TheGrio's 100: Desiree Rogers, From White House to CEO of Johnson Publishing

theGRIO'S 100 - Desiree Rogers was the White House social secretary during President Obama's first year and a half in office...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

You may remember Desiree Rogers as the White House social secretary during President Barack Obama’s first eighteen months in office. Rogers, a close friend of the Obamas, was responsible for planning and overseeing all of the official social events held at the White House.

theGrio: Circulation surges for Ebony and Jet

Known as one of most stylish White House insiders during her time there, the New Orleans native has not only been spotted in the pages of society and fashion magazines, but she has also been spotted sitting next to the legendary Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour in the front row of fashion shows.

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In 2009, Rogers resigned from her White House position after a security breach scandal involving Tarek and Michele Salahi — a couple from Bravo’s Real Housewives of D.C. TV reality show who sneaked into a White House state dinner for the prime minister of India.

Rogers quickly bounced back, and is now the CEO of Johnson Publishing, overseeing Ebony and Jet magazines.

Desiree Rogers is making history… as an executive who went from the White House into the highest management position in publishing, tasked with revitalizing the iconic Ebony and Jet magazines.

What’s next for Desiree?

Rogers continues working with Johnson Publishing to strengthen its brands at a time of lagging magazine sales. Last March, Ebony unveiled its first complete redesign in its 65-year history, including the introduction of a new logo and several new sections. The unveiling came after a year and a half of the publication missing its paid circulation guarantees to its advertisers.

In her own words…

“Washington is like playing the Super Bowl, only there are no timeouts, no potty breaks, and the arena is filled with the media,” Rogers told Bloomberg Businessweek. “In government, you have to learn to put yourself second in a big way. But I am a business person at heart. I like to be in charge.”

A little-known fact about Rogers

Rogers was the first African-American to hold the White House social secretary position.THE GRIO’S Q & A WITH DESIREE ROGERS

Q: What’s next in this chapter of your life?

A: Revitalization of JET magazine and Fashion Fair Cosmetics

Q: What’s a fact about you that many people don’t know?

A: I wish that I were a better surfer

Q: What’s your favorite quote?

A: You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it. – Maya Angelou

Q: Where do you get your inspiration?

A: John H. Johnson

Q: Who are/were your mentors?

A: My Mother, Grandmother and John Rogers

Q: What advice would you give to anyone who wants to achieve their dreams?

A: Anything is attainable once you focus your mind