The Young & the Guest List 2019

Annually we get the benefit of surveying Washington’s landscape of young people doing cool things, and with each passing year we never cease to be amazed to the go-getters driving their respective industries forward. From chefs putting the District on the national stage as a formidable food city to journalists fighting accusations of “fake news,” there is a wide range with far-reach, represented in this year’s list. As different as each of the 40 photographed (and those listed) individuals may be, their common goal of making the nation’s capital a better place serves as a running thread that underlies them all. The energy of that shared responsibility was palpable at this year’s photo shoots. With the exception of the journalists and actors, there is no methodology or algorithm for who gets paired with who in photo groupings. Half the fun is watching along as conversations unfold organically – like the blockchain entrepreneur (Michael Parker) talking to the chef about profit margins (Jerome Grant). It validates the notion that we are all connected by this great city we call home.

Robert Costa, Kasie Hunt, Ayesha Rascoe and Olivia Nuzzi

Robert Costa; National Political Reporter, The Washington Post; Moderator, PBS’s “Washington Week”: Whether starting his day with an appearance on “Morning Joe,” or breakfast with a senator, Costa’s non-partisan approach to journalism has helped keep him as a trusted news source. He credits his well-rounded perspective on national politics to a firm understanding of both the country’s big cities and small towns. The reporter also values time spent away from his computer and phone, citing walks around the city as an effective tool for focusing.

Kasie Hunt; Capitol Hill Correspondent, NBC; Host of MSNBC’s “Kasie DC”: In 2018, Hunt and her NBC News Capitol Hill team were recognized with the Joan Shorenstein Barone Award at the Radio and Television Correspondents Association Awards for their coverage of sexual harassment in Congress, which eventually led to reform making it easier for victims to report harassment. She credits her reporting chops to perseverance, calling it “9/10ths of success.” Her advice to up and coming journalists? “Make that one extra phone call, take that one additional risk.”

Ayesha Rascoe; White House Reporter, NPR:  Before joining NPR last spring, the Howard University graduate covered energy and policy news, and eventually the White House, at Reuters. At NPR she has reported on everything from criminal justice reform to President Trump’s rhetoric toward African Americans on Twitter. The latter story was triggered by Trump’s referral to former advisor Omarosa Manigault Newman as “a dog” and Lebron James as “dumb.” Rascoe combed through more than 900 of his tweets and conferred with political scientists and linguistics specialists about the implications of his language. “Words matter,” she explains, “and I felt like it was important to look at why certain insults carry historical baggage.”

Olivia Nuzzi; Washington Correspondent, New York Magazine: In the past year Nuzzi has interviewed President Trump and Stormy Daniels, written an eyebrow-raising piece about former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks and won the American Society of Magazine Editors’ Next Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement by magazine journalists under the age of 30. Last fall, she was pulled into an impromptu Oval Office meeting with President Trump and several members of his cabinet who tried to convince her to stop reporting on the president and John Kelly’s relationship. “I didn’t have time to overthink it,” she says.”I’m proud that I didn’t let the circumstances rattle me.” She is currently co-authoring a book with fellow journalist and boyfriend Ryan Lizza on the 2020 campaign.

Jamal Abdi President, National Iranian American Council

Jeremy Adler Director of Communications, House Republican Conference

Gerald Addison Co-Executive Chef, Maydan and Compass Rose

Kristen Soltis Anderson Co-Founder, Echelon Insights

Justin Amash U.S. Congressman (R-Mich.)

Ashley Arias Lifestyle Public Relations Manager, TAA Public Relations

Kylie Atwood National Security Reporter, CNN

Cameron Austin Advertising Lead, Compass

Arash Azani President, Bullitt Agency

Sara Azani Blogger, Style MBA

Carla Babb Pentagon Correspondent, Voice of America

Rachael Bade Reporter, The Washington Post

Sarah Baker Director of Booking, MSNBC

Meredith Balenske Vice President of Communications, Revolution LLC

Katherine Barkman Dancer, The Washington Ballet

Alec Karakatsanis

Alec Karakatsanis; Founder and Executive Director, Civil Rights Corps: Asking the passionate civil rights advocate to name a few work highlights from the last year is a challenging question as there are many to choose from. Karakatsanis mentions winning a landmark federal lawsuit against Houston, Texas for its unconstitutional cash bail system, which, as a result, freed 13,000 inmates in just the first year after the law’s enactment. The underlying goal of the non-profit is to use effective lawyering to fight the mass incarceration issue in the U.S.

Vinoda Basnayake Chairman, D.C. Government Relations Practice, Nelson Mullins Principal, Versus Equity

Bradley Beal Shooting Guard, Washington Wizards

Sara Beckstead Communications Manager, EDENS

Dan Berger Founder and CEO, Social Tables

Rebecca Buck Political Reporter, CNN

Carmen Berkley Managing Director, Organizing and Electoral Campaigns, Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Bradley Beychok President, American Bridge

DJ Biks DJ and entertainment

Meg Biram Blogger, MegBiram.com’

Steve Birnbaum Defender, D.C. United

Jeanne Shewmaker Birnbaum Director of Merchandising, Tuckernuck

Mikayla Bouchard Assistant Editor, The New York Times

Richard Hudock, Sara Beckstead, Peggy Sparks and Robert Donohoe

Richard Hudock; Director of Communications, NBC:  In his role at NBC News, Hudock relishes in having a position where every day is different and full of new challenges. It also helps that his admiration for NBC goes way back to his childhood. The communications director jokes that he still pinches himself when visiting the “Meet the Press” set. Hudock first moved to Washington three years ago to take a job with CNN. He credits his success to relationship-building, boiling it down to “Follow up, make time for coffee meetings, stay in touch.” He adds: “Don’t underestimate the importance of a handwritten note or thank you card.” 

Sara Beckstead; Communications Manager, EDENS:  “Growing up in an entrepreneurial family, I’ve always understood the value of small business and community,” Beckstead explains. Her family’s jewelry business Liljenquist & Beckstead is one of the most trusted names in the area and her experience working there after college taught her the importance of giving voice to a brand’s philosophy. At retail real estate developer EDENS, Beckstead helps share stories from the company’s portfolio of properties and retail partners. “Telling these stories gives meaning to who we are and what we do in our shared purpose to enrich community,” she says.

Peggy Sparks; Director, Artist’s Proof:  At the fine art gallery in Georgetown, Sparks strives to serve as a conduit connecting local emerging creatives with prospective clients. Advocating for artists is at the crux of her job, she explains, citing her ability to translate their visual narratives to new collectors. “One of the great perks of my job is that I am able to be intimately acquainted with the producers of art,” she says. “When I speak to an artist and am able to listen to what motivated them to create a piece of artistic work, that moves me.” The Singapore-raised gallerist also consults on hotel, residential and commercial projects globally.

Bobby Donohoe; President and Founder, Strength in Our Voices:  Born and raised in Richmond, the University of Virginia-graduate moved to the District to work in federal consulting for Deloitte. After struggling with anxiety, Donohoe founded the nonprofit organization Strength in Our Voices (SiOV) with the intention of building a community of “acceptance, positivity and self-help.” The vision of the group is to destigmatize mental health issues, which they achieve through peer-led training programs in schools. SiOV hinges on creating “environments of trust and support for those impacted by mental health through open dialogue, education, empowerment and positive change,” he says.

Crystal Bowyer President and CEO, National Children’s Museum

Katie Boyd Director of Communications, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO)

Travis Boyd Forward, Washington Capitals

Quinn Bradlee Founder and CEO, FriendsofQuinn.com

Marjorie Meek Bradley Chef, St. Anselm

Margaret Brennan Foreign Affairs Correspondent, CBS News; Moderator, Face the Nation

Saweda Bright, M.D. Physician, Inova

Brooke Brogan Founder, Brooke Brogan Public Relations

Fritz Brogan Managing Partner, The Mission Group; MaverickPAC National Co-Chair

Ashley Taylor Bronczek Co-Founder, Secretly Gifting

Matthew Bronczek Principal, Dream Finders Homes

Christina Brown Publicist, National Gallery of Art

Emily Brown Regional Director of Development, The Boys & Girls Club of America

Pamela Brown Senior White House Correspondent, CNN

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

Brendan Buck Partner, Blue Engine Message & Media

LaRhonda Burley Vice President, Partnerships and Marketing, National Fitness Foundation

Alma Caballero Director for Mexico, McClarty Associates

Maimouna Youssef

Maimouna Youssef; Singer and Musician:  “My music is soul music in its most authentic form,” Youssef (also known as “Mumu Fresh”) explains. It only takes one listen to the Grammy-nominated musician’s work to feel her description ring true. In addition to headlining her own shows internationally, the Afro-native singer, songwriter has provided vocal support for The Roots, Sting, Erykah Badu, Femi Kuti and Nas, to name a few. In May she will release her eighth collaborative album with DJ Jazzy Jeff. To up and coming musicians she advises “Figure out what makes you unique and what gives you purpose and illuminate and magnify those qualities in your art.”

David Cabrera Owner, Suns Cinema

John Carlson Defenseman, Washington Capitals

Gregory Cendana President and Co-Founder, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Consulting

Francesca Chambers White House Correspondent, Daily Mail

Peter Franklin Chang Co-Founder, No Kings Collective

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

Kevin Cirilli Chief Washington Correspondent, Bloomberg Television

Cara Kelly, Alex Thompson and Markette Sheppard

Cara Kelly; Entertainment Reporter, USA Today: As an entertainment reporter at USA Today, Kelly covered Hollywood at the height of the #MeToo movement, doing in-depth reporting on sexual harassment in the industry. The experience led her to joining the newspaper’s investigations team last year.

Alex Thompson; Political Reporter, Politico: The 29-year-old reporter got his start in the field working as Maureen Dowd’s editorial assistant at The New York Times. After a stint as a politics editor at VICE News, Thompson is now on the 2020 presidential campaign beat at Politico. Advice to young journalists? “Sourcing is everything. Call, text, grab coffees. Tweet less.” FUN FACT: Thompson was on the “Tonight Show” when he was 13 to perform a double-jointed human body trick.

Markette Sheppard; TV Host and Author:  Sheppard, host of WUSA’s “Great Day Washington,” says she values the art of storytelling because she gets to “fill in the blanks in a meaningful and impactful way” for viewers. The Los Angeles-native used that same passion to write a children’s book last summer, “What is Light?” Her take on work-life balance? “Work is what I do, being a mom, wife and friend is who I am.”

Kaitlan Collins White House Correspondent, CNN

Erin Como Traffic Anchor/Reporter, Fox5

Kat Conlon Executive Director, Friends of the American University of Afghanistan

Pheonix Copley Goaltender, Washington Capitals

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

Jordan Cotton Co-Founder, Cotton & Reed Distillery

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

Crystal Bowyer, Nicole Crowder and John Legittino

Crystal Bowyer; President and CEO, National Children’s Museum:  After business school, the Missouri-native bounced around the world for children’s service work in Brazil and China, and cultural outreach in numerous other countries. Previous leadership roles at the Museum of Science and Industry and the Chicago Children’s Choir prepared Bowyer for her move to Washington, where she is spearheading redevelopment of the National Children’s Museum, slated to open in the fall of this year. It will be an “innovative experience for the whole family,” Bowyer promises.

John Legittino; Co-Founder and CEO, Advoc8:  Legittino used the skills he gained working on major televised award shows and presidential debates to create a full-service brand experience and content production agency. With clients like Google and CNN, the 40 person, almost three-year-old shop “helps companies cross the digital divide to tell their stories and connect with customers through experiences they’ll never forget.”

Nicole Crowder; Furniture Designer and Upholsterer:  Using inspiration from fashion, interior design, the colors of fresh fruit and her dreams, Crowder built a design and upholstery business that has blossomed from custom pieces for individual clients to full-scale collaborations with restaurants, hotels and textile designers. The former photo editor recently opened a colorful studio, which will serve as her workspace, showroom and community gathering place. NOTE: Nicole is sitting on one of her custom chairs in this photo.

Walter l. Cronkite, IV Director, FTI Consulting

Nicole Crowder Furniture Designer and Upholsterer

Lauren Culbertson Public Policy Manager, Twitter

Tom Cunanan Chef, Bad Saint

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

Ashley Darby Owner, Oz Restaurant; Cast Member, “The Real Housewives of Potomac”

Michael Darner Executive Director, Congressional Progressive Caucus

Vernon Davis Tight End, Washington Redskins

Anastasia Dellaccio Director, Global Community and Career Engagement, Creator Awards and Public Affairs, WeWork

Tara Dijulio Director, Global Public Affairs, GE

Jessica Ditto Deputy Director of Communications, The White House

Martin Ditto CEO, Ditto Residential

Christian Djoos Defenseman, Washington Capitals

Jason Donner Capitol Hill Producer, Fox News

Bobby Donohoe President and Founder, Strength in Our Voices

Chris Morgan, Ryan Hackney and Tim Ma

Chris Morgan; Co-Executive Chef, Maydan and Compass Rose:  As co-executive chef (with Gerald Addison) at one of Washington’s most celebrated new restaurants, Maydan, the Northern Virginia native has his hands full helming a spot that has received national acclaim from established food critics across the board. (No. 2 “Best New Restaurant in America” by Bon Appetit, “Top 10 Best New Restaurants” by Food & Wine). He and Addison also head the kitchen at Maydan’s sister restaurant Compass Rose in Logan Circle. Can’t miss dishes? Dango (Omani stewed chickpea dish) at Maydan and tako poke (lightly poached octopus over warm rice) at Compass Rose.

Ryan Hackney; Executive Chef, District Restaurant Group:  In 2013, you could find the chef in the “trenches of Robert Wiedmaier’s premier fine-dining destination, Marcel’s,” living out two years of “culinary boot camp,” as he calls it. Now, Hackney oversees Valor Brewpub and The Ugly Mug on Capitol Hill. He is also a Food Network regular, having appeared on “Beat Bobby Flay” and the upcoming season of “Bite Club” with Tyler Florence. Hackney succinctly sums up his culinary career: “I originally went to school for Economics and Political Science and would cook bagged ramen for Howard University undergrads,” he explains. “Four years later I was cooking for the Obama family.”

Tim Ma; Chef, American Son and Kyrisian:  If you find yourself at the recently opened Eaton Hotel on K Street, you would be remiss not to sample Ma’s tofu gnocchi with sunchokes, apples and black truffles. Since its opening Ma has been tasked with the massive undertaking of running the full food and beverage program at the hotel. Ma, who jokes that he didn’t know how to handle a knife until his first day of culinary school at age 30, also owns Kyrisian (Chinese/ French-inspired cuisine) in Shaw. The chef advises newcomers to the culinary industry to savor the ride.”The worst thing that can happen is to get on the big stage and not be ready.” he notes. “Enjoy the process.”

Matthew Dornic Vice President of Communications, CNN

Amelia Draper Meteorologist, NBC4

A.J. Dronkers Associate Publisher, Edible DC

Amy Dunki Bartender, The Red Hen

Lauren Dunne Co-Founder, Varnish Lane

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

Greg Engert Beer Director, Neighborhood Restaurant Group

Trever Faden Founder, Atlas Lane

Kelly Flanigan and Storm Horncastle

Kelly Flanigan; President, Live Nation DC, MD & VA:  When Flanigan looks out at the audience from the stage of a sold out concert, it’s the “euphoric faces” in the crowd that make her position with the live music company so rewarding. She joined the team right after college (13 years ago) as a talent buyer, steadily rising in the ranks. Flanigan has helped double her territory’s show volume and provided crucial support to its regional portfolio of venues. Most memorable concert experience? Prince at the Warner Theatre, where Stevie Wonder made a surprise appearance.

Storm Horncastle; Manager, Public Affairs & Events, Public Policy, Netflix:  Horncastle stayed in Washington after graduating from American University with a master’s in strategic communications, accepting a position as a public relations, events and outreach advisor to the ambassador of Norway. At Netflix, the Norway native is constantly dreaming up new ways to “showcase, celebrate and connect policy stakeholders to Netflix’s diverse stories and storytellers both on and off camera.” Horncastle built her worldly outlook living in five different countries before landing in the District.

John Falcicchio Chief of Staff, Mayor Muriel Bowser

Lena Farouki Founder, Curio Concept Store

Jennifer Feldman-Brillembourg, M.D. Anesthesiologist

Angie Fetherston CEO, Drink Company

J.P. Fetherston Beverage Director,

Heather Louise Finch Founder and CEO, HLF, LLC

Meredith Fineman CEO and Founder, FinePoint

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

Kelly Flanigan President, Live Nation DC, MD & VA

Jade Floyd Vice President of Communications, Case Foundation and Revolution

Ashley Forrester Corporate Director, Communications and Marketing, EventsDC

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

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

Glenda Fu Executive Director, Dreams for Kids

Lani Furbank Freelance Food Writer

Pheonix Copley and Travis Boyd

Pheonix Copley; Goaltender, Washington Capitals:  The 6-foot-4 goaltender from North Pole, Alaska has made a home in Washington since joining the Capitals amid a deadline trade in 2017. He earned his first NHL win in a 4-3 shootout win over the Calgary Flames last fall and recorded his first career shutout against the Ottawa Senators a few months later.

Travis Boyd; Foward, Washington Capitals:  The Capitals picked up Boyd in the sixth-round of the 2011 NHL draft. In late 2018 he scored his first goal in the NHL against the Columbus Blue Jackets and recorded his first career multi-assist game versus the Edmonton Oilers. Before joining the professional league, the 25-year-old played at the University of Minnesota.

Joelle Firzli Co-Founder, Tribute

Morgan Fykes Director of Strategic Engagement, We the People DC

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

Jocelyn Gailliot Co-Founder, Tuckernuck

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

Rep. Ruben Gallego U.S. Congressman (D-Ariz.)

Jennifer Paquette Galloway President, Wolcott Hill Group, LLC

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

Matthew Gardiner Associate Artistic Director, Signature Theatre

Dayna Geldwert Politics and Government Outreach, Instagram

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

Donnie Gerald Photographer

Lisa Gilbert Vice President of Legislative Affairs, Public Citizen

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

Sean Glass Chairman and CEO, Advantia Health

Shana Glenzer Principal, Upright Consulting

Jaysen Wright, Kathryn Tkel, Zack Powell and Alina Collins Maldonado

Jaysen Wright; Actor: This year Wright has enjoyed challenging himself and “testing his range,” as he calls it, taking on versatile roles that run the gamut from Shakespeare to farcical comedy and musicals. Regardless of the casting, Wright acknowledges that each come with its own set of “physical, intellectual and emotional demands,” which he is constantly trying to balance with his personal wellbeing. The Washington-born actor has been on the theater circuit for the last seven years and counts his role in “Wig Out” at Studio Theatre in 2017 as a work that changed the way he viewed himself as a queer person of color.

Kathryn Tkel; Actor: Tkel is currently preparing for a role in “Doll’s House, Part 2” at the Round House Theatre. One of the best parts of being an actress, she says, is the places she has been able to travel for shows. As for challenges, she references risk.”Whether it’s financial uncertainty or the act of being vulnerable with strangers,” she says. “It shows up everywhere.”

Zack Powell; Actor:  Last year you may have seen him play an Elvis impersonator turned-dragqueen – superstar in “The Legend of Georgia McBride” at Round House Theatre. The role was a departure from Powell’s usual castings in classics by Shakespeare, Ibsen and Checkhov. Most recently he played Robin Hood at a theater in Cleveland. His words of wisdom to young actors: “Work leads to work, and it always helps to meet as many other artists as possible. You never know who will work with you in a play reading, and then bring you in for an audition for a lead role at a major regional theater.” Look out for Powell later this year performing in “Shear Madness” at the Kennedy Center.

Alina Collins Maldonado; Actor: Maldonado most appreciates roles that address the “root of the human condition.” Last year she acted in the world premiere of “Digging Up Dessa” at the Kennedy Center – a play that touches on death and PTSD, all while encouraging young girls to pursue careers in science. When she’s not performing, the actress teaches the art of storytelling to high school refugee students through Imagination Stage’s Oyeme program.

Autria Godfrey Anchor and Reporter, ABC7 News

Angie Goff Journalist

Monica Gomez Co-Owner, Cera Wax Studio

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

Marcus Goodwin Acquisitions Associate, Four Points

Sarah Gordon Founder, Gordy’s Pickle Jar

Neil Grace Senior Communications Advisor, Federal Communications Commission

Jerome Grant Executive Chef, Sweet Home Cafe

Richard Graves Co-Founder and Chief Impact Officer, CleanChoice Energy

Yudu Gray, Jr. CEO, House Studios

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

Madeline Grayson Co-Founder, Tuckernuck

Scott Greenberg Director of Marketing and Media, The Washington Ballet

Rachel Grinney Co-founder, Wylie Grey

Jessica Grounds Co-founder, Mine the Gap

Garrett Haake Correspondent, MSNBC

Daniel Heider Vice President, TTR Sotheby’s

Ryan Hackney Executive Chef, District Restaurant Group

Michael Haft Co-Founder, Compass Coffee

Dannia Hakki Co-founder and Principal, MoKi Media

Maha Hakki Partner, MoKi Media

Blake Hall Founder and CEO, ID.me

Bill Hamid Goalkeeper, D.C. United

Jennifer Hansler State Department Producer, CNN

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

Matthew Gardiner, Rachel Grinney and Yudu Gray

Matthew Gardiner; Associate Artistic Director, Signature Theatre:  The theater buff calls himself “a product of the D.C. arts community,” having studied at the Washington School of Ballet for a decade and acted in various gigs around the city. After attending Carnegie Mellon University, Gardiner returned to the area to take a position at Signature Theatre. Thirteen years later working alongside his twin brother (James runs creative content and public relations) Gardiner’s role has evolved, but the Shirlington, Va. theater continues to keep him interested. “[Signature’s] commitment to producing musical theater (both new and classic) at the level it does in a theater that seats less than 300 people– that’s unheard of.”

Rachel Grinney; Co-Founder, Wylie Grey: After 10 years with Intermix, Grinney took her retail experience to the e-commerce space in 2016 with the launch of Wylie Grey alongside her business partner Nikki Yazdanian. The online clothing boutique carries current trends for women at an approachable price point. It was an idea derived from years of frustration shopping online. “We always said we wished there was an online store that carried an edited selection from cool up-and-coming brands,” Grinney explains. As for the challenges of building a boutique without the benefit of a physical space, the duo harnesses the power of social media (@wyliegrey).

Yudu Gray; Founder, House Studios:  Beyond simply hosting talent at he and his wife Davina’s full service music studio in Hyattsville, Md., Gray’s mission is to create a home for budding musicians “designed to nurture, guide and support the artist’s journey,” he says. It is a platform the Liberian born refugee does not take for granted.”Our philosophy is rooted in the power of unencumbered creativity and that the arts in all of its forms is the great connector of humanity.” The couple’s passion-fueled mission has attracted big-name collaborations with the likes of Logic, Wale, Post Malone and Kendrick Lamar. Up-and-comers we should keep on our radar? Mannywellz, Luke James Shaffer, BOOMscat, Sydney Franklin and SHAED.

Laura Hayes Food Editor, Washington City Paper

Eric Heidenberger Managing Partner, Madhatter, Front Page, Shaw’s Tavern and 801 Restaurant & Bar and Epic Yoga

Kyle Hendrick Managing Director, AAF Management

Audrey Henson Founder and CEO, College to Congress

Justin Herman Public Sector Director, Twilio, Inc.

Brandon Hill Co-Founder, No Kings Collective

Sondra Hoffman Head Booker, T.H.E. Artist Agency

Devin Lee Hoffman Director of Brand Experience, HEIST DC

Misty Holbert Lead Associate for Media Relations, Booz Allen Hamilton

Kristen Holmes National Correspondent, CNN News Source

Rachel Holt Head of New Mobility, Uber Inc.

Braden Holtby Goalie, Washington Capitals

Storm Horncastle Manager, Public Affairs & Events, Public Policy, Netflix

Kerra Michele Huerta Blogger, Apartment Envy

Richard Hudock Director of Communications, NBC News

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

Jack Inslee Executive Producer, Full Service Radio

Elahe Izadi Reporter, The Washington Post

Hallie Jackson Chief White House Correspondent, NBC News

Juven Jacob Special Assistant to the President, The Kennedy Center

Laura Jarrett Correspondent, CNN

Brad Jenkins Founder, Enfranchisement Productions LLC

Alexa Johnson Co-owner, Ella-Rue

Jerome Grant, Nicolas End. Holley Simmons and Michael Parker

Jerome Grant; Chef, Sweet Home Cafe:  Next time you visit The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) leave time for lunch at Grant’s cafeteria-style eatery, which serves up food showcasing the rich culture and food traditions of African Americans. (Don’t miss the pan roasted trout with cornbread and mustard green stuffing, he tells us.) Last year the chef published “Sweet Home Café Cookbook” and in 2019 he was named a finalist in the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic category. FUN FACT: He taught himself how to swim by watching Michael Phelps videos on YouTube.

Nicolas End; Economist, International Monetary Fund:  At the IMF, the French-born economist works with countries in the Middle-East, where he helps “governments and central banks design virtuous economic policies.” When he’s not drawing inspiration from IMF Director Christine Lagarde or his four-year-old daughter (“Life and the world are not that complicated from her viewpoint!” he muses), End is practicing on the grand piano he treated himself to when his wife was away on business.

Holley Simmons; Owner, She Loves Me:  Expect immediate zen upon entering Simmons’ new flower and plant shop on Upshur Street, NW in Petworth. “My aim with the shop is to have people lose track of space and time when they’re in here,” she says. The New-Jersey native finds inspiration from her travels, offering patrons a Country of the Month subscription based on flowers from a particular region. Before her botanical career, Simmons wrote about food for The Washington Post. FUN FACT: Simmons unabashedly loves carnations.

Michael Parker; Owner and CEO, Illumen, Inc.; Founding Partner, Jang Capital: Running a blockchain company and investing in great ideas keeps the young entrepreneur learning from people he describes as much smarter than him. Advice for others on how to keep the internal flame burning? “Let go of worry, fear and doubt. Creativity and inspiration are a kind of divinity, something we all have within us,” he says. Parker references his mother who started a successful business at the age of 50. “It is never too late to find that inspiration inside of you or to help someone else find theirs.”

Andra ‘AJ’ Johnson Co-Founder, DMV Black Restaurant Week; Founder, White Plates, Black Faces

Brian Johnson Principal, The Vogel Group

Krista Johnson Co-owner, Ella-Rue

Joshua Johnson Host, WAMU’s “1A”

Maura Judkis Reporter, The Washington Post

Nicholas Karnaze Founder, Stubble & ‘Stache

Alec Karakatsanis Founder and Executive Director, Civil Rights Corps.

Bethany Kazaba Co-Founder and CEO, Neighborhood Retail Group

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

Brianna Keilar Anchor, CNN

Cara Kelly Enterprise Reporter, USA Today

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

Ryan Kerrigan Linebacker, Washington Redskins

Sim Khan Attorney and Founder, Brimble & Clark Custom Clothiers

Suzanne Kianpour Capitol Hill and Foreign Affairs Producer, BBC News

Sery Kim Food and Travel Writer

Seung Min Kim White House Reporter, The Washington Post

Kate Kizer Policy Director, Win Without War

Ryan Kibler Creative Director, Foreign National

Ajay Kori Co-Founder, UrbanStems

Daniel Kramer Managing Partner, Duke’s Grocery and Duke’s Counter

Kara Krause Vice President, Events, Marketing & Communications, E.J. Krause & Associates

Judy Kurtz “In the Know” Columnist, The Hill

Jared Kushner Senior Advisor to President

Jeremiah Langhorne Chef and Owner, The Dabney

Frances Lanzone Chief of Staff, Global Entrepreneurship Network

Michael Larosa Director of Communications, U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

Michael Lastoria Co-Founder, &pizza

Anais Laurent Events Marketing Specialist, Discovery Education

Carol Lee Political Reporter, NBC News

Moning Lee Architectural and Urban Designer

Svetlana Legetic Co-Founder, Brightest Young Things

John Legittino CEO, Advoc8

Melissa Leonsis Director, Global Partnerships, EverFi

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

Avery Lewis Assistant Vice President, Linda Roth and Associates

Daniel Lippman Co-Author “Politico Playbook,” Politico

Tiffany Dena Loftin Director, Youth & College Division, NAACP

Victor Nguyen-Long Freelance Creative Strategist

Adam Joseph Lorenzetti, M.D. Physician, Inova

Kelly Love Deputy Press Secretary, Department of Energy

Wesley Lowery National Reporter, The Washington Post

Tim Ma Chef, American Son and Kyirisan

Chase Maggiano Founder, Bravo Score

Anne Mahlum Founder and CEO, Solidcore

Heather Mahoney Founder, Haute Haus Agency

Alina Collins Maldonado Actor

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

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

Phil Mattingly Congressional Correspondent, CNN

Carl Maynard Founder, Walk With Locals

John McCarthy Chief of Staff, Congressman Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.)

Kevin McCarthy Entertainment Reporter, FOX 5

Sarah McClellan Founder, Sarah’s Charities

Kara Krause and Justin Schuble

Kara Krause; Vice President, Events Marketing & Communications, E.J. Krause & Associates:  As a third-generation executive at the event planning company that her father and grandfather founded 35 years ago, Krause carries on her family’s legacy executing major tradeshows, conferences and educational forums. “I grew up watching my dad create one of the largest privately held exhibition management companies in the world,” she explains. “It was important to me to continue to foster the growth that they created.” The area native and Georgetown-graduate specializes in producing large-scale events like MetroCookingDC and the M-Enabling Summit.

Justin Schuble; Food Blogger:  When he is not “eating for the Insta” nationally and internationally, the 24-year-old food influencer behind the popular @dcfoodporn handle is staying active. He was able to turn his love for food into a career after graduating from Georgetown University in 2017 and has since amassed 300,000 followers on Instagram and collaborated with many Fortune 500 companies. Dining experiences that have wowed him over that last year? “The omakase experiences at K?b? and Sushi Nakazawa … the augmented reality dinner experience at Artechouse … The seafood paella at Del Mar at The Wharf.”

Amanda McClements Owner, Salt & Sundry

John McConnell, M.D. Physician, Inova

Alex McCoy Chef and Owner, Lucky Buns

Tommy McFly Co-Host, “The Tommy Show” podcast; Contributor, NBC4

Erin McPike Partner, Swann Street Strategies

Kathryn McQuade Communications Director, Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)

Spike Mendelsohn Chef and Restaurateur, Good Stuff Eatery and We, the Pizza; Chef, Vim & Victor

Heather Shaw Menis Principal, Fifth and Main PR

Alex Mills Actor, SyneticTheater

Diana Minshall Real Estate Agent, TTR Sotheby’s

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

Ryan Hunter Mitchell Owner, Suns Cinema

Navroop Mitter CEO, ArmorText

Jessica Moore Director of Government Relations, Walt Disney Company

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

Chris Morgan Co-Executive Chef, Maydan and Compass Rose

Michael Moroney Vice President, Fleishman Hillard

Ashley Murphy Dancer, Washington Ballet

Sara Murray Correspondent, CNN

Rhana Matour Reporter/Producer, PBS NewsHour

Rafael Navar National Political Director, Communications Workers of America

DJ Neekola DJ and Producer, Neekola Entertainment

Elizabeth North President, Curiosity Studios

Olivia Nuzzi Washington Correspondent, New York Magazine

Shizu Okusa Co-Founder and CEO, JRINK Juicery; Founder and CEO, Wellthy & Co.

Steven Olikara Co-Founder and President, Millennial Action Project

Kelly O’Malley Regional Director, The Vinetta Project

Fig O’Reilly Datanaut, NASA

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

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

Monica Pampell Founder, Pentafit; Personal Trainer

Laura Jarrett and Kevin Cirilli

Laura Jarrett; Correspondent, CNN:  The Harvard Law graduate practiced privately as a litigator before moving into a full-time media role covering the Department of Justice at CNN. Jarrett points to a story she reported on last year that served as validation for her career switch: “We covered the takedown of a scam operation that falsely acted as a non-profit charity in order to fleece veterans,” she explains. “We were able to highlight a tangible harm facing veterans who were defrauded.” She counts her mother Valerie Jarrett, one of former President Obama’s top advisors, as a role model. “She’s always pushed me not to be afraid of taking chances,” says Jarrett.

Kevin Cirilli; Chief Washington Correspondent, BloombergTelevision; “Sound On” Host, Bloomberg Radio:  Chief Washington Correspondent, Bloomberg Television; “Sound On” host, Bloomberg Radio Cirilli grew up in an Irish-Italian Catholic home outside of Philadelphia, went to Penn State and got his start freelance reporting during the Jerry Sandusky trial. He went on to write for Politico, The Hill and Bloomberg News before transitioning to an on-camera role with Bloomberg TV, where he conducts market-based political reporting. Cirilli most enjoys asking politicians quirky questions during mic checks. “Sen. John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican, told me he listens to Meatloaf. And Sen. Elizabeth Warren talked to me about how she loves the show “Ballers,” he recalls. FUN FACT: “When I can’t sleep, I watch old political interviews on YouTube.”

Holly Pan Fashion Blogger

Nick Papadopoulos Retail Leasing, Papadopoulos Properties

Ali Pardo National Press Secretary, GOP Conference

Michael Parker Owner and CEO, Illumen, Inc.; Founding Partner, Jang Capital

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

Scott Parkinson Vice President, Government Affairs, Club for Growth

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

Alexandra Petri Columnist, The Washington Post

Adrian Peterson Running Back, Washington Redskins

Ashley Peterson Founder and CEO, Elizabella Cosmetics

Abby Phillip White House Correspondent, CNN

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

Sarah Potts Retail Leasing, Papadopoulos Properties

Zack Powell Actor

Lauren Pratapas Senior Director of Communications, CNN

Michaela Pratt President and CEO, Mentor Foundation

Rose Previte Owner, Compass Rose and Maydan

Ned Price Director of Policy and Communications, National Security Action

Andrew Rafferty Senior Political Editor, Newsy

Manu Raju Senior Congressional Correspondent, CNN

Jaclyn Mason Randall Realtor, Jack Realty

Ayesha Rascoe White House Reporter, NPR

Ryan Ratino Chef and Owner, Bresca

Jordan Reed Tight End, Washington Redskins

Steve Ressler President, Callyo; Founder and Advisor, GovLoop

Helena Richardson Director of the Young Leaders Program, Heritage Foundation

Lindley Thornburg Richardson Public Relations Consultant, Heather Freeman Media & Public Relations

Dan Roberge Dancer, Washington Ballet

Ali Rogin Reporter, PBS

Gian Carlo Perez and Katherine Barkman

Gian Carlo Perez; Dancer, The Washington Ballet:  The young dancer became a household name after his lead role performing in last year’s John Cranko’s “Romeo and Juliet.” Before joining TWB in 2014, the Cuban-native began his professional career with the National Ballet of Cuba, dancing under the direction of renowned prima ballerina Alicia Alonso.

Katherine Barkman; Dancer, The Washington Ballet:  Whether it’s during warm-ups, rehearsals or strength and conditioning exercises, the 22-year-old ballerina tells us that she is living out her dream everyday. Before joining The Washington Ballet officially last fall, Barkman was awarded consecutive Silver Medals at two major International Ballet Competitions over the summer. Advice to novice dancers? “Stay true to yourself. Work hard and live fearlessly in your own unique pursuit of excellence.”

Ryan Ross Chief Information Officer, Halcyon Incubator

Sofia Royce Public Relations Director, The Brand Guild

Rob Rubba Chef, Oyster Oyster

Marissa Rubenstein Events and Experiential Marketing Director, Brightest Young Things

Ali Rubin Senior Vice President, External Affairs, Axios

Reem Sadik Law Clerk, U.S. Court of Appeals

Isoke Salaam Founder, Isoke Salaam PR

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

Boris Sanchez White House Correspondent, CNN

Sarah Sanders Press Secretary, The White House

Samantha Sault Author, “Moon Washington DC” Hachette

Kyle Schmitz President & Chief Creative Officer, KONNECTED Media Group

Justin Schuble Food Blogger, DCFoodPorn

Nikki Schwab Washington Reporter, New York Post

Hunter Schwarz Politics Reporter, CNN

Ryan Seelbach Founder and CEO, Seelbach Entertainment Group

Prince Christian Selassie Filmmaker

Prince Rufael Selassie Writer

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

Sultan Shakir Executive Director, SMYAL

Katie Shannon Managing Partner, 2622 Events

Jeff Sheely Co-Founder, UrbanStems

Markette Sheppard Host, WUSA 9’s “Great Day Washington”

Erika Gutierrez Sheridan Director of Marketing, Compass Real Estate

Jake Sherman Co-Author, “Politico Playbook”

Stuart Siciliano Partner, Hamilton Place Strategies

Hafsa Siddiqi Senior Account Executive, MoKi Media

Jessica Sidman Food Writer, Washingtonian

Aaron Silverman Chef and Owner, Rose’s Luxury and Pineapples & Pearls

Holley Simmons Owner, She Loves Me

Alex Skatell Founder and CEO, IJR

Farrah Skeiky Creative/Culture Manager, The LINE DC

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

Alex Smith Quarterback, Washington Redskins

Moira Bagley Smith Communications Consultant

Peggy Sparks Director, Artist’s Proof Gallery

Johnny Spero Chef and Owner, Reverie

Erica Spevack Associate, Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP

Anna Spiegel Food Writer, Washingtonian

Nick Stefanelli Chef and Owner, Masseria and Officina

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

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

Sam Stein Political Editor, The Daily Beast

Carlie Steiner Co-Owner and Beverage Director, Himitsu

Frederique Stephanie Head of Public Relations, TAA Public Relations; Owner, The Pop Up House

Sophie Stich Owner, Toastworthy

Eli Stokols White House Reporter, LA Times

Stephen Strasburg Pitcher, Washington Nationals

Harrison Suarez Co-Founder, Compass Coffee

Heather Darazs Sullivan Creative Services Manager, CBS Corporation

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

Jonathan Swan National Political Reporter, Axios

Daniel Swartz Photographer

Martin Swift Artist

Alexandra Tallulah Blogger, “In My Bowl”

Karin Tanabe Novelist

Kayla Tausche Washington Correspondent, CNBC

Steve Taylor Principal Software Engineer, Sophos

Kevin Tien Chef and Co-Owner, Himitsu

Vicky Theodorou Founder, Heirloom Catering

Shaunna Thomas Co-Founder, WeAreUltraViolet.org

Shawna Thomas Washington Bureau Chief, Vice News

Alex Thompson National Political Reporter, Politico

Arienne Thompson Director of Public Relations, MoKi Media

Chris Thompson Running Back, Washington Redskins

Kathryn Tkel Actor

Elliot Totah President, Oxbridge Group

Ivanka Trump Advisor to the President, The White House

Tiffany Trump Law Student, Georgetown University

Claudia Uceda Correspondent, Univision

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

Jennifer Vasquez Senior Producer, NBC

Jayne Visser President, Montana State Society

September Rinnier Votta Co-Founder, Tuckernuck

Jakub Vrana Forward, Washington Capitals

Reed Walker Co-Founder, Cotton & Reed Distillery

John Wall Point Guard, Washington Wizards

Read Wall President, Read Wall

Lindsay Walters Deputy Press Secretary, The White House

Kate Warren Photographer, GoKateShoot

Morgan Hungerford West Founder, A Creative DC; Creative/Culture Director, The LINE DC

Alexis Williams Executive Vice President, The Stagwell Group

Antonio Williams Senior Director of Government and External Affairs, Comcast

Wendi Wallace Director, Political Outreach, Planned Parenthood

Kelsie Wendelberger Director of Scheduling, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson

Gary Williams Co-Founder, Creative Theory

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

Ben Wikler Washington Director, MoveOn.org

Jaysen Wright Actor

Ann Yang Co-Founder, Misfit Foods

Nikki Yazdanian Co-Founder, Wylie Grey

Maimouna Youssef Singer and Musician

Shireen Zaman Program Director, Rise Together Fund, Proteus Fund

Jarred Zuccari Associate Producer, Hamilton Insurance Agency

Jason Zuccari Vice President of Business Development, Hamilton Insurance Agency

 

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