Heather Joy Thompson

Heather Joy Thompson

Diplomat in Residence


J.D., Wayne State University School of Law
B.A. in Studio Art, Spelman College

Areas of Interest:

U.S. Foreign Service


(310) 206-2252



Office Location:

6381 Public Affairs and Washington, DC

Heather Joy Thompson, Esq., is the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomat in Residence (DIR) for the Southern California region, which includes Southern California, Nevada, and Hawaii. She also manages outreach to the LatinX and LGBTQI communities.

Diplomats in Residence are a select group of career Department of State Foreign Service Officers on assignment throughout the U.S. They provide guidance and advice on careers, internships, and fellowships to students and professionals in the communities they serve.

Ms. Thompson is a lawyer and foreign affairs professional with nearly a decade of international and domestic experience in the U.S. diplomatic service. She most recently worked as an economic officer at the U.S. Embassy Mexico City, one of the largest U.S. diplomatic missions in the world. She received numerous awards and accolades during her time with the Department of State, including several Individual Meritorious Honor Awards.

Ms. Thompson previously served as the Staff Assistant to Ambassador Tom Kelly in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. She was also the American Citizen Services Chief in Johannesburg, South Africa. She co-founded Abafazi Ambassadors, a signature program between the U.S. Mission in South Africa and the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. She has worked extensively on the Department’s public affairs and outreach efforts, including the Young African Leaders Initiative. Ms. Thompson was a Peace Corps volunteer in Burkina Faso, and has also lived in Greece, France, and Germany. Before joining the Department of State, she worked for Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs at Bad Boy Records in New York.

A Michigan native, Ms. Thompson was raised in Southfield and is an alumna of The Roeper School. She earned a B.A. in Studio Art from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, and, she studied Renaissance Art and Italian in Florence, Italy, during her junior year. She speaks Spanish and has studied French and Italian. In 2005, Ms. Thompson received a Juris Doctor from Wayne State University School of Law, where she was the Kenneth B. Cockrel Scholar, a member of the Jessup International Law Moot Court Team, and a summer associate at Fieger Law.  She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

For more information on U.S. State Department programs or to inquire about office hours, please contact Ms. Thompson at DIRSouthernCalifornia@state.gov or follow her on Facebook at www.facebook/dirsocal.