New Little Rock Federal Reserve leader looks to convene, connect

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,388 views 

Matuschka Lindo Briggs.

Matuschka Lindo Briggs, who was named in June as vice president and regional executive for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ Little Rock branch, is down with Arkansas hospitality.

“The hospitality is overwhelming. I will say the big surprise is the food. I’m a foodie and the food is good in Arkansas, no matter where you are and just driving through the state. So I really like the way the state has welcomed me, opened their arms to me. It’s really, really meant a lot to me.”

Briggs was named to the Little Rock post the summer and succeeded Robert Hopkins, who retired after 38 years. She joined the Fed in 2015 and has held a variety of roles ahead of her current assignment.

She has spent her time in Arkansas so far meeting and networking across the state. Finding ways to convene and connect people for the purpose of storytelling is an important part of her job in conveying anecdotal information to the St. Louis central bank.

“…Data and research is so important to the Fed, but there is a lag to that,” she said. “I have been traveling [Arkansas] and there is a lot of good stuff happening in the Natural State, but I also need to understand the pain points and the challenges because what I do is I take all that information. I share it with our researchers. I share it with President [James] Bullard to help them inform monetary policy.”

Briggs background as a storyteller is strengthened by her former media credentials. After growing up as a self-proclaimed “Air Force brat,” the Panama-born executive came of age in middle America. She graduated from Williams Woods College in Fulton, Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and communications, earned a master’s degree in business administration from Washington University in St. Louis, and worked in Des Moines, Iowa, for an NBC affiliate.

“I was really in the thick of rural America. I was doing stories on seed corn, feed corn, soybean reporting. Gradually, I came out and started doing general reporting, health reporting and political reporting. So I do feel that it has brought me full circle into storytelling, which is what I do here,” Briggs said.

The Federal Reserve Bank has two primary goals: stable prices and maximum employment. Briggs hopes that the information she’s helping provide and the relationships she’s developing will advance those objectives.

“My goal is to help maximize the quality of participation for the economy of this state. When I’m talking and listening to people, that’s something that I’m really hearing about a lot – is there are a lot of jobs and we really need to help with that job growth. However I can do that and talking to people, understanding, and I’m a convener. If I can get leaders at the Fed or leaders within the state to work together and help with that job growth, I’m excited to do that. I’m a convener, I’m a connector, and I’m a storyteller. That’s really my role,” she said.

You can watch Briggs’ full interview in the video below.