Janis F. Kearney
If one should ask Janis Kearney what one thing she believes in most, she would answer: "Always, the possibility of a brighter tomorrow." She was taught such optimism and hope in her hometown of Gould, Arkansas, from sharecropping parents, and her 17 siblings.
Janis was born in Gould, Arkansas 72 miles south of Little Rock, Arkansas. She graduated from Gould High School in 1971; and from the University of Arkansas, in Fayetteville, with a BA in Journalism, in 1976. In 1980, she completed 30 hours toward a Masters of Public Administration at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock.
From 19781987, she worked for Arkansas State Government, three years as a Program Manager for the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) Program; and, six years as Director of Information for the national headquarters of the Migrant Student Records Transfer System (MSRTS) in Little Rock.
In 1987, she purchased the Arkansas State Press Newspaper from the notable civil rights activist Daisy Bates. She published the statewide weekly newspaper for five years, before going to work full time for the Clinton-Gore Presidential Campaign headquarters in 1992, where she served as Director of Minority Media Outreach.
In 1993, Janis moved to Washington, D.C., where she joined the White House Media Affairs Office. In March of that year, she was appointed by President Clinton as Director of Public Affairs and Communications for the U.S. Small Business Administration. She served in that role from 1993-1995.
From 19952001, she served as President Clinton's Personal Diarist, a job that entailed chronicling the Clinton presidency on a day to day basis, the first time in history a President had made such an appointment. She continued in that role, in former President Clinton's transition office through June 2001. In July, she moved to Chicago to join her husband, Bob Nash, President Clinton's former Director of Presidential Personnel, and now Vice Chair for ShoreBank Corporation.
Janis began a one-year fellowship at Harvard's W.E.B. DuBois Institute in September 2001. She is researching and writing a book that chronicles former President Bill Clinton's lifelong work on behalf of America's historical race problems, "From Hope to Harlem."
Janis' other writing projects include a memoir, in which she tells her story of growing up in a poor, but extraordinary sharecropping family in Gould, Arkansas.