I know some folks who don't care too much for Desiree Rogers, my opinion is still out on her, but the woman is fierce. And if she is selling the "Obama Brand", all snaps because girlfriend is doing a hell of a job doing so.
Desirée Glapion Rogers is the descendant of a Creole voodoo priestess named Marie Laveau Glapion. The first time I meet her, she welcomes me into her East Wing lair—a rhythm and blues tune plays on a white iPod, a potted white orchid perches between two windows, fresh flowers sit on a heavy wooden desk. This is a woman who never sees a wilted bloom. The 49-year-old turns on just enough Southern charm to camouflage an aura of self-assuredness typically reserved for runway models or first ladies. Wearing a crisp white shirt, black patent flats and high-waisted navy slacks that would look terrible on almost anyone else, Rogers talks about her job as White House social secretary.
If there’s one thing Desirée Rogers and Desirée Rogers’ staff want you to know—and will keep reminding you until you get it—it’s that the president and Michelle Obama plan to open up the White House and once again make it the “people’s house.” They want to create an environment where average Americans might stop by and catch the first lady serving homemade huckleberry cobbler and caramel ice cream to students, tending to the vegetable garden on the South Lawn or watching the romantic comedy “He’s Just Not That Into You” with her girlfriends. The president is, of course, meeting with foreign dignitaries. In one of the most visible roles in the Obama administration, Rogers is out to solidify the first family as one of the most memorable in presidential history, and the Ivy League–educated first lady, in particular, as the most popular mom-in-chief.
The first day I interview Rogers, I do not see the president or the first lady. What I do see is the First Lady’s Garden, green and manicured, sitting like a postcard outside Rogers’ large cheery windows. Mrs. Obama’s office is down the hall. Everywhere, pictures of the first lady hang on the walls: Here’s Mrs. O reading to schoolchildren, here she is shaking hands with voters. Mrs. O smiles widely in every picture with that my-husband-is-the-president glow that can only come when roughly 70 percent of the country approves of you.
With her direct access to the first couple and unparalleled connections to White House staff, as well as D.C. and Chicago power brokers, Rogers is considered by many to be the key to Brand Obama. She stands at the center of the careful marketing of the first family and an administration-wide effort to make the White House appear a hip and accessible abode. Mrs. Obama’s press team manages a media blitz that includes cover shots on People, Vogue and Oprah’s O magazine, among others, while Rogers controls the day-to-day development and execution of the brand. The former marketing executive must create a White House that helps Americans visualize Mr. Obama’s campaign promises of change and transparency. read all here....