Michelle Tapped Longtime Pal, Mentor as Staff Chief

Longtime friends worked together in Chicago
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 20, 2009 9:56 AM CDT
First lady Michelle Obama waves as she leaves a NATO summit spouses group photo at the Kurhaus in Baden-Baden, Germany on Friday, April 3, 2009.   (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)
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(Newser) – Looking for change, Michelle Obama turned to longtime mentor and friend Susan Sher to serve as her chief of staff, the Chicago Tribune reports. They met when Obama dropped off a resume at Chicago’s City Hall; Sher, then the city’s No. 2 lawyer, was immediately impressed by the younger woman. Now, Sher will be handling Obama’s affairs as she begins “thinking more strategically” about her role as first lady.

After City Hall, the two worked together at the University of Chicago medical center. Lunching together, “we'd always get to the work issues, but when we had time, we'd talk about things that were most important to us,” Sher says. “I just like the way Susan thinks, in broad strokes,” Obama notes. The two also worked alongside Valerie Jarrett, now an adviser to the president—creating a built-in “support group” in Washington, Sher says.