White House communications official Karine Jean-Pierre is set to make dual history next week when she becomes the first Black and openly LGBTQ person to serve as White House press secretary–here’s how she came to land one of the most public-facing jobs in government.

Key Facts

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President Joe Biden on Thursday announced Jean-Pierre, 44, will take over as press secretary from Jen Psaki on May 13, with Psaki reportedly departing for a pundit role at MSNBC.

Jean-Pierre has served as Psaki’s principal deputy since Biden took office last year, and has occasionally stepped in for Psaki to take questions at White House press briefings.

On May 26, 2021, Jean-Pierre became the first openly LGBTQ person to hold a White House press briefing.

Before taking a job in the Biden Administration, Jean-Pierre worked on Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, one of several presidential campaigns she’s been a part of—she served as deputy campaign manager for Democrat Martin O’Malley’s 2016 bid and was a member of former President Barack Obama’s campaign team in 2012 and 2008.

Outside of campaigns and her time in the White House, Jean-Pierre has been a prominent Democratic activist, and has made regular appearances as a political analyst on MSNBC.

In 2014, Jean-Pierre became a faculty member at Columbia University, teaching in its School of International and Public Affairs, where she earned a Master of Public Affairs degree in 2003.