Secretary of Commerce Machelle Baker Sanders

Governor Roy Cooper appointed Machelle Baker Sanders as Secretary of Commerce on February 12, 2021.

A native of Belhaven, North Carolina, Sanders brings extensive experience in both management and leadership to her role at Commerce.

A seasoned pharmaceutical and biotechnology executive, Secretary Sanders earlier in her career served as vice president of manufacturing and general manager of Biogen’s largest and most advanced manufacturing facility in Research Triangle Park (RTP). She also held leadership positions overseeing manufacturing, global quality assurance and quality control functions at Biogen, Purdue Pharmaceuticals, and Diosynth-Akzo Nobel.  Prior to joining the Department, Secretary Sanders led another cabinet-level agency, the North Carolina Department of Administration.

A graduate of North Carolina State University, Sanders holds a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and a Master of Health Administration from Pfeiffer University. As a native North Carolinian and mother of twin daughters, she is passionate about improving the status of women in our state. Some of her work includes creating a Women’s Innovation Network at Biogen. After all, as Sanders puts it, “Improving the status of women in North Carolina is not just a woman’s issue. This is a family, poverty and economic issue.”

Sanders is also a strong supporter of diversity and inclusion and previously served as the Chair of the North Carolina Commission on Inclusion, North Carolina Complete Count Commission, and the Andrea Harris Social, Economic, Environmental, and Health Equity Task Force.

As North Carolina’s Commerce Secretary, Sanders serves on many boards and commissions, including the Rural Infrastructure Authority, the board of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, the NCWorks Commission, and the state’s Travel & Tourism Board.

Secretary Sanders’ experience and passion to improve the lives of North Carolinians uniquely positions her to lead North Carolina's portfolio of work in economic, community, and workforce development.

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