• George W. Bush Presidential Center

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Style of Influence: A Conversation on the Role of the First Lady 

March 1, 2018

This special program helped launch the Bush Center’s new special exhibit, First Ladies: Style of Influence.  The exhibit explores the role of the first lady, how the role has changed over time, and how specific first ladies have used the position to advance diplomacy and advance social, cultural, and political initiatives.

For a lively discussion on those topics, Engage at the Bush Center, presented by Highland Capital Management welcomed an expert panel: Former White House Curator Bill Allman, who served eight presidents and first ladies in 40 years at the White House and notably collaborated with Mrs. Bush on the restoration of the Lincoln Bedroom; Lea Berman, former White House social secretary and co-author of the new book, Treating People Well: The Extraordinary Power of Civility at Work and in Life; Anita McBride, who worked in three White House administrations, served as chief of staff to First Lady Laura Bush and now leads the First Ladies Initiative at American University; and Dr. Katherine Sibley, historian, expert on first ladies and the author of First Lady Florence Harding: Behind the Tragedy and Controversy.

The panel was moderated by Natalie Gonnella-Platts, the Deputy Director of the Women’s Initiative at the Bush Institute and the person who led the first lady research project which produced the well-received A Role Without A Rulebook paper as a policy companion for the exhibit.