Susan Sher on Working for The First Lady


Having hired Michelle Obama, then Michelle Robinson in 2001, not 7 years later would the roles be reversed. Susan Sher was The First Lady’s Chief of Staff, overseeing all issues in the East Wing and being a liaison for identity-based communities. She confesses, “It was the best job I ever had.” Discussing stories of behind closed-doors interactions with the First Lady as well as having access like no other, Susan Sher had a unique look into the White House. From selecting campaign issues, advocacy work, and overall strategy, Sher was the First Lady’s trusted colleague and friend.

In this interview, Susan Sher explains her expansive role and duties under Michelle Obama. If the First Lady had an issue, Susan had an issue. Working in tandem, Sher handled issues of policy, most notably among African-American and Jewish communities. This proved to be extremely rewarding and aided the East Wing in developing deeper and trusting relationships with various people groups. Contrary to the West Wing, the First Lady and Sher had the freedom to design the policies they wanted to improve on, strategize potential changes, and plan their implementation.

Having been the former lead attorney for Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley, Sher imparts her wisdom: all national issues begin at the local level, from healthcare down to community beautification. She is a trailblazer in her work in the healthcare sector, being a VP for over a decade at the University of Chicago’s Hospital. She is an expert analyst in politics, healthcare, advocacy, and how all these issues intertwine to affect today’s population.

To learn more about Susan Sher’s work with Michelle Obama, please see her speaker profile.

Fmr. Chief of Staff to First Lady Obama

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Susan Sher, the former chief of staff to First Lady Michelle Obama and Chicago’s first female corporation counsel, is a long-time friend of the Obamas. Originally hired as the President’s associate counsel, Sher was part of his health care reform team before moving to the East Wing. There she helped promote the new legislation and the First Lady’s anti-obesity campaign. Previously, Sher was the vice president for legal and governmental affairs of the University of Chicago Hospitals for more than a decade. She addresses health care, the White House, and women in leadership.