NALC is coming to Bob Woodward’s backyard.

As an investigative journalist for The Washington Post, Woodward, along with Carl Bernstein, is largely responsible for bringing the Watergate scandal of the early 1970s to the American public – Robert Redford portrayed him in the film All The President’s Men. Since then, he has covered the evolution of politics in Washington, D.C. from Nixon all the way to Biden.

With the North American Leadership Conference (NALC) coming to the nation’s capital this June, PPAI is excited to announce that Woodward will be a guest speaker for the event. The insider icon will discuss firsthand how Washington politics has changed, and how different presidents over the decades handled their leadership responsibilities.

In anticipation of the event, PPAI Media caught up with the journalist and best-selling author for something of a rapid-fire preview of his NALC presentation.

PPAI Media: Having covered and written about every president from Nixon to Biden, is there a shared best quality among presidents that you’ve seen over the years? Perhaps not every president over that span embodied it, but the ones who did saw a version of success in key areas of their agenda?

Bob Woodward: All presidents have a large obligation to inform, warn, protect and define goals and the true national interest. It should be a truth-telling response to the world, especially in crisis. At the core of this is transparency and a realization that in a democracy, information must be given to the citizens straight. Presidents have a mixed record on that. If the information is inaccurate, distorted or wholly unsupported, democracy can’t work.

PPAI Media: This conference will be attended by some of our industry leaders, people who not only make important decisions for their companies but also are often the face of their company to the public and their employees. Do you believe having a leadership style or strategy is important? Do leaders need something more than simply reacting on a decision-by-decision basis?

Woodward: Of course. The true goals need to be stated clearly and fully.

Photo credit: Lisa Berg

PPAI Media: The promo industry includes a huge number of small businesses, some of which become large businesses over time. Is there a president you remember covering who most passionately or effectively focused on the needs of small businesses?

Woodward: In my view, no recent president focused sufficiently on the needs of small businesses.

PPAI Media: The promotional products industry can be affected by the whims of legislative action. In your observation, has an increased partisanship over the past handful of years made it more difficult for lawmakers to agree on legislation that is intended to serve the common good?

Woodward: The divide in the country and Congress is so great that insufficient attention is given to just about everything.

PPAI Media: You’ll be speaking in front of a bunch of people who are in the business of promotional products. Is there a memento or promotional product that you have, perhaps by happenstance, kept for a long time? Maybe something from The Washington Post?

Woodward: I have the plate that was used by the The Washington Post printing presses to run the “Nixon Resigns” story on August 8th, 1974.

To register for NALC, click here.