Podcast | Valerie Jarrett’s road from Chicago to Obama’s White House

The former senior adviser to President Obama discusses the journey from her childhood in 1960s Chicago to her role in the administration of the nation's first Black president.

Valerie Jarrett and Jamelle Bouie talk

Valerie Jarrett, right, shares her experiences with New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie before a packed house at the Crosscut Festival on May 4, 2019. (Sarah Hoffman/Crosscut) 

Few people know the Obamas as well as Valerie Jarrett. She first met Michelle Obama in 1991, when she interviewed the young lawyer, then named Michelle Robinson, for a job in Chicago city government. From there, Jarrett grew to be the Obamas' most trusted personal confidante — a relationship that went all the way to the White House. Jarrett was President Barack Obama's longest-serving senior adviser. She oversaw the offices of public engagement and intergovernmental affairs and chaired the White House Council on Women and Girls. In her memoir, Finding My Voice : My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward, Jarrett shares insights from the Obama White House, as well as her own powerful journey. For this episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, we invited Jarrett to discuss that journey with New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie.

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