Ever since White House Social Secretary Jeremy Bernard, the first openly gay man to hold the position, announced that he was stepping down in early April, Americans everywhere (okay, a few political nerds) have been wondering who would replace him. Now, we know: Deesha Dyer, 37, has been named to the position, where she'll oversee all social functions at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, from simple meet-and-greets to entertaining heads of state. And, we have the very first interview with her!
The news will be announced by the White House on Thursday afternoon.
"From the day Deesha started in the Social Office nearly two years ago, she impressed me with her passion, creativity, public-mindedness and relentless competence,” First Lady Michelle Obama said in a statement. “Since then, whether helping flawlessly execute state dinners, or going the extra mile to open the White House to people who never dreamed they would walk through these doors, Deesha has worked tirelessly to truly make the White House the 'People's House.' I am thrilled that she has agreed to continue her service as our Social Secretary."
Dyer's career path is unusual — she started out as a hip-hop journalist and community advocate, before returning to school at age 29. After getting her degree in women's studies, she was hired at the White House as an intern. From there, she quickly worked her way up. She was brought on full-time in 2010 to travel with the first family, overseeing lodging and logistics, and then promoted to Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary, a position she's held for the last two years.
“Deesha shares our commitment to a White House that reflects America’s history, highlights our culture, and celebrates all Americans. Michelle and I look forward to working with her in this new role as we welcome visitors from across the country and around the world to the People’s House,” the President said in a statement.
Dyer is a Philadelphia native who attended the Milton Hershey School. We spoke with her just before the announcement.