10 Things You Didn't Know About Valerie Jarrett

Jarrett is a senior adviser to President Obama.

FE_DA_090403jarrett.jpg
By SHARE

1. Valerie Jarrett was born Nov. 14, 1956, in Shiraz, Iran, where her parents, James and Barbara Bowman, lived for six years. Her father, a doctor, was working in Iran as part of a program that sent American physicians to developing countries.

2. The family also lived for a year in London before settling in the Hyde Park area of Chicago.

3. Jarrett's great-grandfather, Robert Robinson Taylor, was the first African-American to graduate from MIT.

4. Jarrett did her undergraduate work at Stanford and received her law degree from the University of Michigan.

5. In 1983, she married a friend from childhood, William Robert Jarrett, who was a doctor and the son of Chicago Sun-Times columnist Vernon Jarrett.

6. The couple divorced in 1988, and Jarrett's ex-husband died in 1993 from a heart attack. Their only child, Laura, is studying law at Harvard.

7. Jarrett worked with two private law firms. She eventually specialized in commercial real estate.

8. She went to work in the city of Chicago's Law Department under Mayor Harold Washington and held a series of positions under Mayor Richard M. Daley.

9. Most recently, she was CEO of the Habitat Co., a real estate management and development firm in Chicago.

10. She met Barack Obama in 1991 when he accompanied his fiancée, Michelle Robinson, to a dinner with Jarrett as part of Michelle's job interview for a position in the mayor's office. Michelle got the job, and the three have been friends ever since.

Sources:

  • Vogue
  • Chicago Tribune
  • Chicago Sun-Times
  • Washington Post
  • New York Times
  • White House