Atlantic Media Chairman David Bradley talks about work, philanthropy and favorite Washington spots.
What are you most proud of in your career?
DB: The first time I saw the Corporate Executive Board building while crossing Key Bridge, there was a little (unbecoming) pride inside. But, in the moment, I’m lost to the purpose of establishing The Atlantic for its third century. I intend to grow old with that magazine.
Why are you committed to Washington when you could move anywhere?
DB: Upon turning 40, my wife Katherine said, “It’s possible we both could change careers and our friendship group, but likely won’t. We could move cities, but probably are here for the duration. So, what if you knew that this was the run for the rest of our lives, how would that be?” We knew, together, that this was right and good.
What is your favorite cause?
DB: The Bradleys are an education-reform family the way laborers in the ’30s were union families. If we’d ever had an FDR photo on the mantel, it now would be Arne Duncan or Kaya Henderson.
What is your philosophy on hiring?
DB: Atlantic Media hires for two personal attributes. The first is force of intellect, a quality sought after by much of media. The second is more unusual—a spirit of generosity— people naturally drawn to a sense of service before self.
Would you ever run for political office?
DB: I’ve wanted to be the member of the House from the 6th district of Maryland for 40 years. Now, one of our closest friends, John Delaney, is about to win that election. Living the race vicariously through him is proving easier. And, cheaper.
BRADLEY’S TOP SPOTS
1. My favorite place to work is Silver Diner in Clarendon. Preferring white noise for serious thought or writing, I spend as many as 12 hours a week, alone, at booth 21. Not exactly alone; I’ve known the same waitress, Dorothy Johnson, since she served me in the old Howard Johnsons in the ‘70s during my first year at law school.
2. Bistro Français in Georgetown is where chefs from around the city go at 3 a.m. after closing their own restaurants. I’ve not tested 3 a.m., but midnight on Friday is perfect there.
3. My first job, at age 13, was as a groom at Meadowbrook Stables in Chevy Chase. I loved the horses but found that I loved work — evidently any work — even better.
4. I have my most intelligent conversations walking the Streets of Adams Morgan with Leon Wieseltier from the New Republic.
5. The Kennedy Center Terrace, around 2 a.m. on a summer morning, is where I courted Katherine Brittain.
6. My most profitable conversation was at a Roy Rogers (now a McDonalds) on Wisconsin Ave., where Jeff Zients talked me through taking a company public.
7. The Clara Barton Parkway is — apparently — the best place to hit a deer in Washington.
8. The Watergate’s B-2 garage, which is open to the public, is where the great scandal began.
9. The city’s best shortcut is the Kennedy Center’s private entrance onto Route 66.