YOU WOULDN'T HAVE guessed that folks had stuffed themselves with turkey and all the trimmings just the day before. Not from the sumptuous breakfast of bagels, muffins, biscuits, French toast, eggs and bacon that several hundred were feasting on at the VIP breakfast for the Festival of Trees, Kennedy Krieger Institute's annual fundraiser.
It wasn't just the breakfast that was big. The festival itself was the largest ever.
"Seventeen years now. This has become a regular holiday event. And it must be 10 times the size it was then," said Dr. Gary Goldstein, Kennedy Krieger's president and CEO, as he surveyed the happy crowd. Among those attending were former institute chairman Henry Rosenberg Jr., children's activist Sally Michel, Ralph Lauren interior designer Maria Portera, and Constellation Energy executive vice president Tom Brady. Many had brought children and grandchildren along -- like Constellation CEO Mayo Shattuck and his wife, Baltimore Ravens cheerleader Molly Shattuck, who had their hands full keeping up with children Spencer, 8, Wyatt, 5, and Lillian, 3.
There was so much to see, so much to do. Sure, the trees had their appeal. But the toy train was a particular draw to the younger crowd -- as was the carousel in the back, the performance by children's musical band Milkshake and the guest appearance of Santa Claus.
"I like Santaland," said 6-year-old Madisyn Parker, referring to the room full of children's activities, including a moon bounce and a crafts table where many were busy making Christmas ornaments.
"I like the breakfast," said Madisyn's twin sister, Margeaux.
Passion for work, life
A DRINK WITH CHRISTIAN JOHANSSON
Christian Johansson, 34, is president and chief executive of the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore, a public and private-sector partnership that markets the region for new investment and jobs. Born of a Swedish father and a mother from North Carolina, Johansson spent the first 13 years of his life in Sweden, before the family moved to the U.S. A self-described "serial entrepreneur," Johansson has created and run three companies. He is single and lives downtown.
You're a high achiever.
In my family, I'm probably the mean. My older brother, when he finished at Harvard, there were seven prizes; two of them considered big. He won both. I didn't get that. I didn't graduate medical school. He did.
Why didn't you?
Passion is critical to whatever we do in life. You're going to spend the vast majority of your life at work. You better be passionate about it. I wasn't passionate about medicine. ... I was fortunate enough to get into Harvard Business School, and it changed my life. It opened up a whole new life of possibilities that my family had never exposed me to. We were taught you could be a doctor or a lawyer. Business really wasn't on that list.
Some think business is pretty dry stuff to get passionate about.
Are you kidding me?... Everybody has different motivators. For me, whatever I do, I want to have it have an impact on a greater level. It's not [about] making money. ... What we [at the Alliance] do, when it works well -- when you have something like Chubb Insurance relocate to town into Montgomery Park and bring close to 350 jobs -- that's transformational. The best way to change someone's life is to give them economic opportunity.
Do you attack everything in life with the same fervor, or do you just save this energy for work?
For most of my life, I've never had much down time outside of work. When I do, I like to travel. ... Travel is the best way to expose yourself to other cultures, other ideas.
How does your girlfriend handle your work ethic?
She's similarly intense. The biggest challenge [for her] is that I have a lot of social functions to go to. She enjoys them, but they can become challenging.
What do you talk about? What are your favorite things to do?
We often talk about our futures. ... We both have big dreams. [With] two intense people, the biggest challenge is how do you make both of your dreams a reality. There's a little bit of compromise. ... We both love food, wine and people -- which makes for a great dinner party.
Do you have silly dreams like: One day I want to go bungeejumping?
I'm going to learn how to fly. Silly dreams are meant to be done. Passion means turning dreams into reality. ... Richard Branson flying a hot air balloon around the world -- people would say that's a silly thing. Silly dreams may only be silly to other people. But, if they're important to you, you make them happen. There is no such thing as a silly dream.
Be the Star 2006
Benefits The Priceless Gown Project
Women only (formal attire), champagne, specialty cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, food stations, mini-makeovers, hair styling, fashion show, surprise entertainment
Marriott Inner Harbor-Camden Yards
Tickets $85 -$90
Rock-n-Racquets Reception & Auction
Benefits Baltimore Tennis Patrons
Beer, wine, assorted cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, food stations, performance by Bryan Bros. Band (the world's No. 1-ranked doubles team)
Hippodrome Theatre at France-Merrick Performing Arts Center
Call 410-296-2929, ext. 21
16th Annual Holiday Scholarship Brunch
Benefits 100 Black Men of Maryland Inc.
Cash bar, brunch, live music, gift shopping, guests encouraged to bring new