Valerie Jarrett has joined the board of Lyft, the ride-sharing company.
“For months, we’ve been looking to add new skills sets, experience, and perspective to our board. And we couldn’t have found a better partner than Valerie, an incredibly influential and respected businesswoman and civic leader,” the company said Monday in a blog post announcing Jarrett’s appointment.
Jarrett also has secured potentially lucrative positions as author, speaker and board member with Ariel Investments.
She’s among the many members of former President Barack Obama’s administration to land prestigious positions with corporate boards, law firms and nonprofits since leaving D.C.
Former Obama aides say the greatest challenge in their job searches has been finding work that compares with their roles in Washington.
“What could you do that’s as awesome as working for your friend at the White House in a position of influence?” acknowledged Michael Strautmanis, who held a few jobs with Obama, including counselor for strategic engagement. “It created an opportunity for me to step back and ask, ‘What do I want to do in the world, and what do I want to learn? What do I want to accomplish?’”
For Strautmanis, the answer was right in front of him. He was hired as vice president of the Obama Foundation.
He and Jarrett join an elite group of former Obama aides who now wheel and deal influence in Chicago. Others include Mayor Rahm Emanuel, financier Bill Daley and the University of Chicago’s David Axelrod and Susan Sher.
Robert Rivkin, a former general counsel in the U.S. Department of Transportation, was recently named deputy to Emanuel.
Tina Tchen, who worked for first lady Michelle Obama, is organizing women’s summits across the country. Like Jarrett, she’s splitting her time between Chicago and D.C.
Arne Duncan leads Chicago CRED, a job-training and anti-violence organization, and Penny Pritzker runs her investment business. They were both Cabinet members.
Mike Cassel was with the Export-Import Bank; now he’s director of global corporate citizenship for Boeing Co.
John Oxtoby was with the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness; now he is vice president of strategy and corporate development at Ariel Investments.
Peter Cunningham and Charlie Rose worked in the Department of Education. Cunningham is now executive director of the nonprofit Education Post, and Rose is a partner at Hogan Marren Babbo & Rose.
Kelly Welsh was general counsel in Commerce; now he is president of the Commercial Club of Chicago and its Civic Committee.
Cindy Moelis was president of the Commission on White House Fellowships; now she’s president of the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation.
Dan Lurie worked for the vice president and now is director of think tank New America’s Chicago office.
Lauren Kidwell was with Commerce and now is a partner at the consulting group 270 Strategies.
Drama in Mark Walter’s shop
Is there a power struggle brewing at billionaire Mark Walter‘s Guggenheim Partners?
Employees at the Chicago-based financial firm are lining up behind Walter on one side or chief investment officer Scott Minerd on the other as the company has undergone some changes during the past year, the Financial Times reports.
Walter and Minerd deny any rift. In an email through a spokesman, Walter said, “There is no power struggle between Scott and me. We have been friends and worked together for more than two decades. We share a common goal: to make Guggenheim great and to deliver stellar performance to clients.”
The reported drama centers on Alexandra Court, “an ally of Mr. Walter’s,” who was promoted last year to global head of institutional distribution. She fired 22 employees and changed how employees handle requests from clients, apparently barring any communication unless approved by Court’s sales team.
Court’s moves changed the culture of the company, according to the Financial Times report based on interviews with current and former employees.
Walter is an important figure on Chicago’s philanthropic scene. Sports folks know him as the main owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
An evening with George Takei
The former “Star Trek” actor and activist George Takei is coming to Chicago to share his family’s story of immigration.
The event Sept. 7 is part of Alphawood Gallery’s exhibition: “Then They Came for Me.”
Alphawood was founded by media entrepreneur and political donor Fred Eychaner.
Read more Taking Names at shiakapos.com.