Maju Varghese, 39
Assistant to the President for Management and Administration, White House
Hometown: Elmont, New York
How did you get here?
I got my first taste of politics doing advance for Vice President Gore during the 2000 presidential campaign and I guess I just kept coming back for more. After the campaign, I worked at the DNC and then went off to law school. During law school and even during the time I was a practicing lawyer in New York, I continued to do advance, including doing trips for then-Senator Obama. After working on nearly all of the President's visits to New York City in 2009 and 2010, I was given the opportunity to join the White House as a full time advance lead for the President in 2010 and I have been here ever since. I moved from Advance Lead, to Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Advance and then to my current role as Assistant to the President for Management and Administration.
Who or what has been the greatest influence on your career?
I've had the opportunity to work for and with some extraordinary people over the years, including people who have taught me so much, but I think my family has had the deepest influence on me. My parents came to the United States from India in the early 1970's and built a life here for me and my sister. Remembering their struggle helps me appreciate what I've been able to achieve. There isn't a day that I walk these halls and don't appreciate what an extraordinary journey this has been. My father passed away just about three years ago and he unfortunately never got to walk these halls with me. However, I feel like I bring a piece of him and the rest of my family with me every day. I've also been fortunate to share this experience with my ten year old son and it's been fun to experience all of this through his eyes.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment during the Obama administration?
I've been incredibly fortunate to travel the world with the President and see things through a very special lens. I am proud of the history-making visits I was a part of all around the world and the dedicated staff I work with in my current role.
That said, I think my greatest accomplishment has been building strong and lasting relationships here over the years. I'm proud of all that we have done together. This has been such a special chapter in my life and when I look back on it years from now, all of these people, many of whom are like family to me, will always be a part of those memories. None of the things I've done here the last several years would have been the same without them. I owe them all a lot.
Can you describe your time working for the Obama administration in 10 words?
An incredible time with the best team I've ever known.
Complete the sentence: “When I’m not working, I…”
When I am not working, I can be found doing my best to spend as much time with my family as I can. I can be found sitting on the sidelines of my son's basketball games and now that it is baseball season, you can find me trying to carve out a little time each night to watch a few innings of my beloved New York Mets. After so many years on the road, a little time at home is still a cherished commodity.