First Lady Jenny Sanford was born and raised in Winnetka, Illinois, the second of five children of John and Susan Sullivan. Mrs. Sanford graduated from Georgetown University with a bachelor's degree in finance, and upon graduation went to work for Lazard Freres & Co. in New York City. She worked at the investment banking firm from 1984 through 1990, including serving as vice president in mergers and acquisitions, focusing on media and communications companies.
After leaving Lazard Freres, the Sanfords moved to the Charleston area where Mrs. Sanford balanced raising a family, managing her husband Mark's political campaigns and being active in the community. In 1994, Mrs. Sanford managed her husband Mark's successful campaign for Congress, the couple's first foray into the political arena. Mrs. Sanford also managed his winning gubernatorial campaign in 2002 and she now volunteers daily in her husband's office at the State House.
Since her arrival at the Governor's Mansion, Mrs. Sanford has reduced staff by 40% and cut operative expenses in half. With the help of the Mansion Commission and Foundation, Mrs. Sanford oversaw the Lace House interior refurbishment project in 2003 and the home has now been successfully reopened for rental and public use - helping to generate over $70,000 in funds needed to support the historical properties on the Mansion Complex Grounds.
Mrs. Sanford currently serves on the Hollings Cancer Center Advisory Committee at MUSC as well as the Site Advisory Council for the Drayton Hall Historical Property in Charleston, South Carolina. She has recently served as a board member of the Coastal Community Foundation and as a member of the MUSC Children's Hospital Advisory Fund.
The Sanford's have four sons - Marshall, Landon, Bolton, and Blake.