Media notables, Hollywood stars, and leaders from the business and non-profit sectors came together on Saturday for the annual Garden Brunch in honor of White House Correspondents’ Weekend. The mission of this year’s brunch was to recognize entrepreneurs who are ‘starting out and starting up’, along with initiatives that support members of the military and their families.
The brunch raised awareness for Halcyon Incubator, an organization founded by Dr. Sachiko Kuno that supports early stage social entrepreneurs through an immersive 18-month fellowship program. As guests arrived, they were asked to share their advice for individuals who are seeking to launch a new career and change the world. The notes were shared on an interactive PPI board provided by Microsoft.
Tony Goldwyn, who plays President Fitz Grant on ABC’s Scandal, shared: “Commit 100% to your dream. That will lead you to places you can’t even imagine!”
Sheila C. Johnson, co-founder of BET, philanthropist and the first African American female billionaire, knows a thing or two about success. Her advice? “Be bold and be fearless!”
Arianna Huffington and Travis Kalanick, who arrived at the brunch together, are two of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. Huffington’s tip: “Remember failure is a stepping stone to success!” And Kalanick shared insights based on his own experience of creating Uber: “You can bend reality but don’t break it!”
Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Joanna Coles focused on practical advice: “Do not argue with your boss when u are drunk, even if u are right.” Under Armour CEO and Founder Kevin Plank also offered sound business advice with “Find out if your product can sell!!!”
Fox News Channel’s Greta Van Susteren encouraged individuals to broaden their horizons: “Travel! See the world so that you know something!” And CNN’s Wolf Blitzer gave advice that is often heard in Washington: “You may be smart, but other people may be smarter. Listen and take advantage and learn. Two heads are smarter than one.”
The focus on entrepreneurship and Halcyon Incubator was highlighted during the event as Dr. Sachiko Kuno, CEO of S&R Foundation, took the stage to talk about the work of her organization and to introduce the program’s current cohort.
This year’s Garden Brunch also raised awareness for Yellow Ribbons United and their initiative #PlayfieldInThePark, which serves approximately 500 children and teens attending the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) Good Grief Camp and Honoring Our Heroes Camp over Memorial Day Weekend. The program was created by Derrick and Emma Dockery, and has recently received the support of Constance Milstein, who was also a co-host of the Garden Brunch.
In addition to sharing their mission with brunch guests, Emma Dockery also had advice for budding entrepreneurs: “Never give up, for every no you may receive there is someone who will say yes!”
Additional guests from the entertainment industry included Bryan Cranston of HBO’s All the Way, Director Jay Roach, Oscar winning actress Helen Mirren, House of Cards’ Neve Campbell, Daredevil’s Rosario Dawson, Lisa Edelstein from Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, Constance Zimmer of UnREAL, The Creative Coalition CEO Robin Bronk, Blindspot’s Jaimie Alexander, House of Cards’ Michael Kelly, actress Sela Ward, Blue Bloods’ Bridget Moynahan, Concussion’s Gugu Mbatha-Raw, model Anne V, Independence Day’s Jeff Goldblum, Valeri and Candace Cameron Bure, Omarosa, Eric Podwall, Dule Hill, Matthew Morrison, HBO’s Len Amato, Scandal’s Scott Foley, and model Daniela Lopez.
Media in attendance included Charlie Rose, Jim Bankoff, Kevin Merida and Marie Donoghue from ESPN, Gayle King, Wolf Blitzer, Laura Ingraham, Bret and Amy Baier, Brian and Jamie Stelter, Betsy Fischer-Martin, Stephanie Ruhle, Joy Behar, and April Ryan. Tech was also represented by Josh Ginsberg, CEO of Zignal Labs, Erin Egan of Facebook, Snap Chat’s Nick Bell and Instagram’s Charlton Golson, John Tass-Parker and Charles Porch.
From the world of government and politics, guests included Valerie Jarrett, Tina Tchen, SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, Heather Podesta, Tony Podesta, Jeremy Bernard, Megan Smith, Robert and Capricia Marshall, Heather Rothenberg and Ellie Schafer, Representative Joaquin Castro, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Dr. and Mrs. Anthony Fauci of NIH, World Bank President Jim Kim, Mike and Kristi Rogers, Ben Ginsberg, and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.
The crowd was kept up-to-the moment on the presidential election with Zignal Labs‘ realtime analytics.
Dessert treats were provided by Sophie LaMontagne and Katherine Kallinis of Georgetown Cupcakes.
The 2016 Garden Brunch was held at the historic Beall-Washington House in Georgetown. The event host committee consisted of Tammy Haddad, Kevin Sheekey, Hilary Rosen, Sachiko Kuno, Fred Humphries, Mark and Sally Ein, Connie Milstein, Anita Dunn, Bill Knapp, David Adler, and Franco Nuschese.