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Our annual Substance & Style Awards honor outstanding individuals who have worked to improve the quality of life on the Washington, D.C., metropolitan, Mid-Atlantic, national and, in many cases, international levels. Our awardees' generosity and talents perfectly complement their graciousness. It is a privilege to recognize them for their many contributions. Like those from previous years, they truly exemplify this fusion of positive intent, grace and social impact.



HUGO BOSS burgundy corduroy sport coat; $575 (Hugo Boss, 1517 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.) / HUGO BOSS raspberry cotton dress shirt; $135 (Hugo Boss, 1517 Wisconsin Ave. N.W./ HUGO BOSS slim fit navy jeans; $155 (Hugo Boss, 1517 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.)

NAME: Philippe Cousteau

OCCUPATION: Environmentalist
(Co-founder, Earth Echo International)

HIS SUBSTANCE: Educating the public about caring for the environment

HIS STYLE: Laid-back chic

Each family has a unique story, but only a few have a defined purpose like the Cousteaus. Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the celebrated deep sea explorer, opened up the mysteries of the ocean to the world. His son, Philippe Cousteau Sr., was a devoted marine environmentalist who propagated the phrase “our water planet.” Philippe Pierre Cousteau, 26, continues the work of his late grandfather and father at Earth Echo International (www.earthecho.net), an organization he founded along with his mother, Jan, and his sister, Alexandra. Earth Echo educates the public about environmental and conservation issues, and inspires individuals to become better stewards of our water planet. Also, Philippe is the chief ocean correspondent for the Discovery Channel’s, Animal Planet, as well as a producer for National Public Radio’s weekly environmental program, Living on Earth. On both mediums, his work turns caring for the environment into a living classroom, making environmental issues accessible and understandable. As an avid writer and lecturer, he promotes the mission of Earth Echo: “EVERYTHING we do makes a difference, and ALL of our choices have consequences.” Philippe is an insatiable adventurer, whose paths has taken him from exploring the highlands of New Guinea to providing humanitarian aid in war-torn Sarajevo. Throughout his travels, he says that he has learned that exploring the connections between humans and the environment is as important as exploring nature itself.


AKRIS beige silk 3-piece suit; $568 (Saks Jandel, Chevy Chase, Md.) / 18k yellow gold necklace; $6410 (Mervis Diamond Importers, 5480 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase, Md.) / 18k yellow gold & diamonds earrings 4.05cts tw; $7000 (Mervis Diamond Importers, Chevy Chase, Md.)

NAME: Isabel de la Cruz Ernst

OCCUPATION: Art patron, philanthropist, real estate developer

HIS SUBSTANCE: Ensuring the preservation of art and life

HIS STYLE: Updated classic

Isabel de la Cruz Ernst is certainly a global citizen. She was born in New York City to Cuban parents, and spent most of her growing years in Madrid, Spain before her family moved to Key Biscayne, Fl. She attended high School in Switzerland before moving to Washington to study at Georgetown University, where she obtained a double major in French and Italian and a minor in Business. She was one the first Latinas to earn an MBA from Georgetown University. Isabel is a devotee of history and the arts; in fact, she lovingly restored the historic Hillandale Mansion as her home, where she lives with her husband, Ricardo, a Georgetown University professor, and their four children. After the reconstruction and redecoration, she established her own real estate development company, Ernst Development, which is a refection of her own aesthetic as it aims renovate and build very contemporary but thoroughly livable spaces. Her work has been published in many local and international magazines. She is also a member of the Washington National Opera Board and dedicates a significant part of her time to charitable work with organizations such as Refugees International, the Seed School and Innocents at Risk. She and her husband are avid collectors of contemporary art and are loyal supporters of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.



VERSACE navy blue pin-striped suit, $1570 (Versace, Tyson’s Galleria, McLean, Va.) / French blue dress shirt (his own) / VERSACE blue tie; $115 (Versace, Tyson’s Galleria, McLean, Va.) / VERSACE black leather dress belt; $370 (Versace, Tyson’s Galleria, McLean, Va.)

NAME: David L. Mercer

OCCUPATION: Lobbyist/Political Strategist (Founder and President, Mercer & Associates, Inc.)

HIS SUBSTANCE: Spreading holistic political principles

HIS STYLE: Beltway best

David Mercer has always believed that “You can’t score points if you’re not on the court.” The phrase has shaped much of his professional and personal life — from his political career to his corporate expertise and nonprofit experience. David’s charitable causes go beyond the organizations he supports. His philanthropic activities are based on another personal principle: “Money invested and reinvested in people yields the greatest dividends.” He draws strength from his multifaceted experience and gives back to his community, not just financially, but through sound advice and counsel, providing opportunities for youth to engage and develop to their fullest potential. His work with Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and the Duke Ellington School of the Arts is proof of that. Aside from his charitable work, David heads up Mercer & Associates, his government affairs and strategic advisory firm that has represented clients as Verizon, Ernst & Young, Honeywell and the Smithsonian Institution on a host of public policy or lobbying issues. In his nomination, Hoop Dreams founder and president Susie Kay said "David has a wonderful way of supporting individuals, causes and organizations that he believes in and energizing and inspiring others to do the same … he challenges others to get involved, and not just sit on the sidelines.” Further proof that he lives and breathes at the center of the court.


NAME: Barack Obama


HIS SUBSTANCE: Defining American issues in the 21st century and beyond

HIS STYLE: Political panache

Barack Obama’s childhood experiences gave him the global insight and initiative he has today. He grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia, moved to New York, and graduated from Columbia University. He moved to Chicago to become a community organizer with a church-based group to improve living conditions in neighborhoods plagued by crime and lack of employment. While the group had some success, he realized that improving the communities meant changing laws and politics. He earned a law degree from Harvard University, and became the first African- American president of the Harvard Law Review before returning to Chicago to practice as a civil rights lawyer and teach constitutional law. The culmination of his advocacy efforts led him to run for the Illinois State Senate, where he served for seven years. His legislative record is exemplary: He worked with both parties to create such landmark programs as the state Earned Income Tax Credit, which in three years provided over $100 million in tax cuts to families in Illinois. He also pushed through an expansion of early childhood education program. Sen. Obama has made waves in the Senate by tackling challenges in the global economy. He has fought to help veterans get disability pay and is working with the Veterans Affairs Department to prepare for the return of the thousands of U.S. service personnel who will need years of care after Iraq and Afghanistan. Above all, he is most proud and grateful for his wife, Michelle, and his two daughters.


MAX MARA purple wrap dress; $930 (Max Mara, Chevy Chase, Md.) / PAMPILLONIA Lady Heart 18kt white gold 5-drop necklace, 1.92ct; $10,210 (Pampillonia, Chevy Chase, Md.) / PAMPILLONIA Lady Heart 18kt white gold 3-drop earrings, 3.09cts; $15,225 (Pampillonia, Chevy Chase, Md.)

NAME: Pilar O’Leary

OCCUPATION: Director, Smithsonian Latino Center

HIS SUBSTANCE: Increasing awareness of Latino culture

HIS STYLE: Flawless refinement

Life is all about the journey, and few people have a passage as purposeful as Pilar O’Leary’s. She worked as a high-powered lawyer in New York for JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs before moving to Washington to work at Fannie Mae. Then she decided to leave the corporate world to pursue a more fulfilling vocation – increasing awareness of Latino heritage and history at the illustrious Smithsonian Institution. Pilar is responsible for fulfilling the Center’s mission to foster understanding and appreciation of Latino history and culture through the use of the Smithsonian’s museums and collections. Under her direction, the Center has awarded more than $1.2 million in federal funding to more than 20 projects. She also launched the “Young Ambassadors” program, a national educational initiative for Hispanic high school seniors gifted in the arts. The program provides 24 students selected out of a nationwide pool of applicants an opportunity to receive an educational grant and spend a week in an intensive seminar at the Smithsonian. Under her leadership this September, the Center held its first black-tie gala benefit “Smithsonian con Sabor” and raised over $600,000 for its programs. Pilar is happily married to Bill O’Leary, and is a mother of two little girls. In her nomination, her coworker, Isabel Lara, described her as “an inspiration ... a tireless worker who is committed to ensuring that Latino contributions to this country’s cultural heritage are appreciated and highlighted.”


VALENTINO ivory lace blouse; $3990 (Saks Jandel, Chevy Chase, Md.) / GIORGIO ARMANI black pants; $525 (Saks Jandel, Chevy Chase, Md.) / VAN CLEEF & ARPELS Vintage Alhambra 20 motives yellow gold, mother of pearl necklace; $7400 (Van Cleef & Arpels, 5454 Wisconsin Ave, Chevy Chase, Md.) / VAN CLEEF & ARPELS Vintage Alhambra yellow gold, white mother of pearl earrings; $2150 (Van Cleef & Arpels, 5454 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase, Md.

NAME: Gabriela A. Smith

OCCUPATION: Economist, philanthropist (Founding investor and Board member, Venture Philanthropy Partners)

HIS SUBSTANCE: Helping underprivileged children and families

HIS STYLE: Polished poise

Gabriela always knew it was her true calling to help the less fortunate. When she moved from her native Argentina to the U.S., her first job as a social worker for Los Angeles Catholic Charities focused on helping immigrant families deal with discrimination. It inspired her to start the Hispanic Leadership Program in Venice, Calif. The Program focused on helping immigrants find child care, health care and employment. She strengthened her vocation with a Master’s in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Her degree led to a job at the World Bank, where she managed health and education projects in Bolivia. She also created a scholarship program with Harvard University focusing on hunger and poverty alleviation in Argentina. In 2000, Gabriela and her husband, Doug, started the Amanter (“with love,” in Latin) Fund. Most of the philanthropic work they do is anonymous, and focuses on issues involving children, families, and education. In 2001, the Amanter Fund was introduced to Venture Philosophy Partners (VPP), a philanthropic investment organization that helps build strong non-profit institutions. “The level of dedication, commitment and professionalism of VPP leaders, the team, and the organizations we are working with is extraordinary,” Gabriela says. She also believes that “When you give, you want to make sure that it will make a difference.”


BRUNELLO CUCINELLI green cashmere cardigan; $1400 (James, Tyson’s Galleria, McLean, Va.) / ERMENEGILDO ZEGNA grey cotton sport shirt; $285 (James, Tyson’s Galleria, McLean, Va.)

NAME: Dr E. Fuller Torrey

OCCUPATION: Psychiatrist (President, Treatment Advocacy Center; Associate Director, Stanley Medical Research Institute)

HIS SUBSTANCE: Making mental illness treatment accessible

HIS STYLE: Relaxed academic

Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, lauded as “America’s most famous psychiatrist” by the Washington Post, works has encompassed several years of breakthroughs in the field of mental illness. He works with the Stanley Medical Research Institute (SMRI), an organization that supports research designed to find better treatments for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. His Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC) is an organization dedicated to eliminating legal and clinical barriers to timely and humane treatment for millions of Americans with severe brain disorders who are not receiving appropriate medical care. Dr. Torrey worked with the homeless for 16 years. "Their mental illnesses tend to be extreme," he says. "As much as state laws prohibit involuntary treatment, just leaving them there seems inhumane.” He believes that the homeless need structured care and SMRI and TAC are working together to make that possible. The root of Dr. Torrey’s passion stems from the illness of a family member — his sister has had schizophrenia for the past fifty years. It has provided a major motivating factor to help people in similar situations. For Dr. Torrey, reaching out comes naturally. "I've always worked for the public sector," he says. "I feel very fortunate to be a physician and to be able to help others who need help, whether they can afford it or not.”











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