The 2015 Greater Washington Region Heart Ball is fast approaching. This exciting annual event will be held on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, D.C. The Ball will run from 6:30 p.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. Sunday, and funds raised will support the American Heart Association (AHA). This year’s theme is “Joie de Vivre,” which is a French theme to celebrate the joy of life.
Ahmad Hajj of Broadwater Capital is the co-chair of the Auction Committee for this year’s DC Heart Ball. WashingtonExec recently spoke with Ahmad about the event and his work with AHA.
WashingtonExec: What made you decide to be the Auction Chair at this year’s Ball?
Ahmad Hajj: In 2013 my business partner was chairing the Ball, and he asked me to become involved with the auction committee. I happily did so for a couple of reasons: one is that heart disease has affected my family. It is also one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., so I thought it was a good way to volunteer my time. In 2013, I helped out on the committee, and then for the past two years, my wife and I have co-chaired the Auction Committee for the Heart Association.
WashingtonExec: What are some of the highlights you are most looking forward to at this year’s auction?
Ahmad Hajj: This year, with the great work of the auction committee and the people at Heart, we’ve obtained some great auction items. One item that we are particularly excited about is the eight-day National Geographic cruise for two in Alaska. National Geographic has been very generous the past couple of years helping us with the auction items. This year they have given us the best auction item to date, which includes a tour of Alaska’s fjords, tidewater glaciers, islands and amazing wildlife. The excursion will include voyages to view humpback whales, kayaking and spending full days at the Glacier National Park. Last year we had a cruise to the Galapagos Islands. That was very successful at the auction, and we expect this year’s to be very successful as well. It’s great for someone who is adventurous as well as someone who wants to go to Alaska and check out a nice cruise in the glaciers — you can get both.
Another exciting item up for auction is a week at a villa in Tuscany that has been donated the past couple of years and has been successful, as well. For people who enjoy traveling in Europe, it’s a beautiful place and the condo that is donated there for a week is beautiful. That has been successful, and we are excited to have that again.
For sports fans, we have an event where you can go to a Caps game with Joe Beninati and Greg Laughlin, who are the play-by-play announcers for the Washington Capitals. You get to sit next to them during the game as it’s produced and listen to the game being televised with headphones. During game breaks, you can speak with them about the game and the production. That was also successful last year, and we are excited to have it again.
WashingtonExec: What are you most excited about for this year’s Ball? Will you describe what attendees can expect?
Ahmad Hajj: I’ve attended the Ball for the past two years, and it is an amazing event. Many people from D.C. and the East Coast area come down for the Ball. It is going to be an amazing crowd, as usual. We are excited that Chelsea Clinton will be giving remarks this year. The leadership committee at Heart did a great job to get Chelsea. There is a lot of buzz and excitement about that.
There are also a lot of other community leaders and business executives from the area who will attend. It’s a great event to help raise money for heart disease and stroke. It has that philanthropic goal, and it’s also fun. We’ll have live music and wonderful food – it’s at the Mandarin Oriental, which is an amazing venue down in the District. Again, we have mostly people from this area coming to the event, but we also have some coming from a little farther away, and they can stay at the Mandarin and make it a complete evening.
Personally, I’m most excited about helping to raise money for the cause. It’s a fun event. We all enjoy it, but just understanding and seeing where the dollars go and that we can help people is the most important thing. That’s what I’m most excited about.
WashingtonExec: Why should companies get involved with the American Heart Association and the Heart Ball?
Ahmad Hajj: A significant portion of the dollars raised by AHA go to help research and combat heart disease. We know that in D.C. in particular, there are a lot of philanthropic organizations. We are the most proud of the fact that a vast majority of the dollars we raise go to help research. That is great for companies if they want to get involved for that purpose.
We still have tickets available for this year’s Heart Ball, and readers can get more information on our website, which is www.dcheartball.com. We are still open for tickets and table sales. AHA also has opportunities year-round for engagement and health programming for employees, and there are a myriad of ways to get involved with the American Heart Association. It can really serve as a rallying point for employees to get together and come together around a cause.
Related: SAVE THE DATE: DC Heart Ball, Feb. 28, 2015, Hosted by the American Heart Association; Fred McNair Speaks from the Heart about AHA and the 2015 DC Heart Ball; 2015 DC Heart Ball Chairperson Kay Kapoor Gives Us a Sneak Peak at This Year’s Event