US President-elect Joe Biden on Sunday announced new members of the White House Senior Communications Staff. For the first time, the communication team will comprise all women. Four of the seven top communications roles at the White House will be filled by women of colour and for the first time as well.
"“I am proud to announce today the first senior White House communications team comprised entirely of women. These qualified, experienced communicators bring diverse perspectives to their work and a shared commitment to building this country back better” " - Joe Biden
So, here is a look at the women who will be driving communication operations at the White House in the coming days.
Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary
Jen Psaki currently oversees the confirmations team for the Biden-Harris transition.
During the Obama-Biden administration, Psaki held several senior roles, such as White House Communications Director, State Department Spokesperson, Deputy White House Communications Director and Deputy White House Press Secretary during the financial crisis.
Psaki has worked as a core member of multiple presidential and campaign press teams for nearly two decades. Prior to joining the Biden-Harris transition team, Psaki was the Vice President for Communications and Strategy at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a CNN contributor.
Kate Bedingfield - White House Communications Director
Kate Bedingfield served as Deputy Campaign Manager and Communications Director for the Biden-Harris Campaign.
During the Obama administration, she served as Communications Director for Vice President Biden. He had also held the rank of Director of Response in the Obama-Biden White House.
Prior to the Obama-Biden administration, she was the Communications Director to US Senator Jeanne Shaheen on her successful 2008 Senate campaign.
Ashley Etienne - Communications Director for Vice President
A senior advisor in the Biden-Harris Campaign, Etienne was the Communications Director and Senior Advisor to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
She was the first women of colour to hold that position.
In the Obama administration, Etienne was Special Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the Cabinet. She was also closely associated with President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative.
Elizabeth Alexander - Communications Director for the First Lady
Elizabeth Alexander was a Senior Advisor on the Biden-Harris Campaign. Prior to that, she spent the first years of the Obama-Biden administration as the Press Secretary to Vice President Biden.
She has also worked as a federal prosecutor in the US Attorneys’ offices in Washington, DC and Alexandria, Virginia, where she also served as a counsellor to the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Karine Jean-Pierre - Principal Deputy Press Secretary
Karine Jean-Pierre was an activist, author and political commentator for NBC News and MSNBC.
She was a Senior Advisor to President-Elect Joe Biden and Chief of Staff to Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris on the Biden-Harris Campaign. Before coming to this role, she was Chief Public Affairs Officer for MoveOn.org.
Suzanne studied at Harvard College and holds a Master’s degree in Broadcasting from Columbia University. She joined CNN in 2002 and has presented the CNN international news program Around The World and editions of CNN Newsroom.
During the Obama-Biden administration, Jean-Pierre served as Regional Political Director for the White House Office of Political Affairs. She was also the Deputy Battleground States Director for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. During the 2008 Obama campaign, she served as Southeast Regional Political Director.
Symone Sanders - Senior Chief Spokesperson for the Vice President
In 2016, Sanders became the youngest presidential press secretary while working on US Senator Bernie Sanders’ then-presidential campaign.
During the elections, Sanders was serving as Senior Advisor on the Biden-Harris campaign. Before joining the Biden-Harris campaign, Sanders was a CNN political commentator.
Sanders is the former chair of the Coalition of Juvenile Justice Emerging Leaders Committee and former member of the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice. She is a graduate of Creighton University.
Pili Tobar - Deputy White House Communications Director
Pili Tobar served as the Communications Director for Coalitions on the Biden-Harris Campaign. Before joining the campaign, Tobar served as the Deputy Director for America’s Voice, where she advocated on behalf of immigrants.
She has also served as Communications Director for Congressman Ruben Gallego. Originally from Florida and raised in Guatemala, Tobar is a graduate of the University of Miami. She lives in Washington DC with her wife and daughter.
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