Ron Fournier on How Millennials are Changing the Future of Politics
Nationally-Acclaimed Political Columnist and Author of New York Times Best-Seller Applebee’s America
- Award-winning 20-year veteran of the Associated Press
- Widely-respected political insider and Senior Advisory Board member of Harvard’s Kennedy School Institute of Politics
- Expert on political disruption and the trends at work behind the rise of populist politics and the disunity of both major parties
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Ron Fournier is an award-winning and nationally-acclaimed political contributor to National Journal and The Atlantic. He formerly served as editor and publisher of Crain’s Detroit Business and as senior political columnist and editorial director of National Journal. Prior to joining Atlantic Media, he was the Washington bureau chief and a 20-year veteran of the Associated Press. There, POLITICO described him as “a consistent news-breaker while maintaining the classic low-profile style of a wire reporter.” Similarly, The Week called him “the most well-read political writer in America,” saying: “This veteran writer has become Washington’s most trenchant, most compulsively readable political critic. Liberal or conservative … you’d be wise to start reading him.” He is currently the President of the public relations and lobbying firm Truscott Rossman.
A familiar voice around the Beltway and widely respected by his peers, he is known for his hard-hitting reporting on Congress, the White House, and both major Parties. Justin B. Smith, the then-president of Atlantic Media Company, called Fournier, “one of the savviest political journalists of his generation,” and Atlantic Media’s owner David Bradley said, “Ron’s name has been whispered to me as in that handful of the finest political reporters and editors who have worked in Washington – maybe ever.” Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, Fournier fuses humorous anecdotes (including stories about the Clintons) with serious insights from his time as one of Washington’s most trusted political writers. He brings unique perspectives to the current political environment, how to lead during this period of immense change, and how to prepare for a future ruled by restless populism and what Fournier calls the rising “Generation Disruption.”
New York Times Best-Selling Author. Fournier is the co-author of the New York Times best-selling Applebee's America: How Successful Political, Business, and Religious Leaders Connect with the New American Community, which examined the shared attributes of successful chief executives. His acclaimed parenting memoir, Love That Boy: What Two Presidents, Eight Road Trip, and My Son Taught Me About a Parent’s Expectations, debuted No. 10 on Amazon.com and spent multiple weeks on the New York Times best seller list.
Journalism Career. Fournier began his career in Arkansas at the Sentinel Record in 1985. He transferred to the Arkansas Democrat in 1987 and began covering then-Gov. Bill Clinton. In 1989, Fournier was hired by the Associated Press, which transferred him to Washington to cover the Clinton White House. Covering the Bush presidency on 9/11, Fournier was the last civilian evacuated from the White House, filing award-winning dispatches while a Secret Service agent urged him to leave. In the roles of columnist and Washington bureau chief, he was credited with sharpening the AP’s writing and analysis to hold public officials more accountable. In 2010, Fournier moved to National Journal as editor-in-chief; he stepped down in 2012, wanting to return to column writing.
Awards. Fournier has won numerous awards, including the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Award and the prestigious White House Correspondents’ Association Merriman Smith Memorial Award (a record four times). In 2005, Fournier was a Harvard fellow at the Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics, where he currently serves on the Senior Advisory Board.
State of Our Disunion: What’s Wrong With Politics Today and The Forces That Will Shape the Future. Fournier delivers a nuanced and provocative discussion about a historic confluence of change in American society that is forcing long-needed disruption of both major parties and other political institutions, marked by populist uprisings and a rising generation of social entrepreneurs that, together, may reinvent democracy. It will help you better understand the current political climate and your company's place in a fast-changing political climate.
Millennials: Generation Disruption’s Influence on Politics, Business, and Culture. Every generation is shaped by the times they live in. For millennials, this means major economic and demographic transitions on top of a technological revolution has left them purpose-driven, goal-oriented, engaged in community service, unafraid of change, and weary of Washington, among other things. With this speech, Fournier draws on Harvard data to argue that this particular set of attributes presents all the makings of the next “Greatest Generation.” Looking at millennials and what drives them, Fournier explains what this new group of social entrepreneurs who don’t believe in politics as a vehicle of positive change will mean for our country and our political system. He shares how corporations can attract, best work with, and retain millennials, who are sure to disrupt the status quo, while acknowledging biases and clichés that may exist about them.
Populism: The Next Big Thing. 2016 saw a new wave of raw American populism led by candidates like Sen. Bernie Sanders and President Donald Trump, and 2020 continued to demonstrate this trend. But it’s far from the first time our nation has faced a rise of populism focused on turning inward, curbing invasions on privacy, and cracking down on big banks. It also wasn’t impossible to see coming; in fact, Fournier predicted the movement’s rise in a poignant 2012 article in The Atlantic and wrote about a potential Trump presidency in his piece, “President Trump? Stranger Things Have Happened,” in 2014. Putting the election of Donald Trump in historical context and drawing on examples ranging from President George Washington to Ralph Nader, Fournier looks at where this latest evolution of angry politics is coming from, the threats it presents, and how political parties may evolve as a result.
Leadership: Leading Through Disruption and Decline. How do you lead through times of great cultural change? Over the past two decades, Ron Fournier has studied three presidents in up-close and in-depth, run a business publication based in Detroit, and traveled cross-country to write the New York Times best-seller Applebee’s America: How Successful Political, Business, and Religious Leaders Connect with the New American Community. As a result, he is uniquely positioned to discuss the shared attributes that allow political and business leaders to successfully lead during times of incredible disruption and decline. Pulling anecdotes from his time with everyone from President Obama to the middle class “exurb” residents he worked with on his book, Fournier breaks down what it takes to effectively reach and inspire those you lead.
Love That Boy: What Two Presidents, Eight Road Trips, and My Son Taught Me About Raising Kids. Drawing from his New York Times best-seller, Love That Boy, Fournier mixes politics and parenthood. One of the biggest challenges of parenthood today is learning to temper our expectations. We want our children to be brilliant and popular and successful -- superstars at something. Most fall short of our ideal. Some are born with disabilities, and we're taught to love them despite what makes them different. Ron Fournier will discuss is journey to loving his autistic son because of idiosyncrasies.
Ron--at every juncture, you hit it out of the park. I don't remember a speaker's causing me to get choked up as much as you caused me to do. Your grace, power, and humility combined to connect you and your message to us in a way that quite literally took our breath away. Pat Bolin came up to me after the program and said you have set the standard for what he hopes our future speakers can aspire to. You touched our hearts and made us want to rethink who we are and what we want. If you ever need a reference to help you get other speaking gigs, please call on me. May our paths cross again, and hopefully sooner, not later.