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New Boston Fed president using economic lessons from Jamaican upbringing on new journey

Dr. Susan Collins, the first Black woman to lead a U.S. regional Federal Reserve bank, is working to bring diversity to economic policy.

New Boston Fed president using economic lessons from Jamaican upbringing on new journey

Dr. Susan Collins, who made history last July when she became the first Black woman to head up the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (Boston Fed) — one of 12 branches in the U.S. — spent her summers in Jamaica learning lessons that would help shape her professional career: inequality, foreign-exchange crises and the real-life effects of monetary policy.

"Seeing the impact that had on families, on communities, the impact that had on the economy," the Boston Fed president told Bloomberg during a November interview about the currency overhaul. "That was something that I had a lot of questions about growing up because of that experience."

Collin said she began to understand that intelligence and resources aren't always enough to help people overcome circumstances beyond their control after witnessing Jamaicans struggle after the country introduced a new currency in 1969 and realizing that even those with means still had to deal with power outages and water shutoffs.

Using those experiences now, she is determined to build an economy that works for all, not just some, she says.

The U.S. central bank is currently on its most aggressive monetary tightening campaign in decades. The program, which aims to curb the worst inflation in a generation, has sparked worries about the possibility of an impending recession and shifts in the employment market that have long left BIPOC groups underrepresented and behind.

Collins, 63, received her Harvard University undergraduate degree with honours in 1980 and her Massachusetts Institute of Technology PhD in economics in 1984. She later went back to teach at Harvard.

Learn more about how she's one of the Black faces that is changing the face of the world's most powerful central bank.

Source: Bloomberg