Throughout his campaign but more so after the election numbers began to predict his win, President Joe Biden has promised to appoint an administration that accurately reflects the American people, and his newly appointed all-women communications team proves he wasn’t just saying that to win people over.
Officially announced yesterday from the Biden-Harris Transition Team, the women of the President’s new media team are no strangers to the job or working life. With experience working under the Obama administration, the dedication of mothers to provide for their children, and the essential perspective and knowledge of women of color, they’re not just bringing expertise to the table. They’re bringing heart.
“Communicating directly and truthfully to the American people is one of the most important duties of a President, and this team will be entrusted with the tremendous responsibility of connecting the American people to the White House,” said President Biden. “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.”
The announced of the communications team, however, isn’t the first time the Biden-Harris transition has broken barriers. President Biden has already appointed Avril Haines as Director of National Security, and revealed this week that he’ll appoint Janet Yellen to be Secretary of Treasury — both are the first women in American history to hold these positions.
Committed to easing the burdens of pandemic, economic, and social distress across the country, the appointment of this communications team was an important one. “Our country is facing unprecedented challenges–from the coronavirus pandemic to the economic crisis, to the climate crisis, and a long-overdue reckoning over racial injustice,” explained Vice President Kamala Harris. “To overcome these challenges, we need to communicate clearly, honestly, and transparently with the American people, and this experienced, talented, and barrier-shattering team will help us do that. These communications professionals express our commitment to building a White House that reflects the very best of our nation.”
The last four years have seen women take the podium as White House Press Secretary under President Donald Trump, but it’s been difficult to gather and interpret what’s exactly been happening when the people in charge are willingly spreading disinformation. With a new administration just weeks away from transitioning, perhaps it’s just a little bit easier to look forward and stay hopeful.
Get to know the women leading President Joe Biden’s Communications Team.
Jen Psaki just might be the face and name you’ll be hearing from the most regarding information from the White House these next four years. Having served in several senior positions such as White House Communications Director, State Department Spokesperson under then-Secretary of State John Kerry, Deputy White House Communications Director and Deputy White House Press Secretary during the Obama-Biden administration, she will now be the Biden-Harris administration’s White House Press Secretary. Currently, Psaki lives in Virginia with her husband and two children, and is overseeing all communications during the Biden-Harris transition period.
After spending the first few years of the Obama-Biden administration as the Press Secretary to former Vice President Biden, Elizabeth E. Alexander is now the Communications Director for all official updates and news coming from First Lady Dr. Jill Biden. Originally from Texas, Alexander has previously worked as Press Secretary for the United Nations Foundation, Press Secretary to Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, Communications Director for Congressman Adam Schiff, and Deputy Press Secretary for Senator Chuck Schumer. She was the Senior Advisor on the Biden-Harris campaign, and currently lives in Maryland with her husband and two sons.
During the Obama-Biden administration, Kate Bedingfield served as Communications Director for Vice President Biden and as Associate Communications Director, Deputy Director of Media Affairs, and the Director of Response. Prior to the Obama-Biden White House, she served as Regional Press Secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2006 when Democrats won back the House. Living in Washington, DC with her husband, son, and daughter, Bedingfield has most previously worked with both President Biden and VP Harris as Deputy Campaign Manager and Communications Director during their campaign.
Now leading all communications coming directly from Vice President Kamala Harris, Ashley Etienne served as a Senior Advisor on the Biden-Harris Campaign. Previously, Etienne was Communications Director and Senior Advisor to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi — she became the first woman and person of color to hold the position. She also worked as Special Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the Cabinet in the Obama-Biden administration. Etienne has also provided strategic counsel to clients at her own consulting firm, Etienne & Associates, drawing from her time at Sam Houston State University and Johns Hopkins University.
During the Biden-Harris campaign, Karine Jean-Pierre served simultaneously as Senior Advisor to President Biden and Chief of Staff to Vice President Harris. She has also worked under the Obama-Biden administration as Regional Political Director for the White House Office of Political Affairs. In 2012, she served as Deputy Battleground States Director for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. Formerly a graduate from Columbia University, Jean-Pierre will now work alongside Jen Psaki to deliver White House information to the public.
While working on U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign in 2016, Symone Sanders became the youngest presidential press secretary ever. Before joining the Biden-Harris campaign where she served as Senior Advisor, she was a CNN political commentator and served as principal of the 360 Group LLC, where she provided strategic communications guidance to organizations, businesses, individuals, campaigns, and candidates. Passionate about bringing to light young voices in the fight for justice, Sanders is a graduate of Creighton University and currently lives in Washington DC.
During the Biden-Harris Campaign, Pili Tobar served as the Communications Director for Coalitions. Before working the campaign trail, she served as the Deputy Director for America’s Voice, where she took her passion and dedication for immigrants’ rights to a new level. Her previous work as Hispanic Media Director for Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and National Director of Hispanic Media and Western Regional Press Secretary for the DNC guides her push for a more diverse America.