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Ted Leonsis on Books, Margery Kraus, Gary Sinise in D.C.

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American Ireland Fund Gala
Martin O'Malley, Governor of Maryland, and Enda Kelly, Prime Minister of Ireland, at the American Ireland Fund gala. Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg

March 20 (Bloomberg) -- Billionaire Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals, said reading was the key to his success.

At last night’s Everybody Wins! DC charity gala, where Leonsis was the keynote speaker, the founder and chief executive officer of Monumental Sports & Entertainment said his favorite book as a child was “Thomas the Tank Engine” which taught him to “never give up.”

Senator Tom Harkin, Iowa Democrat, who is a longstanding participant in the Everybody Wins! DC program, said he enjoyed reading stories by Roald Dahl to youngsters.

General Dynamics Corp.’s chief financial officer, Hugh Redd, who attended the Capital Hilton silent auction and dinner with wife, Cindy, said they read “Quick as a Cricket” to their grandchildren. The gala raised more $400,000.

‘Lean In’

Margery Kraus, founder and CEO of APCO Worldwide Inc., praised “Lean In,” the new book by Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, last night at the 16th annual “Salute to Service: Statesmanship Awards Dinner.”

Kraus received the “Corporate Statesmanship Award” from the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress. Other honorees at the Ritz-Carlton were former senators Richard Lugar and Sam Nunn, and actor Gary Sinise.

Kraus said the book “crystalized thinking” about women in the workforce, adding that she herself raised her children and went to school while pursuing her career.

French Ambassador Francois Delattre, former World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. CEO Linda McMahon, and Congressman Doug Lamborn, the Colorado Republican, were among the other guests at the event, which donated its floral centerpieces to the spouses of wounded warriors.

Irish Poets

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand wore a Celtic pin given to her by Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny at the American Ireland Fund’s 21st annual gala at the National Building Museum Monday night.

Gillibrand and Senator Patrick Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican, received the Leadership Award from the fund, which raises money and awareness for a variety of Irish charities and cultural institutions as part of the Ireland Funds.

During the cocktail reception, Kenny posed for photographs with everyone from Senator Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat, to Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.

The prime minister addressed Ireland’s rallying economy during the steak dinner. “We’re not the comeback kid yet, but we’re coming back.”

Other guests included the Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore, Theresa Villiers, secretary of state for Northern Ireland, Congressman Jim McGovern, Massachusetts Democrat, and Senator Robert Casey, Jr., Pennsylvania Democrat.

John Feehery, the president of Quinn Gillespie Communications and director of QGA government affairs, traded favorite Yeats poems with Joseph Hassett, a lawyer with Hogan Lovells.

“Every Irishman is a poet,” Kenny said.

(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 Ryan Sutton and Richard Vines on dining.

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.

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