From Eviction to The White House: Deesha Dyer Pens New Book on Life as President Obama’s Social Secretary  

by Xara Aziz
Instagram: @deedyer267

A new riveting book about a Philadelphia woman who was forced to leave college but ended up becoming the Social Security for The White House is moving the nation with its powerful storytelling and punchy rhetoric.

Deesha Dyer rose the ranks to become one of the nation’s most sought-after public speakers after she landed the role of Social Secretary during the Obama Administration. Even more compelling is her story of getting to the White House. Dyer, who was currently enrolled at a local community college in Philadelphia was selected to intern at the White House at the age of 31, while most of her cohort were in their early to mid-20s.

“As a hip hop girl from Philly who had no degree, the Obamas were like, ‘We like you,'” Dyer told CBS News journalistJanelle Burrell in an interview. “For me, I thought I didn’t belong.”

Her experiences led her to pen Undiplomatic: How My Attitude Created the Best Kind of Trouble,” which is available now online and at bookstores across the nation.

“Right down the street from here at Community College of Philadelphia is where I was going to school part time,” Dyer remembered. “And when I got the White House internship application, I looked at it like, ‘I’m probably not qualified for this.'”

At the age of 31, Dyer, who had previously dropped out of college, was managing a full-time job, attending community college courses, and juggling several side gigs. Despite these challenges, she applied for a White House internship.

When she was selected from among hundreds of applicants to join the White House intern class of 2009 and was stunned at the thought of it. This achievement triggered a profound sense of imposter syndrome, which later inspired her work Undiplomatic.

“A lot of people struggle with it,” she said. “For me, I felt that way the entire time at the White House. And so I’m like, I’m gonna be honest about it, and entertain people along the way.”

In the book, Dyer also discusses how just being herself was enough to get noticed by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

“Who says we aren’t as good as the next person? Aren’t you deserving and worth all the promotions, the accolades and the good things that happen to us?” Dyer penned in her book.

“That really was the catalyst for everything,” she explained.

After her internship, she was offered a role to work with the White House’s scheduling team, then was promoted to Deputy Social Security before landing the role as White House Social Secretary after her predecessor stepped down. She would go on to plan some of the White House’s most prestigious events with world dignitaries, celebrities, and even the Pope!

“I didn’t really want the job because I didn’t think that I could get it,” she admitted, adding that when “I actually had the meeting with Mrs. Obama, and she was actually giving me the job, she asked me, you know, do you have the confidence for this role? And I said yes. But obviously, I do not, but I will find it.”  

During her time there, she would tap back into her roots and invite artists from her hometown, including the Roots, Jill Scott, and DJ Jazzy Jeff.

“I just used everything in my toolkit of people I knew, places I knew, museums, artists and kids and DJs,” she said. “I was like, I’m getting everybody in here.”

Dyer’s term as Social Secretary ended at the end of Obama’s second term. She now works as the co-founder of the nonprofit, which aims to level the playing field for young women who want to travel abroad.

“It’s amazing, I love coming home,” she said.  

Get your copy of Undiplomatic: How My Attitude Created the Best Kind of Trouble, now.

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