Meet Ann Jordan

Location: Washington, D.C.
Age: 75
Marital Status: Married
Education: M.A. from University of Chicago in Public Policy and Social WorkB.A. from Vassar College

The daughter of a surgeon and homemaker, Ann graduated the University of Chicago with a degree in public policy and social work, and shaped a career in social service administration in hospitals and higher education in Chicago. She went on to funnel her brilliant mind for business into board work for organizations from Johnson & Johnson, Revlon and Citigroup to the National Symphony Orchestra and the Brookings Institution.

Where did you grow up?

Tuskegee, Alabama. Back then, education was not a choice, it was a way out. Especially if you were a minority, it was almost your only way out.

How did you dress back then?

I grew up in the generation where you wore stockings and high-heeled shoes. And garter belts—remember those? Today I dress for comfort.

What was your mother’s style?

My mother had great taste in clothes. Very conservative. We were taught that it wasn’t what you wear but how you wear it. How you behave in it, you know? My mother would say clothes don’t make the horse.

Why do you like Nina McLemore’s clothes?

I love Nina’s jackets. You can wear them over white or black pants, and they don’t wrinkle so they’re easy to travel with. I won’t travel with anything that’s going to be a hassle.

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What’s your favorite restaurant in Washington?

Café Milano. It’s easy and the food is good. They have very delicious, simple pastas. But Vernon and I eat home most of the time. He likes to stay home for dinner.

Do you have a favorite perfume?

Norell.

Do you have a passion project?

Sasha Bruce Youthworks, a shelter for homeless teenagers. It was founded by Evangeline Bruce, who tragically lost her own daughter. They have done a miraculous job with these kids and teenagers. I admire the kids—many of them ran away from awful homes, but they didn’t give up. They are striving for better lives, better health. The organization provides them with the tools to do better.

You have a special talent for fundraising.

I’m not sure I have a special talent for it. I hate raising money. Washington can be tough for cultural organizations that aren’t aligned with the government. It has gotten easier as Washington has become a much broader community. There are more businesses now.

You’ve said that you spend a lot of time on the Internet.

Yes, unfortunately. You get hooked on it; then you wind up with a lot of information you’re never going to use again in your life. But I have a policy of not going online until after 9 pm to help me limit my time.

Who has inspired you?

My mother. I always had great respect for her. She was very bright, very talented, a good musician–she played piano–and a very caring person. She got her first job after my father died, when she was 75, working in the archives of the local college. It was wonderful for her.

What does style mean to you?

Style essentially is selecting clothes that work well with your lifestyle, not getting clothes that you can’t wear.

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What’s your biggest indulgence?

Probably my kids. I have three daughters—Toni, Janice and Vicki–and one son, Mercer. And we play golf a lot in Washington and Virginia. We go out to Robert Trent Jones.

Is Vernon very social?

Yeah. Vernon is. Vernon dresses better than I do. And has better taste.

He’s a pretty darn good-looking guy.

Thank you.

How do you rejuvenate?

First of all, I don’t really get stressed out. I have a big supportive family, which helps. If you’re this age and you’re healthy and you’ve been through life with all of the ups and downs, you know that tomorrow is going to come no matter what. It’s a nice place to be.<

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