Valerie Jarrett
Former Senior Advisor, Obama Administration
Call 424.288.2898

Biography Print Bio

Valerie B. Jarrett is a senior advisor to the Obama Foundation and Attn and a Senior Distinguished Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School. She also serves on the boards of Ariel Investments, 2U, Lyft, and the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.

Ms. Jarrett was the longest serving Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama. She oversaw the Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs and Chaired the White House Council on Women and Girls. Ms. Jarrett worked throughout her tenure at the White House to mobilize elected officials, business and community leaders, and diverse groups of advocates. She led the Obama Administration’s efforts to expand and strengthen access to the middle class, and boost American businesses and our economy. She championed the creation of equality and opportunity for all Americans, and economically and politically empowering women in the United States and around the world. She oversaw the Administration’s advocacy for workplace policies that empower working families, including equal pay, raising the minimum wage, paid leave, paid sick days, workplace flexibility, and affordable childcare, and led the campaigns to reform our criminal justice system, end sexual assault, and reduce gun violence.

Ms. Jarrett has a background in both the public and private sectors. She served as the Chief Executive Officer of The Habitat Company in Chicago, Chairman of the Chicago Transit Board, Commissioner of Planning and Development, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. She also served as the director of numerous corporate and not-for-profit boards including Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Stock Exchange, Chairman of the University of Chicago Medical Center Board of Trustees, and Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Ms. Jarrett has also received numerous awards and honorary degrees, including TIME’s “100 Most Influential People.”

Jarrett received her B.A. from Stanford University in 1978 and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1981.

Speech Topics

  • Put Yourself in the Path of Lightning
    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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