Heather Yang Hwalek is a Program Officer on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Strategic Planning & Engagement team, managing high-level engagements for the co-chairs and CEO. She previously served as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State, most recently as a staff ("Line") officer to the Secretary of State, managing briefing memoranda and advancing the Secretary's official travel. She also served as a Political-Military Officer in Tokyo, Japan, strengthening the U.S.-Japan Alliance through bilateral negotiations, strategic planning, and political analysis and outreach and as Vice Consul at the U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou, China, assisting U.S. citizens in southern China and facilitating and promoting travel to the United States for business, tourism, and academia. Prior to her Foreign Service career, she also served at the Department of State in the Bureau of African Affairs, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, and Bureau of Diplomatic Security, as well as at the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa. She also spent a year teaching English in rural China. Heather studied Anthropology at Columbia University (BA) and International Relations at Yale University (MA) and is originally from Bangor, Maine.