Feature: Young & the Guest List 2020

March 4, 2020

Despite a tenuous news cycle, a warming globe and the normal challenges of work/family juggling, these young people (and so many others not on this list) remain steadfast in their hope of making their respective industries, this city and the world a more fair and balanced place. They inspire younger generations to“be kind,”“keep moving forward” and “trust your gut.” The future is in good hands.

Steven Olikara Founder and President, Millennial Action Project

In a city like Washington, where stereotypes sometimes overpower realty, this feature offers the opportunity to be inspired by young people fighting certain cliches about the nation’s capital: that its inhabitants lack style (see Tuckernuck’s founders, our e-commerce cover stars) or that no one really sticks around for long (there are more locals on this list than we can count!). How about the one that art can’t thrive here? Nina O’Neil, who showcases local works at Halcyon’s By The People Festival, would beg to differ. There are other stale stereotypes we have hopefully disposed of, e.g. that dining out is best done at steak houses (you must have missed the menus at restaurants helmed by Kevin Tien, Johnny Spero and Simone Jacobson). We are also excited about all those who are paving the way for women, minorities and refugee groups through social impact—before those were buzz words. Their work is now more valuable than ever.

Despite a tenuous news cycle, a warming globe and the normal challenges of work/family juggling, these young people (and so many others not on this list) remain steadfast in their hope of making their respective industries, this city and the world a more fair and balanced place. They inspire younger generations to“be kind,”“keep moving forward” and “trust your gut.” The future is in good hands.

Jamal Abdi President, National Iranian American Council

Jeremy Adler Director of Communications House Republican Conference

Yossuf Albanawi Co-founder and CEO, Pilleve

Yamiche Alcindor White House Correspondent, PBS NewsHour; Political Contributor, NBC News and MSNBC

Kristen Soltis Anderson Co-founder, Echelon Insights

Ryan Arensdorf Executive Chef, Salamander Resort and Spa

Emma Ashford Research Fellow, Cato Institute

Ahmad Ashkar Founder, Hult Prize Foundation; Founder, Falafel Inc

Cameron Austin Advertising Lead, Compass

Carla Babb Pentagon Correspondent, Voice of America

Aerica Shimizu Banks Public Policy and Social Impact Manager, Pinterest

Vinoda Basnayke Chairman, D.C. Government Relations Practice, Nelson Mullins Founder, Versus Equity

Bradley Beal Shooting Guard, Washington Wizards

Sara Beckstead Communications Manager, EDENS

Stephen Benedictor Artist

Blake Berman Senior Washington Correspondent,Fox Business Network

Philip Beshara Senior Associate, WilmerHale

Bradley Beychok President, American Bridge

Jamie Boone Biondi Vice President of Government Affairs, Consumer Technology Association

Meg Biram Blogger, MegBiram.com

Steve Birnbaum Defender, D.C. United

Jeanne Shewmaker Birnbaum Director of E-Commerce, Hobo Bags

Claire Bischoff Director, Hamilton Place Strategies

Reggie Black Artist

Victor Bonett Senior Manager, Public Policy, Amazon

Scott Borger Founder & Director, BREADCOIN; Senior Economist, National Credit Union Administration

Perianne Boring Founder, Chamber of Digital Commerce

Mikayla Bouchard Assistant Editor,The New York Times

Crystal Bowyer President and CEO, National Children’s Museum

Austin Branson Co-Founder, Smathers & Branson

Margaret Brennan Sr. Foreign Affairs Correspondent, CBS News

Austin Branson Co-founder, Smathers & Branson After attending Bowdoin College, the St. Alban’s School alum and his business partner, Peter Carter, started their brand from his parents’ Bethesda basement and never looked back. The brand creates handmade, needlepoint accessories for mostly wholesale clients and sells direct to consumer online. Think belts, wallets, flasks, koozies and coasters. Branson jokes that he roots for sports teams based on his targeted clientele, which was double the reason to cheer on the hometown Nationals to win the World Series (they saw sales skyrocket on curly W merchandise). ADVICE TO YOUNG ONES: “Start small, if you can. You’re bound to make mistakes and the business will likely end up a little different than your original idea.”

Jocelyn Gailliot, Madeline Grayson & September Rinnier Votta, Founders, Tuckernuck “Inspiration for a fun-filled life,” is the philosophy that underlies the Tuckernuck brand, which founders September Rinnier Votta, Jocelyn Gailliot and Madeline Grayson use as words to live by in their personal lives. Grayson and Votta were college friends who tapped Grayson’s older sister (Gailliot) to create an e-commerce company that combines their classic style with their modern lifestyle. The threesome count Georgetown (where they are headquartered and have a retail store) and The National Gallery of Art as their favorite parts of the city. LOOK OUT: Tuckernuck’s second brick and mortar will open in Nantucket this summer – the brand is fittingly named after a small island off its coast.

Saweda Bright, M.D. Physician, Inova

Ashley Taylor Bronczek Co-Founder, Secretly Gifting

Matthew Bronczek Managing Partner, Federal Building Group; Principal, Dream Finders Homes

Pamela Brown Senior White House Correspondent, CNN

Dior Ashley Brown Musician

Erik Bruner-Yang Chef and Owner, Maketto, Brothers and Sisters, Spoken English,ABC Pony

Samantha Bryant Governmental Affairs Specialist, InterDigital

Natalia Brzezinski CEO, Brilliant Minds Foundation

Brendan Buck Partner, Blue Engine Message & Media

Marcus Bullock Founder, Flikshop

LaRhonda Burley Vice President, Partnerships and Marketing, KDC Marketing, LLC

Jackie Bush Digital Press Assistant, Office of the Speaker of the House

Alma Caballero Director for Mexico, McLarty Associates

David Cabrera Owner, Suns Cinema

C. McBryde Campbell Visual Artist

Amanda Carpenter Director of Beverage Services, Bad Saint

Benjamin Solomon Carson, Jr. Co-Founder & Partner, Interprise Partners

Natalie Cucchiara Senior Coordinating Producer, “Meet the Press,” NBC

Peter Franklin Chang Co-Founder, No Kings Collective

“Stay grounded by finding purpose in the work you do and the life you lead.”

–Taylor Griffin

Keo Chea Assistant Director, Office of Community Affairs, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Gautam Sai Chebrolu Co-founder and CTO, Pilleve

Kevin Cirilli Chief Washington Correspondent, Bloomberg Television

Eli Clifton Director, Director, Democratizing Foreign Policy Program, Quincy Institute

Kaitlan Collins White House Correspondent, CNN

Erin Como Weekend Anchor, Fox5

Kat Conlon President, Friends of the American University of Afghanistan

Ayeshia Connors Policy Developer,American Urban Strategies

Dan Conston President, Congressional Leadership Fund

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez U.S. Congresswoman, (D-New York)

Robert Costa National Political Reporter, The Washington Post; Moderator, PBS’ “Washington Week”

Rachel Cothran Senior Content Strategist, HZDG

Rep. Dan Crenshaw U.S. Congressman, (R-Texas)

Walter L. Cronkite, IV Director, FTI Consulting

Carl Maynard and Nina O’Neil; Photographed at GUILD

Carl Maynard, Geospatial & Intelligence Consultant; Photographer; Brand Strategist Most Washingtonians know him as the founder of Walk With Locals, a grassroots project that gathers neighbors to take photos while traversing various locales in the nation’s capital. Beyond his commitment to community, the Air Force veteran has spent the last 15 years working as an intelligence analyst (including a stint with Special Forces), and now serves as a private consultant in the field. Through Walk With Locals, Maynard has hosted more than 75 meet  ps providing a platform for locals to connect with the city. BEYOND WORK: Maynard is an avid runner and considers the exercise his escape from the daily grind. Last year he completed his first marathon and is aiming to run 1,000 miles in 2020.

Nina O’Neil Founder, Monochrome Collective The mission of O’Neil’s boutique fine arts business is to “help clients create focused, style-driven, visual experiences in their homes and businesses through art.” She resides on H Street NE with her husband and three-year-old, where they enjoy walking the neighborhood and watching “Star Trek” re-runs to unwind. Surprise! The morning of the Washington Life photoshoot, O’Neil found out she was pregnant. MARK YOUR CALENDARS: For a second year, monochrome collective will partner with Halcyon’s By The People Festival in June to show off the work of local artists.

Benjamin Solomon Carson, Jr. and Natalia Brzezinski; Photographed at GUILD

Benjamin Solomon Carson Jr., Co-founder & Partner, Interprise Partners Asking Carson his greatest accomplishment from the past year prompts an “easy” response. The son of HUD Secretary Benjamin Carson set aside his business ventures to welcome his second child and first son, Benjamin Solomon Carson III, last fall. On the work side of things, Carson runs a Maryland- based investment firm leading company strategy and managing client portfolios mainly in healthcare, business services and infrastructure companies. When he is not spending time with family, Carson enjoys playing video games (in college he used to make money off his skills in gaming tournaments). ADVICE TO YOUNG ONES: “Spend time developing real relationships and treat everyone with kindness and respect. The network that you build will create many opportunities, whether those are now or in the future.”

Natalia Brzezinski, CEO, Brilliant Minds Foundation Spotify founder Daniel Ek tapped Brzezinski to run the organization, which “fuses great ideas and great storytellers to inspire a more inclusive and sustainable world.” Having lived abroad with her husband Mark Brzezinski (distinguished diplomat and brother to MSNBC’s Mika), she was able to bring the global perspective to her work. She prides herself on thinking outside traditional job titles: “There had never been an ‘ambassadorial spouse’ who received an official, formal contract from the U.S. State department to work on innovation and women’s empowerment alongside the U.S. Ambassador. There had never been a ‘tech ambassador’ for Sweden, as I’ve been called in the Swedish media.” TUNE IN: Brzezinski’s “Brilliant minds” podcast (guests include Ariana Huffington, Nick Jonas and Gwyneth Paltrow).

Nicole Crowder Founder, Nicole Crowder Upholstery

Lauren Culbertson Public Policy Manager, Twitter

Clark Cummings Director of Marketing, Carr Workplaces

Andrew Dana Co-Owner,Timber Pizza Co. and Call Your Mother Deli

Michael Darner Executive Director, Congressional Progressive Caucus

Cathy DiToro Singer/Songwriter

Jessica Ditto Deputy Director of Communications, The White House

Isabelle De Leon Drummer

Elena Delle Donne Guard-Forward, Washington Mystics

Jason Donner Capitol Hill Producer, Fox News

Bobby Donohoe President and Founder, Strength in OurVoices

Emma Doyle Principal Deputy Chief of Staff, The White House

Nic Dowd Forward, Washington Capitals

A.J. Dronkers Director of Regional Marketing, Convene

Lauren Dunne Co-Founder,Varnish Lane

R. David Edelman Director, Project on Technology, the Economy & National Security at MIT

Diya Eggleston Chief Creative Officer, Exactly Agency;Adjunct Faculty, Georgetown University

Leila Elmergawi Economic Policy Advisor, the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, U.S. Dept. of State

Nicolas End Economist, Middle East and Central Asia Dept., IMF

Kathryn McQuade and Sean Rameswaram; Photographed at GUILD

Kathryn McQuade, Producer, ABC News Live McQuade’s short and sweet resume highlights in her own words: “News producer, turned capitol Hill staffer, turned back to news producer.” In her current role at ABC, McQuade has been humbled by the experience of helping launch the network’s 24-hour streaming news channel, which officially came to life last month. Outside of work, the Bethesda-native relies on dogs, yoga and food to sustain her sanity. CONVERSATION STARTER: “I once punched Piers Morgan in the face… while he was my boss. We remain great friends.”

Sean Rameswaram Host, Vox’s “Today, Explained” As the voice behind Vox’s two-year-old podcast, Rameswaram describes the daily news program as “a deeply human news show that will give you a greater understanding of all the stories you’re struggling to digest.” The former New Yorker counts Little Pearl’s chicken sandwich, a tennis court near his home in Northeast and the Udvar-Hazy center in Chantilly, Va. as D.C.-centric crutches that have helped with his transition. ADVICE TO YOUNG ONES: “Always be making things — even if no one’s paying you. It’ll make you better at your craft and give you things to talk about when someone wants to hire you for a gig.”

Greg Engert Beer Director, Neighborhood Restaurant Group

Rahna Epting Executive Director, MoveOn.org

John Falcicchio Chief of Staff, Mayor Muriel Bowser; Interim Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development

Yacine Fall Artist

Nicholas Fandos National Reporter, The New York Times

Gaby Febres Co-owner, Arepazone

“D.C. is a place where too often credentials seemingly supersede skill. I want to offer a platform to show off the level of talent here.”

–Nina O’Neil on curating and showcasing local art through Halcyon’s By the People Festival

Jennifer Feldman-Brillembourg, M.D. Anesthesiologist

Angie Fetherston CEO, Drink Company

Rep. Abby Finkenauer U.S. Congresswoman (D-Iowa)

Nadia Firozvi Associate Director,The Democracy Fund

Kelly Flanigan President, Live Nation DC, MD & VA

Yamiche Alcindor, Philip Rucker and Kaitlan Collins; Photographed at GUILD

Yamiche Alcindor, White House Correspondent, PBS Newshour; Political Contributor, NBC News and MSNBC As the daughter of Haitian immigrants, Alcindor has dedicated her professional career to reporting on the intersection of race and politics. The Miami-native previously worked at The New York Times and USA Today, where her goal as reporter has always been “to hold leaders and systems accountable and to illuminate the unequal parts of our world.” CHECK OUT: Alcindor’s story on President Trump’s policy of requiring asylum seekers from central America to wait in Mexico while their cases are being considered.

Philip Rucker, White House Bureau Chief, The Washington Post; political analyst, NBC news and MSNBC Two hundred interviews, a four-month sabbatical from work and countless edits later, Rucker and his Washington Post colleague Carol Leonnig published the New York Times bestseller “A Very Stable Genius,” shedding light on the president’s first three years in office. Rucker put his personal mantra (“always listen and watch”) to work during the writing and research process. SURPRISE TALENT: “I bet you didn’t know I used to be a competitive figure skater. I grew up skating at Ice Castle, an Olympic training center in Lake Arrowhead, Calif., practicing with some of the greats — Michelle Kwan, Surya Bonaly and Sasha Cohen.”

Kaitlan Collins, White House Correspondent, CNN “Covering the Trump White House, you can never truly unplug unless you, like, turn off your Twitter alerts and throw your phone into a lake, neither of which I am willing to do,” jokes Collins. Since joining CNN in 2017, the proud Alabama-native has traveled to nearly a dozen countries alongside President Trump and broken several stories regarding major staff departures in the administration and consequential policy decisions. ROLL TIDE: When the on-air personality isn’t exploring her alma mater Alabama’s depth chart on college football Saturdays, she is reading non-political books to recharge. Her guidance to budding journalists is succinct: “Outwork everyone.”

Jade Floyd Vice President of Communications, Case Foundation and Revolution

Ashley Forrester Corporate Director, Communications and Marketing, EventsDC

Quintin Fortes Instructor, Barry’s Bootcamp

Desirée Venn Frederic Founder and Executive Director, Combing Cotton Co.

Ben Freeman Director of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative, Center for International Policy

Jeff Freeland Special Assistant to the President, The White House

Mike Friedman Chef and Owner, The Red Hen and All Purpose

Shelby Friedman PAC Manager, J Street

Glenda Fu Executive Director, Dreams for Kids

Rebecca Lee Funk Founder, The Outrage

Joelle Firzli Co-Founder, Tribute

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard U.S. Congresswoman (D-Hawaii)

Jocelyn Gailliot Co-Founder, Tuckernuck

Rep. Mike Gallagher U.S. Congressman (R-Wisconsin)

Allen Gannett Chief Strategy Officer and ExecutiveVice President of Corporate Development, Skyword

Matthew Gardiner Associate Artistic Director, Signature Theatre

Dayna Geldwert Policy Programs, Safety & Well Being, Instagram

Tamon George Co-Founder, Creative Theory Agency

Josh Genderson President, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill; Founder and CEO, Holistic Industries

Dan Conston; Photographed at GUILD

Dan Conston, President, Congressional Leadership Fund As head of the official super PAC responsible for winning back the U.S. House of Representatives for the Republicans, Conston’s hands are currently full. But as the 2020 election approaches, he has helped the organizations he leads raise a record $68 million. Happiness for the Philadelphia-native equates to Netflix with his wife Kara, quality time with his daughter and bulldog and Eagles football. SAGE WORDS: “Keep moving forward.”

Donovan Gerald Photographer

Lisa Gilbert Vice President of Legislative Affairs, Public Citizen

Mark Gillespie General Manager and Creative Director,The Orchestra of the Americas

John Glaser Director of Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute

Sean Glass Chairman and CEO, Advantia Health

Shana Glenzer Principal, Upright Consulting

Rep. Anthony Gonzalez U.S. House of Representatives (R-Ohio)

Marcus Goodwin Acquisitions Associate, Four Points

Neil Grace Head of Media Relations N. America, McKinsey & Company

Jessica Graham President, JG Global Advisory LLC

Jerome Grant Executive Chef, Sweet Home Cafe

Yudu Gray, Jr. CEO, House Studios

Chloé Gray-Le Coz Senior Global Brand Manager, W Hotels Worldwide

Madeline Grayson Co-Founder, Tuckernuck

Shana Greenbaum CEO, Healthy Fresh Meals

Scott Greenberg Director of Marketing and Media, The Washington Ballet

Jake Greenhouse Director, Madison Investments; Co-Founder, Bloom Residential

Edith Gregson Partner, JD Ireland Interior Architecture + Design

Amrita Grewal CEO, TalEx

Taylor Griffin Press Secretary, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Lisa Grimes Deputy Social Secretary, Embassy of France

Rachel Grinney Co-founder, Wylie Grey

Jessica Grounds Co-founder, Mine the Gap

Andrea Hailey CEO, Vote.org

Harry Hardy Senior Vice President, Brand and Events, DC United

Blake Hall Founder and CEO, ID.me

Bill Hamid Goalkeeper, D.C. United

“There is a lot of unseen sacrifice and unromantic struggle that happens behind every magical moment on stage.”

– Samson McCrady on performing music

Kathleen Kiernan Harnden, M.D. Assistant Director, Inova Breast Medical Oncology Program

Garnet Hathaway Forward, Washington Capitals

Eric Heidenberger Managing Partner, Madhatter, Northside Tavern, Shaw’s Tavern, and 801 Restaurant & Bar and EpicYoga

Leah Hunt-Hendrix Co-Founder, Solidaire Network; Co-Founder, Way to Win

Daniel Heider Vice President, TTR Sotheby’s

Brandon Hill Co-Founder, No Kings Collective

Daniel Hinerfeld Director, Partnerships Natural Resources Defense Council

Xochitl Hinojosa Communications Director, Democratic National Committee

Rachel Holt Head of New Mobility, Uber Inc.

Storm Horncastle Manager, Government & Public Affairs, Netflix

Sarah Hudson Manager, Government Affairs, FedEx Corporation

Kasie Hunt Capitol Hill Correspondent, MSNBC; Host, MSNBC’s “Kasie DC”

Cassidy Hutchinson Staff Assistant to the President, The White House

Hedieh Ilchi Artist

Simone Jacobson Co-Owner & Director of Operations, Thamee

Hallie Jackson Chief White House Correspondent, NBC News

Brad Jenkins Founder, Enfranchisement Productions LLC

Alexa Johnson Co-owner, Ella-Rue

Andra ‘AJ’ Johnson Co-Founder, DMV Black Restaurant Week

Krista Johnson Co-owner, Ella-Rue

Maura Judkis Culture Reporter, The Washington Post

Phil Jung Associate, Maryland Venture Fund

Alec Karakatsanis Founder and Executive Director, Civil Rights Corps.

Bethany Kazaba Co-Founder and CEO, Neighborhood Retail Group

Aerica Shimizu Banks, Ahmad Ashkar and Leila Elmergawi; Photographed at GUILD

Ahmad Ashkar Founder & CEO, Hult Prize Foundation; Owner, Falafel Inc Remember his name, as you might see it on an upcoming mayoral ballot in the District of Columbia. Ashkar founded the Hult Prize Foundation, a social impact firm empowering young entrepreneurs to have sustainable and profitable influence. His own business Falafel Inc. is a fast casual restaurant that doubles as a social enterprise, as it helps feed refugees across the globe. This Renaissance man has been named one of the “Top 100 most Powerful Arabs” by Gulf Business. The entrepreneur’s seemingly endless energy translates to family (four children), travel, cooking and construction (“I do everything from painting to plumbing.”) FUN FACT: “I was a finalist for the Food Network’s BBQ Brawl with Bobby Flay.”

Leila Elmergawi Economic Policy Advisor, The Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s issues, U.S. Dept. of State Last year, Elmergawi was the recipient of two meritorious Honor Awards from the department of State for her work on international economic issues and the communication of those policies and objectives to the rest of the world. Despite high accolades, she says she is most proud of her work alongside departmental leadership challenging and pushing forward fresh perspectives on staid internal and external policies. The young leader speaks seven languages and has worked in ten countries in her previous positions, which include gigs at U.S. embassies in Tokyo and Cairo, and the Wall Street Journal. FUN FACT: Immersing herself in painting and fashion are Elmergawi’s unplugs from work.

Aerica Shimizu Banks Public Policy & Social Impact Manager, Pinterest Banks’ fearlessness and tenacity are some of the traits that have moved her impressive career forward. Before founding Pinterest’s Washington office, she worked on covering diversity and equity initiatives in patent policy for Google, government relations for The Pew Charitable Trust and served as a political appointee in the Obama Administration. After graduating from Seattle University, she received an M.S.C. in Environmental Policy from the University of Oxford. To unplug from her busy schedule, the social entrepreneur turns to music and is currently learning how to play the guitar. WATCH HER IN ACTION: In a recent TEDx Talk titled “Our Stories Will Save Us,” Banks shares personal stories about racial discrimination, police brutality and its resulting traumas.

Chrys Kefalas Vice President of Brand Strategy, National Association of Manufacturers

Cara Kelly Investigative Reporter, USA Today

Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III U.S. Congressman (D-Mass.)

Ryan Kerrigan Linebacker, Washington Redskins

Seung Min Kim White House Reporter, The Washington Post

Erica King Sr. Vice President, Cresa

Robert Kinsler Founder and CEO, DC Fray

Justin Kintz Vice President, Head of Public Policy, Uber

Kate Kizer Policy Director, Win Without War

Ezra Klein Founder and Editor-at-Large, Vox

Andrew Koneshusky Advisor, CLS Strategies

Ajay Kori Co-Founder and Chairman, UrbanStems

Jared Kushner Senior Advisor, U.S. President

Sophia King Lafargue Chief of Staff, Rep. Greg Meeks (D-NewYork)

Jeremiah Langhorne Chef and Owner, The Dabney

Rose Lavelle Midfielder, Washington Spirit

Carol Lee Political Reporter, NBC News

John Legittino CEO and Co-Founder, Advoc8

Lauren Liess Interior Designer

Melissa Leonsis Vice President, Global Partnerships, EverFi

Zach Leonsis Senior Vice President and General Manager, Monumental Sports and Entertainment, Monumental Network

Daniel Lippman White House Reporter, Politico

David Litt Political Speechwriter; Author

Katherine “Kat” Lo Founder, Eaton

Tiffany Dena Loftin Director, Youth & College Division, NAACP

Victor Nguyen-Long Creative Director, ACRONYM

“Young people are now entering the most fluid, hyper-changing professional ecosystem in modern times. Everyone has to be the constant entrepreneur… I see being an outsider as a massive competitive advantage in today’s world so embrace your own crazy ideas and not everyone else’s.”

– Natalia Brzezinski

Adam Joseph Lorenzetti, M.D. Orthopedic Surgeon, Inova

Jeff Lowenstein Chief of Staff, Rep.Adam Schiff

Eifer Lyddane Founder & CEO, In Good Company Wellness

Amanda Macias National Security Reporter CNBC Digital

Amelia Makin Managing Director, Sunshine Sachs

Ariana Makkonen Princess, Imperial Family of Ethiopia

Joel Makkonen Prince, Imperial Family of Ethiopia

Lauren Martin Owner, Martin’s Tavern

Ophelie Maruice Associate, Kieloch Consulting

Anna Mason Partner, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund

Nic Dowd and Garnet Hathaway; Photographed at MedStar Capitals Iceplex

Nic Dowd, Forward, Washington Capitals If hockey hadn’t worked out, Dowd tells us he would have pursued a career in veterinary medicine. The animal lover is also passionate about the charity he created with his wife, Paige, called Dowd’s Crowd. The initiative invites children with autism to enjoy Capitals games using the “sensory kits” they provide. Dowd and his teammate Garnet Hathaway started the podcast “Between Two Blue Lines” as a way to communicate with fans on a deeper level and to offer insight into the daily life of an NHL player. THOUGHTS ON THE CITY? “Having a vacation destination as your backyard is pretty awesome.”

Garnet Hathaway, Forward, Washington Capitals The Maine-born hockey player turned to his namesake great grandfather – a firefighter in Winnipeg – as a source of inspiration for his community program, Hath’s Heroes, which gives back to first responders in the area. Regarding the podcast he hosts with Nic Dowd, he hopes to expand content beyond hockey to cover topics that will have broader community impact. “With the podcast it’s kind of wide open,” Hathaway says. “We just talk a lot. Nic talks a lot.” TUNE IN: A recent episode addressed how the two would survive a zombie apocalypse.

Peter Chang and Brandon Hill with Isabelle De Leon; Photographed at GUILD

Peter Chang and Brandon Hill, Founders, No Kings Collective Challenge: Walk the streets of the District and try not to come across one of Hill and Chang’s large-scale murals (e.g. “Work it Gurl” and “There’s No Place Like Home” on 14th Street), which in addition to being spread across the DMV, can be found in most major cities in the country. Their creative work is intended to create “unexpected public encounters that blend design and culture in extraordinary ways.” The dynamic duo has been hustling “25/8” since 2009, and when they aren’t painting, they are out on the town supporting fellow members of the art community or hosting events through their production company called Please Bring Chips. CHEERS: Both are recently engaged to longtime girlfriends.

Isabelle De Leon, Musician, Composer & Educator “Girls don’t play the drums,” was just the motivation De Leon needed at the tender age of seven to take on the instrument with her signature ferocity and high energy. Her resume boasts the Washington Post Music and Dance Scholarship Award, the DIVA Jazz Orchestra’s Stanley Kay Scholarship and the Washington Women in Jazz Festival’s Young Artist Award. Perhaps it won’t come as a surprise that the percussionist’s mantra is “march to the tempo of your own beat.” UP NEXT? De Leon is currently touring with Oprah’s Vision Tour.

Rep. Brian Mast U.S. Congressman, (R-Florida)

Jenny Materio Director of Government Affairs, Farm Credit Council

Carl Maynard Founder, Walk With Locals

John Mccarthy Deputy Political Director, Joe Biden

John McConnell, M.D. Physician, Inova

Alex McCoy Chef and Owner, Lucky Buns

Kathryn McQuade Producer, ABC News Live

Samson McCrady Opera Singer; Young Artist, Washington National Opera

Christina McDowell Author

Thomas Meaney Politics Writer; Fellow, Quincy Institute

Kate Mikesell Vice President, Communications & External Affairs Strategy, Hilton; President of the Hilton Effect Foundation

Tripp McLaughlin Global Brand Head, Motto by Hilton

Sarah Miller Executive Director,American Economic Liberties Project

Alex Mills Actor, Synetic Theater

Diana Minshall Real Estate Agent, TTR Sotheby’s

Jennifer Mishory Senior Fellow/Senior Policy Advisor, The Century Foundation

Ryan Hunter Mitchell Owner, Suns Cinema

Marcus Moody Author/Composer, The Shmoods

Jessica Moore Director of Government Relations, TheWalt Disney Company

Tobin Moore Co-founder and CEO, Optoro

Tamon George and Libby Rasmussen; Photographed at GUILD

Tamon George, Co-founder & CEO, Creative Theory Agency Meaningful content creation drives George’s boutique marketing shop, which focuses on impactful and inclusive cultural storytelling for major global brands including Google and YouTube. The Canadian transplant, who rocks Levi’s jeans and Doc Martens on a daily basis, is a force in Washington’s creative community. Look out for his agency’s recently launched concepts: Guest Haus – a 30 foot activation trailer and FOREGROUND Summit, a two-day series for creative entrepreneurs. The shared mission of both initiatives? “Bring people together in- real-life, learn from each other and work with each other.”

Libby Rasmussen, Freelance Social Media Director; Event Planner As a social media director, Rasmussen creates and manages content for restaurants, artists and companies across the District. The best part of being her own boss? “Knowing every single dollar I make is earned from me, myself and I!” As for her own social presence, Rasmussen’s blog “Libby Living Colorfully,” has become a local favorite. RENAISSANCE WOMAN: This Wisconsinite can drive a tractor, fix a sink, do wood-work and manage a plethora of house plants.

Daniela Moreira Chef, Timber Pizza Co. and Call Your Mother Deli

Michael Moroney Sr. Vice President, FleishmanHillard

Arielle Mueller Press Secretary, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah)

Ashley Murphy Dancer, Washington Ballet

Justin Myers CEO, For Our Future

Rhana Natour Reporter/Producer, PBS NewsHour

Olivia Nuzzi Washington Correspondent, New York Magazine

Shizu Okusa Co-Founder and CEO, JRINK Juicery; Founder and CEO, Apothékary

Steven Olikara Founder and President, Millennial Action Project

Kelly O’Malley Lab Manager, Georgetown Venture Lab

Nina O’Neil Founder, Monochrome Collective

Fig O’Reilly Datanaut, NASA

Toluse Olorunnipa White House Reporter, The Washington Post

Rep. Ilhan Omar U.S. Congresswoman, (D-Minnesota)

Kwame Onwuachi Executive Chef and Creator, Kith + Kin

Lauren Oshie Blogger

T.J. Oshie Right Wing, Washington Capitals

Candace Ourisman Co-Founder, Secretly Gifting

Chris Ourisman President, Ourisman Automotives

Alex Ovechkin Left Wing, Washington Capitals

Anna Palmer Co-Author, Politico Playbook

Tara Palmeri White House Correspondent, ABC News

Holly Pan Fashion Blogger

Nick Papadopoulos Retail Leasing, Papadopoulos Properties

Ali Pardo Deputy Communications Director, Donald J. Trump for President

John Parkinson White House & Congressional Reporter/Producer, ABC News

Tati Pastukhova Co-Founder, Artechouse

Alan Paul Associate Artistic Director, Shakespeare Theatre

Angela Peoples Director, GetEQUAL

Gian Carlo Perez Dancer, The Washington Ballet

Megan Perez Vice President, The Petrizzo Group

Olivia Perez-Cubas Communications Director, Winning for Women

Adrian Peterson Running Back, Redskins

Ashley Peterson Founder and CEO, Elizabella Cosmetics

Abby Phillip White House Correspondent, CNN

Vimala Phongsavanh Organizing Director, Congressional Progressive Caucus Center

Tod Plotkin Principal, Green Buzz Agency

Tierney Plumb Senior Associate Editor, Eater DC

Monica Popp Co-Founder, Marshall & Popp, LLC

Drew Porterfield Director and Curator, Long View Gallery

Michaela Pratt President and CEO, Mentor Foundation

Ned Price Director of Policy and Communications, National Security Action

Michael Proctor Market President, United Bank; Board Member, Inova

Adrien Radford Photographer

Andrew Rafferty Senior Political Editor, Newsy

Sahil Rahman Co-founder, RASA Indian Grill

Sean Rameswaram Host,“Today, Explained,” Vox

Ayesha Rascoe White House Reporter, NPR

Libby Rasmussen Freelance Social Media Director; Event Planner

Anne Reid Chief of Staff, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)

Steve Ressler President, Callyo; Founder and Advisor, GovLoop

Jason Reynolds Poet/Author

Angel Rich Founder and CEO, WealthyLife; Founder, Black Tech Matters

Helena Richardson Director of theYoung Leaders Program, Heritage Foundation

Dan Roberge Dancer, Washington Ballet

Erica Rodgers Director, Youth forTomorrow

Ali Rogin Reporter, PBS

Ryan Ross Chief Information Officer, Halcyon Incubator

Marissa Rubenstein Events and Experiential Marketing Director, Brightest Young Things

Ali Rubin Senior Vice President, External Affairs, Axios

Philip Rucker White House Bureau Chief, The Washington Post; Political Analyst, NBC News and MSNBC

Jack Rowlett Defender, Premiere Lacrosse League

Reem Sadik Associate, Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Steve Salis Real Estate Entrepreneur; Owner, Kramerbooks and Ted’s Bulletin

Taylor Griffin; Photographed at GUILD

Taylor Griffin, Press Secretary, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi For the last six years, the Georgetown University graduate has climbed her way up the ranks in the Speaker of the House’s office where she assists in directing strategic communications, message development and digital strategy. Of becoming one of the youngest and first black press secretaries to the Speaker, Griffin says, “I’m proud of that, not just for myself, but for the generations of African Americans who came before me who built the halls of the Capitol that I walk in and blazed trails that I follow today.” People are surprised to hear the San Francisco transplant is a “terrible millennial” and does not watch TV. Instead, she enjoys her time away from the Hill with a book (likely by James Baldwin), Angie’s Kettle corn or a night out dancing.

“Make a lot of music. Get with a crew who likes to make it as much as you do. Collaborate. Share it. Go to open mics. Allow yourself to evolve. Make as many mistakes as possible.You have so much time to be so many things, to find who you are in it. Do YOU.”

– Dior Ashley Brown

Samantha Sault Author, “Moon Washington DC,” Hachette

Justin Schuble Food Blogger, DCFoodPorn

Kira Schwartz Associate, Morgan Lewis

David Segal Co-founder and Executive Director, Demand Progress

Prince Christian Selassie Filmmaker

Prince Rufael Selassie Writer

Rina Shah Co-Founder, Women’s Public Leadership Network

Faiz Shakir Campaign Manager, Sen. Bernie Sanders 2020 Presidential Campaign

Sultan Shakir Executive Director, SMYAL

Dior Ashley Brown and Samson McCrady

Dior Ashley Brown, Hip Hop Emcee; Actor; Poet; Host; Founder, The DC Music Summit With classifications of emcee, actor, poet, host, songwriter, playwright, activist, creative and community curator – the Washington Post has accurately described Brown as a “hip-hop polymath.” Having grown up in her beloved Chocolate City, it is important for her to invest in her roots, which she has done by creating the D.C. Music Summit. The three-year-old event brings together industry professionals, artists, and community leaders to discuss the city’s blossoming music industry. MARK YOUR CALENDARS: Brown’s band dAb performs at the Kennedy Center’s Millenium Stage on March 11 at 6 p.m.

Samson McCrady, Opera singer; Young Artist, Washington National Opera While digging through his parents’ collection of “The Three Tenors” albums in his hometown of Tucson, Ariz., McCrady discovered his love of opera. This past year he performed in his first mainstage leading role as Papageno in the Washington National Opera’s “The Magic Flute.” But his road to success included less glamorous gigs: multiple dishwashing jobs, custodian positions and a short stint on a garbage truck. WISE WORDS FROM A VOICE TEACHER: “If you are not practicing nearly every day, singing is not a career for you – it is a hobby!”

Katie Shannon Founder, SK CO

Jeff Sheely Co-Founder, UrbanStems

Brittany Shepherd National Politics Reporter, Yahoo News

Erika Gutierrez Sheridan Director of Marketing, Compass Real Estate

Jake Sherman Co-Author, Politico Playbook

Kavita Shukla Founder and CEO, The FreshGlow Co.

Stuart Siciliano Partner, Hamilton Place Strategies

Holley Simmons Co-owner, The Lemon Collective; Owner, She Loves Me Flower Shop

Liz Sizer Deputy Director, Kimball Stroud & Associates

Alex Skatell Founder and CEO, IJR

Farrah Skeiky Creative/Culture Director, The LINE DC; Photographer

Rep. Xochitl Torres Small U.S. Congresswoman (D-New Mexico)

Alex Smith Quarterback, Washington Redskins

Juan Soto Outfielder, Washington Nationals

Peggy Sparks Director, Artist’s Proof Gallery

Johnny Spero Chef and Owner, Reverie

Erica Spevack Associate, Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP

Rep. Elise Stefanik U.S. Congresswoman (R-New York)

Rep. Bryan Steil U.S. Congressman (R-Wisconsin)

Sam Stein Political Editor, The Daily Beast

Lauren Watkins, Jason Zuccari and Erica King

Lauren Watkins, Founder & CEO, Afirma Water “Ask questions. Find community. Start.” These are the words Watkins leaned on to launch her new water company after closing a custom clothing business she led for seven years. At Afirma, which she runs out of food-based incubator Union Kitchen, the goal is to connect with personal intentions through each bottle’s unique affirmation (i.e. “I am whole”). The natural spring water brand invites you to “take a drink with the power of intention.” A TANGO TO REMEMBER: Bill Murray at Sundance.

Jason Zuccari, Vice President of Business Development & External Relations, Hamilton Insurance Agency / Alan J. Zuccari Inc. Zuccari is a young philanthropist to watch. His causes include The Lonely Whale Foundation, Capital Caring and Clinton Foundation’s 2030 Leadership Council. Most recently, he was nominated to serve on the National Investment Center’s highly competitive Future Leaders Council. He was also appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe to serve as a board member on the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Between work and volunteering, the newly engaged McLean-native makes time to travel to new places and create art.

Erica King, Senior Vice President, Cresa When King’s daughter, Bella, was born last year, she had to juggle work and family, but ultimately found her equilibrium. “This was my most successful year in real estate, which I was able to achieve while still taking an active role in my daughter’s life (e.g. sneaking away for midday music classes).” In the real estate sector, King represents tenants’ leasing, renewal/renegotiation, purchasing/selling and/or subleasing of their office space. Hailing from Maryland, the second-generation tenant broker explains, “advocating for the end user’s real estate rights is in my blood.”

Carlie Steiner Co-Owner, Pom Pom; Co- Owner, Dos Mamis

Eli Stokols White House Reporter, LA Times

Stephen Strasburg Pitcher, Washington Nationals

Jacu Strauss Founder & Creative Director, LORE Studio

Caren Street Chief of Staff, Rep. Karen Bass (D-California)

Juana Summers Political Reporter, NPR

Rep. Eric Swalwell U.S. Congressman (D-Calif.)

Jonathan Swan National Political Reporter, Axios

Daniel Swartz Photographer

Martin Swift Artist

Mary Tabaie Dep. Finance Director, Kaine for Virginia

Kayla Tausche Washington Correspondent, CNBC

Julia Taxin Partner, Grotech Ventures

Steve Taylor Principal Software Engineer, Sophos

Frances Tiafoe Tennis Player, Washington Kastles

Kevin Tien Chef and Owner, Emilie’s

Vicky Theodorou Founder, Heirloom Catering

Alex Thomas Washington Correspondent, Playboy

Shawna Thomas Washington Bureau Chief, Vice News

Alex Thompson National Political Reporter, Politico

Rep. Rashida Tlaib U.S. Congresswoman (D-Michigan)

Elliot Totah President, Oxbridge Group

Nathan Trail Director of Technology Policy and State Legislative Affairs, Consumer Technology Association

Ivanka Trump Advisor to the President, The White House

Tiffany Trump Law Student, Georgetown University

Rep. Lauren Underwood U.S. Congresswoman (D-Illinois)

Catherine Unthank Communications Manager, Center for Health and Gender Equity

Jennifer Vasquez Senior Producer, NBC

Veronika Velch Advocacy Director, Ridgely Walsh

Rahul Vinod Co-Founder, RASA Indian Grill

September Rinnier Votta Co-Founder, Tuckernuck

John Wall Point Guard, Washington Wizards

Lauren Watkins Founder, Afirma Water

Morgan Hungerford West Founder, A Creative DC; Global Brand Director, LINE Hotels

Antonio Williams Senior Director of Government and External Affairs, Comcast

Wendi Wallace Director, Political Outreach, Planned Parenthood

Dominica Groom Williams Vice President of Inclusion, Diversity and Community Engagement, Freddie Mac

Gary Williams Co-Founder, Creative Theory

Kezia Williams Founder and CEO, The Black upStart

Raffi Williams Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Justin Wilson Mayor, Alexandria,Va.

Tom Wilson Right Wing, Washington Capitals

Jaysen Wright Actor

Jenny Wu Artist

Nikki Yazdanian Co-Founder, Wylie Grey

Maimouna Youssef Singer and Musician

Shireen Zaman Program Director, Rise Together Fund, Proteus Fund

Ryan Zimmerman First Baseman, Washington Nationals

Jarred Zuccari Associate Producer, Hamilton Insurance Agency

Jason Zuccari Vice President of Development & External Relations, Hamilton Insurance Agency/ Alan J. Zuccari Inc.

“Growth is a spiral process”

– Lauren Watkins

Johnny Spero, Simone Jacobson and Kevin Tien; Photographed at GUILD

Simone Jacobson, Co-owner & Director of Operations, Thamee In the last year Jacobson, alongside her mother, Jocelyn Law-Yone, opened Washington’s only full service Burmese restaurant, Thamee, which has earned local and national acclaim. Additionally, she was named a “cultural connector” by Bon Appetit magazine. Jacobson is fully committed to community and regularly supports restaurants where women and and people of color are in leadership positions. As for her 20-year love affair with D.C., she says: “it’s like a small interconnected village … [it] guides us, reminds us why we do what we do, and holds us accountable when we make mistakes.” NAMASTE: she has taught yoga to inmates at the District of Columbia jail.

Johnny Spero, Chef & Owner, Reverie In November 2018, the chef famous for stints at world renowned restaurants including Noma and minibar, was blessed with two babies: his long-awaited debut restaurant in Georgetown (Reverie) and his first child (Fiona). The impeccable timing proved to be the challenge of Spero’s life as he worked on mastering the “balance of spending time with [his] amazing wife and daughter [and] pushing the restaurant creatively and responsibly.” He cites giving up alcohol and “terrible movies like Police Academy 2” for helping the process. DON’T MISS: Reverie’s smoked cheddar cheeseburger.

Kevin Tien, Executive chef & Owner, Emilie’s Years ago, Tien became a household name with his first restaurant Himitsu (now rebranded by his former business partner) and continues to advance his reputation at his new venture Emilie’s in Capitol Hill. The restaurant, which was recently lauded by Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema, references Tien’s Louisiana roots and Vietnamese heritage with dishes like ranch fried chicken. As evidenced in his personal mantra (“what got us here, won’t get us there”), Tien credits his success to strong work ethic and a constant drive to be better. BOSS GOALS: Tien proudly provides fully paid health insurance to all his full-time employees – a rare benefit in the restaurant industry.

Daniel Heider, Edith Gregson and C. McBryde Campbell; Photographed at GUILD

Daniel Heider, Vice President, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty The real estate wunderkind lives by the mantra “Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody.” His contagious energy has proven successful in the real estate industry, where he is the youngest vice president in TTR Sotheby’s International Realty history and the highest-producing agents under 40 in the metropolitan area for six consecutive years. The fifth generation Washingtonian “lives and breathes this town,” not only through work, but also philanthropic involvement with Washington Performing Arts, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and Make-A-Wish Foundation. Transcendental meditation, dog park runs with his Golden Retriever, Buck, and “SNL-worthy” impersonations keep Heider fueled outside work. 

C. McBryde Campbell, Visual Designer One glance at Campbell’s Instagram feed reveals his keen eye for design. In addition to creating lifestyle content for retail brands, travel agencies and restaurants, he is a digital media specialist working in the human rights advocacy sphere. He recently designed the logo for the 30th anniversary commemoration of the fall of the Berlin Wall. FUN FACT: Campbell is renowned for his ability to prodigiously quote lines from all of the “Lord of the Rings” films.

Edith Gregson, Partner, JD Ireland Interior Architecture + Design From Nantucket to Utah, you will find designs from the interior pro who specializes in creating custom furniture, built-ins and lighting solutions to help projects come to life. In the often cutthroat design industry, Gregson relies on seeking “camaraderie over competition” to move her career forward. This past year, she has enjoyed collaborating with friends on room designs and found the experiences rewarding. “Seeing them live in a space you helped envision is just wonderful.” DREAM JOB? “Park ranger. I still think I’ll do that when I grow up.”

“Get a therapist! And remember that health and happiness are the most important things.”

— Brittany Shepherd’s advice to young journalists

Mikayla Bouchard and Brittany Shepherd; Photographed at GUILD

Mikayla Bouchard, Assistant Editor, The New York Times At The New York Times’ Washington Bureau, Bouchard oversees digital operation and helps direct and execute live coverage of major news events (it goes without saying the impeachment inquiry kept her busy). She also works with The Times’ audio team on both “The Daily” and “The New Washington” podcasts. The Michigan-native’s advice to young reporters is to seek out mentorship for “guidance, reassurance and tough love.” MARK YOUR CALENDARS: The Congressional Women’s Softball Game will take place on June 17. Bouchard serves as captain of the press team.

Brittany Shepherd, National Politics Reporter, Yahoo News With the 2020 election heating up, Shepherd has been on the frontlines reporting on the intersection of politics and culture. The show she launched last year, “Hot Mic,” is meant to give a voice to young voters, who she says, are finally getting their dues as important players in the voting process. Outside of work, Shepherd is in endless pursuit of authentic New York style pizza, consuming “trashy reality TV,” or watching planes fly into Reagan Airport from the Lincoln memorial to unwind . SURPRISE TALENT: She’s a black belt in Taekwondo.

This feature appeared in the March 2020 issue of Washington Life magazine.

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Rep. Sara Jacobs


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