‘Dream’ Laureates & Junior Achievers at Washington Business Hall of Fame Awards


Davis and Madison Gestiehr perform

The Greater Washington Board of Trade, Junior Achievement of Greater Washington (JAGW), and Washingtonian magazine, along with presenting sponsors Capital One and  MorganFranklin Consulting, held the 27th annual Washington Business Hall of Fame “Academy Awards of Business” last week, attracting more than 1,000 to the National Building Museum for an evening focused on dreams… and doing something about them.

“Tonight is about honoring those who had the courage, and equipping young people to find their own,” said JAGW President and CEO Ed Grenier (referring Walt Disney’s quote: “All of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”).

JA students (they escorted the laureates on/off stage during the ceremony) from Mosby Woods Elementary (Fairfax, VA), Friendship Blow-Pierce PCS (DC) and A. Mario Loiederman Middle School (Silver Spring, MD).


Over $1.1 million was raised for Junior Achievement of Greater Washington, with proceeds benefiting JA’s innovative financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship K-12 programs designed to inspire the next generation to navigate their own path to the American dream.

“At Finance Park and in classrooms across the region, [students] learn that ‘financial literacy’ is more than just a phrase adults like to throw around,” continued Grenier.  “They learn that budgeting is hard – and children are expensive! They get an answer to the age-old question of ‘what do you really do’ through our job shadow programs that take them to workplaces like NASA, National Geographic and the halls of the U.S. Capitol. Through our entrepreneurship programs and experiences … they begin to understand where one big idea can lead them.”

And speaking of leading…  It was actually the students (pictured above) who led as four laureates were honored during the ceremony. Peter Barris, Sudhakar Kesavan, Debbie Kissire, and Dennis Ratner were escorted to the stage by students from local elementary and middle schools before being introduced by Ted Leonsis, James Maiwurm, Linda Rabbitt, and Debbie Wiseman (respectively).  

Top row (event co-founder organization heads plus event chair): Ed Grenier, Junior Achievement of Greater Washington, Catherine Merrill Williams, Washingtonian; Jim Dinegar, Greater Washington Board of Trade; Ron Morgan, MorganFranklin Consulting. Bottom Row (the laureates): Sudhakar Kesavan, ICF International; Dennis Ratner, Ratner Companies; Debbie Kissire, Ernst & Young; and Peter Barris, New Enterprise Associates (NEA).


Each was recognized for shaping the regional landscape and consistently demonstrating outstanding business accomplishments; visionary, innovative leadership; integrity, and strong core values; and passionate community engagement.  In other words, they both dream and do.  And they encourage others to dream and do, too.

*All photos credit Hyon Smith Photography

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