White House Social Secretary to Give Post New Face - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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When President-elect Barack Obama announced the appointment of longtime friend Desiree Rogers to the position of White House social secretary, her accomplished corporate work history showed that his plans for the position might reach beyond event planning.

Rogers, a Harvard MBA, was the president of social networking for Allstate Financial and the first female African American president of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas (now divisions of Integrys Energy Group).

Rogers, named among Black Enterprise magazine’s “50 Most Powerful African Americans,” will be taking a sharp turn from the corporate hierarchy that she has dominated for more than a decade. As the White House social secretary she will plan events ranging from those as simple as a tea for the first lady and president with a single official guest, to dinners for more than 200 guests. She will work with domestic staff and plan state visits and dinners. Most important to her and Michelle Obama, she will work to create stability for the White House staff and their families.

After 20 years as a close personal friend to the Obamas, Rogers talks about her new role and how she expects to assist the first lady in that capacity.

BlackEnterprise.com: Nancy Reagan told America to ‘Just Say No’ to drugs. Hillary Clinton championed healthcare. Laura Bush targeted literacy. As a close friend of Michelle Obama, what causes do you think she will advocate? What areas close to her heart will take a center stage during this presidency?

Desiree Rogers: I think she will focus on work/life balance. As the mother of two young girls that is very important to her. She recently recounted to me that she felt concern for the families of the secret service people charged with protecting her family. She knows that the White House staff will have families to care for outside of the White House, and she would like to make sure that all of the families connected to the White House are stable. That warms my heart and shows me what an extraordinary woman she is.

Before your appointment as White House social secretary, you were appointed to president of social networking at Allstate Financial. Do you expect that social networking might play a part in planning and coordinating events for the White House?

With all of the people on the Internet that played a part in the election, I want to figure out how we can let them be a part of the White House — or what is really the people’s house. How can we do that? Could that mean we will have events online that people can see? There has got to be a way to bring the White House to them so that they don’t always have to be there.

How will this position differ from what you’ve done previously, and in what ways is it similar?

It is very different in that I am moving from a corporate job into a government position. I will be serving the president-elect

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.

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