Laurene Powell Jobs Talks Media Investments, Meeting With Donald Trump

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Laurene Powell Jobs

The investor and philanthropist said she backed Anonymous Content and Macro "to inspire the kind of stories that we would like to see told."

Laurene Powell Jobs has spent the last few years investing in media and entertainment companies as a way to help "enhance and amplify" the work she does through her social impact firm Emerson Collective, she told the audience at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes on Wednesday evening. 

The philanthropist and investor explained her deals to buy stakes in Anonymous Content, Macro and Ozy Media as part of an effort to build upon the work her firm does in immigration, education and environmental reform. "We want to inspire the kind of stories that we would like to see told," she added. 

Powell Jobs, who was married to the late Steve Jobs, invested in Steve Golin's Anonymous Content, the production company behind best picture Oscar-winner Spotlight, in September last year and joined the board. She had previously backed Macro, the multicultural media company run by former WME partner Charles King. She was for a number of years the largest shareholder of Disney but sold a significant portion of her stake in the entertainment giant in January. 

Her Emerson Collective invests in companies, incubates businesses and operates philanthropic campaigns. Asked how she describes her work, she said, "I'm agnostic to the form that capital takes. I'm not personally interested in wealth creation. I'm interested in deploying capital in the most effective way to create the greatest good that we can." 

Powell Jobs was joined onstage by Sen. Kamala Harris to discuss their efforts to support immigration reform. Harris, who was elected to office in November, noted that Powell Jobs has made the concept of "earned citizenship" a central piece of her efforts to help undocumented immigrants.

Powell Jobs also revealed that she recently met with President Donald Trump to discuss how to create a pathway to citizenship. "He was engaged in our meeting," she said. "I didn't know what to expect. This was after the executive orders around the Muslim ban." She continued to tell the crowd that Trump told her, "I don't want to deport the Dreamers." 

Harris used part of her time onstage to speak about the effect of automation on the economy. "We have to speak truth about the fact that we are automating certain industries, including coal mining," she said, explaining that it's important to help people transition into new roles. "We're going to have to learn to transition them into renewable energies and teach them about adoption of technology." 

Asked near the end of the talk about whether she will run for president in 2020, Harris demurred. "I've got to stay focused," she responded. "There's so much happening right now."

Later, when Powell Jobs was asked if she would run for president in the future, she looked at Harris, laughed and said, "One of us should."