Lessons in Leadership with Susan Eisenhower and President Bob Iuliano
Eisenhower Memorial (Photo by the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission.)
By Vanessa Igras, Contributing Writer
On Wednesday, Sept. 23, the Eisenhower Institute welcomed Susan Eisenhower to speak on her new book, How Ike Led: Lessons in Leadership, hosted by President Bob Iuliano. Having delved into a conversation regarding the life and legacy of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, listeners gained insight on what effective leadership looks like and its relevance to current political issues in the United States.
This conversation followed the dedication ceremony of the new Eisenhower Memorial in Washington D.C, which was held on Sept. 17. The memorial was described by Eisenhower to be one of the very few where “the great man [was] actually with people.” This was an intentional design meant to encompass Eisenhower’s belief that his accomplishments as a 5-Star General and post-war president were possible through extraordinary team efforts.
Eisenhower shared her admiration for the memorial as she felt that “it is always going to represent what Ike tried to do, which is to bring everyone together.”
When asked “why this book, and why now?” Eisenhower explained that her reasoning for the book was to show the rising generation the great leadership of our past. She emphasized that there was a very different leadership style used during the 1950s alongside very different approaches to long-term pressing issues.
S. Eisenhower’s book used anecdotes from Eisenhower’s life to “show what leadership is rather than to tell what it is.”
In a unique opportunity, throughout the first half of the conversation, listeners learned about the WWII general and president as a person. S. Eisenhower went on to tell stories from the novel, one of which was her personal account labeled the “unattentive granddaughter.” In a story, like this one, Eisenhower explained how the way her grandfather approached certain situations in day to day life “reflected the way he led people.”
“He knew how to observe people,” Eisenhower said. In light of our current leadership, Eisenhower raised the point that in leadership character matters, and the anecdotes throughout her book show the kind of man he was inside and outside of leadership.
In the end, S. Eisenhower described her grandfather as a strong believer in the idea that people need time to grow and mature. She went on to close the conversation and shared advice with the rising generation.
“You’ve got time,” Eisenhower said. “It takes time for people to develop into the kind of person they are meant to be.”