography

Leocadia “Lee” I. Zak became the ninth president of Agnes Scott College in July 2018. With an extensive background in international economic development and international project finance, Zak served for seven years as the director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), an independent federal agency that advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries. She first joined the agency in 2000, and prior to her appointment as director, she served as general counsel, deputy director and acting director under the Bush and Obama administrations. 

Zak’s accomplishments during her time at USTDA are many: she led the development of the Aviation Cooperation Programs in China, India and Brazil; the Energy Cooperation Programs in China and India; and the Smart Cities Initiative in India. She also created the worldwide Global Procurement Initiative. She testified before Congress on behalf of the Agency’s programs; served as principal in bilateral dialogues along with the Secretaries of State, Treasury, Commerce and Agriculture as well as accompanied President Obama on foreign trips, met with heads of state and other senior government officials and business leaders around the world and regularly served as a keynote speaker at domestic and international events. But, the accomplishment that means the most to her is the USTDA’s recognition, for five consecutive years, as one of the “Best Places to Work” in the federal government, as measured by the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.

Before joining the public sector, Zak spent 18 years at the Boston law firm Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo PC, which she joined as an associate in 1982. At the firm, she practiced in the area of international and domestic project finance, becoming a partner in 1990.

More recently, Zak has taught international project finance as an adjunct faculty member at the Georgetown University Law Center and the Boston University School of Law, including team-teaching with her husband, Kenneth Hansen, a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of the international law firm of Norton Rose Fulbright.

Zak is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Mount Holyoke College, which recognized her as a Woman of Influence in 2012 on the occasion of the college’s 175th anniversary. She also holds a J.D. degree from Northeastern University School of Law.