29 Powerful Women in the White House Share Their Secrets of Success

By Amy Elisa Jackson

It looks like Beyoncé was absolutely right!

"Who runs the world? Girls!"

To be more accurate, successful, savvy, and stay-on-it-til-it’s-done women. In the new issue of Essence Magazine, there's a stunning feature "Women of the White House" that captures the dynamic black women responsible for keeping President Obama's administration running.

And yet another 'Yoncé anthem comes to mind — "Bow down!"


Yes, we were hugely in awe of these women who range in age from 23 (Jordan Metoyer, Assistant to the Deputy Director & Senior Advisor to the Office of Management & Budget Director) to 58 (Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President). And it’s not just that they work in the White House that has us impressed, it’s the lessons they’ve learned over the past seven years of the Obama administration that have us super motivated.

Here are their personal mottos and secrets of success that were so good we just had to jot them down!

"Never take a job that doesn’t terrify [you]. Those are the jobs worth doing." —Adaeze Enekwechi, Associate Director for Health, Office of Management and Budget

"You may not be your college valedictorian, but being present and contributing will earn you a spot on this team." —Desiree Barnes, Press Assistant & Senior Wrangler

"Truth will prevail regardless of the opposition and enormity of the challenge." —Ashley Etienne, Special Assistant to the President & Cabinet Communications Director

“I’ve learned to be patient, thorough and deliberate." —Carrie Twigg, Director of Public Engagement for Vice President Joe Biden

"My parents always taught me to work hard and to never give a halfhearted performance." —Susan Rice, National Security Advisor

"When women succeed, America succeeds." —Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President

"Always be yourself. It sounds cliché, but as you get older, it becomes clear what being yourself truly means." —Deesha Dyer, Special Assistant to the President & Social Secretary

"Never take anything for granted." —Katherine Branch, Director of Special Projects for the Office of Public Engagement & The Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

"A college professor told me, 'Dream, but don’t sleep.'"—Kristin Jones, Special Assistant & Director of Special Projects for First Lady Michelle Obama

"The amount of good a person can do is limited only by her creativity and effort." —Adrienne Harris, Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy

Read the remaining secrets of success from all of these remarkable women in the new issue of Essence Magazine on newsstands now!

Listen to Valerie Jarrett talk about President Obama's beliefs on women's equality and political efforts to fight for it. Watch her full MAKERS profile here.

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Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images; Kwaku Alston / Courtesy of Essence