OK so this was a keynote at 8.15am by a historian talking about leadership and having experienced the seminal Kurtzweil keynote last year this could only ever be a bit of a disappointment (although more likely to be free of chocolate milk). Well that would be wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong...it was absolutely fantastic, the best ever - engaging, inspiring, humbling, funny, informative, enchanting, transfixing, understated, overwhelming... and by the end of the 90 minutes throughout which she leaned forward on the lecturn and spoke as if you were the only person in the room (rather than one of 7,000) there wasn't a dry eye in the house...I kid you not.
I'm not going to do justice describing this but can I strongly recommend you check out the recording when it is put onto the web. So rather than spoil it below is the profile of the speaker that we got at the start - just as a taster.
Doris Kearns Goodwin
EDUCATION: B.A. Colby College, Phi Beta Kappa. Magna cum laude. Ph.D in Government at Harvard University, Woodrow Wilson Fellow.
EXPERIENCE: Taught at Harvard University, including the course on American Presidency. Worked as an assistant to President Lyndon Johnson during the last year in the White House; later assisted Johnson on the preparation of his memoirs.
Lyndon Johnson and The American Dream. 1976. Book-of-the-Month Club. New York Times bestseller. Called by the New York Times “the most penetrating political biography” the reviewer had ever read.
The Fitzgeralds and The Kennedys. 1987. Literary Guild. New York Times bestseller for five months. Winner of various awards. Made into six hour miniseries aired on ABC in 1990. “Rarely has popular history rung so authentic,” the New York Times reviewer said.
No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II. Awarded Pulitzer Prize in history in April, 1995. Also was awarded the Harold Washington Literary Award, the New England Bookseller Association Award, the Ambassador Book Award and The Washington Monthly Book Award. New York Times bestseller for six months.
Wait Till Next Year: A Memoir. 1997. Growing up in the 1950’s in love with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Book-of-the-Month Club. New York Times Bestseller. “This is a book in the grand tradition of girlhood memoirs, dating from Louisa May Alcott to Carson McCullers and Harper Lee” the Washington Post reviewer wrote. Has been optioned for a musical.
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. Winner of the prestigious Lincoln Prize and the inaugural Book Prize for American History. 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist. New York Times bestseller. “A brilliantly conceived and well-written tour de force of a historical narrative,” wrote the reviewer for the Boston Globe. Steven Spielberg acquired the rights to the book and is developing a feature film based on it, with Liam Neeson to star as Lincoln.
Numerous articles on politics and baseball for leading national publications. Winner of the Charles Frankel Prize given by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Sara Josepha Hale medal. First woman journalist to enter the Red Sox locker room.
TELEVISION: Currently an NBC News Analyst. Consultant and interviewed extensively for PBS documentaries on LBJ, the Kennedy family, Franklin Roosevelt, Abraham and Mary Lincoln, and Ken Burns’ “The History of Baseball.”
Married to the writer Richard Goodwin who worked in the White House under both Kennedy and Johnson. His experience as the investigator who uncovered the quiz show scandals of the 1950’s was captured in the Academy Award nominated movie “Quiz Show,” directed by Robert Redford. The Goodwin have three sons, Richard, Michael and Joseph.