Birthday: November 14, 1956
Age: 63 Years, 63 Year Old Females
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Also Known As: Valerie B Jarrett, Valerie June Jarrett
Born in: Shiraz
Famous as: Lawyer
Height: 1.68 m
political ideology: Political party - Democratic Party
Spouse/Ex-: William Jarrett
father: James E. Bowman
mother: Barbara T. Bowman
education: University of Michigan Law School, Stanford University, Northfield Mount Hermon School
Valerie Jarrett is a senior White House officer and a Chicago lawyer and businesswoman. She is referred to as Mr. Obama’s spine. Ever since she was appointed as Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs after Barack Obama’s victory in the presidential elections, her job has been considered vague and unclear, except for the fact that she is the most influential person in the White House. She started off her career as a corporate and real-estate lawyer before plunging into politics and eventually becoming the most powerful black woman in the history of White House. Among all the officials working under Obama administration, she is probably the most controversial figure, mainly because of her closeness with the Obamas, which is why she is often regarded as a motherly figure or big sister to the Obamas. Her bonding with President Obama dates back to Chicago even before he thought of a career in politics. This Iranian-born communist sympathizer has served as a member and headed various educational and real estate organizations, apart from chairing and co-chairing a number of councils related to the protection of students from sexual assault and welfare of women and girls
Childhood & Early Life
Valerie Jarrett was born as Valerie June Bowman Jarrett on November 14, 1956, in Shiraz, Iran, to African-American expatriates James E. Bowman and Barbara Taylor Bowman, a childhood development expert.
She spent most of her childhood traveling abroad since her father was a pathologist and geneticist who helped developing countries in setting up health care systems, as part of a US aid program.
In 1961, the family moved to London, after which they traveled to Chicago in 1963 and settled in Hyde Park neighborhood.
She completed her schooling from Northfield Mount Hermon School in 1974 and graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1978.
She earned her Juris Doctorate in law from the University of Michigan Law School in 1981.
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She started practicing law at a Chicago-based private firm after graduating in 1981, which she continued till 1987, until her daughter’s birth.
In 1987, she entered politics as Deputy Corporation Counsel for Finance and Development under Chicago’s first black mayor, Harold Washington.
After Washington’s sudden death in 1991, she continued to work under the newly-appointed Richard Daley as deputy chief of staff, during which she recruited Michelle Robinson, the then-fiancé of Barack Obama.
She ended her tenure under Daley as city planning commissioner in 1995 to enter real-estate development and management firm, The Habitat Company, of which she later became the CEO and President.
She served as the chairperson of Chicago Transit Authority during 1995-2003 and chaired the board of Chicago Stock Exchange from 2004 through 2007.
Her association with Barack Obama started in 2004 while serving as the finance chair for his senate campaign and thereafter, became the treasurer of his political action committee.
In November 2008, after the successful presidential elections, she was selected as the co-chairperson of Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team.
She landed herself into controversy in March 2015 after media claimed that she leaked the details of Hilary Clinton’s use of private email address for official business purpose, which was allegedly order by President Obama himself.
She has served as chairman of the University of Chicago Medical Center’s Board of Trustees, vice-chairman of the University of Chicago’s Board of Trustees, and trustee of Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.
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Her known stints also include as member of board of directors of Chicago-based building-materials enterprise, USG Corporation.
Her other leadership positions include chairperson of the White House of Olympic, Paralympic, and Youth Sport and the White House on Women and Girls.
She was appointed as Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, handling public engagement, urban affairs and intergovernmental affairs at the White House, in November 2008.
She is believed to have advised President Obama to cancel the killing of al-Qaeda leader and terrorist, Osama bin Laden, three times in 2011 in the wake of the probable political damage, just in case the mission failed.
Despite little experience in international affairs, she was found to be making secret negotiations with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s representatives in order to stabilize relations between the two nations, in October 2011.
Awards & Achievements
She has been listed among Chicago’s ‘100 best networked’ by Muckety.com, a journalism website.
Personal Life & Legacy
She got married to childhood friend, William Robert Jarrett, son of Chicago Sun-Times reporter Vernon Jarrett, in 1983, with whom she had a daughter, Laura. The couple separated in 1987 and ended their relationship with a divorce in 1988.
According to certain sources, the net worth of Valerie Jarrett lies between $3.3 million and $13 million.
Besides being an aide to the US President Barack Obama, she has been known by various nicknames – ‘motherly figure’, ‘big sister’, ‘First Friend’, and ‘the other half of Obama’s brain’.
Her alliance with President Obama goes back to 1991 when she interviewed Michelle Obama and the three bonded over dinner as part of the job interview, becoming best of friends forever.
Her maternal great-grandfather, Robert Robinson Taylor, was the first African-American to secure a degree from MIT, while her maternal grandfather, Robert Taylor, was the first African-American to head the Chicago Housing Authority.