Behind the Scenes at the White House
Under Mrs. Bush's Direction, the Social Office and the Residence Staff Orchestrate Events and Daily Operations
Mrs. Laura Bush welcomes America's guests to the Nation's House - a home, an office, and a public museum.
The White House Social Office Coordinates And Executes Events Hosted By The President And Mrs. Bush
The White House Social Secretary ensures that events at the White House reflect the style of the President and Mrs. Bush. The Social Secretary and her staff work in tandem with the Executive Residence Staff on all White House events, from private lunches in their home to elaborately detailed state dinners that accommodate up to 134 guests in the State Dining Room.
Key Positions Behind the Scenes at the White House Manage Day-To-Day Operations
The Residence Staff, led by the Director of the Executive Residence Staff and Chief Usher Rear Admiral Stephen Rochon, works with the Social Office to choreograph the intricate details that compose a successful White House Social Event. Residence Staff positions are permanent and non-political, and some staff have served First Families for the past three decades.
Executive Chef Cristeta "Cris" Comerford, the first woman to serve in that position, was appointed by Mrs. Bush in August 2005. Chef Cris is responsible for designing and executing menus for state dinners, social events, holiday functions, receptions, and official lunches hosted by the President and Mrs. Bush.
Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses designs and executes dessert menus, with Mrs. Bush's input and approval, for events held at the White House. Chef Yosses was appointed by Mrs. Bush in January 2007.
Chief Floral Designer Nancy Clarke and her staff create beautiful floral arrangements for the White House. Nancy Clarke started as a volunteer in the White House in 1978, became a full-time staff member in 1981, and was named Chief Floral Designer in 1985 by Mrs. Nancy Reagan.
Superintendent of the Grounds and White House Horticulturist Dale Haney supervises care of the Executive Grounds and oversees the National Park Service staff responsible for maintenance. Superintendent Haney has worked at the White House grounds since 1972 and has taken care of the First Families' pets since the Nixon Administration. Key projects he manages include Garden Tours, the Easter Egg Roll, tree plantings, and the cultivation of specialty flowers, including the Laura Bush Rose. The President and Mrs. Bush planted seven commemorative trees on the grounds.
The White House Calligraphy Office custom designs and produces all invitations, place cards, and menu cards. The three staff members design the menus for all seated events and hand letter all engraved reception and dinner invitations - sending more than 16,000 in 2008.
The White House Military Office, under the direction of Rear Admiral Raymond Spicer, is responsible for all the operational support units assigned to the White House. Admiral Spicer is the primary military interface with the White House Senior Staff and oversees all policies that affect the military assigned to support the President. The operational units are the most visible element of the White House Military Office's support to the President. These units include the White House Communications Agency, Presidential Airlift Group, the White House Medical Unit, Camp David, Marine Helicopter Squadron One, Presidential Food Service, and the White House Transportation Agency. Together, these entities provide essential service to the President and Mrs. Bush, as well as help assure the continuity of the Presidency.
For more information about Social Events at the White House, please visit www.whitehouse.gov/firstlady/arts.html