ESSENCE Spotlights the Black Women Who Run the White House

There are so many reasons why we'll sincerely miss the Obama Administration. Seeing a Black First Family travel the world on Air Force One and our gorgeous First Lady rock a Vera Wang gown like no one else is always a joy.

But the benefits of a electing President Barack extend far beyond representation. Within the White House, the presence of powerful Black folks calling the shots has opened doors for Black women, in particular, to enter and make their mark.
In the November issue of ESSENCE, these women are profiled. The women, in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s, touch every arena imaginable.

The women shared their personal mottos for success.

Never take a job that doesn’t terrify [you]. Those are the jobs worth doing.” —Adaeze Enekwechi, Associate Director for Health, Office of Management and Budget

“You may not be your college valedictorian, but being present and contributing will earn you a spot on this team.”—Desiree Barnes, Press Assistant & Senior Wrangler

“Truth will prevail regardless of the opposition and enormity of the challenge.” —Ashley Etienne, Special Assistant to the President & Cabinet Communications Director

“I’ve learned to be patient, thorough and deliberate.”—Carrie Twigg, Director of Public Engagement for Vice President Joe Biden

“My parents always taught me to work hard and to never give a halfhearted performance.” —Susan Rice, National Security Advisor

“When women succeed, America succeeds.” —Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President
“Always be yourself. It sounds cliché, but as you get older, it becomes clear what being yourself truly means.” —Deesha Dyer, Special Assistant to the President & Social Secretary

“Never take anything for granted.”—Katherine Branch, Director of Special Projects for the Office of Public Engagement & The Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

“A college professor told me, ‘Dream, but don’t sleep.’”—Kristin Jones, Special Assistant & Director of Special Projects for First Lady Michelle Obama

“The amount of good a person can do is limited only by her creativity and effort.”—Adrienne Harris, Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy

You can view the full list at and don't forget to pick up the November issue.

Photo: Kwaku Alston / Courtesy of Essence