Athenian Leadership Dialogue Information

2019 OAMR Annual Athenian Leadership Dialogue

was held Thursday, September 19, 2019
10:00 A.M. to 5:30 P.M
Riverhouse on the Deschutes in Bend, Oregon

OAMR is excited to offer another Athenian Leadership Dialogue at the 2019 OAMR Conference. It will be held on Thursday, September 19, 2019, from 10:00 A.M. to 5:30 P.M., at the Riverhouse on the Deschutes, 2850 Rippling River Court, Bend, Oregon.  The session will be based on the book, Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies, by J. B. West. It will be facilitated by Mary Lynne Stratta, MMC, City Secretary, City of Bryan, Texas.

The cost for the session is $35 for participants who have registered for the Conference. The fee for attending only the Athenian Leadership Dialogue is $75. Registration information can be found on the OAMR website at

 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/recorders come into cities in lower level positions and then rise to the position of city clerk/recorder.

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.

On completion of an assessment, three educational points will be offered toward the CMC or MMC designation. Contact Peggy Hawker, at, with questions.

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