Church Member Appointed to U.S. Treasury Post
Contributed By R. Scott Lloyd, Church News staff writer
- Nathan Sheets was sworn in as undersecretary for international affairs on October 7.
- Brother Sheets served as stake high councilor and bishop.
- When living the principles he believes in, Sheets has been more effective in his career.
“My experience is that our beliefs give us an effective guidebook on how to handle a whole range of situations that arise in our lives—our challenge is to use it.” —Nathan Sheets, undersecretary for international affairs in the U.S. Department of the Treasury
A lifetime love of learning and a commitment to gospel principles have propelled Nathan Sheets to a prestigious appointment in the United States Department of the Treasury as undersecretary for international affairs.
Brother Sheets, a high councilor in the Washington D.C. Stake, was confirmed for the appointment by the U.S. Senate September 18 after being nominated by President Barack Obama. He was sworn in October 7.
In his new governmental role, Brother Sheets will lead the department’s Office of International Affairs, which “protects and supports U.S. economic prosperity by strengthening the external environment for U.S. growth, preventing and mitigating global financial instability, and managing key global challenges,” according to a news release from the department.
Bishop of the Rockville (Maryland) Ward in the Washington D.C. Stake from 2003 to 2011, Brother Sheets said that was his most memorable Church experience. “Working alongside so many wonderful members of the congregation—and seeing the blessings in their lives—deepened my own beliefs and made me a better person,” he wrote in an email to the Church News.
“Much of what I know about leadership came from my experiences in the Church, including its structure, functioning, and teaching,” he added. “Nowhere else are the principles of leadership put forward more clearly or with greater power.”
Brother Sheets said he has found throughout his career that as he lives the principles he believes in, he has been more effective in his professional endeavors. His colleagues have been impressed by his commitment and devotion.
“My experience is that our beliefs give us an effective guidebook on how to handle a whole range of situations that arise in our lives—our challenge is to use it,” he said.
His general philosophy at each stage of his career has been to pursue opportunities that allow him to continue learning and to expand his skills as much as possible, Brother Sheets said. Thus, he spent 18 years in the International Finance Division at the Federal Reserve Board, where his duties included monitoring the Russian economy during the early phase of its transition away from communism.
He also led the team that analyzed emerging market economies and wrote extensively about the global economic outlook and the performance of U.S. international trade.
His most challenging assignment, he said, ran from 2007 to 2011, the years of global financial crisis. “The policy responses that were put in place by the Fed and by other policy makers during that intense period were essential to the stabilization of the economy. It was also a privilege to be present as many of these policy decisions were made—and to have the opportunity to contribute to some of these important decisions.”
After leaving the Federal Reserve in 2011, Brother Sheets was the global head of international economics at CitiGroup.
Brother Sheets traces his commitment to learning and self-improvement from his childhood. “I think that this perspective comes from the deep commitment that my mother showed to learning,” he said. “Every night when I went to bed, she was up reading. She was always learning and encouraged me to do my best and to expand my capacities and range of understanding. Even more deeply, this draws on the principles and values that I learned growing up in the Church, particularly the emphasis on the eternal value of learning.”
He said the ethic of continued learning helps frame how he approaches his daily responsibilities at the Treasury Department.
“Each day, as I am setting my schedule, I ask myself: How can I most effectively provide service to the country, and how can I continue to expand my knowledge and expertise? I believe these questions will leverage effectiveness in my current role and are the same kind of questions that each of us might usefully ask ourselves in every area of our lives.”
Some of his most rewarding work, he said, has been with his many counterparts abroad.
“As different countries set aside strictly national agendas and worked together, we were able to formulate better and richer responses to the crisis,” he reflected. “In addition, the very fact that we were working together was reassuring to the markets and to our respective economies. I have learned that national identity and national loyalties are important, but so is the capacity to bridge these differences and to find common ground to move forward.”