Power Source attends an extraordinary gathering of government relations professionals.
By Adoria Doucette
On Wednesday, July 13th the most prominent and powerful minorities involved in politics and business associated to governmental affairs convened at House of Sweden to celebrate the second annual Tin Cup Awards. The awards dinner was the second annual celebration hosted by the Washington Government Relations Group (WGRG) , the nations oldest organization for African American government relations professionals. WGRG members are the best and the brightest of African-American government relations professionals. Power Source had a birds eye view of this enrapturing exhibition of well earned distinction. The House of Sweden, is our city’s newest grand architectural masterpiece overlooking the Potomac; designed by renowned architects Gert Wingardh and Tomas Hansen. The leaders of the Washington Government Relations Group made the wise and insightful decision to host the event within the structure – the architects were commissioned by the Kingdom of Sweden to design a building that physically represented openness, transparency, and democracy.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Rep. John Lewis were presented with the Adam Clayton Powell Award for their tireless work to ensure diversity among Capitol Hill staffers. Senator Reid was celebrated for utilizing his power in the Senate to advance the cause of diversity throughout the myriad of staff positions in the Senate. Rep. Lewis spoke about how the accomplishments of prominent African American government professionals along with the election of an African American President of the United States was a “down payment” on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr‘s dream. Only a few short weeks until the dedication of Dr. King’s Memorial on the National Mall, Lewis recalled how he went on the famous Civil Rights Freedom Ride when he was 21 years old, the same year that future President Barack Obama was born.
The Augustus F. Hawkins Award for Leadership in Diversity went to Jacqeline Parker the iconic Senior Policy Director for U.S. Senator Carl Levin. This outstanding woman has been a force on Capitol Hill for over three decades. An institution amongst herself, the Capitol Grounds has been her domain as she has run an informal job bank for African Americans looking for Capitol Hill employment and advancement. Parker was a founding member of the prominent Senate Black Legislative Staff Caucus, a prestigious collective of Capitol Hill talent. Nearly everyone in the ballroom at the House of Sweden could trace their early careers back to an initial conversation with Jackie Parker about “working on the Hill”, and her influence on the lives of literally thousands of professionals now spanned across the globe is beyond measure. Ms. Parker has instilled confidence and empowerment in so many individuals that her legacy will live forever on Capitol Hill. As the seventh most senior member of the 100 member Senate and Chairman of the committee that has jurisdiction in all matters relating to the defense of our nation, Senator Levin’s longevity and power is greatly influenced by the magnificence of his Senior Policy Director. Because her job is behind the scenes she does not get the level of acclaim she would in other industries, however Ms. Parker is unquestionably one of the most influential African American women in America.
Nicole Venable of the Bucknoy Group is a former member of the Senate Black Legislative Staff Caucus and a protege of Jackie Parker. Nicole spent over a decade on Capitol Hill in powerful positions prior to joining the staff of President Clinton. While in Congress and the Executive branch, Nicole played a major role in personally guiding many young staffers and interns towards successfully mastering the workings and opportunity of working in the most important building in the world. She is now a prominent lobbyist and featured insider of the Washington Post’s TheRoot.com, Nicole presented The Lucile Harris Bluford Spotlight Award to Ms. Donna Byrd, Publisher of the Root.com. This award is given to leaders who promote diversity in the media; and the Root.com is a forum for diverse options and viewpoints on current events and issues.
The Tin Cup President’s Award honored African Americans who have achieved the level of running Washington offices of prominent corporations and organizations. The following executives were esteemed honorees of this Presidents award: Howlie Davis, CH2M Hill. Gina Adams, FedEx, Jake Jones, Daimler, Lucia Riddle, Principal Financial Group, Fred Humphries, Microsoft, Stephanie Childs, Avaya Communications. Reginald Gilliam, Sodexo, and DeDe Lea, Viacom.
Ms. Joyce Brayboy of Goldman Sachs was given “Lobbyist of the Year” and Ms. Anita Estell of Polsinelli Shughart was recognized for “Lifetime Achievement”. Both gave heartfelt thank you remarks; and Joyce attributed much of her success to her former boss, Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) who attended and gave her a big hug. Power Source salutes the WCRG for honoring those at the top of their professions. We encourage the next generation of prominent government relations professionals to continue the legacy of collective empowerment and giving back.