David Rubenstein, founder of the Carlyle Group, talks with Ginni Rometty, chief executive of IBM. (Joyce Boghosian/Economic Club of Washington)
Economic Club: A chat with IBM’s CEO

Ginni Rometty, the chief executive of IBM, was in the proverbial hot seat on Wednesday for a chat with David M. Rubenstein during a breakfast hosted by the Economic Club of Washington, D.C.

“A higher calling like private equity wouldn’t appeal to you?” joked Rubenstein, the founder of the Carlyle Group, when he asked Rometty about life after IBM.

Although IBM CEOs have a historically short tenure, Rometty explained she was in for the long haul.

She started with IBM in 1981, just a few years out of Northwestern University’s engineering program.

She became CEO in 2012.

The 2014 Washington Business Hall of Fame laureates include, from left in the front row, Sudhakar Kesavan of ICF International, Dennis Ratner of Ratner Companies, Debbie Kissire of Ernst & Young and Peter Barris of New Enterprise Associates. Behind them stand president and chief executive of Junior Achievement of Greater Washington Ed Grenier, Washingtonian president and publisher, Catherine Merrill Williams, president and chief executive of the Greater Washington Board of Trade Jim Dinegar, and Ron Morgan of MorganFranklin Consulting. The induction was Dec. 2 at the National Building Museum. (Washington Business Hall of Fame)

Rometty stressed the importance of science, technology, engineering and math education, especially for students with business aspirations.

“My engineering background taught me how to solve problems.”

Among the other guests at the breakfast were Sydney McNiff Johnson, a principal in the energy practice at Dentons and the wife of former General Dynamics CEO Jay Johnson, and Marie Royce, vice president of public affairs for Alcatel-Lucent, and the wife of Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.).

— Stephanie Green

Hall of Fame: Four business leaders inducted

The Washington Business Hall of Fame dinner brought in more than $1 million for Junior Achievement of Greater Washington Tuesday night at the National Building Museum with some 1,000 guests.

The annual event, dubbed “the Academy Awards for local business” honors leaders with the help of corporate sponsors Capital One and MorganFranklin Consulting.

This year’s laureates included Peter Barris, managing general partner of the investment firm New Enterprise Associates; ICF International chief executive Sudhakar Kesavan; Debbie Kissire, Ernest & Young vice chair; and Dennis Ratner, chief executive and stylist at the Hair Cuttery’s Ratner Cos.

Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Wizards and other sports teams, was among those who introduced the honorees.

— S.G.

Holiday parties: ESA, US Telcom start season

The round of lobbyist holiday parties is off and running. Last week, the Entertainment Software Association pulled out all the stops for its bash at the Warner Building.

Video games, photo booths and a decidedly younger crowd pulled this event out of the usual doldrums of ho-hum holiday receptions.

Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.) chatted with Michael Gallagher, the ESA’s president and chief executive, and Erik Huey, the ESA’s lobbyist.

Other guests included lobbyist Heather Podesta and Tonya Williams, director of legislative affairs for Vice President Joe Biden.

Meanwhile, right around the corner, US Telecom, the trade association for the telecommunications industry, rented out Central Michel Richard on Pennsylvania Avenue for its holiday bash.

Lamb sliders and chic bites of macaroni and cheese were served to a bustling crowd that included Lyndon Boozer, assistant vice president at AT&T; Joyce Brayboy, a vice president at Goldman Sachs; and a host of congressional staffers such as Yelberton R. Watkins, chief of staff to Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.); and Michael Platt, chief of staff to Rep. Marcia Blackburn (R-Tenn.).

— S.G.

Retail history: Boffi celebrates 80 years

Boffi, the sleek Milanese kitchen and bathroom design firm that opened its Georgetown location in 2010, held a reception on Nov. 13 to celebrate the company’s 80th anniversary.

The Cady Alley location is the company’s 23rd showroom that features high-end products with a minimalist modern aesthetic.

Among the new elements in the showroom is a freestanding towel holder series consisting of stainless steel rods with weighted base in stone.

—S.G.