Marc Adelman is Washington's Ultimate Insider
by kate bennett
|Marc Adelman in his default state (excited, of course)|
There is one true currency in Washington, and that is the people you know. Knowing the right people can open doors, secure careers, keep elected officials in office, and get you into exclusive events. Marc Adelman, principal of Adelmania Consulting, has managed to turn the art of connecting the dots into a worthy and influential profession. “I basically bring disparate groups of people together for good,” explains Adelman, 33, a Los Angeles native who has lived in Washington for the past decade. “I try to find opportunities that will allow things going on in DC to be leveraged in a way that is accessible and visible and available to people.” In Hollywood-speak, which Adelman knows well (his father, Barry, is executive vice president of Dick Clark Productions), he is like a producer, albeit one without a show. “To a lot of people, Washington is seen as black and white, but the truth is, it is the nuance of making sure the right relationships exist and that they create value that is the real amorphous magic of this city,” he says.
This explains how Adelman has forged a career as an überprofessional connector. When Bill Clinton celebrated his 60th birthday with a party to benefit his foundation, Adelman was involved. When Jessica Alba was lobbying for the Safe Chemicals Act on the Hill, Adelman was seen shepherding her around Congress. When Chevy and Jayni Chase are promoting their Green School program, Adelman spreads the word. When a congressman appeared on the cover of a national magazine, it was Adelman who was behind the key introductions. He does not deal strictly with celebrities—after all, this is Washington. Adelman’s reach goes straight to the halls of power, and he gets there with lighthearted banter and superior social skills. “Adelman is like a tornado without the devastation,” says friend Willie Geist, coanchor on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “He is the kind of tornado that sweeps you up without telling you where he is taking you and drops you down at lunch with a media mogul; sweeps you suddenly into dinner with a head of state; or takes you through an unmarked door late at night into a Turkish bathhouse with an unnamed sitting United States congressman. We’re never quite sure at first where we’re going, but we always end up glad that the Adelman whirlwind dropped us there.”
Despite a background in politics (his move to DC came after he got the bug during an internship with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee), today Adelman is an equal-opportunity connector. “I don’t really do politics for a living anymore, and it is funny because once you remove yourself from it on a day-to-day basis, you become much more bipartisan, and you just want to see good people succeed.” As for what lies ahead, Adelman again reaches for a solid Hollywood analogy to parse the inner workings of the nation’s capital. “To really make an impact and be taken seriously in DC, the pilot has got to be great, but the series has to be even better. It really is understanding the nuts and bolts of not only who the people are who need to be connected, but also that everyone is a spoke in the wheel.”
photograph by greg powers. special thanks to fedex field
Celebrating the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual dinner at Carnegie Library.