Harvard biz school honors Wilbur Ross
© Greg Nash

Prominent Washingtonians gathered on Wednesday night for the Harvard Business School Club of Washington, D.C.'s Third Annual Leadership Gala.

The event brought together lawmakers, Cabinet members and CEOs for a black-tie event at the Four Seasons. It was a posh but light-hearted affair as guests mingled before the festivities with tables adorned with cookies bearing the Harvard seal in icing and mini bottles of champagne.

Margaret Brennan, moderator of CBS News's "Face the Nation" hosted the event. The journalist who is expecting her first child, jokingly referred to the baby as her "male co-host."


The event honored former General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossOn The Money: Turkey in crisis as lira hits new low | Watchdog calls for Wilbur Ross stock probe | CBO downgrades growth projection for 2018 Watchdog accuses Wilbur Ross of violating conflict of interest laws, calls for probe into finances FCC commissioner: US in 'great shape' in 5G network race with China, other countries MORE, who was given the Alumni Achievement Award.

Ross was introduced by a video showing photos of him as a child and he spoke about his time at Harvard Business School, remembering his now famous classmates and even what he wore during orientation.

Ross did get in a political joke at the end of his speech. As he left the platform to the left, he joked, "that's not my normal direction" to laughter.

Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSenators introduce bill to change process to levy national security tariffs A single courageous senator can derail the Trump administration GOP senator warns against 'fishing expedition' for Kavanaugh documents MORE (R-Ohio) introduced Immelt, who he said he is "proud to call him a friend.” He said the two met at Dartmouth College. Portman jokingly described Immelt as “the guy you really wanted to hate” and a “chick magnet.”

Immelt spoke about his career at General Electric and the lessons he learned, telling the audience that to be a strong leader "don’t transfer fear, absorb fear.”

Immelt also discussed his relationship with President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems make history, and other takeaways from Tuesday's primaries Pawlenty loses comeback bid in Minnesota Establishment-backed Vukmir wins Wisconsin GOP Senate primary MORE, saying that all of their interactions have been "truly positive."

He shared a story about his first golf outing with Trump years ago.

Trump, on the tee of the 6th hole, remarked. “I am the richest golfer in the world,” and then proceeded to hit a hole in one. During his first meeting with business leaders in the White House, Trump asked Immelt to "tell our story."

Trump “corrected me in front of everyone to get the story just right,” Immelt said, laughing.

He added that Trump “still has the magic” and “is doing something right.”

Other notable guests included Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who was teased for attending Yale, Kuwaiti Ambassador to the United States Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, former U.S. Ambassador to Portugal Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, U.S. Ambassador to France Jamie D. McCourt and NBA player Chris Bosh.

Bosh told The Hill he “really enjoyed” the event, and was invited by Mr. Antonio Alves, the CEO and President of the Harvard Business School Club of Washington, D.C.

At the event, Harvard Business School also honored four leaders of local nonprofits with a scholarship to the Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management, an intensive six-day program at Harvard University this summer. 

“It is wonderful to be a considered a part of the Harvard Business School alumni community and network,” Patricia Donnelly, a former scholarship winner, and executive director of the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia, told The Hill.