Infor has over the last few years introduced us to many iconic neighborhoods in New York City – the location of its headquarters and the site of its user event, Inforum. This year Inforum moved to Washington, DC and I asked my wife to join me in the city for the weekend. Our Congresswoman requested tickets for us for a tour of the US Capitol and the White House. Our daughter had a car accident (she’s fine) so we ended up cancelling the weekend, but there was still plenty of Washington pomp and history to enjoy during Inforum.
The event was held at the Walter E. Washington Center, which traces history back to 1874. Over the decades it has seen many Presidential Balls and events.
Inforum kicked off with the famous Howard University marching band – “Showtime”. Infor CEO Charles Phillips told the audience people line up to witness the band play in what he called the “fifth quarter”.
Infor organized for analysts a tour of Washington monuments. Dion, our tour guide and ex-Marine brought Washington to life with lots of tidbits of US history including that of Marian Anderson's historic performance at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939. She inspired a young MLK to make his even more impactful speech there in 1963. Eleanor Roosevelt, the First Lady, broke through race barriers and helped Marian get that platform. As we walked by Blair House Dion told of the time foreign leaders would stay at the White House. Nocturnal Churchill liked to wake up FDR at awkward hours. Eleanor made sure on future trips such visiting dignitaries had a 'hotel' of their own:)
I spent a couple of hours at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. I am a big fan of American history, especially in the 1800s, and I was thrilled to see a replica of the compass Lewis and Clark used on their epic frontier trek; an ingot from the 1849 Gold Rush; Winchester, the majestic horse that Union General Phil Sheridan rode in many a Civil War battle, the replica of the golden spike used to finish the transcontinental railroad in 1869 and many other artifacts.
The final poignant moment for me came during the opening keynote. In these days where it seems like Washington politicians cannot agree on anything, Inforum managed to get two extreme ends of the political spectrum – executives from Koch Brothers (an investor in Infor, and a customer of its products) and Van Jones, the TV commentator - back to back on the same stage