DC Events

Building A GradNation: America's Promise Alliance

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The Building a GradNation Summit occurs annually in Washington, DC to promote students graduating high-school nationally. Since the 2010 launch of the GradNation campaign, America’s Promise Alliance has brought energy and focus to the national graduation rate challenge through research and data analysis, community-level investments, and convenings at the national, state, and local levels. Their incredible work focuses on keeping the Five Promises to young people: Caring Adults, Safe Places, A Healthy Start, Effective Education and Opportunities to Help Others.

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I felt so honored to photograph this extraordinary event, which joins more than 800 leaders in education, politics, business, and nonprofits with youth and community leaders from across the country. I am excited to share highlights from the GradNation Summit, and hope to raise awareness and encourage people to take action for this great cause. From individuals to national organizations and all in between - there is a way to make a difference and impact the life of a young person!

What we have here is not an education challenge, it is an American challenge”
— Mrs. Alma Powell
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America’s Promise Founding Chairman General Colin Powell and current chair Mrs. Alma Powell presented at this event, followed by a special announcement from Mrs. Laura Bush.

GradNation aims to increase the national graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020 and put millions more young people on the path to adult success. It is so inspiring to see the huge accomplishments America’s Promise has made over the last several years, and thanks to their unmitigated passion and commitment, these goals are now tangible.

With hundreds of national partners and their local affiliates, America’s Promise Alliance is uniquely positioned to mobilize Americans to act. We have made improving high school graduation rates our top priority, and we are on track to achieve the nation’s goal of a 90 percent graduation rate”
— Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education

Main Event Catering

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I always enjoy working with Main Event Catering, and am excited to showcase these highlights from some of their amazing parties this past month. Whether it be an intimate dinner or a lavish gala, the MEC team prides themselves on bringing their client’s vision to life.

Main Event Caterers provide inspired menus with restaurant caliber cuisine, impeccable service and trend-setting florals and design for their clients. I am always so impressed with their ability to transform various spaces into the perfect setting for any event. Their extraordinary menus are complimented with highly designed settings, which consistently results in a full-sensory culinary experience that transports guests into a bold world of celebration.

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Every time I photograph for Main Event Caterers, I am so impressed with their innovative ideas and quality of their services. It is evident that they pour their hearts and souls into each event, and they truly care about bringing people together to share important times in their lives. It’s that passion that makes all of their events unforgettable, and ensures that every guest experiences an enjoyable and flawless occasion. I can’t wait to work with them on more fabulous events!

Washington Mardi Gras

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I always look forward to shooting this fabulous event, which is done annually to celebrate Mardi Gras in Washington, DC. The three days and three nights of celebration is known as one of the biggest parties of the year! For over 70 years, the Mystick Krewe of Louisianians has brought the pageantry, revelry and mystery of Mardi Gras to our nation's capital. 

This celebration of New Orleans coming to DC is done to promote the agriculture, businesses and culture of the South.  It is seen as a business-development tool.

The long weekend culminates in the Saturday night ball, presided over by the year’s King and Queen. The Queen and King of Mardi Gras are considered the “royalty” for the event, leading the festivities.

Saturday night is also a special night for the Princesses and Festival Queens as well. Each Festival Queen and Princess is formally presented and paraded around the ball room with a costumed Krewe member carrying a banner displaying her name. Each Princess is generally escorted by her father or grandfather.

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This year, the D.C. Mardi Gras Ball took place at the Washington Hilton. The Washington Mardi Gras parade through the ballroom was a showstopper. The entire ballroom was transformed into an Alice in Wonderland theme, which was spectacular. Walking in, I immediately felt like I had fallen down a rabbit hole into the fantasy world populated by every peculiar, anthropomorphic Wonderland creature. Just like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, there was a long, narrow hall, filled with golden keys, and clocks, which lead us to a small door that opened into the beautiful wonderland garden. No corners were cut when it came to the décor, which was so well done. Every room was perfectly designed to play into the imaginative wonderland theme. I enjoy photographing the D.C. Mardi Gras event because it’s always an exciting experience, and every year they continue to outdo themselves!



Raising the Bar

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March Madness officially starts today! In honor of the 2019 NCAA tournament, here is a fun Bar Mitzvah photoshoot I did for Dean Rush, a future rising basketball star.

These images were shot with the idea that many of the pictures would be used for display at the Bar Mitzvah Reception with very inspiring quotes. The concept played out incredibly well, with the entire event space being turned into his very own “Dean Dome”, which even included a basketball court dance floor! The décor was magnificent, and I was very happy to see how each picture was incorporated into the basketball theme so well. I loved working with Dean Rush and his family to bring his passion for basketball to life for his Bar Mitzvah Celebration.

For all you other basketball fans, Happy March Madness, and good luck on your brackets!

International Leadership Reunion

Group shot surrounding Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Ruth Bader Ginsburg (in red).

Group shot surrounding Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Ruth Bader Ginsburg (in red).

The International Leadership Reunion (ILR) was held at the Cannon Caucus Ballroom in Washington, D.C. This was a very exciting photoshoot because the ILR is known to be the most prestigious worldwide Jewish event, gathering the highest level donors. These important fundraising organizations work with the Jewish communities throughout the world for social and education programs and the support of refugees. The conference is in line with the Foundation’s goals since it aims to encourage the integration and peaceful cohabitation of nations through meetings that address issues they have in common.

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In partnership with the global Jewish community, the ILR works to further the national priorities of the State of Israel and Israeli society, with special emphasis on advancing weaker communities; nurturing disadvantaged and marginalized youth; encouraging aliyah; implementing rescue operations; and connecting young Diaspora Jews to Israel and Jewish life.

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In addition to Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, there were many other notable attendees at the International Leadership Reunion. William Daroff, the Senior Vice President for public policy and director of the Washington office of The Jewish Federations of North America. As the principal spokesperson on public policy and international affairs for 148 Jewish Federations and more than 300 independent communities, Daroff ensures that the voice of Jewish Federations is a prominent force in the nation's capital. He guides the Jewish community’s advocacy efforts on the Federation movement’s key domestic policy issues, from health and human services to elder care, homeland security to strengthening charitable organizations.

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Another high level donor at the event was Natan Sharansky, an Israeli politician, human rights activist and author who, as a refusenik in the Soviet Union during the 1970s and 1980s, spent nine years in Soviet prisons. Sharansky served as Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency from June 2009 to August 2018.

The night was filled with prominent donors and speakers, and incredible entertainment by Doc Scantlin & His Imperial Palms Orchestra. For over a decade, dapper Doc Scantlin has kept the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s alive for Washington, DC and others internationally. The performance was incredible, immediately transporting the audience to the high life immortalized by F. Scott Fitzgerald in the Great Gatsby the moment they took the stage.

WCG Event at Air and Space Museum

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The WIRB Copernicus Group (WCG) hosted this incredible corporate event at the Air and Space Museum. The highlight of the event was listening to Buzz Aldrin speak about being the first of two humans to land on the moon. He shared many interesting and funny anecdotal stories from his experiences as lunar module pilot on the Apollo 11 mission. Buzz Aldrin talked about taking the first “selfie” of himself with the moon. This was back in 1969 so way before the selfie stick phenomenon swept the nation!

AstraZeneca: The Future is Now

AstraZeneca: The Future is Now

I very much enjoyed photographing this amazing booth for AstraZeneca at the National Cardiologist Convention in Washington DC. AstraZeneca is a global research-based biopharmaceutical business with innovative medicines that are used by millions of patients worldwide. The purpose of their booth at this event was specifically to promote Brilinata, an oral antiplatelet treatment for Acute Coronary Syndrome. Brilinta has been shown to reduce the rate of thrombotic cardiovascular events, such as stroke, heart attack, or even death.