Meet Deesha Dyer, the New and Lowkey White House Social Secretary

You may have heard the White House hired a new social secretary, Deesha Dyer, a Black woman from Philadelphia.

Unlike social secretaries before her, Dyer doesn’t have a pedigreed background and she’s not alum of a Ivy League university.

At a young 37, Dyer’s path to becoming social secretary at the White House was unconventional and started when she dropped out of college because of money.

Dyer is from West Philadelphia, but spent her middle and high school years at the Milton Hershey School, a boarding school located in the fields of Hershey, Pa.

With an endowment of $10 billion, the school admits students from low-income families based on their level of poverty and living conditions, with Pennsylvania students having first dibs.

When Dyer graduated, she enrolled at the University of Cincinnati, but found college life wasn’t so affordable, so she dropped out without completing her degree.

She returned to her hometown working several jobs from a real estate company, an airline, starting a hip-hop HIV awareness program and as a freelance journalist covering the Philly hip-hop scene for Philadelphia’s City Paper.

What led Dyer to the White House was an internship at the age of 29, while she was in community college.

”I’d been volunteering in the community, and I would get these applications for internships for the girls in the neighborhood, and I got something for a White House internship,” said Dyer in an interview with Marie Claire.

“I had been really inspired by Barack Obama during his presidential campaign and thought it would be amazing to work for him. But I was 30 and in community college—I thought [the internship] was for the girls, not me. But I checked the qualifications, and actually, I fit all of them. I’d never had an internship before, and I was like, ‘There’s no way I’m going to get this. But, lo and behold, I did.’”

Dyer interned in the scheduling and advance office, which handles the president’s itinerary. For two years, she worked under her predecessor, Jeremy Bernard, who also does not have a Bachelor’s degree and is the first man and openly gay person in the role.

Dyer is only the second Black woman to become social secretary after Desiree Rogers.

Dyer’s believes her experience in the workforce prepared her for the White House internship.

“There were many long nights. I think my experience being in the workforce for so long prior to being an intern is what made me stand out. I was always open to every opportunity and accomplished each task—big or small—with a maturity that showed I could handle the work. And I never stopped moving.”

Dyer was appointed social secretary in May, and today her career includes planning events like the state dinner, White House tours, overseeing the First Lady Michelle Obama’s hosting events and making sure the young people visiting the White House have a memorable experience.

We expect to hear more about Dyer post-Obama administration. We know she’s just getting started!

Photo Credit: Marie Claire

Brittney Fennell

Brittney Fennell

Brittney is the Associate Editor of Jawbreaker and a writer who has goals to disrupt culture in ways unseen.