MAKERS Profile

Valerie Jarrett

Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama

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Valerie Jarrett talks about growing up in Iran, studying law school, and switching gears to pursue a rewarding career in politics.
As the Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett oversees the Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, and chairs the White House Council on Women and Girls.   During her career at the White House, she has helped diverse groups of advocates behind efforts to strengthen and improve access to middle class and to champion equality and opportunity for all Americans. She continues to work on campaigns to end sexual assault, and on workplace policies that empower working families and promote entrepreneurship and early childhood education.   Prior to serving in the White House, Jarrett was 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.   Prior to that, she served as Co-Chair of the Obama-Biden Presidential Trans Team, and the director of 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.   Jarrett received her bachelor's degree in psychology from Stanford University in 1978 and received a Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School in 1981. 

More From Valerie

We Should Own Our Choices
Valerie Jarrett talks about how she balanced motherhood with her career.

The President Is Definitely a Feminist
Valerie Jarrett talks about how Barack Obama's early experiences in his life gave him a unique perspective of the plight of women in society.

The Best Decision I Ever Made
Valerie Jarrett talks about what it was like leaving her career in law to pursue public policy.

A Moment I'll Never Forget
Valerie Jarrett shares what it was like being witness to Obama's victory speech in Grant Park, Chicago, upon being elected the 44th president in November 2008.

There Is a Whole Big World Out There
Valerie Jarrett talks about how growing up in Iran and London gave her a greater appreciation for the States.