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(Applause.) >> TINA TCHEN: Well, hello, Chicago! (Applause and Laughter) >> VALERIE JARRETT: No place like home, right? >> TINA TCHEN: Yeah, there’s no place like home Well, thank you Allison for that great introduction and we’re glad to be home and we are also really excited. So you all are in for a treat because this is the book event that not only has Valerie Jarrett but also has Laura Jarrett (Applause.) >> LAURA JARRETT: Thank you Tina We got Laura for the first part of our conversation and then me and Valerie and I have to say that, I’ll try to say this without getting overly emotional but this is a wonderful book, my friend >> VALERIE JARRETT: Thank you >> TINA TCHEN: It really is It’s a wonderful, wonderful book For those who haven’t read it yet you’re in for a treat, really a journey and finding your voice and messages for women of all ages It’s not just young women, I know that was a big part of your audience but it touches all women and I want to start, because you have an amazing family, you two, an amazing family history And there’s a part in the book where you visually we can all imagine, because you’re in that part where you’re looking at the portraits of your family that goes all the way back, and these generations of amazing people, and the expectations that you felt, and I want to ask, first, Valerie, what was it like to be part of that incredible family and then for Laura, what was your experience being part of that incredible family? >> VALERIE JARRETT: Well, first of all, good evening, everybody Laura and I are so happy to be back home There is no place like home, and to be a block from where I grew up with my cousins who are here tonight, just it feels wonderful So as Tina mentioned, my grandmother and my Aunt Juanita had incredible photographs of our family history and sometimes when we weren’t playing and torturing one other as kids I would pause and look at these portraits and figure out what life was like for them and one of my ancestors that always struck me as the one whenever I was nervous about doing something I would think about him and that’s my great grandfather and his name was Robert Robinson Taylor and he was the son of a man born a slave in Wilmington, North Carolina and when his father was freed he started earning money as a carpenter and saved enough money to send his son to MIT and so he was the first African American to graduate from MIT in 1892, and I use try to imagine (Applause.) that’s pretty cool That’s pretty cool. Thank you What was that like getting on that train and what did his father think, having come from such humble beginnings to see the progress in that arc and I thought about what was it like for the white students at MIT who probably had never had a black colleague before Were they kind to him? Did he feel isolated? What was going on in his mind? So whenever I was scared I would start to think about him or another great great grandfather who was in the Louisiana legislature and gave a speech on the floor imploring his colleagues to integrate the rail system And he said in very personal terms, so it’s okay for a black maid or housekeeper or baby sitter to ride along in the train car with your children, but I as your colleague in the legislature can’t do that Well, he was unsuccessful in making that argument, but I just thought about what courage that took so in a way it made me feel anything was possible and I had nothing to complain about and another way, oh, my goodness, how could I possibly ever live up to those expectations So Laura, how did it make you feel? You looked at those same photographs >> LAURA JARRETT: So like my mother, I am also an only child but I never felt lonely and I think that is in large part due to our family which is out in full force as usual here tonight, and we are known to have big family dinners on Sundays, which my grandmother still convenes even at 90 She somehow still- >> TINA TCHEN: I’ve witnessed those >> LAURA JARRETT: Insists on cooking Even when some of us wish we could chip in >>TINA TCHEN: There’s some tag along like me who aren’t really in the family >> LAURA JARRETT: Everyone was welcome It’s an open door policy Whoever glommed on that day gets to come and I think as an only child, it’s such a great feeling to always know that you have backup, and so I was lucky not only to have an amazing mother, but also to have grandparents that lived so close by so when she had to work late at night, I always had somewhere to go And I also had a sitter, Elma Brown who she writes about extensively

in the book and she leans on as a source of support and she talks about how she was able to breathe and go to work because she knew Mrs. Brown would be there and she worried about what would happen if Mrs Brown didn’t show up on time but she always there like clock work so I was lucky to have that foundation of support of family and extended family from day one, and even family from all of her buddies at the city all some of who are here, Kathy Branch, Susan, I would go to work with her on the weekends and sort of play office (Laughs) and run around City Hall, knowing that everyone was welcoming and there was no shame in bringing your kids to work because you had to work on a Saturday >> TINA TCHEN: So while we have you both, I want to talk about your parents, Valerie because you have two really special parents And Laura, especially I want to hear about your relationship, with your grandparents and especially with your grandfather, because for those of us who knew him, he was incredibly, incredibly special but to have him as a role model and a dad, the way you write about him in the book and going to go Paris, that wonderful Paris trip but then your relationship, Laura with him and how he was there, the guy going early to pick you up from school every day >>L AURA JARRETT: Every single day, even once I had a driver’s license he still picked me up and took me to school every day >> VALERIE JARRETT: And he got there an hour early so he made my mother and I not look so good because when we did pick her up on the rare occasions we’d come coasting in at the last minute when you come in at the last minute you’re a block and a half away and my father said to us as he chastised us for not being an hour early, when she comes out of the school, I want to be the first person she sees I never want her to wonder whether or not I’m going to be there and my mother and I were like, well She knows where we’ll will be, down the block a little way >>LAURA JARRETT: But part of it is he clearly felt a sense of responsibility Knowing that my mom was a single mom and he felt like he needed to step up And I’m not sure that all fathers would be able to do that We were lucky enough that he was at a time in his career where he had retired and so I sort of got the benefit of having him at that stage in life, and got to have a special relationship with him going to school every day and having that special time where it was just the two of us, and in writing my college essay I wrote about those rides back and forth and some of the lessons he imparted to me and sometimes it was the things that were unsaid that were probably the best, and he sort of knew when to push and when to kind of shut up and when was a good time to lean in with a lesson and when to back up a little bit in a way that my mom and grandmother would just sort of beat you over the head with He sort of had a delicate approach, but we were just so lucky to have someone who was such a rock and who you could rely on There was nothing he wouldn’t do for you it was always just complete unconditional love >> VALERIE JARRETT: That’s true both of them. My mother is not here because at 90 she’s still at work and she made it perfectly clear she had class to teach and so she’d catch me tomorrow when I do some events tomorrow I’m telling you, that’s my mom. But they complemented each other and I think what they did for the both of us and what I think they tried to do for the rest of our family is unconditional love, coupled with very high expectations and a safety net when you stumble and fall and they encouraged us to take risks and they said go out there and find your passion and figure out what it is you want to do with your life and if you stumble, we’ll be here for you and that allowed me to breathe, it allowed me to leave a job I did not like, working for a big corporate law firm, making plenty of money and having a great office and a pretty fancy life by anybody else’s measure, but one that made me miserable I’m sorry if I’ve offended any of the corporate lawyers here >> TINA TCHEN: We have this conversation all the time I stayed in the law, right? >> VALERIE JARRETT: She loved it >> LAURA JARRETT: I did not >> VALERIE JARRETT: And Laura tried it and then she did not But it’s hard when you have like a plan, and you’re sticking to your plan and in my case it was kind of the path of least resistance, because in law school, they make it so easy to go to a big firm and I did kind of all the things that were easy I married the boy next door. That was easy. That didn’t work out either And so here I am with that not working out and the law firm’s not working out, and I took this leap of faith because a good friend of mine said why don’t you think about doing something more important than just focusing on yourself Something that gives back to the city that you love so much and Alvin Charity had been working at the city for Harold Washington,

Harold Washington had just been reelected and he encouraged me to go to the city and my parents thought it was a crazy idea and in fact my mom took me to work the first day and she said I can’t believe I paid all that tuition for you to go do this with your life. And I remember I walked in my office, this little cubicle with a window facing the alley and I felt like I was where I belonged and I knew even though my parents thought the decision was a nutty one that they would support me financially and emotionally to take this chance >>TINA TCHEN: Laura, you kind of did the same thing Like I was in one job for 23 years. The next job for eight years of the Obama administration, then I went back to law I am not the courage swerve my career person, but you did the same thing I remember we had a lunch when you were thinking about and I’m the person stay at the law firm Make partner Not the advice she took So talk to us though about your change Because it was a big switch You left law and now you’re on national TV breaking news from the DOJ all the time >> LAURA JARRETT: And it’s funny, because reading my mom’s book, it’s eerie how similar I felt She describes in the opening pages, at her fancy office, in Willis tower, and she’s looking out the window and she sort of contemplating her life, and she’s crying because she’s miserable and she’s thinking, this can’t be all that there is This can’t be my life And I remember having so many similar feelings, being at the law firm, feeling like is this all there is? Like there’s got to be more than this And it’s so amazing to have gone through that exact same thing, even though having grown up with her telling me, you can do whatever you want you don’t need to feel boxed in to one particular career path Take chances, she was always encouraging me to try to think as broadly as possible and I was obviously given all the opportunities in the world, yet I still felt like I had to have that plan and I needed to stick with the plan so I think the book will resonate with people who just need a little push, and they just need to have somebody to give them permission, and thankfully she’s always had my back and always given me permission to take chances and finally just being miserable is such a great motivator You get to the point (Laughter.) where you just can’t take it anymore so I decided I was at a point where my husband and I didn’t have a kid yet, and we had no more student loans, and we thought, okay, this is our chance, if we don’t take it now, we’re never going to have the courage to do it We have the golden handcuffs forever, we’re not going to want to make the move so I decided to leave the law firm and jump into cable news in September of 2016, before a very important election (Laughter.) >> TINA TCHEN: And her beat by the way is the Justice Department >> VALERIE JARRETT: She thought she would be covering a different Justice Department than the one, but this has been a real challenge and exciting opportunity for you, right? >>LAURA JARRETT: If I hadn’t taken that chance then, I don’t think I would ever have had the courage to do it I think you have to try to jump at a moment where you have a little bit of that safety net, but I think if I had waited, I would have always regretted it >>TINA TCHEN: Two last questions before we lose Laura. One is tell us here in Chicago what it is like to be in DC these days, reporting from the DOJ on CNN >> LAURA JARRETT: It’s not boring (Laughter.) >> VALERIE JARRETT: A day in the life >> LAURA JARRETT: Part of the reason I took the job and I took the jump, Tina, was honestly because I got to a point at the law firm where I wasn’t learning anything anymore and I thought this can’t be at 30 where I feel like I know how every single day is going to go for the rest of my entire life here I can just see it, and it’s boring (Laughter.) And I didn’t quite know how exciting what I was signing up for was going to be I couldn’t possibly have predicted that I would be covering a consequential investigation of my generation But I’m sure glad that I took that risk and that I took that jump, and I’m sure glad that I chose cable, because there’s so much time all day long, they actually need to put you on TV, and so they’re willing to to take a chance on somebody, because they need to fill the time so I am in the hot seat literally chained to my booth at the Justice Department because at any moment, someone could get fired, someone could get indicted, something really bad could happen and I get to be there for it >>TINA TCHEN: And she’s breaking the news For those of you who aren’t watching, Laura Jarrett is breaking news from DOJ And so my last question, so as you know, your mom and I share the fact that we were single working moms, I remember you at little age two and three, we were watching Bulls games with Patrick and you, and as working moms,

we worried all that time, right? We worried about what we were doing, how are we going to turn out? There’s probably young parents out there who had the same thing. Now here you are Now you can actually tell us, right? What was it like to have the working mom that you did and how did that influence your life and where you are now? >>LAURA JARRETT: Part of what I didn’t appreciate, I think, and with the book, I think really try to explore how much guilt she was carrying around about having to work I had no appreciation for the fact that she felt this burden about going to work every day, because that was all I grew up with, that was all I knew, I thought that was perfectly normal and I never expected her to be waiting at home with cookies when I got home I expected that I would take care of myself, see her later, maybe have takeout and watch Seinfeld and that would be the end of the night But the book really shows how so many working moms are carrying around all of this guilt and I just hope that after reading it, someone and maybe there are people in the audience who can just let that go Your kids don’t care Your kids have their own lives No one is worried about the fact that you’re working, go to work Or not, if you don’t want to I jut hope that there are again I hope that the book gives women permission to just do what they want to do and going to work gave her so much pleasure and you can tell she gets so much joy out of serving her community and joining the Washington administration and if she had stayed at that law firm, she would have been miserable and if she had stayed with me at home she would have been miserable, and so I’m glad that she found her own path and her own life >> TINA TCHEN: And tell us an example, as people can tell, Laura is about to become a mom (Laughter.) We’re all very excited about this And is that a lesson you’re thinking about as you get ready to become a mom? >> LAURA JARRETT: Yeah. I don’t think I feel guilty about that I’m sure that once I have this baby, I will struggle with some of the same things that she did in the book, but I look forward to showing my child an example of somebody who is able to have their own life, right? I’m having a baby, but it’s not going to define me and it’s not going to be the only thing, and I want the child, he or she, to see an example of a working mom who is not having it all I don’t think that that’s the goal But for them to see that you can forge your own path and you’re going to get it wrong sometimes and that’s okay >> TINA TCHEN: So I just got to tell you, on behalf of your mom and all of your mom’s friends who watched you grow up, we are so proud of you, Laura Jarrett Thank you, thank you >> LAURA JARRETT: Have fun, now you can ask her the hard questions >> TINA TCHEN: Laura Jarrett (Applause.) Now I’m a little misty >> VALERIE JARRETT: So proud of her She’s all grown up She was never very shy, but like I was When she was three she would introduce herself in the elevator and say hi, my name is Laura Jarrett, what is your name and I’d go I can’t believe she’s talking to strangers and her fourth grade teacher am I right, was she not an outgoing kid? >> TINA TCHEN: Finding Your Voice is the title of the book and there’s all sorts of examples on finding your voice And I want to pluck out one, back to City Hall days that you talk about and we’ve talked about this point before but you really describe it in the book in a way that really brings it to life and it’s something I’m still in awe of, and that’s the day when you went to Jud Miner, our friend, the corporation counsel, and did something that so few women really do and that is go in there, stand up for yourself, and demand a promotion. So tell us about that >> VALERIE JARRETT: All right. So (Laughter.) When I joined city government, I just went in as a staff attorney I didn’t have any title. I was so anxious to get out of that law firm I didn’t care about title or any of that kind of stuff and I had the good fortune of being in the law department and my primary client worked in the mayor’s office so I was doing finance and development matters in the law department and she was in charge of finance and development in the mayor’s office, and she took me under her wing Her name is Lucille Dobbins, and she was introduced to me my Alvin Charity, the person who talked me into going into city government, and he said look out for Valerie, she’s so miserable, she needs someone to buck her up and my confidence wasn’t what it should have been and Lucille supported me more than I could have mentioned Crazy things because, like finally I worked up the nerve

because she was intimidating. There were a lot of folks scared to death of her Investment bankers would wither in front of her and I watched all of that, so I said you know what, Lucille, I got to start trying to get home by bedtime and there’s this misconception that people who work in the public sector don’t work hard Let me tell you, public servants are public servants they work very hard and my hours were long so I said I’ll work after dinner but I have to go home and put Laura to bed And Lucille said you live on my way home, how about you get a head start put Laura to bed and I’ll come by and we’ll work from your house What client does that for you? It was crazy I did start fixing her dinner too So she got something out of it But it enabled me to have a little bit more flexibility but what Tina is alluding to is after a couple of years of working together, one afternoon, we were sitting in Alvin Charity’s conference room and Alvin continued to be outside counsel after he had left his job at the city and out of nowhere, Lucille said, you know, you should go and ask Jud for a promotion and I looked at her like she was crazy and she said, come to think of it, you should ask for a double promotion Your boss should report to you I thought she lost her mind And I said, Lucille, there’s no way I’m going to do that I’m sure when Jud thinks I’m worthy of a promotion he’ll give me one He’s not thinking of you, you better go in there and fight for yourself I put it completely out of my mind I thought that’s ridiculous Well, every four or five days, every week, Lucille would say, have you talked to Jud, have you talked to Jud? Finally I thought I’m going to get this over with so she stops bugging me because I kept thinking she was getting disappointed with me So I finally made an appointment to see him and I had my notes about why I deserve this double promotion, all of which I thought was ludicrous and I make my case and Jud is looking at me over his eyeglasses the whole time doesn’t say a word and then he looks up and he goes okay (Laughter.) And I said, okay? And I said, well, and I think there’s an empty office up by your front suite of three offices, I think I ought to move in there He looks at me like I’m nuts, he said Valerie, you’re low on the totem pole, there are deputies with more seniority than you, and I said but you don’t have a woman there and I think it would be good for you to make it look like you support diversity I don’t know where all this came from Why don’t I just move in He said no, who are you going to put in there, he said I haven’t made up my mind I said how about this, I’ll go move in and then when you pick somebody, I promise I’ll move out Well, you know I never moved out (Laughter.) Never moved out (Applause.) So I come back and I tell my best buddy, Susan Kerlin who also came from a private law firm, way over credentialed with more experience and I said, Susan, I just asked for a promotion You should go ask for a promotion (Laughter.) And Susan goes I can’t ask for a promotion, when Jud thinks I need a promotion, he’ll give one to me, and I said, Susan, I did it, you can too, and he said yes to Susan as well The interesting part of this story, I think, other than you just have to be your own advocate, is fast forward, and I gave my book to Mrs. Obama’s chief of staff, not Tina, but the one who is her chief of staff now, to read, before we published it, just to make sure that I did some fact checking And so Melissa Winter comes back to me and says the book was great, but I really it seemed too easy when you asked for that promotion It just doesn’t make sense to me So I thought about it, and then I thought let me call the people in the book and warn them about what I say about them in the book before it comes out, I called Lucille and said I haven’t talked to you for a while I want to tell you what’s in the book and explained to her what was in it and I said did you say anything to Jud before I asked for that promotion, and she laughed and said, I might have (Laughter.) I never knew. I thought I did it myself (Laughter.) And it all made perfectly good sense She kept bugging me to do it because she knew when I did do that he would say yes because she had gone and talked to him and advocated for me, so not only was she my mentor, but she advocated for me when I wasn’t in the room and we always need people who will go to bat for us when we aren’t there but she wanted me to have to ask for it So that was an important lesson, so I learned a lot from Lucille (Applause) >> TINA TCHEN: There’s so much in that story And there’s so much in that story and we used to talk about that story a lot in the White House Because one of the things that we worked on was through

the Council on Women and Girls, one of the things that you and I did together for eight years was running the White House council for women and girls in the Obama White House and doing things like starting United State of Women and was the Working Families Agenda and how we need to empower women to go ask, you know, do that We learned a lot of the problems around equal pay are because we don’t ask enough and companies also don’t give it and don’t pay attention to, so let’s be clear, this is not just about women just asking So a lot of your working life really informed a lot of that policy work we were able to do >>VALERIE JARRETT: I think for both of us, because we were working moms, single moms, Tina and I both were, but look at it, we had means. We had good jobs We had health insurance, we had child care, quality child care that we could afford without having to cut something else in our lives, we didn’t have to worry about where our next meal was coming from and yet we still felt like we were hanging on by our fingertips And I’m going to come back to that in a second And it made me think about what about those working families where parents are working a double shift and they don’t leave their children but through no fault of their own in circumstances where they don’t have to worry about them They don’t know how they’re going to make ends meet and I thought shouldn’t we be doing something for those working families, and I also thought intuitively and evidence proved it to be true that if employers really want to hire and retain the best talent possible, shouldn’t they be making it a little bit easier on working families? Shouldn’t they care about equal pay and paid leave We’re the only developed country in the world that doesn’t have a national paid leave policy 43 million Americans don’t have a single paid sick day When if Laura got sick or if there was a Halloween parade, if I didn’t show up, there was nobody there And so I needed to have a job where I had the flexibility to be a mom, and so why shouldn’t everybody have that flexibility? And why should people have to worry about going into an environment where they’re worried about being sexually assaulted or violence or treated horribly, and so we really spent a lot of time looking at these basket of issues we called working family issues and encouraging employers to look at it not as a nice to do for women, but as a business imperative, that’s good for working families, but also makes us globally competitive, ’cause let’s face it, now you can live anywhere in the world, and work from wherever, right? And we’re competing with companies that have great paid leave policies and wonderful benefits, we’re going to lose the talent to them, and so evidence does show that companies that invest, have a more productive, more efficient, more loyal workforce, less turnover and in the private sector, more profitable and then we tried to adopt those policies in probably the most high tension place in the world, the White House And lead my example and the president and the first lady both encouraged everybody in the White House to be a whole person, bring your kids to work with you Let them run around in the Rose garden and play on the jungle gym Demystify what’s happening when they’re not with you, And that was part of the reason I brought Laura to work and Mayor Daley actually taught me a really good lesson It wasn’t so much they mayor He did it by example, but Maggie was the enforcer I had brunch with the Daleys one Sunday and Maggie asked where are you going and I said back to work and she said why do you work on Sunday I have a lot to do, I’m the commissioner of planning and development She goes he’s the mayor, he doesn’t work on Sunday (Laughter.) I don’t let him work on him work on Sundays, and she said you should go home and be with Laura so I did a modification of that because I wasn’t the mayor, and I only went places on Sunday where Laura was not just welcomed but I thought it would be an interesting experience for her and I brought her in the office all of the time And she’s right, she ran up and down the halls and pretended who knows what but she could imagine where I was when I wasn’t with her and the other thing I did which led me to Kathy Branch, and it was a rule, the same my mother had, whenever I called, wherever I was, the call had to be put through, and I had this vivid memory of being a youngster and my mom worked at Chicago child care teaching preschool before she formed Erickson Institute, and I would call her and she’d be in the classroom and whoever would answer the phone would say just a minute and I heard that person walk down the hall and I could hear my mother’s footsteps getting louder and louder She could tell in the first ten seconds if I really needed to talk with her or what was going on but she knew it in my voice and so one time when I had first gotten to the department of planning and development, my assistant before Kathy did not put Laura’s call through and I was in a closed door meeting and I came out and she said Laura called, and I said why didn’t you put the call through? And she said, you were in a meeting And I said but I have a rule, always put Laura through

She said, and Laura was five at the time, she said Laura said it wasn’t important, I said a five year old doesn’t make the determination of what’s important I make that determination And I will know in her voice whether it’s important and if she picks up the phone by definition it’s important And I think trying to figure out ways of giving everybody the empowerment to say that and let’s face it, a vast majority of people in the workplace don’t feel comfortable setting their children in that kind of a priority and we had the privilege of being able to do it and so trying to push the private sector and push employers to understand how important that is, if you want to be a satisfied working parent, not just mom, because fortunately Laura’s generation of men are doing far more than men in my generation or the prior one did and that’s good for them and the relationships with their children I think ultimately it’s good for society >>TINA TCHEN: They need flexibility too >> VALERIE JARRETT: They do And in the White House, starting at the top, and tone does start at the top, we reinforced that message, so when senior women and men took three months of paid maternity or paternity leave, equal for men and women, it sent the message through the organization that that was part of our culture and I think there’s a lot of companies that have rules on their books, but everybody knows you can’t take that time because people will think you’re not committed but we wanted to make sure that you can do that >> TINA TCHEN: We’re continuing that work Through the United State of Women >> VALERIE JARRETT: The White House Council on Women and Girls did not continue in the new administration (Laughter.) Not sure why (Laughter.) We gave a grace period and when it was clear that they were not going to continue and we probably would have done this anyway, Tina and I formed a non for profit called the United State for Women, named after the last summit we had in the summer of 2016 at the White House where we focused on all of the ways in which we tried to improve gender equity over the course of eight years, but more importantly, the work that lies ahead and last summer we had an amazing summit in Los Angeles which culminated in showcasing all of the work that’s going on around the country, and we’ve always believed that change happens on the ground, and it’s great if you have somebody in Washington that helps spur it on but we’re perfectly capable of doing it without them and so that’s a big piece of what Tina and I do now >>TINA TCHEN: The united state of women.org (Applause.) I want a plug (Applause.) I want to talk about race The book has sort of amazing I think observations through the eyes of your parents and then you and then the president, just that generational differences that I think is the real story of race in America and an evolution and you talk about sort of the difference, sort of your mother’s attitude about toughening you up, her disbelief that Senator Obama could ever win that race, and talk about how differently your parents thought about race from the way perhaps you and President Obama thought about race >> VALERIE JARRETT: So I spent time on this and maybe I’ll start at the end and work my way backwards The weekend after the 2008 election, President and Mrs. Obama elect, that’s what they were called, were on 60 minutes, and this is back when 60 minutes was still a really big deal (Laughter.) It was >> TINA TCHEN: We won’t tell 60 minutes that >> VALERIE JARRETT: I meant them being on it was like phenomenal, now he’s been on it I don’t know how many times So it was the first time they had been on it together I’m not slamming 60 minutes I love it. Grew up watching it So my dad was very ill, and he was at Northwestern rehab center and the three of us were there in his hospital room watching them on 60 minutes And they were just magical I don’t know if you remember it like I do but they reminded me of the young couple that I had met back in 1991, full of love for each other, full of respect for each other, sitting next to each other talking about this historic moment and it was so amazing and at the very end of it, you could have heard a pin drop in my dad’s room and my mother looked at me and for those of you who know my mother Anna is laughing already, she knows it well. She works with her She looks at the world like the glass is not half empty but three fourths empty and you have to plan accordingly and think about the worst possible thing that could happen and then if you figure out what to do then, then you’ll be maybe okay, whereas my dad and I are like, I just assume everything is going to work out and if it doesn’t, that’s okay, we’ll bounce back and have another plan and my mother looks at us like we’re from a foreign part of space She looks at me and said, how did you know that he could win? Not even that he would win, but even that he could win

And I said because you raised me to believe that if I worked twice as hard and I had a dream and I went for my dream and I didn’t give up and I was resilient despite all odds and I had a little bit of luck that anything was possible And she said I never believed that (Laughter.) And my father starts to chuckle and he said, yeah, me either (Laughter.) And it was in that moment that I realized that Barbara and Jimmy Bowman had raised me aspirationally, not as the world that they knew and I’ll explain that in a minute but as they hoped it would be for me and although my mother peppered that with doom and gloom could come, she made me think anything was possible and I think a piece of that began when my parents left this country, so when my father and mother married, my father was finishing his residency and joined the army and when he left the army he was in Denver for a couple of years, he tried to find a job at an academic teaching institution in the United States and he couldn’t find one where his pay was equivalent to his white counterparts and so he and my mom are adventuresome spirits to say the least so they started to look at opportunities outside of the United States and neither of them had been any further than Europe and only once on their honeymoon the year after they got married and took my grandmother with so they were not used to wandering the world alone so a position came to their attention that was to start a new hospital in a city called Shiraz Iran and they offered my dad the job of chairman of the department of pathology and against their parents and relatives and everybody saying what are you doing, you can’t pick up and leave, they picked up and left And I was born a year and a half or so later, I was the second baby born in the hospital there, they practiced on some other baby first (Laughter.) We don’t know how that poor child is doing, but I came along second And we lived there till I was five and my father did research on all kinds of research in Iran and he used to always say that he had been invited there by the government of Iran, together with physicians from all over the world to share best practices and he used to correct me when I would ever say, well, were they going to provide western medicine and he said he learned as much from the Iranian doctors as they learned from him, he encountered diseases there that we didn’t have here And so from there his research caught the attention of the guy who ran the Galton labs at the university college of London so after five years my parents decided it was time to start migrating back to the United States for a whole range of reasons so they went to London for a year Sent their dog to come and stay with my grandmother and my cousin Jeff and his parents and siblings, ’cause he couldn’t take a dog, my precious dog to London cause they had to quarantine him and they thought they’d be there in a year but he didn’t know what he would do there after a year, having in the back of his mind what it was like when he left but I will say going to Iran, he stopped being a black doctor He was an American doctor And it was based on merit, and they were glad to have him there, and there was just it was color blind There may have been a lot of other issues in Iran, but color and race were not among them And that’s why I had the beginning of my life was in that environment So once in London he gives a speech about his research at some international conference, and the dean of the University of Chicago Medical Center was at that conference, and offered him a tenured track position right here at the University of Chicago so my dad used to always say to me, sometimes the shortest distance to where you want to go might be the longest way around Now you don’t have to go to the other side of the world to get to what you want, but you have to be willing to and I think it was his first lesson in swerving outside of his comfort zone and that’s where the adventure is and that’s what life is all about, and to feel that, you don’t have to feel fearless, fear is okay, you just have to have the courage to do it, and it changed my life and shaped my view of race so when I came back to the United States and Jeff can tell you this, my goodness, here I am, five years old, fair skin, freckles, red hair, like my cousin Becky who’s here we’re the only red heads in the family They plopped me down at Shoesmith Elementary School Predominantly black public school and I got placed into second grade, two years ahead of myself I got beat up everybody day, for a whole range of reasons I speak with a British accent because one year is enough to have that I’m from a country that nobody had ever heard from, and Jeffrey’s younger sister Lauren who was six years younger and ten pounds lighter had to pull the bullies off of me, which was humiliating, after school and it was a culture shock to me and my parents, particularly for my mom, she’s back home, she’s around the corner from her mom and her sisters and cousins,

and everybody is like this is familiar and to me it was a foreign country, so it took me a minute to kind of get used to it I dropped that accent like the first week (Laughter.) Sadly I stopped speaking Farsi, I wish I kept it up and my mom was speaking it, she was so proud she l earned this new language and it embarrassed me because as a kid I wanted to be like every other kid and I was not like every other kid I had a whole different background and what I try to say to young people is own your story Whatever your story is, own it It’s what makes you who you are, and it took me a while to appreciate that this kind of unusual childhood had so dramatically shaped my perspective on the world I mean I felt like I could play with anybody and then I could work with anybody because I played with people from all over the world as a child and it gave me an appreciation for the United States that sometimes you don’t have if you’ve never been out of it, living in undeveloped country where you have to boil all your liquids and peel all your fruits and vegetables and don’t have the same civil liberties quite frankly that we have here and you learn that the United States is already the greatest country on earth >> TINA TCHEN: It’s already great (Applause.) >> VALERIE JARRETT: But it’s not the only country on earth, and that you can learn a great deal outside of the United States but that wasn’t my parents’ experience They grew up and my dad in segregated Washington, D.C and my mom, segregated Chicago, lived under restrictive covenants where my grandparents had to live only in a certain community and my grandfather managed the Rosenwald building at 46th and Michigan and you had doctors, you had Pullman porters, you had barbers, you had everybody living in the building, mixed in terms of income because everybody had to live in that community, so their frame of reference was very different than the frame of reference that they gave me >> TINA TCHEN: And you sum it up, you have a great line in the book that sums your parents’ experience, but it’s also this bridge to sort of what President Obama was doing and your line is that Black Americans have always been pragmatic revolutionaries Which I thought was so insightful, and as evidence of your dad going to Iran, figuring the other way around to get what he wanted but that also influenced how President Obama approached the White House, right? And his administration >>VALERIE JARRETT: He always said you can’t let perfect be the enemy of the good and that you have to have a vision and you have to stay true to your core values and ideals and you have to have a moral compass that points only in one direction, true north but that you have to be willing to try to get things done and that sometimes change is incremental, almost always change is incremental and I think he got that from really being a pragmatist and people often misinterpreted him, and they thought, well, oh, well you’re giving in or it’s weakness and why are you not going for a hundred percent of what you want? And he’s like in this big diverse country, you’ve got people with all kinds of ideas and we have to have a big inclusive tent which means that you might not get the public option for the Affordable Care Act >> TINA TCHEN: The ACA, yeah >> VALERIE JARRETT: There were lot of critics You have to have a public option It’s the only thing that will work and he said you know what, at the end when he was still getting criticized, 20 million people have health care that didn’t have it before Everybody is covered with preexisting conditions >> VALERIE JARRETT: Young kids can stay on their parents’ plans still they’re 26 Women can get preventive care without a co pay Senior citizens are not forced to gut their medicine in half because they can’t afford it No lifetime or annual caps I can give you the whole shpiel on the Affordable Care Act, but the point is there was a lot of pressure on him, first of all, to quit trying to get it done at all, because it was burning through political capital and it wasn’t popular, and he said this isn’t a popularity contest I’m trying to do something bold and important and there’s never been anything bold that was done in our country that wasn’t without controversy I mean Social Security when it first passed it was controversial Medicare, Medicaid, you name it So he was willing to kind of take on the controversy, but he wasn’t willing to say it has to be my way or the highway, and we spent an enormous amount of time getting caught trying to work with the Republicans because he thought this was important that because people and even now, people are like why would you work with them Well, they represent a part of our country, and he was never just president of his base He was president of the country And that’s the way he thought he had to behave, and the way you work with a country is through their elective representatives and then you also encourage the people to get involved and to participate

and put pressure on their elected representatives too and that doesn’t happen as much as it should >> TINA TCHEN: So we’re going to do a little kind of like our experiences in the White House before we get to questions We’ll do questions in a few minutes Start thinking about questions you all may have and there’s going to be mic runners coming through the audience But some of our shared experiences And one of the ones that I sort of cannot believe you wrote about, but we talked about a lot and lived through is so we were probably the two women among the senior staff, the only two, who went through menopause in the White House (Laughter.) And it was a whole thing. We both had the experience, the whole thing I have a story in the oval, you’re got your stories in the book Talk about us going through menopause in a sea of as Abby Witt and other people will testify, 30 somethings >> VALERIE JARRETT: Well, so the campaign worked in 2008 because we had all of these inspirational young people just like Abby who worked so hard to make magic happen And then we hired them all in the White House, and so Tina and I were two of the oldest people in the White House And we were older obviously than the president and the first lady, and we were older than really 95 percent of the people there, maybe 99 percent of the people there (Laughter.) And I think my hot flashes started like a week before I got there (Laughter.) And you’d sit in a room full of young people and Tina and I had different approaches to hot flashes Mine made me very self conscious and they were always like I feel this sweat going on my face and I thought maybe nobody sees it and I would feel it, well if I feel it, they probably see it so I would creep my hand up and I would say maybe they don’t notice that my hair is soaking wet and stuck to my forehead and one of my painful moments was sitting in the limousine with President Obama going somewhere and he’s from Hawaii so he likes it hot, all the time And so under normal conditions his car was hot and when you’re having a hot flash, it’s really hot (Laughter.) And I sat there and I don’t know what I did because he was reading and I don’t know whether he just felt me squirm or whether I was radiating heat but he reaches down and pulls out a handkerchief and hands it to me and turns the air conditioning on He’s still reading and never said a word But there were other times and would start patting me down in front of a crowd (Laughter.) I would say stop it Just like only a brother could do for you But what Tina and I thought is we should be able to talk about this This is a normal thing that happens to women Women in this room, your moms, your daughters, it happens, and we make women feel uncomfortable being honest about what is happening so we tried to demystify it in the White House and be more open about it and one of the highlights I had a few maybe just last year, the Erikson Institute where my mom works had its 50th anniversary and there was a young woman, not so young woman, named Valerie, my name, who was to introduce my mother and she goes out on the stage, and just as she goes out, because often they’re triggered by public speaking, she starts to have a hot flash and so she’s sweating just like those of you who saw Samantha in what was it ? Sex in the city, thank you Profusely and her opening remarks are hot flashes are the devil (Laughter.) And everybody laughed as they should You should tell your story about being in the Oval Office with a hot flash >> TINA TCHEN: Yes All right, that’s my story, which you can now hear because I’m never writing a book We were in the oval, we were actually thank you God not in a meeting It was a going away party for someone and we’re all standing around and it just comes I’m dripping So I grab a piece of paper and I’m doing this thing and he looks at me and says, you know, you hot? I said I’m having a hot flash Well, the men in the room are kind of a little uncomfortable He’s of course fine Actually some of the younger women were kind of uncomfortable and one of the younger women, we go back out in the outer oval when we’re done, and she said did we just talk about hot flashes in the Oval Office? And I’m like yes, yes, that’s my life That’s what we’re going through, of course we are and that’s what we sort of need to do, about menopause Demystify this >> VALERIE JARRETT: I used humor in my books to get hooks to get people to understand them I think Tina and I were of the age where we really appreciated every single day the privilege of working in the White House, and not Abby, but some of the young people, they worked on the campaign Everybody said he wouldn’t win, he then wins and then they get a job in the White House and they work there a number of years and they’re spoiled They think oh, this is how life is going to be And Tina and I kept saying you guys don’t understand, and several of them would leave and go on to what they thought was like greener pastures You couldn’t have pried Tina and I out of that White House

The last day at about 11:59, Tina, they were pulling our devices out of our hands >> TINA TCHEN: We’re the last ones >>VALERIE JARRETT: The last people to leave We had watched the president and first lady receive the flag flown the first day he was in office and the last day We weren’t prepared for that so we started bawling right away and then we watched the President Elect and vice president elect come in and we’re trying to be wall flowers and not be seen We watched President Obama introduce the new president to the house staff which was very painful to think about Particularly the older black butlers and valets Just imagine they had been there for decades They finally get to work for the first black president, and to see him hand it off was hard for us And we watched them say good bye He took his coat off I was like oh, don’t take that coat off, he can hang up his own coat why do you have to take that coat off for him To myself, it was a bubble, I didn’t say the word out loud and we go to return our stuff and for some kind of macabre humor I don’t know what, we’re walking through the colonnade and they have taken President Obama’s stuff out of the Oval Office, the rug rolled up, the furniture folded, we look at each other, we don’t say a word We’re like oh my gosh, we got to get out of here And then when we give up our devices we look in the Oval Office and it’s no longer our Oval Office, it had different curtains, rugs, furniture And a place that we walked in the door thinking kind of with impostor syndrome, how could we be here on the first day, January 20, 2009, and now we realize it’s no longer our home That’s the way it is. It’s temporary You don’t own it we all own it, but you don’t own it in the sense of working there and then we left >> TINA TCHEN: Talk about the first day though. We did this backwards, but That was the last day and that first week Our first week with Kathy branch as part of that story, what happened it was a Friday. It was the last day of the first work week >> VALERIE JARRETT: Just remember when President Obama took office, we were in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the great depression We’ve got two wars going on You had Osama bin Laden somewhere and we don’t know where he is You have dependence on foreign oil which is skewing our world’s markets and not good for our national security either You have a health care crisis, energy crisis crisis of confidence around the world and here we get plopped down and it’s a start up When we walk in the first day, I don’t like the cold, I didn’t go to the parade, don’t tell anybody that I went inside my office because it was warm inside >> TINA TCHEN: And then you stole the furniture out our offices too >> TINA TCHEN: She stole all the best furniture >> VALERIE JARRETT: I did I was terrible I’m the first one here and my furniture looked ridiculous so Tina’s office was next door to me, I like her desk She won’t ever know that I had her desk so I took her desk and took Cecilia’s something else, but we were drinking out of a fire hose and everything was chaotic and new At the ends of the first week, on a Friday Tina and I were next to each other Tina came in my office, and Tina and Kathy Branch and I had worked together since 1991, from the city to the Habitat Company to the White House, so she’s like my sister my younger sister, I have to say She’s like family. So the three of us who have known each other 30 years practically at that point are all sitting together and laughing and Tina, that laugh, so that’s how she laughs, right? So you could hear her laugh like a mile away >> TINA TCHEN: Which the president used to yell at me about >> VALERIE JARRETT: He’d say Tina must be coming I hear the laugh So Tina is laughing and we’re all pinching ourselves that we’re working there, and who strolls into the office but the president, he was exploring just like we were He was trying to figure out who was up here in what office So he comes in and chats with us for a minute and then says to Kathy and Tina, have you seen the Oval Office I had gone in there on the first day and I was like this I just I couldn’t believe we were having a meeting and it’s a very pretty ceiling Nobody tells you that The ceiling is beautiful! And he says to Tina and Kathy have you been to the Oval Office and they hadn’t So he said come on down And so we start to come down Kathy didn’t move at first, and he said Kathy come on down, so we go to the oval office and if you could imagine these the four of us from Chicago, sitting with the president, sitting he’s one of the four of us, sitting in the oval and in walks Michelle Obama and she sits down and it’s just like old home week back when we were in the department of planning and development A very different living room but it felt so

it put us all at ease and finally he said I have to get back to work so we all jump up, Kathy and Tina and I jump up Michelle goes I’m not ready to leave yet so we sit back down (Laughter.) And it was incredible Every single day, it was incredible >> TINA TCHEN: It was amazing. So as we finish up, just before questions, do you have a most extraordinary day? Do you have a day >> VALERIE JARRETT: Well, every single day was pretty extraordinary, and I tell a story which I’ll abbreviate for the sake of time of trying to ground myself every day and remind myself like how important it was to make every second count, ’cause even if it’s either four or eight years, but even eight years, the days lasted forever but the weeks and months and years flew by And because we were older we knew that We had context so I would come through the gates of the White House and I would think about this man I met on the campaign trail and he had given President Obama a military patch from his uniform and President Obama didn’t want to accept it and the man said I carried this for 40 years I served in the military and protected our country I have had some tough times in life and it made me have courage and confidence and I want you to have it, and this was before people started handing newborn babies through a mosh pit for him to hold and and take a photo I never understood that … Don’t do that with the newborn baby, Laura They would go here Mr. President Throw that baby like a football So this was before any of that started happening, and so I thought, well, let me think of him every single day, when I come through the gates of the White House, and try to do something to make him proud and make giving up that treasured possession worthwhile and I used to tell this story all of the time, and a reporter heard about it, and before the second inauguration she said I want to find that guy that you that you told that story about And my immediate reaction was oh, no, what if he’s an ax murderer or something and I’ve been having this fantasy about this wonderful generous man for four years, so I wouldn’t help her, but she was a really industrious reporter and she found him in Austin, Texas, he was now head of security for the Hyatt Hotel down there and she sends me his email and I wrote a note telling him I’m the person who started crying in the elevator when you gave President Obama your patch and I thought you every day for four years and I wanted you to know that And he wrote me back, you were the one crying in the elevator and it was my privilege and President Obama for never for one day has made me regret having given up that possession And so I told President Obama this story and he said, well, why don’t you invite him to the second inauguration? So his name was Earl Smith, so Mr. Smith came to Washington (Laughter and applause.) And it’s great. It was so cool And the day after the inauguration, President Obama invited him to the Oval Office and Mr. Smith walked into the Oval Office, and he was laughing with me out front He was just as wonderful as I had imagined him to be, and he walks into the office and he pulls himself strong and tall and he salutes President Obama and of course I burst into tears all over >> TINA TCHEN: It made me cry when I read the book >> VALERIE JARRETT: And he was inviting to the final state of the union to sit in Mrs. Obama’s box as an example of what this was really all about, so I tell the story about an ordinary person because it’s ordinary people that really makes up this extraordinary country but the most profound day, I think the one I’ll remember forever was when we were trying to predict the Supreme Court, which you cannot do you can’t predict the outcome, you can’t predict the decisions will come down, but they do tend to put the controversial decisions at the end of the term, so at the end of the term, in 2015, we had forgotten that they might come down with a controversial decision because they had ruled on the Affordable Care Act the day before and we thought they won’t do anything until the following week and I was sitting in the chief of staff’s office when my assistant comes in with a note that says the Supreme Court ruled on marriage equality, five four in our favor and we were so excited, we were jubilant and the chief of staff said go down and tell the president, because my team beginning with Tina had worked on LGBTQ issues from the beginning so I run down to the Oval Office to tell President Obama and he’s not there And so I come back dejected and Dennis said, what did he say? >>TINA TCHEN: This was early He didn’t get down early >> VALERIE JARRETT: It’s about 10:10 He’s not that early, but it was right after they had ruled, so he said, well call him on the phone So his assistant dials the White House operator and I pick up the phone and President Obama says what? You usually don’t use that tone of voice with me and it threw me off and I said, well, sir I was calling to tell you the marriage equality decision came today five four

and there’s a pregnant pause and he says, and who won? (Laughter.) Darn it, I buried the lede, you messed me up with that what And he said we did And he said it’s been an incredible week The reason he was sharp with me is because he was upstairs working on another eulogy for Reverend Pinckney who had been murdered the week before together with eight parishioners from Charleston And we we were getting ready to go to Charleston that day So then if you can imagine the chaos that ensued The team is outside building the platform, I guess, for the speech he has to give with marriage equality now I’m trying to get the plaintiffs in the case on the phone so he can congratulate them on winning He’s still working on the eulogy and it’s just chaos, and normally when we have a press conference in the Rose garden, there was an unwritten rule that staff shouldn’t come because you’re busy, you’re working you shouldn’t be hanging out in the Rose Garden Everybody watches it on the television in the office, but you’re not supposed to be seen That day the colonnade was packed full of young staff who wanted to be there to see this moment of history And so then we go off to Charleston, he warns his wife and I that he might sing Amazing Grace, and I had encouraged him not to sing Al Greene at a fund raiser and he sang it and it was great >> TINA TCHEN: It went viral >> VALERIE JARRETT: You remember that Well, I was the one backstage saying don’t do that (Laughter.) So this time I’m like saying sing, sing, whatever moves you And what we had anticipated being just the most depressing ceremony possible was a celebration of life And these are the families I would remind you who the day or two after this violent murder by a 21 year old, were in court at his arraignment saying we forgive you and that was all about amazing grace And then we fly back home, and a young person on our team had suggested a few weeks earlier that we light the White House up with a rainbow and she said you’re probably going to think this is a terrible idea, it probably won’t work It wasn’t even really my idea, it was somebody in the press office’s idea, but what do you think about this? And I’m like, that’s a great idea I don’t know if we can do it So then I call Tina and said we have a great idea Can you figure out how to do it and she does. And so >> TINA TCHEN: It’s not so easy to light things like that But we did a little test on the back of White House in secret so that no one would know >> VALERIE JARRETT: And then I tweeted out something like look at the White House Something so people would not know what we were talking about and then Tina and I spent the evening on the north colonnade of the White House watching the sun go down and the lights that started out very pale turn into this brilliant rainbow, and people from all over heard about it on the news or walked by and saw it and so Lafayette Park which is in front of the White House was packed solid and forever I will have in my mind the photograph of that iconic moment That was the most extraordinary day >> TINA TCHEN: Yes. Yeah Valerie Jarrett (Applause.) >> VALERIE JARRETT: Thank you >> TINA TCHEN: So we’ve got time for a couple of questions Raise your hand and we’ve got mic runners right here >> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Tina, Valerie >> VALERIE JARRETT: Hey there >> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hey >> TINA TCHEN: Stand up, Thomas (Laughter.) >> AUDIENCE MEMBER: The one thing that you all neither of you have mentioned and I just wondered if you could talk about the experience First time on Marine One and Air Force 1 >> VALERIE JARRETT: You’ll have to read my book (Laughter.) I’m serious I talk about it at length in the book First of all, how crazy is it to say I have a preference Marine One is so much cooler, I think, than Air Force One, and that just sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? And the reason why is you see things in Marine One that you couldn’t possibly see anywhere else, like when the pilots would take us around the Statue of Liberty a couple of times and you’re just so close, you feel like you can touch it or on our way to Andrews Air Force Base when we go by the Washington Monument and the first time we did it, he said look out the window, and I said yeah it’s amazing, and he said, no look right now and this close to me is the Washington monument or at this time of year to see the cherry blossoms over the tidal basin and the first time I went out not to ride on it, but to see it take off because you see the takeoff and landing on television a thousand times, I went out to go watch because I could, I can go do that, he’s going off on Marine One and just as I was about to walk outside one of the secret service agents said to me it gets a bit windy out there and I said thank you very much

And I go outside A bit windy means every piece of dust within a mile around swirls around you, I had dust in my eyes, in my hair, it was a gritty mess and I’m sitting there trying to look like so that took the mystique off of watching and getting on it is perilous too I wear high heels I did this for you guys, I never wear them anymore but back then I did, you try to walk, I don’t know, what is it, 50 feet in grass with an entire press corps watching you in high heels and you tell me, you men won’t understand this, the women will, you know, at some point, you’re going to walk out of those shoes, and every time I would get to the stairs, and we would walk together tight, there was an unwritten rule if you fell, pick them up right away Don’t let them just lay there on the ground with the cameras going because the cameras are shooting hoping you fall, hoping you fall (Laughter.) And one time, every time, well every time I would get to the stairs I would say a prayer and say thank God I’m on the stairs but one time I said the prayer too soon, I started walking up the stairs, I made a mistake, I had on a loose dress opposed to a tight dress and along came a wind right up under my dress and I could feel it going up and fortunately one of the nicest things Rahm Emanuel ever did for me (Laughter.) Pulled down my dress (Laughter.) (Applause.) >> TINA TCHEN: Is there another one? >>CHF Staff: We have a question here in the center >> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Good evening, thank you both for being here My name is Randolph Blakely I’m the executive pastor at LaSalle Street Church. And I’m interested in knowing, Miss Jarrett, whether or not there was a daily practice of discipline that you practiced when you got up in the morning and went to sleep at night? >> VALERIE JARRETT: Our whole day was discipline I will say again that our administration believed that the most precious thing we had for example was time That was really the most– and his time paramount And so we organized our entire day to try to get to the point where we could make a recommendation to him that was reasoned, vetted, consulted with whatever stakeholders might be impacted by the decision, and take as little of his time as possible and using it as judiciously as we could, and then the other way that discipline comes into it is we all had to figure out how to keep the stamina up to make it through what’s really a marathon And everybody’s different and so some people it would be prayer Some people it would be exercise Some people it would be like Susan and I would go out for brunch every Sunday and sit around and talk for a few hours Everybody had something different that they would do to ground themselves and give them the sense of structure and order and discipline and resilience, because let’s face it, when you put yourself in that arena, you’re going to take a lot of incoming and a very famous pastor said to me once when I was ranting and raving about some injustice and he was stopping by the office to say hello, he wasn’t expecting all that, and he said, Valerie, part of leadership is learning how to absorb pain Without letting it eat you alive, and or making you numb And I thought he said that really well, and I went down and said it to President Obama and so it became almost like a running thing when things were going really bad, it’s time to absorb some pain here But when you are leading, you see something that everybody else doesn’t necessarily see at the same time And it’s as I said earlier, it’s not a popularity contest and so you have to be willing to take the short term heat for the long term gain and one of the observations I would make and I know Tina shares this, coming from Chicago, okay, you guys, we know we’re a little rough and tumble here in politics, right? We just had a big election yesterday But you had a or day before yesterday, but then you had a unity breakfast the next day and we all do just love the city and want it to be great and strong and we might disagree sometimes about how to get it there but we all know we love the city and what I think I was unprepared for, perhaps naively so, was that in Washington, there are people who simply put their short term political interests ahead of you And that’s not why President Obama ran for office That’s not what he was looking to do And so there was this tension between different strategies and it was somewhat diabolical because we said we’ll just say no We’ll take the president that’s about hope and change and we’ll say we won’t work with you, and that’s not a democracy That’s not the way our branches of government were designed to work together,

and so I think it took a fair amount for us to finally appreciate the fact that no matter what we did, you know, privately, quietly, inviting them to this or that, they just that wasn’t their strategy And but I think it was important to get caught trying and I think it was important for us to go through that exercise, but it was a painful exercise, and we wasted precious time trying to get them to come to the table when they were never going to come to the table But President Obama’s attitude was to get Congress to act creates sustainable change So the reason the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land is because you couldn’t reverse it with an executive order The reason why don’t ask don’t tell is the law of the land is because you couldn’t reverse it with executive order We couldn’t get comprehensive immigration reform or the dream act passed so he did it by executive order and now you see all of these amazing young people who by every measure are citizens except a piece of paper And they are living in jeopardy right now And so we really did have no choice but to try to work with Congress, and it was always the less favorable option to do an executive order because it’s so easy to reverse And so the discipline came in having an agenda, moving forward with the agenda as you were drinking out of the fire hose with all this incoming fire and never forgetting why you’re there >> TINA TCHEN: Thank you. So before we do one last question I just want to do logistics for the crowd and then we’ll do one last question and the logistics when we finish is please stay in your seats for a moment so that Valerie can go over to the signing table to sign books And then you can go and if you want to purchase books there’s book sellers still in the back And if you want to purchase a book, she will sign it and you can then line up by the signing table so there’s our little logistical instruction >> VALERIE JARRETT: Give me a second to get to the back with of the room >> TINA TCHEN: Yes. So one last question >>CHF Staff: We have a question right back here >> TINA TCHEN: One last question over here >> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hello. I’m Adama Oneemo from Northfield Mt. Hermon >>VALERIE JARRETT: Hey, he turned around I’m afraid to ask what year did you finish >> AUDIENCE MEMBER: I didn’t go. I just joined the staff a few weeks ago >> VALERIE JARRETT: Oh, well welcome >> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you Thank you for writing this book It definitely has so much insight and wisdom as a working mom myself So I guess my question to you is if you could give one piece of advice, out of I’m sure all the lessons you learned all the way to women trying to find their voice, what would it be? >> TINA TCHEN: Perfect last question >> VALERIE JARRETT: That’s a good question to end on So when I was young, I used to think, well, if I just worked even harder, if I was smarter, if I were better organized, if I were maybe more efficient, if I slept fewer hours, maybe this wouldn’t all be so hard And I think it’s just hard, particularly when you introduce children into the scenario, it’s just hard and I think that the deck is still stacked against us, and what we really have to do is have the courage to speak up, and if you take movements like the MeToo movement, thank goodness for those brave women who came forward and talked about the most traumatic thing that could possibly happen, in a public way, setting themselves up for attack, but they did it and there was safety in numbers Tina is now heading up the legal aspect of Times Up and the whole premise is how are we going to help people so they just don’t have to have a voice out there for themselves but have a lawyer out there to help them and empower them to use their voices and I think as we think about ways of supporting one another, men are an important part of this equation We have to lift up the voices of women and recognize their value We have to listen, we have to listen to the needs of women in a way that men in the workforce have not traditionally had to do And I think that it is incumbent on everybody to take that risk and the first time you raise your hand and you say something and maybe it’s a dumb question or maybe you’re talking about being in menopause or having young children or needing a longer maternity leave and you’re afraid of your reaction, think about the fact that if you do it, you’re making it a little bit easier for the next person and the next person and the next person and I think that’s part of what being a trail blazer is all about and everybody in this room has the opportunity to be that trail blazer and I think for the women who are now in positions of power, they have to reach back and leave the door open a little bit wider Don’t close the door behind you Don’t pull up the ladder Make the aperture greater and nurture and support women so that we can thrive,

and I just have met so many talented women particularly in Tina and my generation, who were trying to be super women, and we were going to do everything and we thought if we did everything, we could have everything, and that is nonsense about having it all, and if you set yourself up that way, you’re going to disappoint yourself and I can remember when I started dropping balls all over the place, my mom said to me, why don’t you ask for some help? And I thought that it made me look weak to ask for help And no, I think it’s actually stronger when you start to say this is what my need is When you feel empowered to use your voice to say what you need, then that’s the beginning of your being able to use your voice and trust it to help somebody else And to start to make change and that’s how it happens and, you know, the final thing I suppose I would say, and this came back to what well, two things For my birthday one year, President Obama gave me a present that was a copy of the original petition for universal suffrage, signed, and I’m like how did you get that and he said presidents can do all sorts of things I have visions of him sneaking into the Library of Congress one night I don’t know how many signed copies there are but I got one of them, and then side by side with that was the resolution when Congress gave women the right to vote Past the 19th amendment. And there’s 50 years between the two And I still think of all the women who went on hunger strikes and protested and had their husbands yelling at them and were losing their jobs and were going to prison in order for women to have the right to vote and many of those women who signed that petition weren’t alive when it ultimately became the law of the land, but the point is they took the baton and they went as far as they could go and then they hand off the baton to the next person, and so when President Obama was in the Rose Garden and gave the speech about marriage equality, he said, you know, if you’re fortunate enough, you’re here for these moments, it feels like a thunder bolt or to use Martin Luther King’s words, the arc of the moral universe just moves like a lightning towards justice, but if you think that you have to also remember the decades that people worked to move that arc forward Marriage equality was legal in two states when President Obama took office When the marriage equality ruling came down from the Supreme Court, it was 37 states, and the District of Columbia in six years, which shows you what can happen, but not if it hadn’t been for the decades before And so when it comes to gender equity, I just say everybody in this room, you’re part of the solution and help us find our voices and empower us to use them to be forces for good Thank you so much everyone >> TINA TCHEN: Thank you Valerie Jarrett (Applause.) Subtitles by the Amara.org community

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