Sally Susman Hosts International Rescue Committee Reception for David Miliband at DNC

International Rescue Committee Party- DNC 2016

On the last night of the Democratic National Convention it was standing room only at a reception honoring David Miliband and supporting the work of the International Rescue Committee, an NGO that provides relief for refugees of war-torn countries such as Syria and other humanitarian crises. The event was co-hosted by Democratic heavyweights Sally Susman, Mona Sutphen, Tom Nides and Maureen White at Parc in Rittenhouse Square.

Attending the event where Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, Gene Sperling, Jill Abramson, Don Baer, Hilary Rosen, Bob Barnett, Jonathan Capehart, Nick Schmitt, Steve Rattner, Erin Burnett, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Anita Dunn, Lois Romano, Eve O’Toole, Laura Zelenko and Megan Murphy.

Sally Susman is Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Pfizer and to learn more about the International Rescue Committee click here.

Entrepreneurs and Military Families in Spotlight at Annual Garden Brunch for White House Correspondents’ Weekend

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.

Dr. Sachiko Kuno with Halcyon Incubator Cohort4: Jeffrey Prost-Greene, Eric Shih, Kathleen O'Keefe, Daniel Hill, Charlene Brown, Faran Negarestan and Kristof Grina

Dr. Sachiko Kuno with Halcyon Incubator Cohort4: Jeffrey Prost-Greene, Eric Shih, Kathleen O’Keefe, Daniel Hill, Charlene Brown, Faran Negarestan and Kristof Grina

Hilary Rosen introduces Connie Milstein and Derrick & Emma Dockery of Yellow Ribbons United

Hilary Rosen introduces Connie Milstein and Derrick & Emma Dockery of Yellow Ribbons United

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 shares advice on the Microsoft PPI

Tony Goldwyn shares advice on the Microsoft PPI

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 introduces Dr. Sachiko Kuno

Sheila C. Johnson introduces Dr. Sachiko Kuno

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

Arianna Huffington and Travis Kalanick

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!”

Neve Campbell, Derrick Dockery, Emma Dockery, Tammy Haddad

Neve Campbell, Derrick Dockery, Emma Dockery, Tammy Haddad

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. CEO Kate Glantz Talks New Projects, Philanthropy, and Halcyon Incubator

Kate at ingenuity summit

White House Correspondents’ Insider got a chance to speak with Kate Glantz, founder and CEO of, a company that allows engaged couples to help fund their favorite NGOs and charities on a project-by-project basis instead of the traditional wedding gift registry. Glantz was named a fellow by Halcyon Incubator in 2015.

What projects have you been most excited about?

That’s like asking me to pick a favorite child (okay fine, a favorite flavor of ice cream because I definitely don’t have any kids!).

Given the many years I spent volunteering and working in Tanzania, my heart always swells when I see a new registry supporting one of our partners in the region. I also used to volunteer as a writer/editor for D.C’s local homeless newspaper, Street Sense, and am a passionate advocate for affordable housing for all. I was really proud and excited when they came on as a partner.

That said, all 30+ partners are really special. These guys are tirelessly–and almost always thanklessly–working to make the world safer, healthier, and more peaceful. I’m excited about all of them!

What do you look for from when you pick your NGO partners?

As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, I’m always rooting for the scrappy, grassroots organizations. The majority of our partners are on the front lines changing lives in big ways, but don’t have the marketing budget or bandwidth to shout it from the rooftops. Unlike the huge international organizations with entire fundraising departments, I look for partners where there is high potential to help expand donor bases and raise critical funds.

Smaller organizations are also able to peg impact more directly. Our registries are project based (think building a classroom), so when we send a project update to donors a few months after the wedding, we’re able to really demonstrate the impact that the couple’s community made.

We’re proud to support organizations across a broad range of issues
domestically and abroad including (but not limited to) healthcare, education, hunger and homelessness, and women and girls’ empowerment.

You can see a full list of our amazing partners here.

We have a comprehensive vetting process that includes an application, partnership agreement, and a review of the organization’s financials.

Any future plans for

Right now, we’re all about the DMV! I’m focused on adding neighborhood nonprofits to the platform and getting more involved with the local wedding and events community. I look forward to forging new and creative partnerships with vendors, shops, and nonprofits in the area!

Over the next year, we’ll be expanding into more cities and ultimately, into additional life milestones like birthdays and anniversaries.

How did Halcyon Incubator’s fellowship help you launch

My fellowship with Halcyon has been a catalyst both personally and professionally. There has been so much support at every turn. From a mentor who I meet with weekly, to a top law firm giving me pro bono counsel, to a leadership coach telling me that I have to sleep from time-to-time, I’ve jumped off this cliff with just about every safety net imaginable.

Leadership at all levels of the incubator and foundation are top notch. They’re a very modest crew, but I can tell you definitively, that and I would not be where we are without them.

Also, living and working out of an historic mansion is hilarious because I’m a totally broke startup founder! Gotta say, the commute can’t be beat.

You can learn more about here and for more information about Halcyon House and Halcyon Incubator click here.

Highlights from Washington Insider podcast featuring Kailash Satyarthi


Following are excerpts from the Washington Insider podcast featuring Nobel Peace Prize winner, Kailash Satyarthi. Download the podcast on AudioBoom or iTunes.

How Kailash Satyarthi discovered his lifelong mission
“Some sort of spark was generated when I was only…five and a half years old. It was the first day of my schooling, when I was entering into school, I saw a boy my age sitting outside. I stood for a while and I asked my teacher, when I went in my classroom, why is he not with us in a classroom? I asked to my headmaster and later on to my friends and family members, and all of them tried to convince me that it is not uncommon, that children have to work if they’re poor and nothing is special in it.

“For me it was a life long question, that why are some children born to work? Why are some children working at the cost of their childhood and education and freedom and dreams and aspirations and future? For me it was unconvincing. It was unacceptable. So I refuse to accept it.”

What inspires him to keep going
“Me and my colleagues have been able to rescue 83,000 children from these conditions of slavery and trafficking and exploitation…When I free a child, who lost all hope that she can ever go back and hug her mother or sit in her lap, and it happens and I help in doing so, the first smile of joy of freedom appears on the face of that girl or boy – it’s divine…I can say with pride that I have seen God. Not once, not twice, not hundreds but thousands of times in my life.”

On dealing with opposition
“I never thought that I can hate them. How could I hate someone? I hate the evil. I hate slavery. I hate the way they are exploiting children, but I don’t hate them. But definitely they hated me. They wanted to take some revenge once I free the children from their houses or lands or factories or mines. It happens. I was attacked several times. When I am talking to you, since last two or three days, I am having a severe pain in my shoulder because my shoulder is having some serious injuries. A ligament. And so is my left leg. I have broken my left foot, and my backbone is broken. My ribs are broken. I have scars on all my body. I tell you, I tell you that these scars and these injuries are nothing in comparison to human freedom.”

Solving the problem of child labor and slavery
“Well the fight against child labor and child slavery, there is a very thin line between them, is not something, which you can win with some isolated approaches. The problem is quite complex. There is a strong element of social cultural mindset. There is another element, which we are talking about: the crime, and illegal earning. Then the third element is also about the social and economic exclusion and inequalities pervading in society. Poverty is a part of it. So we have to attack this evil through many dimensions and many corners.”

The role of education in social justice
“Education is key to social justice and empowerment. And it is so interlinked in the fight against child labor that we cannot achieve one with the other. I have been a big advocate of the general paradigm, what I call it. Poverty, illiteracy, and child labor.”

Appealing to the United Nations for policy support
“I have been demanding to the United Nations General Assembly, UN Secretary General, as well as to the international community, to include explicit language against child slavery in the future development goal…My argument is that we cannot achieve most of the development goals without ending slavery. Human slavery, in general, child slavery in particular.”

Working with President Obama and other world leaders
“Well I had a very good meeting with the White House today. And a couple of months ago I had a very good meeting with President Obama when he was visiting India and the First Lady, both. And we have discussed all these issues of child labor, child slavery, the role of corporate sector, rather the responsibility and the accountability of the international corporations. We did work on it.

“We demanded that US should take a lead role in inclusion of this explicit language against child slavery in the future development agenda. That could be the beginning of it. And then US can take an important role in realization of that particular aspect of child slavery and the broader development paradigm. I hope that it will happen because President Obama was very positive when I spoke to him about it during my meeting. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was very, very positive and I think that Mr. Moon will take it up and he in principle agreed with that. I spoke to a number of other presidents and prime ministers, queens, et cetera to help with this. Nobody can say that child slavery is inevitable, child slavery can continue or should continue. Nobody can say, but the question is the political will. We have to have the global, political will against the menace of child slavery.”

Working at the local level
“Wherever the power is decentralized, of course with a lot of preparation, wherever the democracy is authentic and inclusive and vibrant, wherever the people feel the responsibility, and the governance also is professional and honest, then we will see positive changes on the ground…Governance must be in place. And the people from the ground should be convinced that they are going to make their community a child friendly community, or their city is a child friendly city.”

Dangers created by the recent earthquake in Nepal
“More than 30,000 classrooms have been demolished…if we are not able to build schools and ensure education or continuity in education, then the big danger is trafficking. The children could be trafficked. They’re already in bad shape. They are traumatized. They are still facing a lot of fear and horror of earthquake…Sometimes the children are kidnapped and then brainwashed, manipulated, misused by the fanatic and religious fundamentalist forces. These children could become suicide bombers, these children could be trained for any kind of violence and terrorism. So the dangers are looming in many places.”

When his mission will be complete
“When I started in 1981, there was nothing with UNICEF, ILO, with any organization of United Nations. The UN system started assessing the magnitude of the problem about say, 16-17 years ago. And at that time, the number of child laborers in the world was – only 17 years ago – number of child laborers in the world was 260 million, approximately. And that has gone down to 168 million, just in this short time. It’s a long time for the children, but in the human history it is short time. In 17-18 years, we were able to do it. We can achieve it. The number of out-of-school children was 130 million. That has been decreased to 68 million and then now, the recent figure is 58 million.

“That’s progress, definitely…But for me, every single child matters. Even if one single child is in slavery anywhere in the world, I am not going to sit in peace. I cannot remain quiet. And I hope that others will also raise their voice, because we live in a world, which is so interconnected.”

How everyday Americans can get involved
“The world is so interconnected, at least after 9/11, it’s very clear that the problem could be born in one part of the world and the entire world has to suffer. Terrorism is interconnected and unfortunately it is growing. Global warming and climate change is interconnected, which is growing. Nobody can say that we are safe and let the world become warmer and warmer, the climate may change and we are safe. No, no. So is the issue of children. If we are not able to address the problem of children now, if we are not going to ensure them good quality, free, inclusive education, then we cannot live in a peaceful and safe world.

“So Americans must realize this, first of all, that they have to have a broader outlook. It cannot be just American outlook. The young people in America should be taught to become more global citizen. So more shared values, more shared responsibilities, more shared thinking in making this world better. So the value of global citizenship is a must here. Then as consumers, one should demand only those goods, which are free from child labor. It is not fair that the children are exploited in making Apples and soccer balls and other toys in one part of the world and you keep on using happily and saying, “No, no this is not my thing. This is not my problem.” No, it is your problem because you are part of it. And I have been saying, that if you are not a part of solution, then you are part of problem.”

Meet-Up for Childhood Freedom

2014 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Kailash Satyarthi, is joining supporters to celebrate freedom for the world’s children — freedom from slavery, labor, childhood hunger, trafficking and illiteracy. This peaceful gathering will honor the collective work being accomplished combined with a reminder of the significant work ahead to make childhood freedom a priority on both national and international agendas.

The meet-up will take place Tuesday, June 16, 2015 at 4 pm at the Lincoln Memorial. All are welcome. More information at

House of Cards Creator Beau Willimon Wants to Put an End to Sexual Assault

“With her students, she (Katie Cappiello) wrote SLUT: The Play — about a 16-year-old girl who’s sexually assaulted by three guy friends, and the backlash that follows. Slut debuted in New York in February 2013, with the same teenage girls who helped develop the project as its actresses.

“After getting attention from the likes of Hillary Clinton and Amy Poehler, Cappiello is preparing for Slut’s Washington premiere. On May 19 at the Warner Theatre, theatergoers will catch a glimpse of Beau Willimon, the creator of House of Cards and a big supporter of the project, who will be speaking alongside US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Glamour Editor-in-Chief Cindi Leive, and others.”

Read more via Washingtonian: House of Cards Creator Beau Willimon Wants to Put an End to Sexual Assault

Blue Star Families 5th Anniversary Celebration

Last night, Blue Star Families celebrated its 5th Anniversary with an event at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The event recognized Mark Johnson, 2015 Blue Star Neighbor of the Year, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden’s Joining Forces nationwide initiative, and The Creative Coalition.

Sheila Casey, Chairman BSF Board of Directors and Chief Operating Officer of The Hill, and Connie Milstein, Founding BSF Board Member and Principal and Co-founder of Ogden CAP Properties, LLC were the event co-chairs. Bob Woodruff, ABC News anchor and reporter and author of In an Instant, emceed the presentations.

“What started as a passionate discussion across Facebook and Skype between military family members has grown into a vibrant and meaningful mission for Blue Star Families and our members,” explains Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO. “Our goal is to strengthen military families and our nation by connecting communities and fostering leadership. Thanks to our extraordinary partnerships, such as those with First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden’s Joining Forces Initiative and The Creative Coalition, we are mobilizing hundreds of thousands of military family members to engage with programs and resources that improve their lives, enhancing careers for those married to a service member, producing nationally-recognized research, and connecting America to the military.”

Blue Star Families serves 1.5 million military family members annually through its programs and resources with 50 chapters at home and overseas. Each of its programs, including Blue Star Museums, Operation Honor Corps, Caregivers Empowering Caregivers, Blue Star Careers, and Military Family Lifestyle Survey depends on the partnership of caring civilian organizations, institutions, and individuals.