As a 2011-12 White House Fellow, Reggie Chambers is spending a year working alongside high-ranking members of the Obama administration. It's the latest in a long line of accomplishments for Chambers, who has worked as a corporate lawyer, investment executive, and adjunct professor of entrepreneurship and small business.
"Just two generations ago, I had grandparents with no more than a seventh-grade education, and now I have an opportunity to serve the country in the White House," says Chambers. "Education allowed my mom to overcome the barriers of a once-segregated Alabama and my dad to rise above the challenges of inner-city Detroit. My mom eventually earned her doctorate in education at the age of fifty-five. I have tried to follow my parents' example by having a career where I am consistently challenged and learning."
At Duke, Chambers majored in political science, minored in Spanish, and earned a certificate in markets and management studies. He earned a law degree from Harvard University and began his professional career as a corporate lawyer before transitioning to banking, working as a vice president with Citi Investment Banking. More recently, he was an investment executive in New York and London with 3i Group, a $20 billion international investment firm, where he helped found and lead its North American infrastructure team. He's also taught classes at Brooklyn College, using his teaching salary to fund the class' business-plan competition. And he's served on the trustee boards of the Graduate Center of CUNY, the Bogliasco Foundation in Italy, and the Teachers Network.
Through the White House Fellows program, Chambers works with the National Economic Council, an agency that coordinates the nation's economic policy and gathers policy advice around housing, infrastructure, small-business, energy, and tax policy. The Fellows program was created in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson to provide midcareer leaders firsthand experience with the workings of the federal government. Its goal is to encourage active citizenship and a lifelong commitment to service. Primary-care physician Kisha Green Davis '00 is also a member of the current class of Fellows, serving in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"Each citizen has an obligation to do his or her part to improve our communities in order to make certain our nation will be a better place for future generations," Chambers says. "My family seized opportunities so that each successive generation has been able to take our family to new heights. I have a two-year-old daughter, and I feel an obligation to do my part to ensure she will have even greater opportunities available to her than I have had.
"If every citizen takes it upon themselves to lend whatever time and talents they have toward improving our communities, I have no doubt that the notion of the American Dream will be attainable for future generations."
Reginald Alan Chambers '98
White House Fellow
November 30, 2011