Posts Tagged ‘First Lady’
Mar 7

Michelle Obama on first First Ladies Conference

Anita McBride, former chief of staff to First Lady Laura Bush and now an executive in residence at American University, kicked-off the The Legacies of America’s First Ladies conference on Monday to celebrate and examine the role of the nation’s first ladies. The day long gathering began  with a letter from the current First Lady, Michelle Obama in which she said

It is my honor to serve our nation as First Lady and have the opportunity to touch so many lives.  Throughout the course of our history, the accomplished women who have come before me have helped to shape our national character and strengthen our country.  Their stories are a fascinating part of our narrative and their commitment to service represents what is best about the American spirit.  Each day, I am inspired by their countless contributions and it is a privilege to join their company.  I wish you all the best for an enjoyable conference.

McBride, who organized the conference with the American University’s School of Public Affairs , also read a job description written by John Heubusch, president of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, listing the extensive requirements expected of a first lady which include the willingness to relocate to Washington, DC; demonstrated perfection as a human being; and superhuman multi-tasking.

Watch below to hear the full description and ask yourself: forty-six women have filled this important role – would you apply for this job?

Susan Sher, former chief of staff to Michelle Obama, marking her first appearance since leaving the White House, and Melanne Verveer, former chief of staff to Hillary Rodham Clinton, now Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues joined McBride on a panel for a bi-partisan look inside 1600 Pennsylvania Ave the role of the modern First Lady.

Other featured panel discussions included insights on first ladies throughout history and behind-the-scenes moments at the White House. Gahl Hodges Burt, Social Secretary to President and Mrs. Reagan recalled a particular moment when close Reagan friend Charlton Heston came to visit. Heston wandered onto the White House lawn while the fife and drum corps marched during an official ceremony. Burt had no choice but to alert secret service over a loud walkie-talkie to ask that Heston be moved. A clever secret service agent replied: “nobody moves Moses.”

Participants included, among others, Presidential Historian Richard Norton Smith; Jean Becker, Deputy Press Secretary to First Lady Barbara Bush; Kathryn Cade, Director of Projects for First Lady Rosalynn Carter; Ann Compton, White House Correspondent for ABC News; Ann Gerhard, Deputy Outlook Editor for the Washington Post; Lois Romano, National Political Correspondent for the Washington Post; and Steve Scully of C-SPAN.

In addition to the conference, McBride is also spearheading the creation of the First Ladies Foundation to cultivate the first non-partisan history on the impact these women have made. CLICK here for more information.

Mar 1

Celebrating the First Ladies

Susan Axelrod, Susan Sher, Connie Milstein & Anita McBride at CURE Epilepsy event in DC - December 2010

Forty-six women have served as First Lady, standing alongside our US Presidents throughout history. To kick off Women’s History Month, the American University’s School of Public Affairs is holding an afternoon conference, The Legacies of America’s First Ladies, to celebrate and examine the role of the nation’s first ladies.

The conference was organized by Anita McBride, former chief of staff to First Lady Laura Bush and now an executive in residence at American University.

“A first lady’s role may be a mysterious to many, but these leaders behind the leaders help effect change and advance our society in valuable ways,” says McBride.

Susan Sher, former chief of staff to Michelle Obama, will be making her first appearance since leaving the White House. She will be participating in a panel discussion with McBride and Melanne Verveer, former chief of staff to Hillary Rodham Clinton, on how these modern women have redefined what it means to be First Lady.

There will be other panel discussions throughout the afternoon with premier historians, authors, White House correspondents and journalists, who have studied, written, covered and traveled with the first ladies. Representatives from the Carter, Reagan, and George H.W. Bush administrations will also be participating including Gahl Hodges Burt, former special assistant to President Reagan and social secretary.

Events will be held at AU’s Katzen Arts Center and the White House Historical Association, the National Archives’ Presidential Libraries, and American University’s Library are conference partners. For a full list of speakers and conference agenda, click here.

In addition to the conference, McBride is also spearheading the creation of the First Ladies Foundation to cultivate the first non-partisan history on the impact these women have made. For more information go to FirstLadiesFoundation.org.

Nov 16

Susan Sher Exits East Wing

Tom Hanks and Susan Sher at The Jefferson Hotel after a screening of the HBO mini-series "The Pacific"

Susan Sher, Chief of Staff to the First Lady and longtime friend of the Obamas will be returning to Chicago after the first of the year.

“Susan has been both a colleague and a dear friend for decades, and I have been grateful every day for her leadership and wise counsel in Washington,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “I also very much appreciate her generosity in staying longer than she initially planned – spending so many months away from her family in Chicago – to help me build my office in the East Wing. I wish her all the best.”

Sher spearheaded the First Lady’s high-profile anti-obesity campaign Let’s Move! and served as the Administration’s liaison to the Jewish community. She came to Washington with the Obamas in January 2009, working in the White House Counsel’s Office to support the Office of the First Lady. In June 2009, Sher took over as Chief of Staff to the First Lady, adding stability and her own personal style to the East Wing.