I think she has brought a freshness to the White House, but in addition, her professional skills and her people skills are so good. She began with letting it be known that she was interested in people and that she wanted to be a part of her community and a part of the nation. I think that wherever she has gone, she has made a positive impression because she’s not only a woman who’s highly intelligent and highly well-trained, she has also talked to people about things that they are interested in, and I think that she has communicated that she has a sincere interest. It’s truly not about public relations; it’s about relating to people.
—Dorothy Height, chair and president emerita, National Council of Negro Women
A Friendly Neighbor: Donna Brazile, Democratic strategist and CNN commentator
A-Plus: Congressman James Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina, House Majority Whip
21st Century Ambassador: Vishakha Desai, president, Asia Society
The Other Community Organizer: Lani Guinier, professor of law, Harvard University
Black Love Guru: Cathy Hughes, CEO, Radio One
An American Mother: Rep. John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia
Working It Out: Julianne Malveaux, president, Bennett College for Women
Carrying Her Own Head: Susan L. Taylor, former editor, Essence
Rock Star: Baratunde Thurston, editor, The Onion
Gardener in Chief: Alice Waters, restaurant owner and activist
Covers the White House and Washington for The Root. Follow her on Twitter.