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Lee Woodruff

Author & CBS Contributor


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. 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, 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. Woodruff is also a contributing reporter for CBS This Morning, commenting on a variety of current events and family-related topics.

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. Engaging, heartfelt and candid, Lee Woodruff’s dynamic presentations remind audiences of all ages that nothing is stronger than love and hope.


  • 2013: Won the Washington Irving Book Award for Fiction
  • 2013: Published Those We Love Most
  • 2010: Published Perfectly Imperfect: A Life In Progress
  • 2007-Present: Co-Founder of the Bob Woodruff Foundation
  • 2007: Published In an Instant: A Family’s Journey of Love and Healing
  • 1984-1991: Senior Vice President at Porter Novelli
  • 1978: B.A. from Colgate University


Caregiving: Journeys of Love and 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. 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.

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! ” 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. Recognizing the role that healthcare professionals played in her husband’s miraculous recovery, she 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.”

When Life Changes in an Instant

In one tragic instant, Lee and Bob Woodruff’s lives changed forever. In the flash of a roadside bomb in Iraq, Bob Woodruff went from the top of his profession as anchor of ABC News to fighting for his life. In this moving and uplifting talk based upon the New York Times bestseller she co-wrote with her husband, Lee shares how she turned a life-changing crisis into a life-affirming experience. She reveals how tragedy can make you focus on what matters most, connect you more strongly to those you love, and create strength and gratitude that lasts a lifetime. With warmth, humor and a very human touch, Lee not only connects with the audience, but connects them to each other—leaving all grateful for the things that we don’t always take time to appreciate, but should.

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”. 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.

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