A La Carte
Wednesday evening, organizers of this year's Georgetown House Tour celebrated with sponsors and volunteers at City Tavern Club.
Through the generous support of private Georgetown residents, eight to ten houses are opened to the public, this year on April 29th. The 86th House Tour lifts off once again under the direction of Jill and Scott Altman, Georgetown residents and members of St. John’s Episcopal Church Georgetown.
Capt. Altman is a veteran of four NASA space flights, spent more than 50 days in space and commanded the final two Hubble servicing missions. He also flew F-14s in the movie “Top Gun.” He is a member of the St. John’s Vestry and the first male church member to co-chair the Georgetown House Tour since it began in 1931.
The Altmans are optimistic this year’s tour will be a special event, with some first time homes on the tour.
Private homes and gardens will be open to Georgetown House Tour ticket holders from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm on April 29, 2017.
Tickets for the House Tour include admission to tea and entertainment. Tickets may be purchased in advance online and on the day of the tour at St. John’s Georgetown Church at 3240 O Street.
“Frits can speak to you from a place you may not have come from,” said Gwendolyn as she introduced her brother to those lucky enough invited into her elegant Georgetown home Friday evening to celebrate the launch of The Disruptors’ Feast, Frits van Paasschen’s new book.
The author recapped the exponential changes of the last quarter century, “The ability to store, share and manipulate information is hurtling forward, making it possible to connect billions of people to the global economic system, spreading information, disrupting industries and creating new necessities.”
Frits’ unique, multi-national perspective on the world’s ever changing economies was certainly honed from decades of international travels as CEO and global ambassador for branded companies including Starwood, Nike and Coors ... not to mention Dutch parentage and their Indonesian experience, and an all-American schooling.
The author expounded on some of the book’s core themes: urbanization, trend lines, digital networks, how to overcome cognitive bias, and live at the crossroads of all the change brought about by “software eating the world.” Most people and businesses are not prepared (and in many cases reluctant) to adapt to these trends, and in the book Frits suggests strategies to face the challenges ahead.
With anecdotes from his travels, Frits’ shared insights about staying ahead of customer needs, delivering personalization and developing a global mindset.
At the end of one Starwood trip to Shanghai for the purpose of better understanding cultural differences, the company’s president summed up their relocation in a parable: "He had once run a hotel with two chefs, one European and the other Chinese. One day, both chefs informed him that they were delighted to get the best part of the same large fish that had been brought to the kitchen—for the European chef, it was the filet, and for the Chinese chef, the cheek!"
The interesting thing about the Shanghai story is that it comes from the time Frits decided to relocate Starwood’s HQ for a month to China to help his team better understand the culture where there were a quickly growing number of hotels. He did the same when he moved the HQ to Dubai.
Believing the trend line of urbanization is here to stay because cities offer greater earning potential and encourage innovation, Frits points out, “Technology is encouraging people to trade in their idea of the perfect house for the perfect neighborhood.”
The second half of the book, while not exactly offering a blueprint for digital Darwinism, focuses on successful disruptors: Zara for its 30-day production cycle offering affordable fashion, Tesla for improving the car after the customer buys it, and Uber and Airbnb for brilliantly revolutionizing travel.
Every insight Frits so articulately shares can be applied to countries, corporations, start-ups and individuals. Take your pick. I devoured this brilliant book in one sitting.
Can’t wait for Frits van Paasschen's next feast.
January 31st is now officially Peter D. Rosenstein Day in Washington, DC.
Tuesday evening, Dr. James D'Orta, Jed Ross and their children (triplets Mary Rose, AJ and Cubby) welcomed neighbors and longtime friends into their elegant Georgetown home, a mansion once owned by Averell Harriman.
Several hundred revelers enjoyed a piano concert, cocktails and passed hors d'oeuvres as Councilmember Jack Evans congratulated Peter on his birthday.
Approved unanimously by the city council, Evans proudly read the "Peter D. Rosenstein Recognition Resolution of 2017."
Citing his early years as a teacher in New York City before working for Congresswoman Bella Abzug and coming to Washington, DC, Evans spoke about Peter's distinguished service in governement, education, healthcare and as an advocate for LGBT rights.
Rosenstein has been CEO of national associations including the American Academy of Physician Assistants, Accounts for the Public Interests, National Association for Gifted Children and the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists.
"It's 1965 all over again," added Evans, explaining that they still had work to do together.
"Happy to celebrate your 25th birthday," Mayor Muriel Bowser praised Peter, "Through your longtime work in support of your adopted city, you have counseled leaders and advocates--myself included--on matters concerning LGBTQ affairs, healthcare, and education, among many others, thereby becoming a role model and setting a wonderful example for the residents of Washington, DC."
After thanking his hosts and friends, Peter said "I met Dr. Martin Luther King ... and I can't believe we have to march again."
After expressing appreciation for his family and long friendship with Peter, Dr. D'Orta echoed Bowser and Evans about the need to remain vigilant in protecting civil liberties. Sharing with celebrants about his home's original owners, "They were two Jewish brothers from France who were forced out of Paris ... With a dream to come to DC, they started a dry goods store on M Street and built this house."
When the lavish cake was brought out, guests sang "Happy Birthday" as Peter quipped, "At a certain age, the candles just extinguish on their own."