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Former White House Social Secretary Desirée Rogers to Speak at Harvard Business School 2024 Class Day

The Harvard Business School was established in 1908 as the graduate business school of Harvard University. Former White House Social Secretary Desirée G. Rogers will address HBS' graduating class on May 22.
The Harvard Business School was established in 1908 as the graduate business school of Harvard University. Former White House Social Secretary Desirée G. Rogers will address HBS' graduating class on May 22. By Christopher Hidalgo
By Kyle Baek and Benjamin Isaac, Crimson Staff Writers

Former White House Social Secretary and cosmetics company CEO Desirée G. Rogers will deliver the keynote address at the Harvard Business School Class Day, the school announced Wednesday.

Rogers will address the Business School’s graduating class on May 22, one day before the 373rd University-wide Commencement ceremonies. The event is set to take place at Baker Lawn and will feature speeches from the co-presidents of the MBA Class of 2024, a student address, and the presentation of Faculty Teaching Awards.

Rogers — who grew up in New Orleans and graduated from Wellesley College in 1981 — earned her MBA from Harvard in 1985. She served as the White House Social Secretary under former U.S. President Barack Obama and is currently co-owner and CEO of Black Opal LLC, which owns the Black Opal and Fashion Fair Cosmetics brands.

During her tenure with the Obama administration, Rogers assisted in planning, coordinating, and executing official social events at the White House, where she made an effort to open it to a wider circle.

At the conclusion of her two-year tenure in 2010, Rogers was named CEO of the Johnson Publishing Company, where she oversaw publication of the magazines Ebony and Jet.

In addition to her role at the helm of Black Opal, Rogers currently serves on the board of Inspired Entertainment and Stagwell Global Media, and is actively involved with the American Cancer Society and Gyrls in the H.O.O.D.

“At the core of our work is a belief that businesses should have a commitment to improving the lives of the consumers that they serve,” Rogers said in a Business School press release Wednesday announcing her selection as the Class Day speaker.

Rogers is known for her expertise in “communication, diversity, and what it means to be a woman today,” according to her personal website.

“Understanding the parallels between business and life has helped me succeed,” Rogers wrote on her website. “You can feel good about your work and be great to yourself at the same time.”

“As I embrace my future, I plan to bring along as many women as I can,” she added. “We are stronger and more beautiful together.”

—Staff writer Kyle Baek can be reached at kyle.baek@thecrimson.com. Follow him on X @KBaek53453.

—Staff writer Benjamin Isaac can be reached at benjamin.isaac@thecrimson.com. Follow him on X @benjaminisaac_1.

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