Pat Mitchell

Curator, connector, convener and advocate for women's leadership
Pat Mitchell is a lifelong advocate for women and girls, known for her work as a journalist, producer, television executive and curator.

Why you should listen

Pat Mitchell began her media career in print (at LOOK) and transitioned to television as opportunities opened up for women in the early 1970s. She was among the first women to anchor the news (WBZ-TV Boston) and host a morning talk show (Woman 74). She was the first woman to own, produce and host a national talk show, the Emmy-winning Woman to Woman, which also became the first television series to be placed in the archives of the Harvard-Radcliffe Schlesinger Library on the History of Women.

As the head of Ted Turner's documentary division, the programs she commissioned garnered 37 Emmys, five Peabodys and two Academy Award nominations. In 2000, she became the first woman President and CEO of the Public Broadcasting System. She led PBS through the transition to digital broadcasting, sustained government funding and added many new original series to the national schedule. As head of the Paley Center for Media in New York and Los Angeles, she guided an institution that leads discussion about the cultural, creative and social significance of media. Now as an independent consultant and curator, Mitchell advises foundations and corporations on issues of women’s empowerment and leadership development as well as media relations and governance. Mitchell is a trustee of the Skoll Foundation and Participant Media; chair of the Sundance Institute Board and Women's Media Center and a board member of the Acumen Fund.

In 2010, Mitchell launched and co-hosted the first TEDWomen and for the succeeding seven years, in partnership with the TED organization, Mitchell has curated and hosted TEDxWomen and TEDWomen conferences.

Pat Mitchell’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Pat Mitchell


What’s the definition of feminism? 12 talks that explain it to you

December 24, 2017

Earlier this month, Merriam-Webster announced that 2017’s word of the year is feminism. Searches for the word on the dictionary website spiked throughout the year, beginning in January around the Women’s March, again after Kellyanne Conway said in an interview that she didn’t consider herself a feminist, and during some of feminism’s many pop culture […]

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Brand-new TED Talks from TEDWomen 2017: A note from the curator

December 1, 2017

This year’s TEDWomen in New Orleans was a truly special conference, at a vital moment, and I’m sure the ripples will be felt for a long time to come. The theme this year was bridges: we build them, we cross them, sometimes we even burn them. Our speakers talked about the physical bridges we need […]

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Sneak peek: First look at the TEDWomen 2017 lineup

August 22, 2017

This November, we’re gathering in New Orleans for three days of TEDWomen — to share talks about bridging the world today and the world we all hope to build. Today, we’re announcing the first speakers on our lineup, a mix of powerful voices, creative insights and committed activism that will set the tone for our […]

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