Career in Public Policy Leads Woman to Top Research Post

Article excerpt

Margaret Simms, an economist and expert on minority business development, has been named vice president of research at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, making her the first woman to hold the position.

Ms. Simms, 50, had been director of research programs for the nation's pre-eminent black think tank, which is in the District. Despite a storied career that has included seven years with the Urban Institute and consulting work with the State Department, the National Institute of Education and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, she remains something of a rarity in public policy research circles.

"It reflects the larger society," she said. "Women were not well-represented in graduate study 20 or 30 years ago, and that's the first step toward getting into public policy research. It's changing now somewhat."

Ms. Simms will foremost be studying job creation and minority business development. While director of research programs, she created the center's Economic Policy Program.

"We will continue to tackle a broad agenda, not just a focus on economics," she said. …