The most powerful politicos (you don't yet know)

They may not be household names the way Hillary Clinton or Nancy Pelosi are, these Washington women are wielding influence and authority behind the scenes.

Lael Brainard

mpw13 dc power lael brainard
  • Title: Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs

For now, Brainard, a Harvard-trained economist and onetime MIT professor, serves Treasury's point person for all things international, a position she's held since 2010. She could soon be helping to set monetary policy, as word leaked this fall that the President was mulling her for a seat on the Fed's board of governors. Either way, she will remain one of the most powerful -- yet low-key -- forces in the Obama economic firmament.

  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated October 15 2013 11:43 AM ET
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