Renee Wessels serves as associate executive director for strategy and external affairs and works closely with Samuel Meisels to oversee the work of the Buffett Institute. Joining the institute in 2013, Wessels has more than 30 years of experience in public affairs, communications, and public policy issues. She has worked with some of the nation’s leading organizations dedicated to improving the lives of children, including Save the Children, the Children’s Defense Fund, and the National Commission on Children. Later, as head of her own public affairs firm, she specialized in child welfare, after-school, and public health issues and worked with a variety of public/private partnerships and systems improvement efforts. She also has worked in the Nebraska Legislature and Governor’s Office, and the U.S. Congress. Wessels is a Nebraska native and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska ̶ Lincoln and a graduate degree in international relations from the London School of Economics; she also was awarded a post-graduate fellowship to the University of Chicago.