President George W. Bush speaks with Presidential Leadership Scholars about the value of leading with compassion and creating clear decision-making processes as a leader. Photo by Grant Miller for the Presidential Leadership Scholars program.

Decision Points with President George W. Bush

Lessons in leadership from the Presidential Leadership Scholars program: Session 4

“As a leader, your instincts matter a lot. But if the goal is to have people around to make you look good, you will fail. If your goal is to have experts there to lend their knowledge, then you’ll make good choices.” -President George W. Bush

This month, President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush welcomed the 2018 Class of Presidential Leadership Scholars to the Bush Center in Dallas, Texas.

Scholars learned about the leadership style and strengths of President Bush, and how to apply the decision-making processes he used in his administration to their own lives.

In addition to President and Mrs. Bush, Scholars heard from:

  • Sonya Medina Williams, board of director for Papa John’s International, and former deputy assistant to President Bush and director of projects to Mrs. Laura Bush;
  • Holly Kuzmich, executive director of the George W. Bush Institute and senior vice president of the George W. Bush Center;
  • Keith Hennessey, lecturer at Stanford Graduate School of Business, former director of the National Economic Council, and former assistant to President Bush for economic policy;
  • Tony Fratto, managing partner at Hamilton Place Strategies and former White House deputy press secretary;
  • Meghan O’Sullivan, Jean Kirkpatrick Profession of the Practice of International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School and former deputy national security advisor to President Bush;
  • Freddy Ford, chief of staff in the office of George W. Bush;
  • Karl Rove, political strategist and former deputy chief of staff and senior advisor to President Bush; and more.
Sonya Medina Williams moderates a conversation with Mrs. Laura Bush and Presidential Leadership Scholars at the Bush Center in Dallas, Texas. Photo by Andrew Kaufmann for the Presidential Leadership Scholars program.
Keith Hennessey participates in a classroom session with Presidential Leadership Scholars at the Bush Center in Dallas, Texas. Photo by Grant Miller for the Presidential Leadership Scholars program.
Scholars participate in a policy briefing exercise with program leaders and former administration officials. Photo by Grant Miller for the Presidential Leadership Scholars program.
Freddy Ford moderates a discussion with Tony Fratto, Keith Hennessey, and Meghan O’Sullivan on President Bush’s leadership. Photo by Grant Miller for the Presidential Leadership Scholars program.
Holly Kuzmich moderates a conversation with President George W. Bush and Presidential Leadership Scholars at the Bush Center in Dallas, Texas. Photo by Grant Miller for the Presidential Leadership Scholars program.
Karl Rove and Tony Fratto join the Presidential Leadership Scholars for a conversation at the Bush Center in Dallas, Texas. Photo by Grant Miller for the Presidential Leadership Scholars program.
2018 Class of Presidential Leadership Scholars meet at the Bush Center in Dallas, Texas. Photo by Grant Miller for the Presidential Leadership Scholars program.

Here’s what people are saying about Session 4:

The 2018 Class of Presidential Leadership Scholars will continue their visits to each of the four partnering presidential centers to engage with former presidents, officials from their administrations, and the unique resources of the libraries to enhance their own leadership abilities in order to make a positive difference in the world. Look out for our next update from the LBJ Foundation in Austin, TX!


To learn more about the Presidential Leadership Scholars program, visit www.presidentialleadershipscholars.org. For updates about the Presidential Leadership Scholars, use #PLScholars or follow @PLSprogram on Twitter and Flickr.