9 years ago today, this kid fell asleep during an event at the White House.

9 years ago today, this kid fell asleep during an event at the White House.

9 years ago today, this kid fell asleep during an event at the White House.

Politics will always affect how you plan an event, whether it’s a charity fundraising ball, a major conference, a Presidential dinner, or even your own wedding. Event planners need to know how to negotiate. We talked to Laura Schwartz, who was in charge of events at the White House during the Clinton Administration, to find out more about how to handle the politics of events.

Even though her job was all about “politics,” we found that many of the problems she had to deal with while she was in the White House can, in some ways, affect everything. Even if there aren’t any snipers on the roof, the CEO or your mother-in-law can be scary. Join us as Laura tells us five things she learned about planning events while working in the White House’s events department.

We really like Laura’s philosophy, so when we asked her what the hardest thing she had to learn while working in events was, her answer made us cheer.

“We don’t have gatherings.” It’s not the hardest lesson, but it’s the one I think everyone in the industry needs to learn. At the start of every meeting at the White House, I say this. We have guests, so if you know that and base your message and goals on it, you will be successful.

Use your events to help people get to know each other better.

No matter how different we are, we always share something. When people are getting together, a well-planned lunch can be the thing that brings them all together. Laura says that you never know when the next conversation will change your life, but it usually happens over a meal rather than in a boardroom or the Oval Office. It is important to make sure that the supper is memorable and has meaning.

This difference is probably most clear in US politics, where Republicans and Democrats have different views on a lot of issues.

Laura provides this example. “The White House has a shamrock exchange every year on St. Patrick’s Day.” At a party for the Irish Prime Minister at night, there will be Irish music and great Irish beers. This is a great chance to show how well these two countries get along with each other. No matter if you are a Republican or a Democrat, that is a great day to honour your roots. Everyone from Ireland in Congress is invited, and they all meet to talk about a single goal.

“We hope that events like this will take people’s minds off of the political news.” Visitors can relax and see that there is more that unites them than what makes them different.

Pay attention to where you’re sitting.

Anyone who has ever tried to set up seating knows how hard it is to make everything work. When working with some of the most powerful people in the world, power dynamics become much clearer, and making someone feel less important than other visitors or World Leaders can have serious consequences.


Sophia Amelia is the New York Times Bestselling Author. Writing stories to inspire young minds. Celebrating the power of words & imagination through my books. Join me on my journey to creating stories that will capture your imagination and captivate your heart.

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