Seth Kahan
Author, consultant

Seth Kahan

Change expert and author who has advised executives in 50-plus organizations, including Shell, World Bank, Peace Corps and NASA. He can be reached at


Strong and successful

Q: Laura Bush drew kudos and controversy for largely staying out of the limelight as first lady. She's even reserved in her new memoir. Did Bush miss a chance to promote her causes more aggressively? Do such people have any responsibility to the public?

Mrs. Bush is who she is and there is no need for her to be other. She has her own integrity, and she stood by her husband while he occupied the highest office in the land in very difficult circumstances.

Mrs. Bush leveraged her position into significant accomplishments including the National Book Festival, spearheading teachers' causes, and empowering women especially in Afghanistan, where her work continues today.

Yet, the press chooses to focus on making her uncomfortable, asking questions about how much it cost to blow dry her hair while she was at the White House, highlighting her car accident in 1963. Prominent national newspapers come off like the National Enquirer, more intent on igniting gossip than appreciating this woman who rose to meet challenges from inside the White House during one of our nation's most difficult passages.

We are missing the target by focusing on the wrong measure. Look to her results. Judge the First Lady by her outcomes including, among so much more:

-- Establishment of the National Book Fesitval in 2001
-- Advancing education and literacy on a global scale
-- Advancing women's health through The Heart Truth and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

By Seth Kahan  |  May 17, 2010; 2:28 PM ET  | Category:  Defining success Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Those war torn victims are a direct result of her husbands policies. He tears them up and she rebuilds them? Spare me all the praise of either one of them.

Posted by: bretb | May 20, 2010 6:59 AM
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Hit the nail on the head Seth! She has done so much that so many fail to recongnize, but she does it anyways. She is not looking for the spotlight or recognition, that equals classy!

Posted by: maslager | May 19, 2010 12:48 PM
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Laura Bush still works directly with WOMEN for WOMEN INTERNATIONAL. It supports women in war-torn regions with financial and emotional aid, job-skills training, rights education and small business assistance so they can rebuild their lives.

Numerous significant accomplishments:

--Linked more than 145,000 women survivors of war with sponsors worldwide.
--Facilitated the translation and exchange of thousands of letters of support between sponsors and sponsored women.
--Enrolled and graduated more than 93,000 women in the organization's Renewing Life Skills for Women (ReneWLS leadership and rights awareness education training program.
--Helped thousands of women secure employment and establish their own income-generating businesses.
--Distributed more than $78.8 million in direct aid and microcedit loans, maintaining a 99% repayment rate on all loans.
--Facilitated hundreds of group therapy sessions for war survivors by providing a venue for women to share their experiences and feelings and build bridges between women survivors of different ethnic backgrounds.

Posted by: livefr8 | May 19, 2010 11:37 AM
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Thanks for a civil commentary and astute observation regarding the blood lust of national news media.

Posted by: SavingGrace | May 19, 2010 8:12 AM
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