Fireside Chat with former White House Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough
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Fireside Chat with former White House Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough

When: Tuesday, May 14, 2019
5:30 PM EDT
Where: Gallup DC
901 F St NW
Washington, DC, District of Columbia  20004
United States
Presenter: Denis McDonough with Desiree Barnes
Contact: Caroline Pugh

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Join us for the first ever Presidential Chief of Staff Event!


We will be hosting a fireside chat with Denis McDonough, President Obama’s second term Chief of Staff. The conversation will be moderated by Desiree Barnes, long time colleague and friend of Denis who served as the former Advisor to the Press Secretary and Aide to the President.


In this conversation, Denis will share lessons and stories from the White House, advice and best practices on operating in high-intensity environments, and preparing for career transitions following his time as Chief.


Denis McDonough:


McDonough is currently Senior Principal at the Markle Foundation, where he chairs the Rework America Task Force, a national initiative to transform the labor market so that all Americans can thrive in the digital economy. The Task Force is made up of a coalition of diverse, cross-sector leaders working together to define, pilot, and advance policies and practices among employers, educators, policymakers and workers so that all are better equipped to adapt to the rapid pace of technological change.


McDonough also serves as Senior Advisor for Technology and Global Policy for Macro Advisory Partners, a strategic advisory firm which helps to navigate the intersection of global markets, geopolitics and policy. In addition, he is Executive Fellow at the University of Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs, teaching a global policy seminar for graduate and undergraduate students.


From February 2013 to January 2017, McDonough served as White House Chief of Staff for President Barack Obama. In that role, McDonough managed the White House staff, as well as Cabinet Secretaries and agency leaders. He advised the President on domestic policy and national security challenges facing the country, management issues facing the federal government, and devised and enforced plans and accountability for performance and goals, maintaining the Obama Administration’s reputation for effective, ethical operation. He planned and coordinated efforts to recruit and retain key talent—including an unprecedented expansion of technology experts and engineers within the White House and across the federal government.


Prior to his role as Chief of Staff, from September 2010 until February 2013, McDonough was Assistant to the President and Principal Deputy National Security Advisor. He chaired the National Security Council’s Deputies Committee, leading a multiagency team to address complex national security challenges, including crisis management and national security policy making decisions. Throughout the 2008 Presidential campaign, McDonough served as Senior Foreign Policy Advisor for Obama for America.


Prior to his eight-year tenure in the White House, McDonough served in senior leadership and policy-making positions in the U.S. House of Representatives, as Professional Staff Member on the International Relations Committee, and in the U.S. Senate, for the Senate Majority Leader and for Senator Ken Salazar (CO).


He is on the board of directors for Catalyte, a Baltimore-based company that uses AI and data science to build technology workforces for the world’s most progressive companies. He is a member of the National Democratic Institute board of directors and of the advisory council for the Tent Partnership for Refugees. He is also on the board of directors for the SAFE Project, a national nonprofit working to end the nation’s catastrophic addiction epidemic. McDonough received his B.A., summa cum laude, from St. John’s University (MN) and his M.S. from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. He lives in Maryland with his wife and three children.



Desiree Barnes, a native of Buffalo, NY served as a communications and public engagement strategist for former U.S President, Barack Obama. During her decade long tenure with the Obama's, she was a member of the communication’s team, where she oversaw daily operations and message execution as advisor to the Press Secretary Josh Earnest. Concluding the administration- Desiree joined the personal office of the Obama's to craft post presidency messaging and public engagement. Desiree is the founder of BRKDN Strategies a strategic communications consulting firm for contemporary artists and scaling start ups. 



ASK A QUESTION: We are collecting questions from Chiefs prior to the event to ask Denis, please submit any questions you have to