J. B. West, chief usher of the White House, directed the operations and maintenance of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue—and coordinated its daily life—at the request of the President and his family. He directed state functions, planned parties, weddings and funerals, gardens and playgrounds, and extensive renovations; and, with a large staff, supervised every activity in the presidential home. For twenty-eight years, first as assistant to the chief usher, then as chief usher, he witnessed national crises and triumphs, and interacted daily with six consecutive Presidents and First Ladies, as well as their parents, children and grandchildren, and houseguests—including friends, relatives, and heads of state.
J.B. West, whom Jackie Kennedy called “one of the most extraordinary men I have ever met,” provides an absorbing, one-of-a-kind history of life among the first ladies. Alive with anecdotes ranging from Eleanor Roosevelt’s fascinating political strategies to Jackie Kennedy’s tragic loss and the personal struggles of Pat Nixon, Upstairs at the White House is a rich account of a slice of American history that usually remains behind closed doors.
J.B. West is very much like the city clerk in a municipality – we do it all. His leadership skills were phenomenal. His rise to the role of chief usher is interesting and, in many cases, could parallel how many city clerks come into cities in lower level positions and then rise to the position of city clerk.
There are also fascinating snippets of the leadership characteristics, strengths and weaknesses of the First Ladies from Eleanor Roosevelt to Pat Nixon. Hearing about them from a White House insider presents a different picture than the world has seen. To watch these first ladies struggle to juggle their state duties and demanding official schedule, as well as being a wife, mother and daughter, shows us rare glimpses of work-life balance in its most rare form.
Attendees are required to purchase their own book and read the book prior to the dialogue. The dialogue will earn you 3 CMC or 3 MMC education points for 6 hours with the satisfactory and timely completion of a learning assessment.
There are only 35 spots available on a first come-first served basis.