Desiree Rogers holds the golden ticket to the White House as President Obama’s Social Secretary, the first African-American to hold the cabinet position. Less than 100 days in the job, she has already coordinated dozens of events from the annual Easter Egg Roll to State Dinners with world leaders and musical icons like Earth, Wind and Fire and Stevie Wonder. It’s amazing how a woman with this much on her plate is able to do it with such style, charisma and grace. Take a peek inside her busy world.
Secretary Rogers looks on as President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama greet visitors in the Blue Room of the White House a few days after the inauguration.
“There’s some value in bringing people together, and forming relationships with people. As President Obama has said, ‘we have more in common than not’” says Rogers.
Secretary Rogers was a formidable force in Chicago’s business and community circles before joining the White House team. Along with her years of experience, an MBA from Harvard and contacts with anyone whose anyone, the New Orleans native brings a widespread expertise to the position.
“Desiree 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,” says Senior Adviser to the President Valerie Jarrett to the Washington Post.
One of the perks of her job is getting the chance to take in some of the shows during the Fall 2009 Fashion Week in New York City as the official White House representative.
Secretary Rogers enjoys bringing different aspects of her life together. Her beautiful daughter Victoria, a freshman at Yale University, joined her for a weekend of fashion indulgence as the stylish duo take in the Marc Jacobs show.
A few days before the Governor’s Ball (her first big event at the White House) Secretary Rogers continues to mix and mingle with New York’s fashion world. We’re sure that she shared all the fall trends with First Lady Michele Obama, her friend for more than 20 years.
“I met Michelle through her brother, Craig Robinson. My ex-husband played basketball with him in college,” she says.
As the former President of Social Networking for Allstate Financial in Chicago, Secretary Rogers has mastered the art of planning. She and Mrs. Obama make sure the menu is just right for the 2009 Governor’s Dinner on February 22, in the White House.
After ensuring every detail is attended to, Secretary Rogers heads inside the Governors’ Ball, her first major event in the White House. The night included live music by legendary R&B group Earth, Wind and Fire.
Social Secretary Rogers walks Vermont Governor Jim Douglas and his wife, Dorothy, to the Governor’s Ball. Rogers has seemingly adjusted to her new life at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue just fine, though she admits to getting lost in the White House during her first few days in her new position.
Secretary Rogers and members of the White House team ensure that social events play out without a hitch. Here, they get right down to business in planning the next big occasion.
Ms. Rogers goes about her daily chores as she prepares for the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize honoring Stevie Wonder in the East Room on February 25. Part of her duties include going over every last-minute detail with White House chefs and staff before an event.
Rogers no doubt learned her hands-on approach from her father who was the former director of sports for the New Orleans Public Schools and her mother who ran day-care centers throughout the Big Easy.
Rogers isn’t afraid to call the shots. In 1990 to 1997, she ran the Illinois State Lottery, a $2 billion state agency.
It’s probably safe to say that Rogers is pretty clued in to what the Obamas like after being friends for the last 20 years. Here she is with the First Lady Michelle Obama speaking to women leaders prior to their visit to Anacostia High School in March during Women’s History Month.
Ms. Rogers has a few goals on her agenda as the first African-American White House Social Secretary. One of them is to modernize the art collection by adding ethnic art.
When the First Lady is hosting an event at the White House, you better believe Secretary Rogers is not far away.
She’s only been in Washington, D.C., for a little over two months, but Desiree Rogers has already made a huge impression. She was voted in as the District’s best-dressed woman by Huffington Post readers.
President Barack Obama and Rogers are in high spirits as they walk on the South Lawn of the White House preparing for the highly anticipated White House Easter Egg Roll.
After having a discussion with President Obama about what he expected from her role as social secretary, Rogers told the Washington Post that the job entailed, “…having people feel comfortable, and having people be able to, in the warmth of wonderful surroundings, develop relationships that are really deep…”
The former president of social networking for Allstate Financial told ESSENCE.com that she’s prepared for whatever comes her way. “The work I’ve done with all types of people from all backgrounds, I think, will serve me well.”