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Valerie B. Jarrett        

Civic Leader & New York Times Best Selling Author; Former Senior Advisor to President Obama

Valerie Jarrett is a senior advisor to the Obama Foundation and media company ATTN: and a Senior Distinguished Fellow at University of Chicago Law School. She is the author of her memoir, "Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward." Under President Obama, Jarrett oversaw the Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs and chaired the White House Council on Women and Girls.

Jarrett got her start in Chicago politics in 1987 working for Mayor Harold Washington as deputy corporation counsel for finance and development. She was deputy chief of staff for Mayor Richard Daley, during which time (1991) she hired Michelle Robinson, then engaged to Barack Obama, away from a private law firm. Jarrett served as commissioner of the department of planning and development from 1992 through 1995, and she was chairwoman of the Chicago Transit Board from 1995 to 2005.

Jarrett was one of President Obama's longest serving advisors and confidantes. On November 14, 2008, President-elect Barack Obama selected Jarrett to serve as a senior advisor to the president and assistant to the president for intergovernmental relations and public liaison. Jarrett was one of three senior advisors to President Obama. She held the retitled position of assistant to the president for intergovernmental affairs and public engagement, managed the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, and Office of Urban Affairs; she also chaired the White House Council on Women and Girls and the White House Office of Olympic, Paralympic, and Youth Sport.

Since leaving the White House, Jarrett has volunteered as a senior advisor to the Obama Foundation. In 2017 she was appointed to the board of directors of Ariel Investments, and joined the board of directors of 2U, Inc., Lyft, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She is also the co-Chair of the United State of Women, Chair of the Board of When We All Vote, and a Senior Advisor to ATTN:. In January 2018 she became a distinguished senior fellow at the University of Chicago Law School.

Speech Topics

Put Yourself in the Path of Lightening

Early in her career, Valerie Jarrett was painfully shy and lacked the confidence to speak up for herself or take risks because of her fear of failure or rejection. In this speech, Valerie will discuss how she found her voice, learned to enjoy sharing it, and the skills she developed along the way.

What it is Like to Be in the Room Where it Happens

Valerie Jarrett was the longest serving senior advisor to President Barack Obama. She joined the White House team on January 20, 2009 and departed with the First Family on January 20, 2017. Sharing her experiences, Valerie will discuss what she learned from the challenges of leading the greatest country on earth.

Building a 21st Century Workplace that Reflects the Values and Needs of the 21st Century Worker and Enabling U.S. Businesses to be Globally Competitive

Women comprise half the work force. They are graduating from college at higher rates than men. 40 percent of working moms are the sole or primary bread winners. However, women still earn 80 cents on the dollar compared to men, while a woman’s contribution to the family income is now more important than ever. Why equal pay, workplace flexibility, paid leave, paid sick days, affordable child care, and a decent minimum wage are not only good for working families, they are imperative to running a business.

Where Do We Go From Here?

The 2016 Presidential election stunned the country and the world. Many are trying to make sense of how such an unlikely candidate became the President of the United States. Is our country really more divided than ever? Valerie Jarrett will discuss where we go from here in order to strive for that more perfect union. It is not a time to be apathetic or disengaged. We live in a globally competitive world, but the United States is still the greatest country on earth. Democracy is messy, complicated and diverse. With our country's legacy of triumph and pain, we have always found the grit, determination, and resilience to embrace our individual and collective responsibilities as citizens. When we discover common ground, we move our country forward and whether we like it or not, our future as Americans is inextricably linked.


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