Listen: Peggy Grande in conversation with Stephen O’Doherty.
President Ronald Reagan chose Peggy Grande to work at his side for 10 years, and together they created a powerful partnership. Serving as his post-presidency Executive Assistant, Peggy had a front row seat to history and got to know Ronald Reagan the man, not just the president.
A front row seat
She travelled with him regularly and was also his post-presidency official photographer which gave her a behind the scenes view of his private interactions with everyone from the general public to heads of state, including Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher, Brian Mulroney, Helmut Kohl and even a saint – Mother Teresa.
Balancing career and motherhood
Peggy Grande was recently in Australia for a series of executive training and keynote speaking engagements, and talked with Stephen O’Doherty on Open House about the challenge of combining her career with parenting four children. A devout Christian, Peggy believes she was chosen by God to help and support the former President, especially as he faced a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Revelation of a devastating condition
The president and his wife Nancy were very forthright and open about the diagnosis, which they revealed publicly at a time when the condition was much less understood. Grande says the couple were strong in their Christian faith and their openness about the devastating disease was very helpful to the millions of others facing the same issue.
The private life of a public figure
“The President Will See You Now” is Peggy Grande’s book about her years working with the former President. The memoir is affectionate and intimate, sharing observations and stories about Ronald Reagan’s final years.
Grande recalls how Reagan kept a vigorous schedule for years after he left the White House, his robust engagement with others, and ongoing political advocacy. Despite his eventual Alzheimer’s diagnosis, Grande shows how Ronald Reagan remained true to his core beliefs, his gentlemanly kindness, and his undying hope for his country.
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