|Director of the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs|
January 20, 2009 – January 20, 2017
|Preceded by||Julie Cram (Public Liaison)|
|Succeeded by||George Sifakis (Public Liaison)|
|Senior Advisor to the President|
January 20, 2009 – January 20, 2017
|Preceded by||Barry Jackson|
|Succeeded by||Jared Kushner|
Valerie June Bowman
November 14, 1956
(m. 1983; div. 1988)
|Education||Stanford University (BA)|
University of Michigan (JD)
Valerie June Jarrett (née Bowman; born November 14, 1956) is an American businesswoman and former government official. She served as the senior advisor to President of the United States Barack Obama and assistant to the president for public engagement and intergovernmental affairs from 2009 to 2017. Before that, she served as a co-chair of the Obama–Biden Transition Project.
Early life and education
Jarrett was born in Shiraz, Iran, during the Pahlavi dynasty, to American parents James E. Bowman and Barbara T. Bowman. Her father, a pathologist and geneticist, ran a hospital for children in Shiraz in 1956 as part of a program where American physicians and agricultural experts sought to help in the health and farming efforts of developing countries. When she was five years old, the family moved to London for a year, later moving to Chicago in 1963.
Her parents are both of European and African-American descent. On the television series Finding Your Roots, DNA testing indicated that Jarrett is of 49% European, 46% African, and 5% Native American descent. Among her European roots, she was found to have French and Scottish ancestry. One of her maternal great-grandfathers, Robert Robinson Taylor, was the first accredited African-American architect, and the first African-American student enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Jarrett's father once told her that her great-grandfather was Jewish.
As a child, Jarrett spoke Persian, French, and English. In 1966, her mother was one of four child advocates who created the Erikson Institute. The institute was established to provide collective knowledge in child development for teachers and other professionals working with young children. She graduated from Northfield Mount Hermon in 1974, and earned a B.A. in psychology from Stanford University in 1978 and a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Michigan Law School in 1981. On May 21, 2016, Jarrett received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Colby College in Waterville, Maine.
Chicago municipal politics
Jarrett continued to work in the mayor's office in the 1990s. 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.
Until joining the Obama administration, Jarrett was the CEO of the Habitat Company, a real estate development and management company, which she joined in 1995. She was replaced by Mark Segal, an attorney who joined the company in 2002, as CEO. Daniel E. Levin is the chairman of Habitat, which was formed in 1971. Jarrett was a member of the board of Chicago Stock Exchange (2000–2007, as chairman, 2004–2007).
She was a member of the board of trustees of the University of Chicago Medical Center from 1996 to 2009, becoming vice chairwoman in 2002 and chairwoman in 2006. She also served as vice chairwoman of the board of trustees of the University of Chicago and a trustee of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Jarrett serves on the board of directors of USG Corporation, a Chicago-based building materials corporation.
Advisor to Barack Obama
Unlike Bert Lance, who arrived from Georgia with President [Jimmy] Carter and became his budget director, or Karen Hughes, who was President [George W.] Bush's communications manager, Ms. Jarrett isn't a confidante with a particular portfolio. What she does share with these counterparts is a fierce sense of loyalty and a refusal to publicly say anything that may reflect poorly on the candidate—or steal his thunder.
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, Office of 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. She was part of the U.S. State Visit to the UK in May 2011.
Jarrett had a staff of approximately three dozen and received full-time Secret Service protection. Jarrett's role as both a friend of the Obamas and as senior advisor in the White House was controversial: in his memoirs Robert M. Gates, former secretary of defense, discussed his objection to her involvement in foreign security affairs; David Axelrod reported in his memoirs about Rahm Emanuel's attempts to have her selected as Obama's replacement in the senate, due to concerns about the difficulty in working with a family friend in a major policy role.
Additional leadership positions
In addition to being senior advisor to the president, Jarrett held other leadership positions and completed further duties. Among those included chairing the White House Council on Women and Girls and co-chairing the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. In March 2014, she participated as a speaker on Voices in Leadership, an original Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health webcast series, in a discussion entitled, "Leadership in the White House," moderated by Dr. Atul Gawande.
Relationship with the Obamas
In 1991, as deputy chief of staff to Mayor Richard Daley, Jarrett interviewed Michelle Robinson for an opening in the mayor's office, after which she immediately offered Robinson the job. Robinson asked for time to think and also asked Jarrett to meet her fiancé, Barack Obama. The three ended up meeting for dinner. After the dinner, Robinson accepted the job with the mayor's office. It was at this time that Jarrett reportedly took the couple under her wing and "introduced them to a wealthier and better-connected Chicago than their own." When Jarrett later left her position at the mayor's office to head the Chicago department of planning and development, Michelle Obama went with her.
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.
In July 2017 Jarrett signed a deal with Viking Press for her book titled Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward. The book, which was released on April 2, 2019, gained controversy after Jarrett was accused of using inflated sales numbers in order to get the book on the New York Times Best Sellers list. By April 14, 2019, the credibility of the reported sales numbers and the New York Times rank were put into question by experts after the book ranked only 1,030 on Amazon’s list of top sellers and only 1,244 on Barnes & Noble's best sellers as well. It also was not on Publisher's Weekly's top 25 best sellers list either. The New York Times also discredited some of the sales numbers as well by ranking the book #14, when the reported sales numbers would've ranked it at #5.
In popular culture
In 1983 she married William Robert Jarrett, son of Chicago Sun-Times reporter Vernon Jarrett. She attributes her switch from a private to a public career to the birth of their daughter, and her own desire to do something that would make their daughter proud. Her daughter, Laura Jarrett, is an attorney and reporter for CNN, and daughter-in-law of the Canadian politician Bas Balkissoon.
To one reporter's emailed question about her divorce, she replied, "Married in 1983, separated in 1987, and divorced in 1988. Enough said." In a Vogue profile, she further explained, "We grew up together. We were friends since childhood. In a sense, he was the boy next door. I married without really appreciating how hard divorce would be." William Jarrett died on November 19, 1993, at age 40, and at the time of his death was director of obstetrics and gynecology at Jackson Park Hospital.
- Hamilton, William (August 21, 2014). "Valerie Jarrett: The woman who stays for dinner". www.skyhinews.com. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
- Terry, Don (July 27, 2008). "Insider has Obama's ear: What's she telling him?". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on July 29, 2008. Retrieved August 23, 2008.
- King, John (November 9, 2008). "Obama wants Valerie Jarrett to replace him in Senate". CNNPolitics.com.
- "2-Min Bio: Valerie Jarrett", Time, November 11, 2008.
- Stated on Finding Your Roots, PBS, October 28, 2014.
- Ellen Weiss, "Robert Robinson Taylor", Encyclopedia of Alabama
- Kantor, Jodi (November 23, 2008). "An Old Hometown Mentor, Still at Obama's Side". The New York Times.
- History, The Erikson Institute, archived from the original on September 25, 2008, retrieved November 9, 2008.
- Valerie Jarrett to leave University of Chicago posts for White House, University of Chicago, January 9, 2009,
... Stanford University in 1978 and a Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School in 1981.
- "Honorary Degree Citations". Commencement. May 22, 2016. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
- "Campaign 2008: The Family Friend: Valerie Jarrett". Newsweek. May 19, 2008. Retrieved August 23, 2008.
- "Valerie Jarrett to lead expanded Board of University of Chicago Medical Center" (Press release). University of Chicago News Office. June 13, 2006.
- The Habitat Company.
- Gallun, Alby (February 5, 2009), "Habitat promotes veteran to CEO", Chicago Real Estate Daily (Crain's), retrieved May 4, 2009.
- "Valerie Jarrett to leave University of Chicago posts for White House". uchicago.edu. 2009. Retrieved September 2, 2012.
- "Valerie Jarrett Profile". Forbes.com. 2008. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
- Belkin, Douglas (May 12, 2008). "For Obama, Advice Straight Up: Valerie Jarrett Is Essential Member of Inner Set". Wall Street Journal.
- Bai, Matt (August 10, 2008). "Is Obama the End of Black Politics?". New York Times Magazine.
- Kantor, Jodi (November 14, 2008). "Obama Hires Jarrett for Senior Role". New York Times. Retrieved January 18, 2010.
- "Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett". The Administration: White House Staff. WhiteHouse.gov. Retrieved January 29, 2009.
Valerie B. Jarrett is Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Liaison
- Kantor, Jodi (November 14, 2008). "Longstanding Obama Advisor Gets Senior Role at the White House". New York Times.
- "US State Visit, 24 to 26 May 2011 Guest List". Royal Family official website.
- Stolberg, Sheryl (March 1, 2011). "White House Issues Report on Women in America". The New York Times. Retrieved March 5, 2011.
- Becker, Jo (September 1, 2012). "The Other Power in the West Wing". NY Times. Retrieved May 17, 2013.
- Robert M. Gates. Duty: memoirs of a secretary at war. Deckle Edge, 2014
- David Axelrod, Believer: my forty years in politics, Penguin Press, 2015.
- A renewed call to action to end rape and sexual assault, The White House Blog, Washington, DC: Valerie Jarrett, January 22, 2014, Retrieved January 24, 2014.
- Memorandum: Establishing White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, WhiteHouse.gov, Washington, DC: The White House, January 22, 2014, Retrieved June 10, 2014.
- "Leadership in the White House". Archived from the original on September 14, 2015.
- Van Meter, Jonathan (October 2008). "Barack's Rock". Vogue.
- Kantor, Jodi (November 24, 2008). "Chicago mentor follows Obama to Washington" – via NYTimes.com.
- "Catching up with Valerie Jarrett". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
- MarksJarvis, Gail. "Former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett joins Ariel Investments board". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
- "Former Obama adviser joins Lyft Board of Directors". NBC News. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
- Valentina Zarya (December 7, 2017). "Exclusive: Obama Adviser Valerie Jarrett Joins Board of Tech Company 2U". Fortune.
- Peggy McGlone (January 17, 2017). "Obama names Jarrett, Rice to Kennedy Center Board of Trustees". The Washington Post.
- Katie Mettler (March 1, 2018). "Valerie Jarrett, Tina Tchen announce second United State of Women Summit in L.A." The Washington Post.
- Jennie Neufeld (July 19, 2018). "Michelle Obama may not want to be your president, but she still wants you to vote". Vox.
- John Bowden (May 16, 2017). "Valerie Jarrett joins media startup as senior adviser". The Hill.
- Janssen, Kim. "Valerie Jarrett joins University of Chicago Law School". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
- "Valerie Jarrett, former senior adviser to President Obama, to join University of Chicago Law School". UChicago News. December 11, 2017. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
- "Valerie Jarrett signs book deal". POLITICO. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
- Jackson, David (September 29, 2014). "Valerie Jarrett appears on 'The Good Wife'". USAToday.com. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
- van Meter, Jonathan (October 2008), "Barack's Rock", Vogue, retrieved December 15, 2008.
- Boyer, Dave (January 20, 2017). "Laura Jarrett, Valerie Jarrett daughter, hired by CNN". The Washington Times.
- "CNN Profiles - Laura Jarrett - Reporter - CNN". CNN. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
- Benzie, Robert (June 20, 2012). "Obama attends wedding of Toronto Liberal MPP's son". thestar.com.
- Heise, Kenan (November 23, 1993). "Dr. William Jarrett Of Jackson Park Hospital". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 7, 2016.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Valerie Jarrett.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Valerie Jarrett|
- Valerie Jarrett at Whitehouse.gov (archived at obamawhitehouse.archives.gov)
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Valerie Jarrett on Charlie Rose
- "Valerie Jarrett collected news and commentary". The New York Times.
- Works by or about Valerie Jarrett in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
as Director of the Office of Public Liaison
| Director of the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs
as Director of the Office of Public Liaison
| Senior Advisor to the President
Served alongside: Brian Deese, Shailagh Murray