Eleni Kounalakis is the 50th lieutenant governor of California and the first woman elected to the position. From 2010 to 2013, Kounalakis served as President Barack Obama’s Ambassador to the Republic of Hungary. In 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom designated Kounalakis as his Representative for International Affairs and Trade Development, and as Chair of the corresponding Interagency Committee that oversees the state’s trade, investment and international relations. Kounalakis also serves on the State Lands Commission, and as a voting member of the University of California Board of Regents and the California State University Board of Trustees.
Prior to her public service, Kounalakis was president of AKT Development, where she worked for 18 years building housing for the Sacramento region’s working families. She has served as a member of California’s First 5 Commission and the California Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism. Lt. Governor Kounalakis graduated from Dartmouth College in 1989 and earned her M.B.A. from U.C. Berkeley. She is the author of “Madam Ambassador: Three Years of Diplomacy, Dinner Parties and Democracy in Budapest.