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Pat Mitchell
Pat Mitchell is a lifelong advocate for women and girls, known for her work as a journalist, producer, television executive, and curator. Throughout her career, she has made the representation of women’s voices and stories, and the mentoring of women into leadership positions, the central mission of her work.

In 2011, Mitchell partnered with TED Talks to co-curate TEDWomen, a global conference focused on women. She continues to serve as the editorial director of TEDWomen, which will be held this year in San Francisco on Oct. 26–28.

Mitchell is the former president of CNN Productions, where she executive produced hundreds of hours of documentaries and specials that have received 35 Emmy Awards and five Peabody Awards. In 2000, she became the first woman president and chief executive of PBS. Mitchell also served as president and CEO of the Paley Center for Media and continues to serve as a senior adviser to that organization.

In 2009, Mitchell was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame. The Hollywood Reporter named her one of its "Most Powerful Women in Hollywood," and she was featured in Fast Company’s special report "The League of Extraordinary Women: 60 Influencers Who Are Changing the World."

Mitchell also advises foundations and corporations on issues of women’s empowerment and leadership development as well as media relations and governance. She is the chair of the Women’s Media Center and Sundance Institute boards, a founding board member of V-Day, a member of the Acumen Fund board, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Georgia, Mitchell holds bachelor's and master's degrees in English literature (watch the 2012 commencement address she gave at her alma mater). She has taught at the University of Georgia, Virginia Commonwealth University, and at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics.

Entries by Pat Mitchell

Looking At Hillary's Nomination Through A Nordic Lens

(0) Comments | Posted June 25, 2016 | 11:04 AM

This post was first published at

Over the weekend, Iceland's voters went to the polls to elect their first new president in 20 years. In a year in which outsider candidates in many countries are finding political success, history professor Guðni Jóhannesson won the race with...

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Leading Through Adversity: New Ideas From TEDWomen Speakers

(0) Comments | Posted June 15, 2016 | 11:29 AM


In April, I had the privilege of moderating a discussion at the Skoll World Forum on the subject of "Leading Through Adversity." My panel consisted of Mary Robinson, Ireland's first female president; Halla Tómasadóttir, a good friend who is currently campaigning to be...

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Women And Girls Are The Power and Potential For Positive Change

(1) Comments | Posted April 9, 2014 | 9:00 AM

This post is part of the Global Moms Relay. Every time you share this post, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 (per action) to help improve the health and well-being of moms and kids worldwide through MAMA, Shot@Life, and Girl Up. Scroll to the bottom...

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Has It Really Been a Lifetime Already?

(0) Comments | Posted November 21, 2012 | 1:27 PM

It was such an overwhelming honor to not only receive a lifetime achievement award from the Women's Media Center last week, but to have the award itself named after me in perpetuity. This recognition was especially meaningful to me, given The Women's Media Center's advocacy for more equitable...

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International Day of the Girl

(14) Comments | Posted October 9, 2012 | 12:14 PM

Like all of us, I look forward to many days throughout the year -- birthdays, weddings, holidays -- but this year there’s one day in particular I simply cannot wait for: October 11, 2012.  That will be the first-ever United Nations International Day of...

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Where Are the Women Entrepreneurs?

(26) Comments | Posted October 4, 2012 | 12:34 PM

Echoing Green, one of the preeminent organizations supporting global social entrepreneurship, has seen a decrease in the number of women fellows selected relative to men. The last six out of seven fellowship classes, in fact, have been...

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Parades With Purpose: Some Advice to the 2012 University of Georgia Graduates

(0) Comments | Posted August 22, 2012 | 8:39 PM

Good morning. It’s great to be back at UGA to share this special day with you.

Let me begin with a confession. I love parades. I’m something of a parade addict. I love the music, the marching, ...

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Get Your 'Posse'!

(0) Comments | Posted August 8, 2012 | 10:25 AM

Watching the "fab five," as the 2012 U.S. women gymnastics team was known, dominate at the Olympics last week, and watching them cheer for each other and genuinely support and celebrate each other's victories, I was reminded of one of my favorite philosophies: no matter who we are or what we...

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The Questions Women Who Work Should Be Asking

(3) Comments | Posted August 3, 2012 | 11:19 AM

I've hesitated to weigh in on the "having it all" debate, re-sparked once again by Anne-Marie Slaughter's much-discussed Atlantic cover story last month. In part, I was reluctant because I find this debate a big distraction from the more important questions about why our work environments are still...

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Among Media Trailblazers

(0) Comments | Posted May 10, 2012 | 9:59 AM

Last week I had the honor of sharing the stage, so to speak, with a group of incredible women -- all of whom were recipients of Women's eNews' 21 Leaders for the 21st Century awards, many of whom...

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Skoll Lesson Seven: Social Change Is Undeniably Emotional Work

(0) Comments | Posted April 18, 2012 | 12:38 PM

One of the most riveting moments came at the end. In so many ways, it captures why this particular gathering is so compelling and in my opinion, valued and worthwhile.

Stephan Chambers, the eloquent, articulate leader of the Skoll Center at the Saїd Business School at Oxford...

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Bad Ideas Contaminate, While Good Ideas Are Contagious

(0) Comments | Posted April 17, 2012 | 11:21 AM

I was awed listening to one of the  participants in a revolutionary land rights project in Brazil describe he and his team’s work saving trees, innovating policy, and working with a wide range of stakeholders -- including indigenous people,...

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Skoll Lesson Five: Transmedia Storytelling Is a Key Skill for People Who Want to Change the World

(0) Comments | Posted April 16, 2012 | 1:54 PM

Skoll World Forum, in partnership with the Sundance Institute, is teaching entrepreneurs how to tell the stories of their work across many platforms of distribution—and it's paying off. We saw some short films made in collaborations between social entrepreneurs and Sundance filmmakers that proved the point that there...

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Skoll Lesson Three: Every Brave Woman Needs a Posse

(1) Comments | Posted April 12, 2012 | 10:30 AM

During the three days that Fartuun Abdisalaam Adan, Fahima Hashim, and Christine Shuler Describyer, were in Oxford, they got to meet others working in dangerous, difficult places and to feel less alone. In fact, they met each other for the first time. As I—“Mama Pat”—shepherded them around Oxford with Eve,...

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Skoll Lesson Two: Be More Outrageous and Disruptive

(2) Comments | Posted April 11, 2012 | 11:30 AM

None other than Eve Ensler—writer, activist, inspirational founder of V-DAY, a movement to end violence against women—brought this message to the Skoll World Forum and received a standing ovation (rare at Skoll) in appreciation for the power of her words and the stories she shared....

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Skoll Lesson One: Cracks Are Where the Light Comes In

(0) Comments | Posted April 10, 2012 | 11:52 AM

It is in the cracks of conflict and chaos where the light can come through and change can happen.

This point was made so powerfully by the women in the session that I moderated called “Victors, not Victims,” featuring Fartuun Abdisalaam Adan of Elman Peace & Human...

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Lessons From a Global Family

(0) Comments | Posted April 9, 2012 | 10:20 AM

I returned from the annual Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship—as I have every one of the eight years I have participated—with new ideas and a huge dose of inspiration. The DNA of this event is so unique because of those who gather year after year—social entrepreneurs, grassroots...

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Notes From a Curator: Are We Listening to All Women, Everywhere?

(1) Comments | Posted March 23, 2012 | 3:43 PM

Speaking of real women's lives, one question perhaps trumps all others that we are asking right now: In a globalized, media-saturated world, are we as aware of the range of experiences, conversations, and considerations?

During one of the panels I moderated last week, directed primarily at an...

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Where Are the Leaders for Women, Not Just Women Leaders?

(23) Comments | Posted March 22, 2012 | 11:22 AM

As we're contemplating the state of girls and women, one of the easiest indicators is to look at the representation of women in political office. But as I've traveled around this month, speaking and listening, one of my most deeply felt questions continues to be this: Where are those leaders...

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What Are the Real Drivers of Gender Justice?

(10) Comments | Posted March 21, 2012 | 11:43 AM

Yesterday I wondered about our continued resistance to quotas, one of the potential levers for fast, observable change. Today, I’d like to look at a related question about the true pathways to parity: What are the real drivers of gender justice?

Because we’re so good at studying women’s

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