Valerie Jarrett, one of President Barack Obama’s closest mentors, was a guest at Montclair State University in a conversation that traced her personal history from her childhood in Iran to the White House and the path beyond. The event was hosted by the National Society for Leadership and Success in collaboration with Montclair State’s Center for Leadership and Engagement.
Jarret shared her views on fighting for gender equality and civil rights, and advocating for women in business and politics. She recounted from her memoir, Finding My Voice, how she was able to overcome a natural shyness and learned her value.
“Recognize there are going to be some bumps along the way, and then surround yourself with people who wish you well,” she told her audience on October 22.
Jarrett’s appearance was arranged by the National Society for Leadership and Success as part of its mission to “build leaders who make a better world.” The society livestreams its speaker series and the conversation with Jarrett was moderated by radio host Nicole Ryan of SiriusXM Morning Mash Up.
“Enhancing the lives of others,” she said, “gives you a reservoir of support.”
Montclair State was honored to host the live event and provide the opportunity for future leaders to be inspired by her story, says Duane A. Williams, director for the Center for Leadership and Engagement. Jarrett was presented with the Champion of Change award for her contributions to social justice by the African American Studies program at Montclair State, and met with student leaders from the Women’s Leadership Academy.