As I write this I’m in a taxi heading for Union Station in Washington, DC to catch the train back to New York. I’ve spent the day with a group of FOF women who not only have rubbed shoulders with presidents, senators, cabinet members, ambassadors and Supreme Court justices; they’ve witnessed history first hand and have been privy to the inner sanctum of political power, on both sides of the aisle.
Ann Hand was a young married woman in November 1963 when her husband, Lloyd, got a call summoning him to The White House in the wake of the Kennedy assassination. The new president, Lyndon Baines Johnson, wanted Lloyd–a trusted Johnson aide– to be Chief of Protocol. A talented singer, Ann gave up a career to be by her husband’s side and raise their family.
Ann now owns a well-known jewelry and accessories shop in Washington and designs pins and other pieces that have been worn by the likes of Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush. One of the most genteel, gracious women I’ve ever met, Ann doesn’t have an ounce of pretention, despite her connections to US and world leaders during the last four and a half decades. “I’ve been blessed to sit next to people at dinner who were responsible for enacting laws that affected all our lives,” she said modestly.
“Every time I fly back into Washington and look down as we land, I think how lucky I am to be part of the nation’s capital,”she says. Ann personally welcomes every single customer into her store and loves to sit and chat in an area she’s set up like a living room.
One of Ann’s closest pals is another Ann–Ann Jordan–who recently went back to work with Sandy Beschloss, (former Treasurer of The World Bank and wife of presidential historial Michael Beschloss) in her investment business. Ann’s brilliant career includes her role as director of social services of the University of Chicago Medical Center and chairman of The National Symphony. She also happens to be married to Vernon Jordan, former head of the National Urban League and one of President Clinton’s most trusted advisors.