When Walter Schubert Met Barack Obama

Walter Schubert, founder of the Gay Financial Network and chairman of the board of the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, gets an audience with President Obama to talk all things stimulus.

BY Matthew Link

February 11 2009 1:00 AM ET

Walter Schubert
established the Gay Financial Network in 1998
and is chairman of the board of the National Gay
and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
,
founded in 2002, but he was still floored
when he was recently asked to meet with President Obama in
the White House. Along with about 50 of
America’s top CEOs (from companies including
Honeywell, IBM, Google, and Aetna) and business leaders,
Schubert was invited to offer ideas about how to get the
United States out of its economic woes.

Schubert sat down
with Advocate.com to offer his tales from the
frontline.

Advocate.com: What was it like to get the call from the White House?Walter Schubert: I was surprised when I got the
call on Tuesday [January 27] saying that it was the White
House inviting me down to D.C. the next day. I
wasn’t expecting anything like that. I know the
National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce has grown
in its reach and stature over its six years, and that Obama
has expressed the desire to reach out to various
groups, and I guess we fit the profile… I had
been invited to the White House once when Reagan was
president and twice when Clinton was president, but for
completely different reasons. I was shocked since the
guy hadn’t been president for even two full
weeks. I thought he would have plenty of other things to do
besides calling and having us show up.

Describe what the meeting with Obama was like. After a short briefing, we were taken to the
White House. There was a very attractive Marine in
dress uniform playing a 300-year-old piano in the
Grand Hall -- nice treat for sure. It was really nice. We
went to the East Room of the White House where the
president gave some remarks to a live TV audience on
the importance of the stimulus package and getting the
support of corporations and the business community. It was
funny because friends of mine saw me shaking
Obama’s hand on TV and they were like,
‘What’s going on here?’ We had to have
our cell phones off but there were six or seven texts
for me afterwards. ‘Was that really you on TV
or did you have a double?’

Tags: Politics

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