The quintessential political insider, Juleanna Glover has worked on the staffs of prominent Republicans, including Dick Cheney and Senator John McCain, whom she advised on his 2008 bid for the White House. For the past 11 months she has been working as a corporate consultant, advising companies on mergers and change management issues. We talked to her last month about how she entertains.
JK: Traditional, sit-down parties given during the days of great hostesses like Katharine Graham have vanished. Now they’re events in honor of someone, for a cause, a book party, that sort of thing.
JG: My entertaining is low-key and unstructured and bookended by my demanding job and family life (I have four children ages 3 to 16). I do it because of a personal connection to someone, say to an author, or to an organization. Entertaining helps you do your job. Washington is a funny, nepotistic city. The ability to know allies and opponents is inherently a benefit in coalitions, campaigns and press outreach.
JK: You and your partner Christopher Reiter (who owns the 14th Street boutique Muleh) recently gave a party at your home for Wayne Pacelle, CEO of The Humane Society, in honor of his book “The Bond: Our Kinship With Animals, Our Call to Defend Them.” What’s the connection? What did you serve? How many people were there?
JG: A friend of mine who’s a prominent fundraiser asked if I’d be interested in hosting a book party. We’re fans of the organization — our cats and dogs are all rescues — and we were delighted to be helpful. I think it must have been the first-ever vegetarian cocktail party. We served pizza, sushi and macarons for 120.
JK: Are your parties professionally catered?
JG: Not really. We order from Buca di Peppo or Moby Dick House of Kabob or a sushi restaurant. Franco Nuschese from Cafe Milano has sent a pizza chef who comes with dough and ingredients for guests to create their own pizza. For servers, I typically work with a church congregation; they send out folks who work on parties. Also, it’s a family affair — everybody pitches in. I don’t know whether it’s legal or not, but my kids inquire whether guests want white or red wine. Even my 3-year-old was a big help. He laid out wine glasses with only a couple of casualties.
JK: Do you have any secrets to share about hosting a good party? Long- time Neiman Marcus PR person Patti Cumming’s rule of thumb was to always have a bottle of white wine out and open sitting next to glasses so even as you fuss with the first guests’ coats, people can busy themselves with getting something to drink.
JG: It helps to be a serial introducer and know how to put people together who don’t know one another. I look for people who might not be actively engaged and bring them over to other guests.
JK: Any dress code for your events?
JG: People can wear whatever they like. Bringing their wits with them is most important.
JK: What’s next on your social agenda?
JG: An event for the opening of “La Boheme” at the Kennedy Center. People like me struggle to have time to go to the opera. This party is a cocktail reception during a rehearsal, designed to interest younger people in opera. Also, it will last only two hours, not four.
JK: Have you scheduled any just-for-fun holiday fetes?
JG: Haven’t thought about it yet. My three younger sisters and I have done “a night before night before” Christmas party in past years, but I don’t know if we’ll have time this year.