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The Go BIG Email Interview - Peggy Grande

POSTED 2 months ago BY Go BIG Media, Inc.

Our latest Go Big Email Interview is with author and keynote speaker Peggy Grande. Peggy Grande had the privilege of witnessing history serving as Ronald Reagan’s executive assistant in his post-presidential office from 1989 - 1999. Her new book, The President Will See You Now is a unique look at the personal side and the character of the 40th President of the United States.

GB: Do you see any parallels between Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump?
PG:
Ronald Reagan always said you should talk "to" people, not "above them" or "beneath them", so his communication style was always one that was direct and was tailored to his listener or his audience to be very personal.

So whether it was holding a weekly radio address, or looking into the lens of the camera from the Oval Office, it was important to him to communicate directly to the people who elected him. 

In a similar way, Donald Trump speaks directly to people via Twitter. I have to believe that were social media around when Ronald Reagan was president that he would have used it to talk directly to people. He also loved young people and always connected well with them. Knowing how many young people are on social media I am confident that he would have gone to where they were - online and on social platforms.

GB: What is the one misconception about President Reagan that you think your book will address?
PG:
With most public figures there is a public persona and a private persona. I hope in this book that people will see Ronald Reagan as I saw him behind the scenes - and realize that he was the exact same person when the cameras were rolling as he was when they weren't. He lived a life of respect and kindness and graciousness and gentlemanly manners and thoughtfulness all the time, regardless of whether or not he thought someone was watching.

GB: What is the number one lesson you learned from President Reagan?
PG:
That goodness and strength can co-exist. Often we think that in order to have a spine of steel that you must rule with an iron first. Ronald Reagan broke that perception by being a fearless man of conviction and even at times confrontation, yet always did so with a respect for others as people and graciousness in his interactions, even amidst disagreement.

GB: Is there a story in the book that an avid Reagan fan would be surprised to hear?
PG:
Once the number started getting very large, President Reagan didn't like to celebrate birthdays, but instead would celebrate "Anniversaries of his 39th birthday". So when he was turning 82 we instead wished him a "Happy 43rd Anniversary of your 39th Birthday, Mr. President". He always had a sense of humor and remained very young at heart though, regardless of what his actual age was.

GB: What is your favorite memory and/or story of the President?
PG:
Specifically as a very young woman working for a senior statesman, I appreciated the gentlemanly way he treated me - always with respect and kindness. I never felt that he looked down on me because I was young, but rather I felt as if he appreciated the youthful enthusiasm and optimism with which I tackled every aspect of my job. 

It was the little things he did that I noticed and appreciated - like reaching over and holding my elbow as we would go up and down stairs. Very old-school manners, but very sweet and sincere. The irony was that I was in my 20s and he was in his 80s yet HE was reaching over to steady and help ME! 

You can order Peggy Grande’s new book from from PeggyGrande.com or Amazon.com.

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