A native of Austin, Jehmu began her political career in Texas, working both as Executive Director of the Texas Young Democrats and with Governor Ann Richards’ 1994 campaign. Her ambition and desire to help empower disenfranchised and vulnerable communities led her to drop out of college and drive to Washington, D.C. with only $10 in her pocket.
Beginning in 1998, Jehmu took on the role as Director of Women’s Outreach and Southern Political Director for the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and in 1999, traveled to Botswana and South Africa on behalf of the United States Information Agency to encourage young voters to participate in upcoming elections, a goal that would eventually become a cornerstone of her work. Since then, Jehmu has worked on more than twenty political campaigns at the local, state, and national levels, including serving as an advisor and surrogate for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.
In 2000, Jehmu took her vision and spark to Rock the Vote, where she served as president until 2005. Her innovation with voter registration garnered remarkable results: In her work at Rock the Vote, Jehmu was ahead of her time, and launched the first online voter registration tool with a commitment to registering young people. Membership leapt from 1,500 to 1 million, 1.4 million new voters were registered, and youth voter turnout increased by 11%, the highest increase ever documented in between two presidential elections.
From there, Jehmu was President of Women’s Media Center, a nonprofit media advocacy organization founded by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem. In 2010, she was appointed by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to serve on the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO.
But Jehmu wasn’t done: In 2011, she co-founded Define American, a nonprofit media and culture organization that furthers and deepens dialogue surrounding immigrants, identity and citizenship in America, which was critical to changing conversation surrounding immigration policy and reform. Shortly after, in 2014, she became President of WakaWaka North America, where she innovated in the private sector to bring solar light and power to people living without electricity, and served as Board Chair of VoteRunLead.
Always innovating at the intersection of social justice and media, Jehmu took her unique understanding of institutional challenges and opportunities from the inside out public, joining FOX News Channel in November 2010. Since then, she’s appeared on your television screen via The O’Reilly Factor, Anderson Cooper 360, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, Bloomberg Television, and MTV News, to name a few. Her work has been awarded with the National Conference for Community and Justice’s Community Service Award, the American Association of University Women’s Women of Distinction Award, and the National Council for Research on Women’s Women Making Difference Award. Essence Magazine named Jehmu as one of its 40 Women Under 40 Shaping the World and one of the 35 Most Beautiful and Remarkable Women in the World.
In 2017, Jehmu poured her decades of experience and innovation into running for Chair of the Democratic National Committee. She continues to bring her vision to life and drive fresh perspective in political conversation as a speaker, correspondent and expert.