Melody Barnes

Senior Fellow


Former Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council (Obama Administration)

Melody Barnes is Co-Founder and Principal of MB2 Solutions LLC, a domestic strategy firm, and Vice Provost for Global Student Leadership Initiatives at New York University. Barnes serves on the Board of Directors of Ventas, Inc., an S&P 500 company, the Marguerite Casey Foundation and Year Up. She also chairs the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions and Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund. From January 2009 until January 2012, Barnes was Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. Prior to her service in the White House, Barnes was the Executive Vice President for Policy at the Center for American Progress, a progressive research institute and think tank. From December 1995 until March 2003, Barnes worked for Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee; she served as his chief counsel from 1998 until she left the Committee in 2003. Her experience also includes an appointment as Director of Legislative Affairs for the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and serving as a Principal at the D.C.-based consulting firm, The Raben Group. Barnes began her career as an attorney with Shearman & Sterling in New York City.

Barnes is a native of Richmond, Virginia, and in 1986, she received her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she graduated with honors in history. She received her law degree from the University of Michigan in 1989. Barnes’ media appearances include This Week with George Stephanopoulos, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Charlie Rose and Morning Joe.


The latest from Melody Barnes:

Invest in What Works Video Series – Profile Video, Results for America, Melody Barnes, July 14, 2016 (video)

“Community Engagement Matters (Now More Than Ever),” Stanford Social Innovation Review, Melody Barnes & Paul Schmitz, February 18, 2016 – (printable version)

“Raising the Bar for Student Success,” Roll Call, Melody Barnes & John Bridgeland, August 4, 2014 – (printable version)

“On Being Our Brother’s Keeper,” HuffPost, Melody Barnes & John Bridgeland, March 3, 2014 – (printable version)

Moneyball for Government – Continuous Learning, Results for America, Melody Barnes, October 17, 2013 (video)

“If Congress won’t lead, states will,” Politico, Melody Barnes & John Bridgeland, August 16, 2013 – (printable version)

“Enterprising paths for new economy,” Politico, Melody Barnes & John Bridgeland, March 5, 2013 – (printable version)

“Congress should invest in success,” Politico, Melody Barnes & John Bridgeland, January 9, 2013 – (printable version)