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by annie groer, rem rieder, and leslie quander wooldridge | April 22, 2013 | People
Dr. G. Wayne Clough inside the exhibit room at the Smithsonian Castle. Under Clough’s leadership, the Smithsonian’s total attendance has climbed to its highest in a decade.
Dr. G. Wayne Clough
Secretary, Smithsonian Institution
From his office inside the Smithsonian Institution’s “castle” on the National Mall, Dr. Wayne Clough leads the world’s largest research and museum complex, with 19 museums and galleries, nine research centers, and 177 affiliate museums. He supervises the administration of a bureaucratic behemoth and, perhaps more impressively in this economy, Clough oversees an army’s worth of building projects and has raised more than $766 million privately since taking the job nearly five years ago. In 2012 alone, he raised $223 million, which included $35 million from David Koch for the dinosaur hall and $4.5 million from David Rubenstein for a sustainable panda habitat at the National Zoo. He’s also pulling in funds for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, a $500 million project set to open in 2015. “Fundraising is a team sport and a contact sport,” says Clough, a civil engineer by trade. “Every exhibition we put on [about 80 to 90 yearly] has to be privately funded.” The dollars raised, Clough adds, encourage the SI’s commitment to innovation and the future. “Great institutions last a long time,” he says. “We represent the best of America.”
Gerald Hines is pictured with a scale model of CityCenterDC. Hines’s project is expected to change the face of Washington’s East End.
Founder and Chairman, Hines
It’s hard to make a splash in DC’s development circles when so much Class A building is underway, but Gerald Hines has done it with his group’s forthcoming CityCenterDC project. The mixed-use plan stretches 10 acres and will include modern condos and rental apartments, offices, public green spaces, high-end shops, buzz-worthy restaurants, and a swank hotel—all poised to change the face of downtown Washington’s East End. Within two months of the sales gallery’s official opening, more than 50 percent of CityCenter’s H Street condo building was under contract. “It’s amazing market acceptance,” Hines muses happily. “We’ve never had that kind of reception.” He founded his eponymous firm in Houston in 1957 and has turned it into a global force in real estate investment, development, and management. His more than 1,200 past and present projects are scattered across the United States and as far away as Brazil, Spain, Russia, and China. However, to bring his dream for DC to fruition, he’s kept it local by working closely with the District and collaborating with city departments and agencies. According to Hines, [CityCenterDC] is the “culmination of almost 60 years of hard work.”
Olympia Snowe (left), Eileen McMenamin (center), and Michele Stockwell seek to reform US politics, from voters’ experiences to Congressional stalemates. They are pictured in the lobby of the Bipartisan Policy Center.
The Women of the Bipartisan Policy Center
Olympia Snowe, Eileen McMenamin, and Michele Stockwell
Maine Republican Olympia Snowe quit the Senate in January after 34 years in Congress because she felt the hyper-partisan legislative system was broken. Today she cochairs the Bipartisan Policy Center’s new Commission on Political Reform (CPR) in the hope of fixing it. “It’s obvious from the current state of gridlock in Congress… that [issues] have to be addressed from inside the institution and from the outside.” Among other things, CPR will examine the way state legislatures redraw House districts every 10 years to protect incumbents from challengers—a practice that results in “fewer and fewer competitive seats,” Snowe says. The group is also holding public hearings around the country so voters can tell their own stories about long lines at the polls, onerous ID requirements, and registration challenges. Michele Stockwell, vice president of public policy and executive director of BPC’s Advocacy Network, believes that the CPR initiative can move the country forward by identifying concrete solutions and opportunities for achieving change. “As it looks at Congressional reforms, CPR is focused on developing practical and achievable results,” she says. With Snowe and other thought drivers at the helm of the commission, says Vice President of Communications Eileen McMenamin, the mission of the BPC remains clear: “At BPC there’s no need to check your politics at the door, but you have to be willing to engage with the other side.”
Janet MurguÍa leads the charge for Hispanic civil rights. She is shown in the lobby of the headquarters of the National Council of La Raza.
President and CEO, National Council of La Raza (NCLR)
Many politicos claim to have a strong presence on the Hill, but Janet Murguía’s influence in DC’s spheres of power is long-held, far-reaching, and bona fide. She began her career on the Hill as legislative counsel to a former congressman, and today leads the largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States. She serves as the NCLR’s spokesperson, has forged ties with sister civil rights organizations (such as the NAACP), and has spoken at a Supreme Court rally in support of the Voting Rights Act. “One of the things I’m most proud of is having broken ground for civic engagement and voter engagement,” she reveals, pointing to the organization’s registration of nearly 100,000 new Latino voters in 2012. Next up on her NCLR agenda: helping lead the campaign for immigration reform. “We still see a lot of challenges,” she says at her office, located just blocks from the White House. “[But] our mission is quite simple. It’s to create opportunities for Hispanics in the United States.”
AOL founding chairman Jim Kimsey (left) is committed to philanthropy; Chip Akridge (right) advocates for development with sustainability. The two are photographed at P.O.V., atop the W Washington DC.
James V. "Jim" Kimsey
Philanthropist and Entrepreneur
Jim Kimsey, 73, made millions as AOL’s founding chairman. When he left the tech giant nearly two decades ago, he shifted gears from doing well to doing good. “At that time I was ‘stupid rich,’ and the papers blatantly advertised that fact. It was like feeding pigeons, giving money to everyone who asked.” To narrow his focus, in 1996 he created the Kimsey Foundation, now run by his son Michael. “While it’s easy to write the check, it’s more difficult to make sure it accomplishes what you’ve intended.” The foundation’s main goals are to support cultural institutions and education for DC’s disadvantaged youth. “I can’t imagine how life could be better,” he muses.
John E. "Chip" Akridge III
Founder and Chairman, Akridge
Having developed or managed 12 million square feet of commercial space since 1974, much of it eco-friendly, Chip Akridge, 66, insists, “If you look at the life cycle cost of a green building, you use less energy. And more sustainable products last longer.” That passion informs his work with the Nature Conservancy, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and the stewardship of his Oxford, Maryland, farm. But his most ambitious role is chairing the board of the Trust for the National Mall, the $700-million nonprofit partner of the National Park Service dedicated to rebuilding “America’s front yard.” The land, says Akridge, is “sacred ground.”
Barbara Lang (left) of the DC Chamber of Commerce, seeks to attract new companies to town. The DC Girl Scout Council’s CEO, Lidia Soto-Harmon, is on a quest to help girls become the next generation of women executives. Here, the two share a laugh in McPherson Square.
President and CEO, DC Chamber of Commerce
As the leading advocate for Washington businesses, Barbara Lang has a clear goal: Cut through the “regulatory morass” of city taxes and fees in order to lure new companies to town, and keep those already here from bolting to lower-taxed Virginia or Maryland. One victory she cites is legislation allowing business licenses to cover four years instead of one. Still on her wish list: using some of the city’s $400 million 2012 revenue surplus to cut commercial taxes as a rollback of previous tax increases when a budget shortfall was predicted— Mayor Gray is putting the money in a reserve fund—and imposing a commuter tax on suburbanites who use city services and infrastructure. Marking the Chamber’s 75th anniversary and her 11th year at its helm, Lang says, “I am proudest that we have gotten to our rightful place of being the lead business organization in the city.” Barbara Lang (left) of the DC Chamber of Commerce, seeks to attract new companies to town. The DC Girl Scout Council’s CEO, Lidia Soto-Harmon, is on a quest to help girls become the next generation of women executives. Here, the two share a laugh in McPherson Square.
CEO, Girl Scout Council of the Nation's Capital
Growing up in Latin America, Lidia Soto-Harmon, 49, was never a Scout. But the COO-turned-CEO of America’s second-largest Council—more than 90,000 girls and adult volunteers from DC and the surrounding area—is making up for lost time. Since her start in 2004, Soto-Harmon’s Council has emphasized financial literacy and the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering, and math. She also actively engages disabled girls and those from low-income families with special programs, like “Camp CEO, ” which grooms the next generation of women executives. The program provides networking opportunities with accomplished women, who often mentor girls pursuing what Soto-Harmon calls “the PhD of Scouting,” the Gold Award. “We have the highest number of girls nationwide winning it because of the support from [local] mentors.”
Tom Meyer, of Clyde’s Restaurant Group, melds his love of food and music with his state-of-the-art venue, The Hamilton. The onetime baker and chef is shown in what he considers a home away from home for musicians.
President, Clyde's Restaurant Group
As a food and music junkie, Tom Meyer, 54, always knew he would some day fuse menu and venue. Behold The Hamilton, where on a sold-out night some 630 bodies can pack the lower level to catch acts ranging from gospel queen Mavis Staples to rising indie bands. A onetime baker and chef, Meyer came to Washington in 1983 to open the relocated Old Ebbitt Grill, now a landmark dining institution. He stayed put and saw the city change in myriad ways—many of them for the better. “In the ’70s you didn’t know chefs’ names,” he says, and musicians stayed afloat selling albums. Today many top toques are celebs, and musical performers can’t make money unless they tour. Meyer saw this shift as an opportunity for him to both give and get—and The Hamilton was born. “A lot of musicians are on the road, and I built the place for them.” Although Clyde’s Restaurant Group already has 14 area eateries, Meyer may be keeping an eye out for the next opportunity. All he’ll say now is that the Southwest Waterfront (he’s a Nats nut) is one very happening place.
Executive Editor Martin Baron in the newsroom of The Washington Post, which he seeks to make a daily must-read for anyone interested in politics.
Executive Editor, the Washington Post
As the newsroom leader at a paper with a rich history and serious financial pressures, Martin Baron has a job with no shortage of challenges. He joined the newspaper on January 2 after more than 11 years as editor of the Boston Globe, which won six Pulitzer Prizes during his tenure. While Baron, 58, thinks the Post must maintain its traditional emphasis on national political coverage—“ It needs to be must-reading every day for the legions interested in politics,” he says—he has no intention of ignoring the paper’s home base. “Strong local coverage is vital to the Post,” he says. “I’ve made that absolutely clear from my first day here.” What would the Tampa native like his legacy at the Post to b e? “ I want to be known as someone who helped foster the very best journalism, helped this newspaper navigate a difficult period for our profession and our industry, and [who] ensured that the Post was well positioned to remain a vital journalistic institution for many decades into the future.”
Chancellor Kaya Henderson says she thinks people now have “greater confidence in the public school system.” She is shown at Turner Elementary School.
Chancellor, District of Columbia Public Schools
Kaya Henderson, 42, admits she had big Jimmy Choos to fill when she succeeded Michelle Rhee, her controversial former boss, in 2011. Enrollment in DC public schools—now stabilized at around 46,000—had ceased its decline only during the 2008–9 school year, and many of the city’s educational spaces were underused or deteriorating. Rhee was “hard-charging, urgent, and direct. I am a relationship builder, and I really care about people understanding what we are doing and why we are doing it,” notes Henderson, who served as chief negotiator for the groundbreaking 2010 Washington Teachers’ Union contract. Today, as Henderson focuses on reaching the District’s students, she hopes that members of the community will pitch in. When they participate, she listens. Last year, to stretch the $802 million education budget, she proposed closing 20 schools, but ended up settling on 15 after multiple community meetings. The plan still has vocal opponents. “As people move back into the city they are reinvesting in neighborhood schools,” she explains. “They don’t want to schlep their kids across town or pay outrageous private school tuition.” But many challenges remain, including a citywide child poverty rate of around 30 percent. If Henderson could have one wish, it would be “to meet the needs of our most struggling students [and] teach them to read at grade level. Then we could make all kinds of magic happen.”
Paula Kerger, who attended the University of Baltimore, stands in the lobby of the PBS building.
President and CEO, Public Broadcasting Service
Paula Kerger, 55, calls her enterprise—more than 350 TV member stations and a robust website— America’s “biggest classroom” for quality curriculum-based kids’ shows. And she asserts that PBS is the nation’s “largest stage” for performances ranging from opera to rock. At the helm since 2006, Kerger has pushed the network to use new technology to solidify its programmatic commitments to the arts, news, public affairs, and diversity. When presidential hopeful Mitt Romney vowed to kill federal funding for public television and radio, Kerger predicted that such cuts could drive stations in smaller markets off the air. The voters ended that debate. Kerger proudly cites a PBS-commissioned poll rating the network as an “excellent” use of tax dollars, second best only to national defense, and more trustworthy than Congress and the courts. Another sign that PBS is more relevant than ever? The wildly popular Downton Abbey. Indeed, when Lady Mary’s husband Matthew Crawley died in season three, unhappy viewers called PBS offices to complain!
Dr. Anthony Fauci (left) and ONDCP director R. Gil Kerlikowske are pictured in front of the White House.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci
Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
As director of NIAID, Dr. Anthony Fauci is a tough guy on all things immunologic. He runs the federal institute—the second-largest within the National Institutes of Health—sees patients, advises the media, performs his own research, and serves as an advisor to the White House. The multitasking director works seven days a week, consistently putting in 14-hour days Monday through Friday. “I like serious challenges,” he says. Fauci was one of the principal architects of the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which over the past decade has saved the lives of more than five million people around the world. Although he’s made significant contributions to modern medicine, Fauci says he is moved to do more. “You never lose the pain of people suffering, but it makes you feel better [to] know you’re doing something.”
R. Gil Kerlikowske
Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)
Forget the “war on drugs,” once waged with tough punishment and little sympathy. Director R. Gil Kerlikowske knows that substance abuse affects people. And these are people who need help. “Incarcerating [drug users] just doesn’t work,” he says. The former chief of police for Seattle now uses his 37 years of experience to oversee the nation’s drug control programs, educate Americans, and prevent people from experimenting with illicit and prescription drugs. He also coordinates the implementation of the president’s National Drug Control Strategy, which takes a science-based approach. (In 2012 alone, the federal government spent $10.1 billion for substance abuse prevention and treatment programs.) “Addiction is a disease,” he says, while acknowledging that he may be an “unexpected messenger” for that premise. “Treatment actually works.”
Photography by stephen voss