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Valerie Jarrett: How to Find Your Voice

The Maliheh Paryavi Podcast

Release Date: 06/26/2020

Valerie Jarrett: How to Find Your Voice show art Valerie Jarrett: How to Find Your Voice

The Maliheh Paryavi Podcast

Valerie Jarrett, former Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama, is co-chair of The United State of Women, and author of New York Times bestselling book, Finding My Voice: When the Perfect Plan Crumbles, the Adventure Begins.

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“I believe in the power of each voice to make the impossible, inevitable.” - Valerie B. Jarrett

I knew that the first season of this podcast would be incomplete without an episode on the importance of finding our voices and using them to empower ourselves and others. As I was in search of a guest to help bring this topic to life, I stumbled on one of Valerie Jarrett’s book tour interviews. In the interview, she shared how she was born in Shiraz, Iran and how she struggled to find her voice, an inspiring journey she details in her book. I was also born in Shiraz and struggled for years to find my voice, which I’m always continuing to develop and refine. I quickly ordered her book and could not put it down. I related to many aspects of her story and knew that I had to try to speak with her. I immediately wrote an email to her team hoping that she would accept my invitation to be a guest on this podcast. I was absolutely thrilled when she said yes and it so happened that we ended up speaking in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and the largest racial justice movement in the history of the world. Needless to say, we had a lot to talk about, including how we can each find our voice to fight systemic racism. I hope you enjoy our conversation and find it inspiring!


Episode Breakdown:

  • 01:25 - How systemic racism in the United States led to Ms. Jarrett being born in Iran
  • 03:09 - The importance of being open to life’s pivots
  • 04:16 - Maliheh’s struggles in finding her voice
  • 06:57 - Ms. Jarrett’s journey of finding her voice
  • 10:08 - How to listen to your inner voice
  • 10:54 - Importance of patience, resilience, and self-compassion
  • 12:28 - What to do when the perfect life plan crumbles
  • 13:09 - Building trust in your capacity to rise above adversity
  • 14:39 - Making the change towards a more fulfilling life and career
  • 16:21 - Coronavirus pandemic as a wake-up call and an opportunity to reset, reevaluate, and redesign our lives and organizations
  • 19:00 - Understanding the deep pain and struggle for equality in the Black community
  • 20:57 - How to speak out against racial injustice
  • 24:17 - The importance of being educated voters
  • 28:25 - How to make sure your voice is heard as a woman in leadership


More about Valerie Jarrett:

Valerie B. Jarrett is a Senior Distinguished Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School, and a senior advisor to the Obama Foundation and Attn. She serves as chairman of the board of When We All Vote and co-chair of The United State of Women. She also serves on the boards of Ariel Investments, 2U, Lyft, the Innocence Project, the Economic Club of Chicago and the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. Her New York Times bestselling memoir, Finding My Voice: When the Perfect Plan Crumbles, the Adventure Begins, was published in 2019 and updated in 2020.

Ms. Jarrett was the longest serving Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama. She oversaw the Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs and Chaired the White House Council on Women and Girls. Ms. Jarrett worked throughout her tenure at the White House to mobilize elected officials, business and community leaders, and diverse groups of advocates. She led the Obama Administration’s efforts to expand and strengthen access to the middle class, and boost American businesses and our economy. She championed the creation of equality and opportunity for all Americans, and economically and politically empowering women in the United States and around the world. She oversaw the Administration’s advocacy for workplace policies that empower working families, including equal pay, raising the minimum wage, paid leave, paid sick days, workplace flexibility, and affordable childcare, and led the campaigns to reform our criminal justice system, end sexual assault, and reduce gun violence.

Ms. Jarrett has a background in both the public and private sectors. She served as the Chief Executive Officer of The Habitat Company in Chicago, Chairman of the Chicago Transit Board, Commissioner of Planning and Development, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. She also served as the director of numerous corporate and not-for-profit boards including Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Stock Exchange, Chairman of the University of Chicago Medical Center Board of Trustees, and Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Jarrett practiced law for ten years in both the private and public sectors, and has also received numerous awards and honorary degrees, including TIME’s “100 Most Influential People” as well as the Abner J. Mikva Legal Legends Award.

Jarrett received her B.A. from Stanford University in 1978 and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1981.