John Waldron Escapes Goldman Stress With Women-Led Song and Dance
(Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs President John Waldron has a thesis about seeing jazz and theater at Lincoln Center.
“I enter with my head full of work thoughts, and when I walk out I can’t remember them,” he said Wednesday night as he accepted an honor from the New York cultural mecca, where he’s been a board member since 2015.
But on this particular evening, he may have had a work thought or two, with so many colleagues and titans of finance on hand to help the gala raise a record $4 million.
Waldron huddled with his boss, David Solomon, as well as Blackstone co-founder Steve Schwarzman and Centerview’s Blair Effron, then sat down for the meal with Goldman partner Eric Lane, while his wife Amanda dined with Ashok Varadhan.
Former Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein caught up with investment banking co-chair Alison Mass. Bruce Richards chatted with Josh Friedman, while Greg and Alexandra Mondre recalled working with Waldron when they were analysts at the firm. Also in the house: high-profile Goldman client John Foley, CEO of Peloton.
The performances featured women talents, which, according to remarks during the program, was a nod to the push for diversity and inclusion at Goldman. Women partners at Goldman in attendance included Mass, Esta Stecher, Stacy Selig and Amanda Hindlian.
The first act was Storm Large from the Portland, Oregon-based group Pink Martini wearing a va-va-voom red gown and crooning in French.
“My performance is going to be decidedly not as sexy,” said the next talent, Kelli O’Hara, who became a star on the stages of Lincoln Center Theater.
The finale: Amber Iman, an actress in the national tour of “Hamilton,” singing “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman."
Solomon said his two favorite acts were Canadian jazz trumpeter Bria Skonberg and Kansas-born cabaret and musical theater vet Marilyn Maye, who kept the crowd focused on relaxing with her rendition of “Here’s to Life.” She’s 91.
Waldron wouldn’t pick a favorite but rather talked about his work for Lincoln Center: “Like a lot of consumer organizations, we have an aging demographic to deal with, so we’re trying to find ways to reach younger audiences.”
He did his part by bringing along his 18-year-old daughter Ashleigh. His younger kids were at home asleep, and the eldest is at college.
While Waldron said he has little artistic talent, he and his daughter agreed he can cook exactly two things: pancakes and grilled burgers.
“He uses a lot of salt and pepper,” his daughter said.
“No, it’s seasoning,” Waldron said, hinting he has a more complex formula.
On the menu for the 400 or so gala attendees: various vegetables, meat and fish seasoned with “red frill mustard” and “blistered grapes.” They made Waldron’s pancakes and burgers sound pretty good.
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