News & Scoops
Ald. Ed Burke greets authors of "Treating People Well."/Photography by Erik Unger 0

Civility, sexual politics and news about Griffin, Giannoulias

May 28th, 2018

A book party the other day brought together an unlikely crowd of Democrats and Republicans–folks who had such a good time they stayed until well after the bar tab was closed at Gibsons Italia.

It was all pulled together by John Kelly, the Chicago lobbyist who represents heavyweight clients ADM, Blackstone Group, CVS and a few Chicago sports teams.

The book is “Treating People Well: The Extraordinary Power Of Civility At Work And In Life” by Lea Berman and Jeremy Bernard.

“What a great book for all of us to read given the negative political climate in both D.C. and Illinois,” Kelly said. “The book shows you can hate your opponents’ ideas without hating your opponent.”

Berman is the former White House social secretary from the George W. Bush administration and spent her career as an event planner. Bernard was social secretary from 2011-15 in the administration of Barack Obama.

Given they’re from opposite side of the political spectrum, “We thought we could reach more people if we worked together,” Berman told me.

The authors draw on lessons they learned in the White House to talk about real-life situations.

“Like putting your phone down and giving people your full attention,” Bernard said.

There were no phones in site during the patio party. And that’s too bad because oh the stories those selfies might tell.

I saw Democratic Aldermen Eddie Burke and Roderick Sawyer, and Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider and Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison, who also heads the county’s GOP. All in one room!

The crowd seemed to swarm around former Gov. George Ryan when he made his entrance with his friend Kitty Kelly by his side.

Other notable names included Wayne Berman, senior managing director and head of global government affairs for Blackstone (he’s also Lea’s husband); Intersport Founder Charles Besser and his wife, Rebecca; Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White; city Treasurer Kurt Summers and Clerk Anna Valencia; former assessor Jim Houlihan; former state Senator James DeLeo; DLA Piper’s Ted Novak; attorney Terry Newman; Compass real estate’s Stephanie Poulakidassports legends Dan Hampton, who played for the Bears, and Charles Oakley, who played for the Bulls; Pam Cullerton, author and wife of Illinois Senate President John Cullerton; and insurance mogul Mickey Segal, who’s writing his own (torrid) book.

I hear book sales at the party were so good they even bested those at a similar event in Texas hosted by Laura and George Bush.

Sol Flores

SEXUAL POLITICS: Black Ensemble Theater held a special benefit show featuring performances of local notable names.

The one-night-only show was titled “The Soul of a Powerful Woman.”

The biggest howl of the night came from a routine about what the world would be like if women made all the laws.

Sol Flores, who ran for Rep. Luis Gutierrez’s congressional seat, started it, saying, “if women made the laws” men would be required to help women reach the zenith in love-making (wink wink).

The crowd couldn’t be tamped down after that. The program prompted hoots and laughs through the night–including from high-profile attendees Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his wife, Amy Rule, who was a co-chair of the event.

“That routine really gave a peek as to what the world could look like if women did run the world and make all the laws,” said C Strategies CEO Becky Carroll–keeping the focus on politics, rather than the big O (or ohh!). “It  could  mean all children would be cared for, no child would be hungry, our schools will be properly funded, there’d be no guns on our streets and women would get equal pay.”

Flores heads La Casa Norte, a nonprofit that provides housing and social services to the homeless. Other performers included Congresswoman Robin Kelly, Illinois Medical District CEO Suzet McKinney, Rise Strategy Group Partner Tarrah Cooper and women’s activist Hedy Ratner.

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky corralled the cast through the song and dance numbers.

Ken Griffin

A FIRST FOR GRIFFIN: Citadel CEO Ken Griffin was taken by surprise the other day when he was presented with the MCA Corporate Art Award for 2018.

The award honored Griffin, a museum donor and trustee, for supporting arts and education.

The surprise came in the award itself–it was a miniature recreation of Jeff Koons’ “Balloon Dog.”

“I’ve never received an award like that,” Griffin told the luncheon crowd–which burst into laughter.

A museum executive tells me that’s what they were going for, saying, “We pride ourselves on not giving plaques.”

Griffin went on to talk about the importance of “access to the arts” for all children. And MCA Director Madeleine Grynsztejn said “students everywhere will be better because of the
generosity he has inspired in others.”

Alexi Giannoulias

FOR THE BOOKS: Alexi Giannoulias has joined the board of the Chicago Public Library Foundation, which funds city libraries and education programming around the city.

He’s a senior director at Bank of New York Mellon Corp. in Chicago, a former Democratic state treasurer and a U.S. Senate candidate.

Giannoulias also sits on the boards of Cara, a nonprofit that fights poverty by helping people find jobs, and One Million Degrees, a mentoring program for low-income students in community college.

He was appointed to the Library board by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and will find  a friend in  Linda Johnson Rice at boardroom meetings.

The head of Johnson Publishing  has been a Library trustee for years.

Along with supporting Democratic politics, Giannoulias and Rice have a mutual pal–his name is Barack Obama.

Note: The item about Sol Flores has been updated to clarify she was a candidate.

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