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Valerie Jarrett joins Lyft’s board and brings carloads of experience

(BUSINESS NEWS) Valerie Jarrett is the newest addition to Lyft’s board of directors and they are sure to learn something from her.

White House advisor Valerie Jarrett speaks following a screening of The Trip to Bountiful, a TV version of the Tony award-nominated Broadway revival of Horton Footes play on February 24, 2014 in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House in Washington. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

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Lyft is bringing on a new board member with experience in both government and transportation.

That new board member is former senior advisor to President Obama, Valerie Jarrett.

Experience to boot

As one of the longest-serving advisers to the former president, Jarrett consulted with Obama on public engagement and intergovernmental affairs. Before joining Obama’s team, she had previously chaired the Chicago Transit Board and was a commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development.

In a statement on Monday, a Lyft spokesperson said that Jarrett “brings experience tackling the problems and opportunities related to urban transportation.”

Jarrett is the first independent Lyft board member, and joins Floodgate’s Ann Miura-Ko to become the second woman on Lyft’s board. Other board members include Lyft founders Logan Green and John Zimmer, Sean Aggarwal, Ben Horowitz of Andreessen Horowitz, and GM President Dan Ammann, bringing the total to nine members.

Besides serving on Lyft’s board, Jarrett is also on the board of Ariel Investments in Chicago, and serves as an adviser to the Obama Foundation.

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Thrilled to join the ride

In a post on Lyft’s blog, Jarrett said that she believes “that reliable, affordable transportation positively impacts social mobility, and improves the quality of life in densely populated communities.” She added, “I am thrilled to join the ride.”

This isn’t the first time that ride-sharing company has drawn D.C. alumni to the Silicon Valley.

David Plouffe, campaign manager and senior advisor to Obama, worked at Uber from 2014 until early 2017. Uber also hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate allegations of sexist discrimination and harassment.

Jarrett joins Lyft at a time when the ride-sharing app’s star is rising.

Amidst allegations of sexual harassment and evasion of law enforcement, several Uber execs have left the company in the past several weeks. A consumer boycott of Uber has prompted many customers to switch to Lyft.

On the up

The company raised $600 million in capital this year, at a $7.5 billion valuation. To date, the company have raised more than $2.6 billion.

Just halfway through 2017, Lyft says that they’ve already completed more rides than in all of 2016.

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Ellen Vessels, a Staff Writer at The American Genius, is respected for their wide range of work, with a focus on generational marketing and business trends. Ellen is also a performance artist when not writing, and has a passion for sustainability, social justice, and the arts.

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