Michelle Obama’s new chief of staff ‘energetic’ and ‘driven’

From The Chicago Tribune:

Tina Tchen has plenty of qualities that made her a logical choice as Michelle Obama’s top aide, but here’s a key attribute:

Tchen sleeps only four hours a night.

Appointed Wednesday as chief of staff to the first lady, Tchen cited a “biological-clock thing” in explaining why she sleeps only from 2 a.m. to 6. “I have the good fortune to not need a lot of sleep,” she said. “That’s been a great gift.”

The other 20 hours a day, Tchen earns a reputation as “driven” and “indefatigable” and “phenomenally brilliant,” according to friends and colleagues.

Tchen, 54, the daughter of a psychiatrist born in China, will succeed chief of staff Susan Sher, who is also a Chicago attorney, as is the first lady. All three are longtime friends.

An Ohio native, Tchen lived in Chicago for 30 years before President Barack Obama tapped her to direct the White House Office of Public Engagement.

A longtime Democratic activist, Tchen was as a partner in corporate litigation in the Chicago office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

The multitasker also served on the boards of organizations including the University of Chicago Medical Center and Chicago Public Library, and did pro bono legal work.

She was a Barack Obama supporter and fundraiser dating to the 2004 Senate race that catapulted him to the national stage.

Tchen, addressing Knox College graduates in June, called it “serendipitous” that years ago she ran into a “tall guy, with big ears and a funny sounding name … long before others knew who he was.”

Her job has seen her serving as the “front door of the White House.” A highlight, she said, was assembling supporters Dec. 22 when Obama signed the measure to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military..