In 2011, I walked into the Eisenhower Executive Office Buiding for the very first time, to interview for my dream job. I was wearing my favorite black suit, a strand of pearls, heels, and was clutching a folder so tight that my knuckles were white. I walked up and down 17th Street pacing for 30 minutes before going through security.
Luckily, Brian Wallach was the first person I met with that day. Disarming, approachable, and kind, he immediately put me at ease. Most of all, I noticed his positivity. When I was hired, Brian was my boss, and he helped lead our team with quiet confidence, relentless optimism, humility, passion, hard work, determination, and great humor.
A year and a half later, when I was growing weary of vetting, Brian assigned a new candidate to me to vet: Cathy Russell. Cathy had been Dr. Biden's Chief of Staff during the first term of the administration, and Brian's assignment was not random. I remember him saying something like, "I just have a feeling you'll hit it off." Fast forward a few weeks, and Cathy had submitted my resume to Dr. Biden's new Chief of Staff, which is how I ended up in my second dream job: serving as Dr. Biden's Director of Policy.
Quite simply, Brian is responsible for helping me land not one, but two, dream jobs. I owe him a lot.
As I entered the White House to start my new job—my dream job—I was intimidated to say the least. But I was lucky, Brian was my new boss.
Brian is exactly who you want as your boss on your first day at a new job. He immediately put me at ease, and I instantly knew he was someone I could rely on and trust. Brian quickly became not just my boss, but a mentor and friend. He provided unwavering support (and often much needed humor!), and his genuine optimism was palpable throughout our office. Brian was loyal and cared deeply about all of us—his team—and he was compassionate towards the candidates we vetted. He never took the path of least resistance, always going that extra step to ensure we all succeeded.
It came as no surprise to me, that following his ALS diagnosis, Brian decided to take up the fight and work tirelessly towards a cure with relentless optimism and strength. While his determination wasn’t surprising, it is deeply inspiring—he inspires me every day. Brian is such a force.
In 2018, Brian was diagnosed with ALS at 37 years old, just days after he and his wife brought their second daughter home from the hospital. In that moment of bringing your baby home, full of hope and promise, we can't imagine the devastation at being told that you will not see your children grow up.
Not surprisingly, Brian is facing his ALS diagnosis with the same optimism, determination, and good humor he displayed in our office nearly 10 years ago. We invite you to join us as we help to turn his hope and optimism into reality so that Brian--and millions of others--can see their children grow up.