Desiree Rogers Has Fans in High Places - NBC Chicago

Desiree Rogers Has Fans in High Places

Michelle Obama defends her friend



    Desiree Rogers Has Fans in High Places
    Getty Images

    Desiree Rogers is on her way out of the White House, but she’s getting a fond farewell from friends and admirers. 

    The embattled social secretary, who never recovered from a gate-crashing episode that called into question her aptitude, received high-praise from her hometown pal, First Lady Michelle Obama.

    “If you look at this year, this has been a phenomenal year, starting a year in a White House where nobody even knows where the bathrooms are, and then right away you have to start delivering great events, and every single event we have had at the White House has been stellar, and it’s been because of the teamwork that has included Desiree,” Obama said during an interview with Politico.

    “You can’t look back on this year and be disappointed. She’s done a great job. She came into this with a shorter-term perspective. Leaving the corporate world, she was always sort of ambivalent,” Obama said.  “She is leaving us with a solid foundation. ... That’s a decision that she had to make; ... she’s been a terrific resource.”

    It’s not just the First Lady that’s heaping on praise for the Chicago socialite.

    Some 250 Facebook users have signed on to toast the outgoing White House Social Secretary.

    “Those of us who admire and respect Ms. Rogers are offering our support of her by posting a pic with a glass of champagne as a toast,” says the message on the Facebook fan page Toast to Ms. Desiree Rogers, White House Social Secretary.

    The group was started by Monica Mingo a Maryland blogger.

    "Ms. Rogers brought light to the fact that women of color enjoy a certain quality of life as well which includes entertaining,” Mingo writes about her reason for starting the page. “We didn't just learn about Ms. Rogers when she became the White House Social Secretary.  She's BEEN someone we used as a go to for flyness …”

    She may bring her flyness back to Chicago.

    Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

    A native of New Orleans, Rogers originally came to the city after receiving a degree at Wellesley College and a Harvard MBA, then married John Rogers Jr., founder of multibillion-dollar Ariel Capital Management (they have been divorced for a decade).

    Rogers was appointed to be Illinois' lottery director by Gov. Jim Edgar in 1990. After achieving a reputation for success at the lottery,  Rogers left in 1997 to join Peoples Gas.

    Rogers served as president of Peoples Gas from 2004 until 2008, during which time the utility was sued by the city and state for "massive fraud" linked to the Enron scandal. The scandal pre-dated Rogers' term. Peoples eventually agreed to a record $196 million in refunds.

    Rogers left Peoples in '09, briefly worked for Allstate Insurance, and then joined the Obama White House.