Like Cassatt, the ambassador has been a trail-blazer for women. Before becoming the first female chair of the Red Cross, she launched women-focused initiatives through Habitat for Humanity and the United Way.
More recently, McElveen-Hunter has hosted parties to introduce local arts leaders to White House social secretary Desirée Rogers, an Obama confidante known for her ties to the cultural and fashion worlds. Such bipartisan entertaining has led some to call her residence “the Blair House for the Red Cross.” It’s a nickname that suits the ambassador just fine.
“Where I see the need, I take action,” she says. “Life is meaningless unless you help others, leaving things a little better than you found them.”