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Odessa P. Jackson, Esq.

General Counsel and Chief Risk Officer

With a broad range of corporate, legal and nonprofit management experience, Odessa p. Jackson, Esq. serves as General Counsel and Chief Risk Officer for United Way Worldwide.  In this role, Jackson provides legal counsel, and leads governance, compliance, human resources, and administration programs to align mission and departmental goals across the organization.   


Prior to joining UWW, Ms. Jackson served as inaugural General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Board Secretary at the University of the Sciences.  She provided legal counsel and guidance on all legal matters, including corporate governance, Title VII, compliance and other regulatory matters related to higher education; employment; and business transactions.

Ms. Jackson also served as Principal Deputy General Counsel at Howard University in Washington, DC, for 11 years where she managed the day-to-day operations of the office, supervising and advising staff attorneys, and served as a consultant to the Board of Trustees. 

Jackson has over 16 years of civil and criminal litigation experience in a variety of practice areas. Prior to embarking on a career in higher education, Ms. Jackson was a Trial Attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice and an Assistant U.S. Attorney for both the District of Columbia and Maryland, handling a variety of criminal matters including healthcare fraud, financial fraud, tax fraud, child exploitation, civil rights, narcotics, and violent crimes. Ms. Jackson also has three years of experience as a contract administrator with two major corporations, including negotiating contracts and settlements. 

A graduate of American University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and an Associate degree in Criminal Justice, she received her JD from the University of North Carolina School of Law in Chapel Hill.  At UNC, she was inducted into the Order of the Golden Fleece, the University’s oldest and highest honorary society and the second oldest collegiate honorary society in the U.S..

A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Ms. Jackson is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the Forum of Executive Women in Philadelphia.  She previously volunteered with both Food and Friends, Inc. in Washington, D.C with the Girl Scouts Council of the Nation’s Capital (GSCNC) Camp CEO, mentoring and advising young girls as they make decisions on college, future careers, and life choices. She also served as co-chairman of the committee on staff agency review for Prince George’s County, Maryland, on Executive Rushern Baker’s 2010-2011 transition team, and on the Board of Directors for court appointed special advocate (CASA) for Prince George’s County.