Rogers focused on position with magazine publisher

August 13, 2010 2:19:48 PM PDT
Former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers is talking about her new job. She has been named CEO of Chicago's Johnson Publishing Company.

Rogers sat down and talked with ABC 7's Cheryl Burton Wednesday in her only television interview about her time with the Obamas in the White House and the start of her new career. It is the first job she has taken since leaving the White House.

In her 14 months as the social secretary she planned 350 events. Rogers was the first African-American to hold the job. Despite leaving under a cloud of controversy, Rogers says she is most proud that she represented the president and first lady's vision, and she gave people the opportunity to be a part of history and she has no regrets.

"I feel that the work we did was great. We did 350 events over 14 months and really set the framework for the Obama White House being viewed as the people's house," Rogers said.

She regrets that her work was over shadowed by controversy.

"I think it was eye opening for all of us to look at ways we could improve and I think that's something the president had stated as well," said Rogers.

Rogers says it is now time to focus on her new position. Her short-term goal is to make people excited about reading the magazine and refamiliarize consumers about other entities at the publishing company, like their fashion fair makeup line.

"I feel that I'm prepared and equipped to do what needs to be done to take the businesses to the next level. I can't tell you how rewarding and incredible it is to be working side by side with my best friend, Linda Johnson Rice in the chairman's position, so, I mean, What more could I ask for?"

Chairman Linda Johnson Rice welcomed Rogers with a painting of boxer Jack Johnson. It's symbolic for Rogers who is a breast cancer survivor and someone who considers herself a fighter. It's just one of the perks of working with her best friend of 20 years but what about the challenges?

"Our friendship is so solid we are looking forward to the challenge," said Rogers.

Rogers gave Johnson Rice a journal to chronicle their new journey.

On Wednesday night, Rogers oversaw an education roundtable. Earlier she commented on the importance such an event will have on the magazine's brand.

"We have to improve that that area. If we are to have a fighting chance, not just in America but in the world, you have to have the skill set," said Rogers.

The event also promotes new efforts for community outreach, something Rogers admits the company has been lacking. However, Rogers says her main focus is the magazine.

"We have to make sure our content is where it suppose to be book looks great and we are entertaining various audiences," said Rogers.

Rogers says she took the position because it offers all the components of what she wants her legacy to be.

Rogers' future plans include archiving all the pictures taken over the past 65 years and make them available to readers.

On the cover of the September issue of Ebony is President Obama. Inside is an exclusive interview with the president as he talks about the values of education in this country.


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