Maria Flynn is president and CEO of JFF. Maria’s commitment to JFF’s vision of equitable economic advancement for all and her leadership in workforce policy have made her a national authority on the future of work, the role of technology in the labor market, career pathways for learners and workers underserved by the education and workforce systems, and employer engagement.
As CEO, she has strengthened JFF and overseen a period of unprecedented growth as it has evolved into a leading-edge organization. In 2018, she launched JFFLabs to help forge connections between traditional education and workforce systems and innovative companies designing technology-driven solutions to challenges facing workers, learners, educators, employers, and policymakers.
Before becoming CEO in 2016, Maria was JFF’s senior vice president and led the Building Economic Opportunity Group, which focused on helping entry-level workers advance to family-supporting careers while enabling employers to build and sustain a productive workforce. She also led JFF’s federal policy and advocacy strategies.
Before joining JFF in 2007, she was a member of the federal government’s Senior Executive Service. In the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, she oversaw the development of policies for training programs serving both young people and adults, supervised the agency’s research and evaluation strategy, and managed the development of its $12 billion annual budget. She was a key driver of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, the National School-to-Work initiative, and the Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills initiative.
With three decades of experience and a reputation as an expert on workforce development, Maria is frequently invited to speak at national events. She has participated in panel discussions and delivered presentations at the ASU+GSV Summit, Fortune Brainstorm A.I., the Economist’s Innovation@Work US event, and the Atlantic’s AtlanticLive conference, and at meetings hosted by Stanford University, MIT, Harvard University, the Council on Foreign Relations, SOCAP, and the Fortune CEO Initiative, among others. Respected for her policy insights, she testified on workforce system reform before the U.S. Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee in April 2021. She has also been recognized by the Commonwealth Institute and the Boston Globe Magazine as CEO of one of the top 100 Women-Led Businesses in Massachusetts, most recently in 2021.
Maria sits on the board of the SkillUp Coalition and is a member of Nationswell and McKinsey & Company’s Consortium for Advancing Adult Learning & Development. News organizations and other media outlets regularly seek her insights and opinions about the future of work. She has been a guest on numerous podcasts and video programs and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, USA Today, Wired, Axios, Bloomberg News, and Fast Company, among others.
She and her husband, Mike, are the proud parents of two daughters, Amelia and Caroline.