Celebrating the unique Franco-American relationship

Friendships are a treasured thing in Washington. And the bittersweet nature of those friendships is that we must often say goodbye as people move away for new opportunities. It was an honor for me and my husband, Jehan-Christophe, to host a going away party for two of our dear friends, French Ambassador François Delattre and his wife Sophie, who will be moving to New York to represent their country at the United Nations.

François and Sophie will be dearly missed in Washington. Relationships are what keep this city running and they were an important part of this community for more than 15 years. Their absence will be felt by many as evidenced by the many sweet goodbyes I’ve witnessed.

The Franco-American relationship is unique and July is a special month in which we both celebrate independence and friendship between our countries. Even though they will no longer be in Washington, I know the many friendships that the Ambassador and his wife have built in this city over the years will endure. I wish them all the best and look forward to reconnecting with them in New York.

ambassador

Thrive

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hosting a book launch party for my friend, Arianna Huffington. Her book, Thrive, makes a compelling case for living a more balanced life.

Interpersonal relationships have always been the foundation of my success and happiness. When I’m in a meeting, I give the people I’m with my full attention (and expect the same in return). While technology has allowed our society to become more productive and connected in many positive ways, I still intentionally carry a flip phone and work on a desktop computer. When it’s time to work, I go back to my computer to focus. And when I’m meeting with people, I’m fully present and free of distractions from anything else that is going on at the moment.

I also strongly believe in spending quality time with family and friends, regardless of my work obligations. We get so fixated on doing whatever it takes to get ahead that it’s easy to lose perspective. But professional opportunities will always come and go, and you can never get back the time you miss with the people who matter most in your life.

I applaud Arianna for launching such a meaningful dialogue around the true meaning of success. I realize that technology has allowed her, more than almost anyone else, to have this important conversation on a large scale. But her perspective on the kind of ‘connection’ that truly matters is what makes her successful.

Independence Day

The 4th of July is a time to celebrate our freedom as ensured by the Declaration of Independence. The principle author of that document, Thomas Jefferson, is someone I have come to know much more about over the past several years of renovating and re-launching a hotel, The Jefferson, in Washington, DC.

A curious man, President Jefferson was an enthusiastic inventor of many practical items. We have taken great pride in designing a hotel we think Jefferson would have appreciated in terms of design and service. The property also hosts original Jefferson-signed documents and books on his favorite subjects. I’m proud of the work we’ve done to restore this beautiful property and tribute to our third president, located just steps from the White House.

It seems appropriate that President Jefferson passed away on July 4, the day he made famous, in 1826. On this Independence Day, let us take time to honor our founding fathers and all those who have served our country over the past 238 years to guarantee our freedom, particularly those who have served and continue to serve in our military.