Deval Patrick is a poor kid from the South Side of Chicago who, with grit, determination and the help and kindness of others, has lived the American Dream.

Why you should listen

Committed to honoring his opportunity by leaving things better for those who come behind, Deval Patrick has served as a civil rights and business lawyer, a senior official in the federal government, an executive in two Fortune 50 companies, an entrepreneur and investor. He was the 71st governor of Massachusetts -- the first Black person to serve in the role -- and one of only two Black governors elected in American history.

Under his leadership, and through unprecedented investments in education, innovation and infrastructure, Massachusetts ranked first in the nation in student achievement, energy efficiency, veterans services and entrepreneurship; delivered health care coverage to over 98% of the state’s residents; and emerged from recession to achieve a 25-year high in employment. Patrick remains involved in progressive politics as co-chair of American Bridge 21st Century through its BridgeTogether initiative, which supports local grassroots groups working to engage disenfranchised and marginalized voters throughout the country. 

Patrick is a Rockefeller Fellow, a Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute and the author of two books, A Reason to Believe: Lessons from an Improbable Life and Faith in the Dream: A Call to the Nation to Reclaim American Values.

He spends most of his time in Western Massachusetts with his wife Diane, his dogs and his bees.


Deval Patrick’s TED talk