A Whistle That Touches My Heart: John Heine

August 3, 2017

Name: John Heine

Home: Springfield, VA

Job: Retired communications professional

John’s Whistle: The best carrot cake in the world

How I Know John: From 1997 to 2001, I was the head of public affairs at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. John Heine was my deputy.

Whistle in Action: John Heine’s carrot cake is famous. During the four years John and I worked together at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, he made carrot cakes to celebrate the birthdays of each member of our eight-person public affairs team. In the sixteen years since I left the Commission, John has made a cake for me pretty much every year. I don’t even have to ask, he just volunteers. Beneath thick cream cheese frosting speckled with diced pecans resides layer upon layer of moist cake riddled with cinnamon and shaved carrot. It tastes great, and is the best-smelling cake I’ve ever had. So much so that during those years at the SEC when I was on a diet, I still claimed my slice of cake at staff birthday parties and inhaled deep breaths of its exquisite bouquet throughout the day (somewhat odd, but totally defensible!) John was a securities law and regulations guru, but his cake may be his true legacy. The other day, I ran into a reporter who used to cover the SEC, and she asked if John was still making his carrot cake. “He is,” I said, “and I am the blessed beneficiary of his simple culinary gift.”

(Find this and other stories in my new book Find Your Whistle: Simple Gifts Touch Hearts & Change Lives.)