The incoming Federal Reserve chair is currently in the deputy position, meaning she was already a leading contender for the top job. Her role means she represents a degree of stability and continuity, particularly relative to key rival for the post Larry Summers.
But it is not just her most recent job that has prepared her for the position.
Yellen was born in 1946 in New York, and performed well at school – a period which included editing the high school newspaper, honing communication skills useful to a Fed chair who needs to explain policy decisions.
She headed to Brown University where she graduated in economics.
Yellen went on to gain a doctorate in economics at Yale in 1971, the same year she was taken on as an assistant professor at Harvard University.
That was followed by a stint as an economist to the Fed’s board of governors, specialising in international finance, then she lectured at the London School of Economics.
After two years in the UK she took a position on the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley from 1980.
She moved through the ranks at the Fed, with a position as governor in 1994.
From 1997 she chaired the Council of Economic Advisers, a stint which she held in parallel with a period at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
In 2004 she took up a position as president of the San Francisco Fed, becoming vice chairwoman in 2010.
And Yellen herself is not the only top economist in her family. Her husband is Nobel prize winner George Akerlof, and their son Robert Akerlof is an assistant professor at the University of Warwick.