Updated: May 8, 2019
Eight years ago, I moved to Washington D.C., was a baby trying to work in the event world of the city. I somehow convinced the 17th Street Festival to let me help and there…I met her. A lover of her local community called the District and professional multi-tasker. When Lee Granados comes to mind I tend to think of the words that Olivia Pope famously uttered in ABC’s Scandal…”It’s handled.”
She grew up working in her family’s restaurant La Fonda, at 17th and R (more recently known as Cobalt), where she learned what hard work meant and took that work ethic with her into adulthood, helping the local community for where she lived.
She became a teacher in Fairfax County, brought two children into this world and decided to focus on them full-time and their educational future. While doing one of the hardest jobs (being a mom) she did contract work for the Center of Applied Linguistics. During this time, she became more involved in the community…then came the “block party.”
An ANC member, no name to “blame,” *cough* Jack Jacobson, was wrapping up a renovation project on 17th Street, a tireless endeavor with peers, residents and businesses. A block party came to mind to commemorate the end of the project and Granados was asked to lead this celebration. Launching this event on a $0 budget and navigating the ins and outs of the local government, sponsorships and fundraising, the now named 17th Street Festival is still going strong 10 years later (now run by the DuPont Circle Main Streets).
Having passed the baton on the 17th Street Festival, the Granados Group was formed. Being known for handling logistics, assisting in large and small city events and engaging community members, Granados took on what she could while raising two kids. Nation Marathon, Capital Pride and most notably the Nike Women’s Half Marathon for two years, just to name a few. She then jumped into non-profit development.
Here at Nora Lee, along with CLF Strategies, we are assisting with one of her latest unique endeavors she picked up in Spring 2018, the Race to Beat Cancer with the Four Seasons andWashington Hospital Center. Sign up here and show why this is your race to beat cancer!
Last year, for the 50thanniversary of the Special Olympics, Granados volunteered to assist a friend in Chicago and was brought in as back up. Through that opportunity she was able to do what she does best and manage chaos at the World Games this past March in United Arab Emirates. It was the “experience of a lifetime!”
A native Washingtonian she says “Don’t be fooled that D.C. is all transient, because it’s not. There are plenty of us in all eight wards.” It is with this spirit which enables her to understand the value of “know thy neighbor” because they all grew up relying on each other. Stepping into the streets of DC, exuding community advocacy, she is often reached out to for answers to questions and guidance.
“What do you need help with? If I can’t help you, I probably know someone who can. I know what I’m good at and what I’m not good at. No need pretending to be able to do it all, so build a rolodex, share the wealth and we’ll all be better off.”
As Granados as had a front row seat to my life in Washington and all of my “figuring out what I’m gonna do with my life” endeavors, she is a pillar I lean on for advice while traveling on this road of owning a business in the District. Whether it’s for assistance in city permits, advice on clients, fundraising ideas or as she did for me back in February, help with a venue falling through last minute on an event, she is a one stop shop of knowledge on almost anything Washington D.C.
To reiterate, leaving a conversation with Granados you feel like “it’s handled.”
Upcoming events/projects not mentioned above are The Washington Blade’s 50thAnniversary, The McClendon Center and other collaborative partnerships with peers.
Photos by Brady Scot Photography