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Real talk: a view from the Obama White House

Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management hosts power-packed panel on what it was like to work for the Obama Administration

EVANSTON - Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management will host a star-packed panel of former Obama administration officials Tuesday, Feb. 20, to discuss the forces that shape the nation’s executive branch.

The panel, moderated by alumna Dorothy Tucker, includes veteran staffers from the Obama White House:

  • Roy L. Austin: former deputy assistant to President Barack Obama for urban affairs, justice and opportunity
  • Don Graves: Vice President Joe Biden’s former director for domestic and economic policy
  • Tonya Williams: Vice President Biden’s former director for legislative affairs

The event was coordinated with the help of visiting associate professor Ben Harris, who served as the chief economist and the economic adviser to Vice President Biden.

“Our panel represents a diverse array of former officials from the Obama White House, all with different experiences and contributions,” Harris said. “The panelists’ collective expertise will foster an insightful conversation on a host of topics relating to social and economic policy, with a particular emphasis on issues facing the black community.”

The event will take place from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. in the White Auditorium within the Kellogg Global Hub, 2211 Campus Drive, Evanston. The event is open to Northwestern faculty, staff and students, as well as media.

Part of Northwestern’s observance of Black History Month, the panel is sponsored by the Black Management Association, the Public Policy Club and the Kellogg Public-Private Initiative.

Harris said the panel discussion is timely.

“It is becoming increasingly difficult to separate business from public policy,” he said. “From a $1.5 trillion tax cut that changed incentives for every business in the country to regulatory policies that can impact the landscape for entire industries, business leaders understand that they cannot operate without a deep understanding of the developments happening in Washington, D.C., and in statehouses around the country.

“By bringing top policy officials to Kellogg, we are helping to introduce tomorrow’s business leaders to the inter-workings of government which will prove critical to their future performance in business,” he said.

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