Pat Mitchell is a lifelong advocate for women and girls. At every step of her career, Mitchell has broken new ground for women, leveraging the power of media as a journalist, an Emmy-award-winning and Oscar-nominated producer to tell women’s stories and increase the representation of women onscreen and off. Transitioning to an executive role, she became the president of CNN Productions, and the first woman president and CEO of PBS and the Paley Center for Media. Today, her commitment to connect and strengthen a global community of women leaders continues as a conference curator, advisor and mentor.
In partnership with TED, Mitchell launched TEDWomen
in 2010 and is its editorial director, curator and host. She is also a speaker and curator for the annual Women Working for the World forum in Bogota, the Her Village conference in Beijing, and co-chairs the US board of Women of the World (WOW). She partners with the Rockefeller Foundation to curate, convene and host Connected Women Leaders (CWL) forums, focused on collective problem solving among women leaders in government and civil society.
In 2014, the Women’s Media Center honored Mitchell with its first-annual Lifetime Achievement Award, now named in her honor to commend other women whose media careers advance the representation of women. Recognized by Hollywood Reporter
as one of the most powerful women in media, Fast Company’s
“League of Extraordinary Women” and Huffington Post’s
list of “Powerful Women Over 50,” Mitchell also received the Sandra Day O'Connor Award for Leadership. She was a contributor to Enlightened Power: How Women Are Transforming the Practice of Leadership
, and wrote the introduction to the book and museum exhibition, 130 Women of Impact in 30 Countries. In 2016, she received a Congressional appointment to The American Museum of Women’s History Advisory Council, and in 2019 was named to the Gender Equality Top 100 list of women leaders by Apolitical.
Mitchell is active with many nonprofit organizations, serving as the chair of the boards of the Sundance Institute and the Women’s Media Center. She is a founding member of the VDAY movement and on the boards of the Skoll Foundation and the Acumen Fund. She is also an advisor to Participant Media and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Mitchell is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Georgia and holds a master's degree in English literature and several honorary doctorate degrees. She is the author of Becoming a Dangerous Woman: Embracing Risk to Change the World
. She and her husband, Scott Seydel, live in Atlanta and have six children and 13 grandchildren.
Please share a favorite quote.
“Women will change the nature of power, rather than power changing the nature of women.” — Rep. Bella Abzug
What inspires you to do the work you do?
I draw my energy from my curiosity; from being engaged in doing something that matters; and from meeting new people, going new places, learning and doing.
On Sunday afternoons, you can find me...
Reading the New York Times
, Maria Shriver’s Sunday paper
, Lauren Zalasnick’s Sunday paper
, and all other newsletters that keep me informed about the global women’s community.