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How Laurene Powell Jobs Became a DC Power Player

By Michael M. Clements | August 8, 2018 | People

Laurene Powell Jobs' yearlong Washington takeover spans philanthropy, sports, media and climate change.

laurene-powell.jpgPresenting at the 2017 Smithsonian American Ingenuity Awards.

For generations, Washington was a provincial two-world town of transients who came and went with the changing political tides and locals. Things have changed, dramatically. Our region is now a magnet for some of the world’s most influential minds, Laurene Powell Jobs included. Washington is certainly better off for it.

Suffice to say, the billionaire philanthropist and entrepreneur has had quite the year. It started with a splash last June when she became one of the 14 founding members—and notably the only woman—of the DC-based Climate Leadership Council (clcouncil.org). The institute promotes the idea that a carbon dividends framework is the most cost-effective, equitable and politically-viable climate solution.

Then in July, she made waves when her company, Emerson Collective (emersoncollective.com), purchased a majority stake in David G. Bradley’s Atlantic Media. Bradley will continue as chairman and operating partner for a few more years before Emerson Collective assumes full ownership. Powell Jobs is a vocal advocate for immigration reform and education—Emerson Collection is her vehicle for investing in efforts to stimulate reform in these areas. It also holds significant film and media investments, including with Anonymous Content.

laurene-powell-2.jpgPowell Jobs courtside with Brad Powell and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Chairman and CEO Ted Leonsis.

In October, the wave became a tsunami when Powell Jobs acquired the second largest stake in Monumental Sports & Entertainment (monumentalsports.com), the $2.5-billion entity that includes the NBA Wizards, NHL Capitals, WNBA Mystics, two Arena Football League teams and Capital One Arena. The deal instantly made her one of the few leading female voices in big-time U.S. sports team ownership and cemented her place as a major DC power player.

In February of this year, NBA star and Prince George’s County, Md., native Kevin Durant committed $10 million to Powell Jobs’ organization, College Track (collegetrack.org). The funds will be used to create the Durant Center to expand the organization’s college completion program in Durant’s hometown.

Powell Jobs is fond of using the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote, “In one soul, in your soul, there are resources for the world.” Based on the past 12 months, that seems quite apropos.



Photography by: MONUMENTAL SPORTS PHOTO BY BARBARA KINNEY / EMERSON COLLECTIVE; INGENUITY AWARDS PHOTOS BY DANIEL SWARTZ