(PHOTO by Ayana Bass: Doni Glover, Valerie Jarrett, Esquire, & J. Howard Henderson, CEO of the Greater Baltimore Urban League.)
(BALTIMORE – April 28, 2017) – I have to take moment from the hustle and bustle to acknowledge meeting one of the finest leaders this nation has ever known, Valerie Jarrett.
I first had the opportunity to meet her at the White House in June 2010. Of course, she didn’t remember. After all, she had a nation to run. And since then, she has been consistently toiling in the vineyard to help make a difference in this nation.
To say the least, she is the main reason I attended this year’s Greater Baltimore Urban League Gala at the Baltimore Hilton. Always a classy affair, meeting Jarrett just made it that much sweeter.
For the uninitiated, Valerie June Jarrett (née Bowman; born November 14, 1956) is a lawyer, businesswoman, and civic leader. She served as the Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama and Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs from January 20, 2009 to January 20, 2017. Prior to that, she served as a co-chair of the Obama–Biden Transition Project.
Steeped in politics, this is one of the most dynamic women this country has ever produced. And that’s really not difficult to digest when one considers that she comes from good stock. For instance, one of her maternal great grandfathers was Robert Robinson Taylor, the first black enrolled in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Further, she has served in Mayor Harold Washington’s administration, as well as that of Richard Daley. Michelle Obama, prior to marrying Barack Obama, worked for her. The rest, pretty much, is history.
Well, actually – being a huge fan of business, I should indeed mention she has also served as CEO of The Habitat, a real estate development and management company. Currently, her life includes providing her expertise at The Obama Foundation (www.obama.org).
The Obama Foundation was established in January 2014 to carry on the great, unfinished project of renewal and global progress. Officially established as an operating, 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, the Foundation is governed by a volunteer board of directors chaired by civic leader Martin Nesbitt.
In the near future, the Foundation will oversee the design and construction of the Obama Presidential Center to be designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects | Partners and Interactive Design Architects in Jackson Park on the South Side of Chicago.
When it’s complete, the Center will include a library holding the Presidential archives, a museum focusing on the Obama Presidency and issues of our time, and space for ongoing programs and initiatives that advance our mission.