Ed Whitacre Tells the Truth; Samba Dancers: D.C. Scene

Tap for Slideshow
Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

Ed Whitacre, author of "American Turnaround: Reinventing AT&T and GM and the Way We Do Business in America".

Close
Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

Ed Whitacre, author of "American Turnaround: Reinventing AT&T and GM and the Way We Do Business in America". Close

Ed Whitacre, author of "American Turnaround: Reinventing AT&T and GM and the Way We Do Business in America".

Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

Congressman John Dingell, Michigan Democrat, and Bob Quinn, chief privacy officer for AT&T. Close

Congressman John Dingell, Michigan Democrat, and Bob Quinn, chief privacy officer for AT&T.

Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

Former Texas Congressman Max Sandlin, Former Texas Congressman Jim Turner, and John Montford, president and CEO of JTM Consulting, LLC. Close

Former Texas Congressman Max Sandlin, Former Texas Congressman Jim Turner, and John Montford, president and CEO of... Read More

Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

Jim Cicconi, senior executive vice president of external affairs for AT&T, and Robert Hoopes, president of Vox Global. Close

Jim Cicconi, senior executive vice president of external affairs for AT&T, and Robert Hoopes, president of Vox Global.

Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

Michael Bahar, general counsel on the House Intelligence Committee, and actress Hannah Yelland at the Studio Theatre's Madhatter Gala. Close

Michael Bahar, general counsel on the House Intelligence Committee, and actress Hannah Yelland at the Studio Theatre's Madhatter Gala.

Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

Mark Elliot, the vice president of the US Chamber of Commerce, and Mona Elliot, in regulation at the Federal Reserve. Close

Mark Elliot, the vice president of the US Chamber of Commerce, and Mona Elliot, in regulation at the Federal Reserve.

Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

Jane Silver and Jamie Bennett, chief of staff at the National Endowment for the Arts. Close

Jane Silver and Jamie Bennett, chief of staff at the National Endowment for the Arts.

Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

Human Equity co-founder Jimmy Lynn, Kenya Felix Pierce, and Jerry Pierce, the president and CEO of The Interamerica Group at the Washington Ballet's Noche de Pasion. Close

Human Equity co-founder Jimmy Lynn, Kenya Felix Pierce, and Jerry Pierce, the president and CEO of The Interamerica... Read More

Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

Dancer Olivia Lipnick, and her father, Bruce Lipnick, the founder and chairman of Asset Capital Management. Close

Dancer Olivia Lipnick, and her father, Bruce Lipnick, the founder and chairman of Asset Capital Management.

Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

Samba dancers greeted guests at the entrance of the residence of the Brazilian Ambassador. Close

Samba dancers greeted guests at the entrance of the residence of the Brazilian Ambassador.

Writing a book is “damn hard,” said Ed Whitacre, former chairman of AT&T Inc. and General Motors Co., and overseer of major corporate mergers.

“American Turnaround: Reinventing AT&T and GM and the Way We Do Business in the U.S.A.” was released earlier this month. The retired businessman celebrated with his Washington friends last night at the Roosevelt House.

The building is now the office space of a lobbying firm run by Ben Barnes, a co-host of the evening in absentia. Barnes’s colleague Kent Caperton filled in.

For Whitacre, the most challenging part of writing was “trying to tell the truth but not hurting anyone’s feelings.”

He vowed last night he’d never venture into writing again.

His advice for young people coming up in corporate America: “Be persistent and treat other people how you want to be treated. And don’t write any books.”

Guests had books signed and nibbled on shrimp appetizers. Lobbyist David Leiter, former chief of staff to then-Senator John Kerry, and his wife, Tamera Luzzatto, the managing director of government relations for the Pew Charitable Trusts, were there along with Congressman John Dingell, the Michigan Democrat, and his wife, Deborah I. Dingell, a consultant.

A cadre of AT&T executives attended, including James Cicconi, senior executive vice president, external affairs, and another co-host of the evening, and Bob Quinn, senior vice president, federal regulatory, and chief privacy officer.

Former congressmen Max Sandlin and Jim Turner, who both represented Whitacre’s home state of Texas, were also present.

Whitacre lives in San Antonio and enjoys coming to Washington to see old friends, but not necessarily the city.

“Not much has changed here,” he said.

Hats On

For its Saturday night gala, the Studio Theatre asked guests to dress in honor of its production of “The (Expletive) With the Hat.”

Sporting a black fedora and a long title was Mark Elliot, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center. Michael Bahar, general counsel on the House Intelligence Committee, donned a Navy ball cap.

Jamie Bennett, the chief of staff at the National Endowment for the Arts, wore an elaborate czarina headdress. Mona Elliot, in regulation at the Federal Reserve, turned to classic literature for inspiration.

“It’s sort of Great Gatsbyish,” she said, referring to her feathery fascinator.

David Muse, the theatre’s artistic director, wore a classic black bowler while thanking supporters for doubling the number of students the theater can educate.

After dinner, guests were treated to card tricks by master illusionist Ricky Jay.

Samba Dancers

Elsewhere Saturday night, scantily clad samba dancers posed for pictures with Bruce Lipnick, the chairman and founder of Asset Alliance Corp.

The occasion was a Carnival celebration at the home of Brazilian Ambassador Mauro Vieira, on behalf of the Washington Ballet.

A Conga line went past Interamerica Group President Jerry Pierce and Jimmy Lynn, co-founder and managing director of Human Equity. The 425 guests raised more than $100,000 for the Washington Ballet Latino Scholarship Fund.

(Stephanie Green is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

Muse highlights include Philip Boroff on theater, Max Abelson on music.

To contact the writer on this story: Stephanie Green in Washington at sgreen57@bloomberg.net or on Twitter @stephlgreen.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.