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Valerie Jarrett '74

In August 2008, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric interviewed Valerie Jarrett '74, presidential candidate Barack Obama's senior advisor — and one of his and wife Michelle's closest friends. Jarrett was also featured that fall in October's Vogue. After the historic election, President Obama named Jarrett his senior advisor, assistant to the president for intergovernmental relations and public liaison, and head of a new panel on women and girls.

Some say Jarrett has been one of Obama's most important mentors. According to journalist Jodi Kantor in a New York Times article published on March 24, 2008: "If someone were to rank the long list of people who helped Barack and Michelle Obama get where they are today, Jarrett would be close to the top.

Nearly two decades ago, Ms. Jarrett swept the young lawyers under her wing, introduced them to a wealthier and better-connected Chicago than their own, and eventually secured contacts and money essential to Mr. Obama's long-shot Senate victory."

For a quick summary of Jarrett's impressive résumé, see the April 3, 2009 U.S. News & World Report post, "10 Things You Didn't Know About Valerie Jarrett."

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