Prominent Chicago businesswoman Desiree Rogers will be named the White House social secretary, according to a series of news reports. The 49-year-old Harvard MBA will be the first African-American to hold the post.
From the Washington Post:
Rogers, 49, is a friend of Michelle and President-elect Barack Obama's, and a leader in Chicago corporate and civic circles; her appointment signals that the first couple consider the job crucial to how they introduce themselves to the country and the globe. She was a major fundraiser for Obama.
"This appointment sends a strong message that the Obamas want to use the White House strategically, to maximize its use in a way that is consistent with their philosophy -- [to] open it to a broader range of people, " said Valerie Jarrett, an Obama intimate and friend of Rogers's who also will work in the White House. "Desirée is a heavy hitter -- she comes with her own range of contacts from around the country. She's close to Michelle and she knows everyone who will be working in the West Wing, so she will be able to create a synergy."
Rogers will join the White House from Allstate Financial, where she was creating a social network of clients and consumers. She was previously the president of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas.
From the Chicago Tribune:
Rogers, who studied at Wellesley College and later earned an MBA from Harvard, was once married to Chicagoan John Rogers, Ariel Capital Management chief and another close Obama friend and fundraiser.
Her first highly visible post was in state government. She managed the lottery for then-Gov. Jim Edgar in the '90s, appearing on TV giving away pots of money.
Rogers was briefed on the job last week by a former Clinton White House social secretary, the Washington Post reports.