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“It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact time when I became interested in public service, because serving our community and country was always part of the family dialogue,” Yohannes tells Tadias in a recent interview. “I attended Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology and was a Political Science major at Yale, focusing on U. foreign policy” Yohannes adds, noting that his parents raised him and his sister with a strong sense of service to community and the importance of helping people.What solidified Yohannes’ choice to work in government and politics was a desire to give back.“When he won the Senate seat I followed him more closely and realized that his values were very much aligned with my own, and that from a vision and policy perspective he stood for things that I was passionate about.” For Yohannes, there are many highlights from his job organizing 14 precincts in Iowa for the President’s first campaign.“There were many memorable parts of working on the campaign, and it was especially interesting to be there early on in Iowa. None of us went to Iowa because we wanted to work in the White House one day – that wouldn’t have been a smart bet at the time.“If you speak with any of them and chart their path you’ll come up with a few common threads.You’ll see that there is a real commitment to education.We know dating is hard and meeting someone you like is even harder.
But the best memories are either when we moved the needle in a way that did some good in the world, or simple moments of camaraderie with teammates.
“I am lucky to have always had an extremely supportive family,” Yohannes says.
“My parents gave my sister and me a great foundation and made clear to us that it was incumbent upon us to give back, reminding us that not everyone had the same opportunities that we had.” Shortly after graduating from Yale, Yohannes secured a job with Senator Obama’s campaign in Iowa in 2007 with the assistance of a fellow Ethiopian American.
Since 2009, he has worked diligently inside the White House, only steps away from the Oval Office, helping to shape the Obama legacy while serving as Chief of Staff to Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama.
Reflecting back on the past eight years and the personal journey that led him to serve in the historic presidency of Barack Obama, Yohannes credits his parents first and foremost for his interest in public service and civic engagement. citizens, and they wanted us to be engaged citizens as well.” His mother and father immigrated to the United States from Ethiopia in the 60s and Yohannes was born in Alexandria, VA and raised in Springfield.
In fact the best part of my job is the team that he put around him that I have had the chance to work with, and became friends with.