City Club of Chicago: Valerie Jarrett
April 3, 2017
Valerie B. Jarrett was the longest serving Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama. She oversaw the Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, and she chaired the White House Council on Women and Girls.
Throughout her tenure at the White House, Jarrett worked 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 to boost American businesses and our economy. She championed the creation of equality and opportunity for all Americans, and she fought to empower women economically and politically in the United States and around the world. Jarrett 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. She also led the campaigns to reform our criminal justice system, end sexual assault, and reduce gun violence.
Jarrett has a background in both the public and private sectors. She served as CEO of The Habitat Company in Chicago, Chairman of the Chicago Transit Board, Commissioner of Planning and Development, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Richard M. Daley. She also served as the director of numerous corporate and not-for-profit boards, including as 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 has also received numerous awards and honorary degrees, including TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.
After growing up in Chicago, Jarrett received her BA from Stanford University in 1978 and her JD from the University of Michigan Law School in 1981.