Political campaign organizer turned White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has been a force in Washington, D.C., for well over a decade. The Haitian-American author and activist made history as the first openly gay woman to deliver a White House press briefing. She’s just the second Black woman in the history of the office to serve in her role. The first was Judy Smith, who was a deputy press secretary under President George H.W. Bush, in 1991.
Though Jean-Pierre’s turn at the podium cemented her in history, the Columbia University grad had often appeared on CNN, NBC News, and MSNBC. She also worked in the Obama White House and was appointed chief of staff for vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris during the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign.
A native of Martinique, Jean-Pierre’s parents were born in Haiti and moved the family to New York City when she was five. She credits them with giving her a passion for politics, something she discusses in her 2019 memoir, Moving Forward: A Story of Hope, Hard Work, and the Promise of America.