Valerie Jarrett is a lawyer, businesswoman, and politician who served as senior advisor to President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017. Jarrett was born to American parents who were living in Iran and spent much of her childhood traveling abroad. In 1963, her family settled in Chicago; Jarrett went on to receive her B.A. from Stanford University in 1978 and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1981. She worked in corporate real estate law until 1987, but moved into politics when she became deputy counselor for finance and development in the administration of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington. Following Washington’s death, Jarrett remained with the mayor’s office working for his successor, Mayor Richard M. Daley, first as chief of staff and later as a planning commissioner. In 1991, while working in Daley’s administration, Jarrett hired the then-Michelle Robinson, fiance to Barack at the time, as an assistant. From there, both a personal and professional relationship was born with the Obamas. Jarrett served as the finance chair of Obama’s 2004 Senate campaign and was treasurer of his political action committee. During Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, she served as an advisor, and following his election, as co-chair of his transition team. Jarrett was then appointed senior advisor to the president and held this position for the length of Obama’s presidency. Following the Obama presidency, Jarrett went on to write a memoir, Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward (2019). She currently serves as President to the Obama Foundation.
"Your legacy will be determined by more than what you simply accomplish, but also by what you do for society." Valerie Jarrett