Lessons of Civility for the Modern World

While our civilization continues to advance, our capacity to live civilly―to appreciate our common humanity with empathy and humility―ironically dwindles daily. Even as we become more technologically connected, many of us feel increasingly disconnected and disengaged from each other. 

This session offers an opportunity to learn about the history, substance, and significance of civility through the lens of George Washington’s “Rules of Civility.” Drawing on personal experience, real-life examples, and a foundational belief that civility is integral to a democratic society, Shelby Scarbrough shares how we might work toward a more perfect union by building a personal practice of civility. 

What can we learn from George Washington?

Civility is not an archaic concept of manners and politeness (go look up Emily Post for that) but rather a crucial component of a functioning democracy. Shelby shows us how―with conscientious practice and patience―we can each contribute to preserving our democracy, one interaction at a time. 

Why Civility?

Shelby learned the importance and nuances of civility at her first job as a Presidential Trip Coordinator in President Ronald Reagan’s White House Office of Presidential Advance. Shelby had the privilege of being part of the team coordinating appearances for President Reagan, including the 1988 Reagan–Gorbachev Summit in Moscow, the Statue of Liberty’s Centennial Celebration with President Mitterrand of France, and a meeting of the NATO Alliance in Brussels.

She went on to work in the US Department of State as a protocol officer. Upon President Reagan’s death, Shelby served as the Deputy Lead in Washington, DC for the State Funeral. You’ll hear stories of riding in Air Force One, how to greet a Prime Minister, what it’s like to be surrounded by diplomats – and the importance of civility.

Who Should Attend?

  • Entrepreneurs that want to understand the nuances of doing business overseas.
  • Schools that would love to learn about President Washington and what we’re still doing.
  • History buffs that want to bring the Founding Fathers’ principles into their knowledge base.
  • Educators looking to broaden their knowledge.
  • Anyone who works with groups of people and wants to increase the quality of their interactions.
  • Anyone interested in our Nation’s history.

Loaded with Takeaway:

  • The lessons of Civility and why it matters.
  • How Civility can positively influence business.
  • How basic Civility and EQ are closely related.
  • Using the rules of Civility for a better golf game

Customize This Session Format:

Shelby can present this topic in many formats.

  • 30-minute highlights session with an optional book signing
  • 50-minute keynote with Q&A and optional book signing
  • Fireside Chat, interview style with optional book signing
  • Golf Day with a 30-minute pre-session on civility on the course



  • Flat rate pricing available for large and small groups
  • Book purchase for the session, discount price of: $15 per book/person (note: book not yet published)
  • Travel expenses (lodging and flight) for Shelby
  • Equipment: Projector, screen & microphone
  • A Civilized Supper™:  Shelby’s signature event guides you through the decorum of a White House State Dinner while boosting your confidence for any high-stakes social or business setting, equipping you to excel as a polished executive anywhere in the world.

Led by Shelby Scarbrough

Entrepreneur, author, and speaker Shelby is passionate about empowering and inspiring others to pursue their dreams and create positive change in the world. Her sessions are fun and entertaining, filled with storytelling, and create an intimate atmosphere for her audience. Shelby has walked many stages, from TEDx to Harvard Business School. Audiences are charmed by her willingness to share and bring them inside her experiences.

Questions & Booking: Contact Us