Jarrett and Rogers look to the future and what they can do to improve the lives of Americans, they also reflect on where they've been and what life lessons they can tap into to keep them on course. They are both extremely accomplished women—Rogers is a well-known socialite and business executive in Chicago, where she ran Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas before becoming an executive at Allstate Financial last year; Jarrett is a former chief of staff for Mayor Richard Daley in Chicago and president and CEO of the Habitat Company as well as a longtime mentor to the Obamas—and can pull from their aspirations and achievements for their new roles. "I have had a list for my life, but I think I'm right there at that cusp. I feel like everything I've done up until this point has prepared me for the work I'm doing now," Rogers says.
Jarrett was born in Shiraz, Iran, where her father worked as a pathologist and geneticist and ran a hospital for children to jump-start healthcare efforts in developing countries. Her family lived in Iran until she was five, then spent a year in London before settling in Chicago when she was six. Jarrett has a rich family history: Her great-grandfather was the first African American to graduate from MIT; her grandfather was the first African American to head the Chicago Housing Authority; and her father was the first African-American resident at St. Luke's Hospital. With this legacy came some wonderful opportunities for Jarrett, as well as a sense of responsibility that has created a desire to perform public service.