Hollywood on the Potomac
Do not call Jessica Alba a starlet. Many people might know the 34-year-old as an actress from Sin City, The Fantastic Four or TV’s Dark Angel; but these days, Alba is all business and she wants you to know it. Alba is the co-founder of the The Honest Company, a consumer products company aimed mainly at child and childcare products that emphasizes natural materials and ethical consumerism. Now before you start thinking this is another Hollywood vanity project, the Honest Company has grown exponentially since its founding in 2011 and is now valued near $1 Billion. Alba and her partners take this growth seriously; she was recently on the cover of business mag Forbes, and that’s only the beginning.
Alba and the team are looking more broadly than their own company these days, coming to Washington recently with a delegation of companies under the umbrella of the American Sustainable Business Council, to advocate for reform on chemical use in consumer products including the long awaited overhaul of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
“I really just went about developing and creating the business and all of its attributes around what I wanted as a consumer and what I felt; the needs weren’t being met, my needs weren’t being met and people’s needs weren’t being met…to have effective, safe, beautifully designed and affordable products to live a healthier life” said Alba, talking about the genesis of the her company, an idea she started to dream up while pregnant with her first child. “Everybody wants a safe and healthy world, especially for children. They are the most vulnerable the most susceptible to adverse effects on how these chemicals can affect their health,” she added as she described the importance of the changes she came to Capitol Hill to demand during meetings with several high ranking members of Congress.
There were many reasons to attend “The Political Party” at the Embassy of Poland under the patronage of His Excellency, Ambassador Ryszard Schnepf – some less altruistic than others. Take the Vodka, for example, straight up or Mad Dog; take the lavish buffet prepared by the Embassy’s chef and desserts by Rare Sweet Bakery, gelato by Dolci Gelati, the Whiskey bar by 1776 Whiskey; or the swag bags by Beam and Malmasion…….. any one of these were enough reason to click on yes to the RSVP. Toss in Chopin by pianist Mary Anne Huntsman, add actress Melissa Fitzgerald of The West Wing and lots of Congressional Members and the Polish Embassy morphs into one of Washington’s best destinations.
But the real reason for the heavy guest list was to support Future Civic Leaders, spearheaded by John McCarthy. “Our innovative residential and non-residential leadership camps give low-income students the opportunity to come together and learn about collective problem solving. Disadvantaged students need to recognize that they have the ability to influence complex and meaningful issues that they care deeply about. All of our programs give young people the opportunity to identify real issues facing their community, and gives them the skills they need to address them collectively. Full civic engagement fosters the talents of all young people by letting them know that politics is a world available to them. If we want our Democracy to be truly representative we need to ensure that all young people have a seat at the table.” The Mission Statement
A Recap of Phoenician History: Washington came alive last week. Dignitaries, scholars, historians, and other prominent world leaders from Europe, Asia and America met in the U.S. Capital with a singular purpose – to draw attention to Tyre, the UNESCO World Heritage site in Lebanon. The week-long activities began officially with a private reception for over 70 dignitaries, celebrities, socialites, and Friends of Tyre at the elegant Washington residence of The Lebanese Ambassador to the United States, The Honorable Antoine Chedid.
“I am so proud to welcome you to my home,” the Ambassador said to Dr.Maha el-Khalil Chalabi, founder of the League of Canaanite, Phoenician and Punic Cities and of the Tyre Foundation. “You have done so much for preserving this important and ancient Phoenician site. Thanks to you and your many friends around the world Tyre has survived the test of time. You, Dr. Chabali, are truly a woman of boundless energy and vision. Welcome to my home!”
In appreciation for his generous hospitality, Dr. Chabali presented him with two magnificent reproductions of ancient artifacts for his private collection. “I would like to present you with a little gift for your gracious support and interest in Tyre,” she told the Ambassador. “It is only a small token of appreciation for all you have done for our beloved Lebanon. Thank you for receiving me and all my friends of Tyre.”