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Chynna Clayton

Former Bodywoman to First Lady Michelle Obama | Director of Travel and Event Operations for the Office of Barack and Michelle Obama | Founder, Matriarch Made Development

Former Bodywoman to First Lady Michelle Obama | Director of Travel and Event Operations for the Office of Barack and Michelle Obama | Founder, Matriarch Made Development

Empathetic, strategic, and meticulous about the details, Chynna Clayton has built a career enabling some of the world’s most influential leaders to excel in high-stress environments.

She spent years supporting the Obama’s advance logistical teams before supporting Executive Vice Presidents in Walt Disney Company’s government relations office.

Chynna ultimately became the “body-woman” to former First Lady Michelle Obama during their second term in office; where she helped Mrs. Obama connect with communities around the world. She ensured every detail of Mrs. Obama’s personal and public-facing events were executed flawlessly, later transitioning to the Obama’s personal office as their Director of Travel and Event Operations.

Chynna is now the founder and CEO of Matriarch Made Development, a consulting firm that centers around helping companies and organizations develop high-performing administrative teams and identify and address overall operating structure inefficiencies. Assisting leaders with onboarding, and how to further develop the talents of their teams to developing critical communication channels that ensure every stakeholder feels valued and supported.

Chynna was most recently highlighted in Michelle Obama’s book, “The Light We Carry.” She has written for O Magazine; been featured in Vogue, Business Insider, Essence, the Netflix Documentary “Becoming,” and the Michelle Obama Spotify Podcast. She currently resides in Washington, DC with her wife Katina Hoyles.

  • Don't Let Anyone Dim Your Light - Ambition, Casting Out Doubt and Acceptance

    People have been trying to dim my light since I was in the first grade. It was when I
    first heard that I wasn’t good enough — not good enough to be tested for my school’s gifted program. I would then experience the racism, insecurity, and struggles with body positivity that came with attending a predominantly white elementary school. As if growing up in Miami, where colorism plagued our communities and caused you to feel unworthy of being loved if you were of a darker hue wasn’t enough.

    I would then find myself in high school where administrators made me feel guilty about being ambitious and told me to stop running for so much and to give other students a chance. I found myself within the walls of the White House as an intern during the Obama Administration being told by a fellow intern that I was taking up space and didn’t deserve the position because my primary major was Event Management, not Political Science. I speak to how this world may cause you to doubt the essence of who you are every day but not to ever let anyone dim your light.

  • Mentorship

    I credit many of my accomplishments to the community that poured into me by way of mentorship. I have not only been the beneficiary of the power of mentoring, but I also believe in paying it forward. I’m able to relate to being a first-generation college student, black, LGBTQIA+, and a woman in business and politics.

    My story is one that highlights how through mentorship you can empower personal development by instilling confidence, building trust, strengthening knowledge and bridging life’s learning gaps through sharing lessons learned.

  • Navigating High-Pressure Situations

    Working at the White House is a job like no other. With the world watching the First Family’s every move, even the smallest misstep could make for a National headline. It required being ready for anything and everything. In dealing with some of the most powerful people and organizations in the world, I share how I ensured protocols, schedules, and core objectives were observed with grace and determination.

    I believe that a cornerstone to navigating high pressure or stressful situations and environments is maintaining composure.

  • Becoming A Great Assistant

    From discretion to leading with kindness, I speak to some of the key overarching things that lend themselves to being a great assistant. Assistants often strive for perfection. However, in such a demanding career, it is necessary to give yourself the grace to make a mistake here or there.

    I discuss how I navigated my lessons learned and equip others with tactical advice for navigating their own paths. I share who I am at my core and the need to balance self-care while anticipating and planning for others’ needs before your own.

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