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Lee  Woodruff

Lee Woodruff

Author & Journalist


Lee Woodruff knows that life can change in an instant. One minute, you’re a successful freelance writer and businesswoman, mother of four children, and wife of Bob Woodruff, the newly appointed co-anchor of ABC’s World News Tonight. The next minute, your life turns upside down when your husband is severely wounded in a roadside bomb attack in Iraq. Read More >

Showing immense courage, Woodruff held her family together. She provided the extra support her children needed, as well as the moral and physical support to her husband during his slow, painstaking recovery. Gaining strength from their own incredible ordeal, Lee and her husband made the decision to help others, founding the Bob Woodruff Family Fund for Traumatic Brain Injury. Now a best-selling author, Woodruff shares her personal story with audiences, providing them with the wisdom and inspiration she learned along her remarkable, and often difficult, journey.

With her down to earth, compassionate style and natural creativity, Woodruff has penned multiple best-selling books. She and Bob wrote a compelling account of their story titled In an Instant: A Family’s Journey of Love and Healing. In another best-selling book, Perfectly Imperfect – A Life in Progress, Woodruff tackles the universal topics of life – including family, friends and marriage – with heart and humor. Furthermore, her first novel, Those We Love Most, became a New York Times bestseller and won the Washington Irving Book Award.

A testament to strength and grace during life's many challenges, Lee Woodruff has not only overcome immense obstacles, but has also continued to excel in her personal and professional life. In Lee’s presentations, she conveys a message of love, healing and an understanding that we’re all fighting our own battle. As a motivational speaker, Lee serves as an inspiration to anyone trying to navigate their own path. As a sought after inspirational speaker, Lee Woodruff is engaging, heartfelt and candid. Her dynamic presentations remind audiences of all ages that nothing is stronger than love and hope. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

The Unsung Hero: The Caregiver (Promo)

An Introduction

On Resilience

ABC News Interview

A Reading From 'Perfectly Imperfect'

TEDTalk: Bob and Lee Woodruff

To Know What You Don't Know

Speech Topics

Caregiving: Journeys of Love & Healing

As a daughter, Lee Woodruff witnessed her father’s devastating, decade-long struggle with Alzheimer’s and the emotional and physical toll that it took on her mother as primary caregiver. In 2006, she found herself suddenly thrust into the role of caregiver when her husband, ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff, was critically wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Read More >

In an instant, she went from successful writer, businesswoman and mother of four to primary caregiver, patient advocate and “General Lee,” coordinating care and keeping her family of four children afloat. In this heart-touching talk, Lee shares stories, insights and hard-won wisdom from two very different journeys of love and caregiving. She recounts what it was like when her father, once the rock of the family, became dependent on care, and when her husband at the height of a stellar news career, had to re-learn how to speak and other basics of life during a long recovery. Bringing comfort, hope and humor, Lee Woodruff connects with audiences as one who has truly been there can.  Read Less ^

Working Together to Improve Patient Outcomes

When her husband, ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff, barely survived a roadside bomb attack in Iraq, the prognosis wasn’t good. But Lee Woodruff never gave up. She kept telling everyone involved in his care: "You don’t know my husband. You don’t know my Bob. He’s a fighter. He’s smart and he wants to live!” Read More >

In this insightful and highly inspirational talk, Lee Woodruff shares her family’s journey through the healthcare system and her role as patient advocate/caregiver through months of cognitive and physical therapy following traumatic brain injury. Lee asserts that the relationships that are built between healthcare professionals and the patient and their family can only result in positive patient outcomes. It’s a reminder that respect, communication, kindness and hope (all of which the Woodruffs experienced) are free to provide and often what families value most. Even in a terminal situation, the human side of medicine is just as critical as the science. From food service and maintenance, to physicians and nurses, Lee recognizes the role that healthcare professionals played not only in her husband’s miraculous recovery, but in all patient's recovery. Lee is always quick to thank audiences for the work that they do. “Thank you,” is something that, she acknowledges, “Most people in healthcare don’t hear enough, but should.” Read Less ^

Life Changes in an Instant

Whether it’s a child in a car accident, a spouse’s request for a divorce, a patient’s stroke, a diagnosis of breast cancer, or a terrorist attack on a warm day in September—life can change in an instant for us all. Read More >

As co-author of In An Instant, the #1 New York Times best seller, Lee Woodruff recounts her story of a marriage, a family, a crisis and a healing. When her husband, ABC’s newly appointed co-anchor Bob Woodruff, was hit by a roadside bomb while covering the war in Iraq, Woodruff’s life changed in an instant. She had to learn to put her own grief aside to care for her children, as well as her husband, who was gravely injured and close to death. In the words of Bishop Desmond Tutu—"Suffering is not optional. It seems to be part and parcel of the human condition, but suffering can embitter or ennoble."

Woodruff speaks with grace and humor about her own family’s experience and how they chose to attack the crisis that befell them, resulting in a life-changing journey of love, healing and miracles for her whole family. Read Less ^

It’s How You Handle It: When Cancer Changes Your Life in an Instant

When Lee Woodruff’s husband, ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff, was nearly killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq, their lives changed in that instant. At age 30, Lee’s sister was rushed to the hospital with what turned out to be a brain tumor. Anyone who has faced or had someone close face a cancer diagnosis (or anything life threatening), knows the true meaning of “life changes in an instant”. Read More >

Lee shares her own personal stories and inspiring examples of those who have traveled on the “grittier pavement of life.” With empathy and compassion, Lee Woodruff brings audiences together with the shared commonality that all of our lives could change in an instant. The secret, she says, is how we choose to handle it. Read Less ^

The Power of We: Creating a Community of Impact

Following her husband’s life-threatening injury while covering the war in Iraq, Lee Woodruff was inspired to dedicate herself to ensuring that our nation’s impacted veterans, service members and their families are granted the highest level of support and resources that they deserve. Lee and her husband created The Bob Woodruff Foundation, aimed at ensuring that our veterans are thriving long after the return home. Their devoted activism and volunteerism has allowed the Woodruff family to reach 2.5 million veterans and families meet their emerging and long-term needs. Woodruff’s discussion of her work’s impact and her devotion to philanthropy demonstrates the importance of standing up for the causes most dear to us, and inspires listeners to be the change they wish to see in the world.

Youth Dew: Life’s Enduring Renewal

Drawing from her essay in the book On Being 40 (ish), Lee Woodruff explores the twists and turns of life and aging. Lee proclaims that there is a mythical belief in a perfect stretch of time mid-life when the ocean waters are still and the waves have subsided. Maybe it’s that the kids are now self-sufficient, maybe you have your career on track, maybe you feel financially secure and you’ve figured out what you need to be happy. Then, that dose of reality hits when the tide turns and the metaphorical tsunami is headed your way. Maybe you’re parenting a child with a disability, caring for a severely injured spouse or a loved one with dementia, or, as Lee experienced, doing it all at the same time. Sharing her own journey, Lee tackles the conversations that no one tells you about as we get older. Inspiring us to "reinvent, repurpose, renew, re-engage, re-energize and reboot," Lee says the secret to surviving it all is to be a "bobber," staying above the surface and riding out the waves.