I have used the example of a "Mocha Mom" on this site and in numerous conversations offline regarding Michelle Obama and finally an official "Mocha Mom" has spoken up! Jolene Ivey, co-founder of Mocha Moms on CNN:
Michelle will be following in her mother's footsteps, being available for her children and her husband while forgoing a paycheck of her own. It's not a lifestyle that's right for all families, but it's a template that should get more attention -- and respect -- now that our incoming first lady will model it on the world stage.
When my first son was born 19 years ago, I quit my job as Rep. (now Sen.) Ben Cardin's press secretary. Family and friends disapproved, in a range of volumes.
The new mom friends I made were mostly white, and I'm grateful to them even today for helping me get through those early, confusing, frustrating, thrilling years. But I was lonely for friends who understood my jokes, and what it was like to walk a path unlike any family member before me.
A friend told me to stop my whining and start a newsletter. Call it Mocha Moms, she said, and use it to find other women like me. Another black at-home mom friend helped me launch it nearly 12 years ago! Two more women found us, and we built the framework for the organization that today has more than 100 chapters around the country.
I can't think of a better ambassador for Mocha Moms than Michelle Obama. For all the 16 years I was home with my kids, no one cared what my views were on anything more exciting than toilet training. She'll be in the position to bring light to issues and organizations that are currently working in obscurity, and energize their efforts.
Mom-In-Chief: Moms Closely Watch Michelle Obama - A conversation between Jolene Ivey, co-founder of the Mocha Moms; Leslie Morgan Steiner, editor of Mommy Wars; author Rebecca Walker and Anna Perez, former press secretary to First Lady Barbara Bush on Michel Martin's Tell Me More show on NPR. All four guests also wrote essays on Michelle Obama's new role for The Root.com.
Desirée Rogers has been making heads explode with the announcement that she has been named as Special Assistant to the President and Social Secretary to the First Lady - a first for an African-American. Why would a Harvard MBA want to be a gloried party planner? Oh dear...
As several sources have already pointed out, the job of White House Social Secretary is no joke and I would not consider it below a Harvard MBA. She is responsible for coordinating political as well as non-political events for the presidential residence and workplace including iconic White House events like the Easter egg hunt, official State dinners or small teas for the First Lady. She also works with the White House Chief Usher to coordinate domestic staff. Ms. Rogers told the New York Times that she envisions “Wonderful picnics outside, tree decorating, inviting military families over. One of the things that is particularly important for this administration is that we continue along this vein of making it everyone’s America. You will definitely see some new things. We’re not going to be superpredictable, where everything looks the same.”
Media junkie that I am, I have long been familiar with Desirée Rogers even though I am not a Chicagoan. In the video above, Desirée talks about her new role in the Obama White House.
Melody Barnes, an "unabashed progressive" was named head of the Domestic Policy Council. According to The Field: Barnes will coordinate the mega-board of the Cabinet secretaries of Health and Human Services, Justice, Labor, Education, Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, Energy, Treasury, Agriculture, Transportation, Interior and Veterans Affairs. Basically, she'll be domestic policy czar.
In the style and substance department, she was named as Washintonian magazine's Ten Well Dressed Women:
How would you describe your style?
Understated but interesting. I like clean, elegant lines, and I love it when a piece has surprising detail.
Where do you like to shop?
Frances Kahn in my hometown of Richmond. The owner, Rusty Lester, does a great job of buying fun, new designers as well as classics. The assistant manager, Julie Bristow, knows my taste and what’s in my closet. I shop once in the spring and once in the fall. My mom comes along, and everyone is wonderful to her. I have a glass of wine, we laugh and catch up, and it’s efficient. I don’t like to spend a lot of time shopping.
What’s the best fashion advice you’ve ever received?
The best life advice I’ve received is also the best fashion advice: Be authentic. You shouldn’t wear it just because it’s in style or looks good on somebody else. You have to know who you are and honor that.
Another "Mocha Mom" that Washington has an eye on is the city's first lady, Michelle Fenty, who just gave birth to a daughter on Monday. The mother of 8-year-old twin boys, Fenty, an attorney who specializes in global technology matters, was afraid she was going to have another boy as recently as last month. Speaking of the handwringing, Michelle Fenty has touched on the work-life balance as a first lady:
Despite her charity work and social schedule, Fenty said she never considered giving up her career as her husband became more prominent in local politics. "I think it's important for working mothers to see that I work," she said. "If people are going to take notice of what I do or what I don't do, I would like them to say, 'She works, she has a career and she didn't give it up when her husband became mayor.'… I think it's really important for me to send that message, especially to the low-income women."
Valerie Jarrett, White House Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Liaison, and a long-time personal friend and mentor of the Obamas, has also gotten her fair share of link lately. In a recent New York Times article, Michelle Obama says that Valerie “automatically understands your values and your vision,” and is “somebody never
afraid to tell you the truth. She knows the
buttons, the soft spots, the history, the context.” She also revealed the twenty-one life lessons that she "ticks off in speeches and keeps on her computer hard drive" that have carried her through her life and career:
1. To thine own self be true.
2. All leaders are passionate about their beliefs, even the ones you don’t like.
3. Trust your gut after you have listened, studied and learned from those with a diverse range of opinions.
4. You never know who is watching, so work as hard as you can regardless of the assignment.
5. Don’t stay in your comfort zone too long.
6. As my grandmother would say: put yourself in the path of lightning.
7. Be flexible because opportunities rarely knock at the most opportune moments.
8. Take time to be kind to everyone.
9. Focus on your priorities.
10. In order to lead, someone must follow.
11. Effective leadership depends on your ability to connect and motivate people, not on your title, position or power.
12. Set high standards for yourself and your team (lead by example).
13. Take the time to develop personal relationships all along the way, and really cultivate those upon whom you depend. In order for them to help you, they must know you. And you must know what will motivate them. Nurture them so they can help you lead. They must believe in not just your ideas, but you.
14. Good will matters.
15. Women are particularly good at listening and studying their audience.
16. Have the courage to make tough decisions.
17. When you lead, not everyone will follow, and that’s okay.
18. You will fail. Don’t take your failures or your success too seriously. Learn to laugh at yourself. Trust me. It helps.
19. Affiliate yourself with worthy institutions, lead by good people who share your core values.
20. You can have it all, just not at the same time, and in the proportions you may want.
21. To those who much is given, much is expected.