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May 21, 2019 Grand Rapids, Michigan

The White House Historical Association (WHHA) will participate in the “America’s First Ladies Luncheon Series,” the annual celebration of First Lady Betty Ford at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation.

This year’s presentation, “Inside the White House: Behind the Scenes of the First Lady’s Office,” will be moderated by WHHA President Stewart McLaurin, and feature a discussion with Anita McBride, former chief of staff to First Lady Laura Bush; Tina Tchen, former chief of staff to First Lady Michelle Obama; and Chef Roland Mesnier, former White House pastry chef. The conversation will be followed with a special tribute performance by Motown singer Martha Reeves.

McBride and Tchen are both board members of the White House Historical Association. Chef Mesnier has authored several books published by the White House Historical Association.

WHEN: Thursday, May 30, 2019. Doors for registered guests open at 11:30 a.m. and the luncheon will take place noon - 1:30 p.m.

WHERE: Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park (1000 E. Beltline Avenue NE in Grand Rapids, Michigan)

For more information, to request an interview with Stewart McLaurin, or to confirm your attendance for this event, please contact

NOTE: The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation is attempting to make available the participants for this year's America's First Ladies Luncheon Series. Members of the media are invited for one-on-one interviews on Thursday, May 30 at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, beginning at 11 a.m. The media availability will last about 30 minutes.

About the Moderator, Panelists and Performer:

Stewart McLaurin leads the WHHA’s non-profit and non-partisan mission to enhance the understanding and appreciation of the Executive Mansion through acquisition, preservation, research and educationation efforts made with generous private donations and the sale of WHHA books, products and the Official White House Ornament. Prior to this role, McLaurin served as vice president for the development and opening of the new George Washington presidential library at Mount Vernon and as executive director for both the Ronald Regan Presidential Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Anita McBride currently serves as executive-in-residence at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies in the School of Public Affairs at American University and is a board member of the WHHA. Before serving as chief of staff to Bush, McBride served as White House personnel director for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, special assistant to the president for management and administration, and as an assistant to President George W. Bush.

Tina Tchen served as First Lady Michelle Obama’s chief of staff and while at the White House, she also served as director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, and executive director for the Council on Women and Girls, which was created by President Obama. Before working for the White House, Tchen was a partner in corporate litigation at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. She now serves on the board of the WHHA and is currently a partner, attorney and Chicago office leader for Buckley LLP.

Chef Roland Mesnier began his career as a pastry apprentice in France and was hired by First Lady Rosalynn Carter as head pastry chef at the White House. During his 25 years at the White House, he created desserts for more than 40 queens, kings, princes, princesses, and heads of state. He became known for his famous series of gingerbread houses displayed in the state dining room each Christmas holiday season. Mesnier continues to educate expert and novice bakers about his craft. He is an author of many books including, “The White House in Gingerbread: Memories & Recipes,” “The Gingerbread White House: A Pop-Up Book,” and “A Sweet World of White House Desserts,” published by the WHHA.

Artist Martha Reeves developed her talent singing gospel at her grandfather's church and at Detroit’s Northeastern High School. Together with her backup singers, the Vandellas, Reeves recorded a classic run of singles in the mid-1960s including “Dancing in the Street,” “Nowhere to Run,” “Come and Get These Memories,” “Heatwave,” “ Jimmy Mack,” “ My Baby Loves Me,” “I’m Ready for Love,” and “Quicksand.” In 1995, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

P.D.F. Resources

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About the white house historical association

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy envisioned a restored White House that conveyed a sense of history through its decorative and fine arts. She sought to inspire Americans, especially children, to explore and engage with American history and its presidents. In 1961, the White House Historical Association was established to support her vision to preserve and share the Executive Mansion’s legacy for generations to come. Supported entirely by private resources, the Association’s mission is to assist in the preservation of the state and public rooms, fund acquisitions for the White House permanent collection, and educate the public on the history of the White House. Since its founding, the Association has given more than $50 million to the White House in fulfillment of its mission.

To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit

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