A community of optimists hosted by Melinda French Gates

Dana Rubin is a longtime speechwriter, speaking coach, and consultant who’s discovered a passion for women’s voice and speech. That’s why she founded the Speaking While Female Speech Bank, an online collection of more than 1,800 speeches by women from around the world and across time—because history has overlooked and forgotten women’s voices.

She helps companies attract, retain and develop their female talent so women rise through the pipeline into positions of influence. Her workshops give women the mindset and skillset to step up, speak out, and share their expertise.

Dana’s goal is to inspire women and girls around the world to speak up for causes they support. She’s based in New York.


What inspires you to do the work you do?

Every time I add another speech to my speech bank—especially a speech that has been long overlooked and deserves our attention and recognition—I feel a surge of appreciation for the women of generations past who bravely spoke out despite the barriers, the prejudice, the calumny. It’s so easy to forget that throughout most of our history, women have not been allowed or encouraged to speak in public. So many of the women who did paid the price for their outspokenness. It makes me feel that to hold back now, in these times—to hold back and not use my voice—would betray their cause and dishonor their memory. And helping other women to acquire the skills and tools to do the same feels like the best way to honor these women and their legacy.

If you could go on long walk with anyone, who would it be?

Sojourner Truth, Margaret Atwood, and Nelson Mandela

What books are on your nightstand?

Middlemarch, by George Eliot
Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande
The Clock of the Long Now, by Stewart Brand