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Sarah  Hurwitz

Sarah Hurwitz

First Lady Michelle Obama’s Chief Speechwriter (2010-2017) & Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University

Biography

Sarah Hurwitz was a White House speechwriter from 2009 to 2017, starting out as a senior speechwriter for President Barack Obama and then serving as chief speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama. Sarah worked with Mrs. Obama to craft widely-acclaimed addresses – including her 2016 Democratic National Convention speech and her political speeches during the 2016 campaign cycle – and traveled with the First Lady across America and to five continents. Sarah also worked on policy issues affecting young women and girls as a senior advisor to the White House Council on Women and Girls. Read More >

Before working at the White House, Sarah was chief speechwriter for Hillary Clinton during her 2008 presidential primary campaign. She then joined the Obama campaign, serving as a senior speechwriter for then-Senator Obama and helping Michelle Obama draft her 2008 Democratic National Convention speech. Prior to the Clinton and Obama campaigns, Sarah served as deputy chief speechwriter for Senator John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign, deputy chief speechwriter for General Wesley Clark’s primary campaign, and a speechwriter for Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa. Sarah was also a lawyer at the Washington, DC office of WilmerHale.

Hurwitz has been profiled in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and The Guardian; interviewed on BBC’s Newshour; and featured in The Forward as one of 50 Jews who impacted American life in 2016.

A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Hurwitz is currently a Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University. Hurwitz offers audiences a behind-the-scenes look at life in the White House working for one of the most inspiring and influential women in the world. She also shares her advice on effective storytelling, providing concrete tips for how to create a moving, persuasive narrative that breaks through the noise and has a lasting impact. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Putting It Into Words

At The National Conversation: She Should Run

Speech Topics

The Power of Authenticity: Lessons Learned from First Lady Michelle Obama on Breaking Through and Changing Hearts & Minds

Even in today’s noisy, fragmented media environment, a well-told story or well-crafted speech can still break through, inspiring and persuading millions of people. Sarah Hurwitz knows this firsthand having served as chief speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama, helping her craft some of the most memorable and acclaimed speeches of our time. Mrs. Obama has a unique ability to get to the deeper truths behind any issue, powerfully articulating the values we share and calling us to rise to our highest ideals. While the rest of us may not have the same kind of platform or reach, we each have the power to influence and inspire others in our own lives, leading in our workplaces and communities through the power of our words. Offering specific advice illustrated with real-life examples from her time in the White House, Hurwitz tells audiences how to craft a compelling, authentic narrative that breaks through the noise and truly changes hearts and minds.

The Power of Your Words: Finding Your Most Authentic, Influential Voice as a Woman Leader

Having served as the chief speechwriter for two of the most influential women in the world – Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama – Sarah Hurwitz has plenty of firsthand experience helping women leaders persuade and inspire with their words. Drawing on her experience working on a number of high-stakes, highly-regarded political speeches, Hurwitz offers insights on the challenges and opportunities women face as they seek to make their voices heard. Sharing real-life examples from her time in the White House and on the campaign trail, Hurwitz offers concrete tips and lessons-learned about how women can use their words to lead.

The Joys – & Challenges – of a Public Service Journey…& Why a Career in Politics Can Still be Meaningful & Inspiring

After serving as chief speechwriter for Hillary Clinton during her 2008 campaign and a senior speechwriter for President Barack Obama, Sarah Hurwitz became the chief speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama, working in the White House for all eight years of the Obama Administration. Hurwitz offers audiences a behind-the-scenes glimpse at life on presidential campaigns and in the White House: from the high-wire act of getting last-minute speech edits into the telemprompter to the privilege of landing somewhere – anywhere – in the world in a blue and white plane with “United States of America” stamped on its side. Hurwitz shares the highs and lows of a life in politics, inspiring others to find their voices as leaders and pursue their own careers in public service.

A Jewish Journey in the White House

During the final years of her tenure in the White House as First Lady Michelle Obama’s chief speechwriter, Sarah Hurwitz reconnected with Judaism, exploring the wisdom of Jewish law, the power of Jewish spirituality, and the lessons of Jewish history, all of which had a profound impact on her political career. From drafting her first out of office message for Shabbat, to attending her first Jewish silent meditation retreat, to coming to understand that her role as a speechwriter is to tell the story of the stranger – those who are oppressed or forgotten – Hurwitz speaks about her Jewish journey and how her Jewish values shaped her time in the White House.

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