Here's a profile of me that aired as part of the Makers series on PBS:
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, Colombia, the Her Village conference in Beijing, and the Women of the World (WOW) festival in London. In 2017, she launched the Transformational Change Leadership Initiative with the Rockefeller Foundation focused on 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 is a contributor to Enlightened Power: How Women Are Transforming the Practice of Leadership, and wrote the introduction to the recently published book and museum exhibition, 130 Women of Impact in 30 Countries. In 2016, she served as a congressional appointee to The American Museum of Women’s History Advisory Council. She is writing a memoir, Becoming a Dangerous Woman: Embracing a Life of Power and Purpose, that will be published in 2019.
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 and her husband, Scott Seydel, live in Atlanta and have six children and 13 grandchildren.
Pat Mitchell started her professional journey as an English instructor at the University of Georgia and Virginia Commonwealth University. An innate curiosity and the need to feel challenged led her to accept a position as a writer/researcher for the popular newsweekly, LOOK magazine. Only nine months later, LOOK stopped publishing, and Mitchell, an unemployed single mother living in New York City with her young son, was advised to "try television."
Over the next three decades, she created a body of award-winning work in front of the cameras as a news reporter and news anchor, national talk show host and White House correspondent, as well as behind the cameras as a creator and producer of documentaries and series, many of which focused on women’s stories, challenges and accomplishments.
In the mid-'80s, she left a secure position at NBC to establish an independent production company to create, produce and host the groundbreaking and Emmy-award-winning daytime series, "Woman to Woman," which was the first national program produced and hosted by a woman. "Woman to Woman" also became the first television series to be added to the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women at Radcliffe College.
In 1992 Mitchell approached media entrepreneur Ted Turner about producing a documentary series on the history of women in America. The resulting 10-hour series, A Century of Women, was broadcast in 1993 on the Turner cable networks and syndicated around the world. Turner convinced Mitchell to join Turner Broadcasting, and as president of Turner Original Productions and later CNN Productions, Mitchell was the executive producer of hundreds of hours of documentaries and specials, many of which were awarded Emmy’s and Peabody Awards for Excellence; several were nominated for Academy Awards for best documentary.
She was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 2009, named one of the Most Powerful Women in Hollywood by Hollywood Reporter and featured in Fast Company’s special report, The League of Extraordinary Women: 60 Influencers Who Are Changing the World.
In 2012, The Women’s Media Center honored Mitchell with their first-annual Lifetime Achievement Award. Mitchell has also been recognized with the Sandra Day O'Connor Award for Leadership, and was honored by the Center for the Advancement of Women for her accomplishments and contributions in the world of communications in creating a more equitable society for women. She is also one of 12 Americans awarded the prestigious Bodley Medal from the Bodleian Library at Oxford University. Mitchell was recently appointed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as one of nine commissioners to develop a plan to build a National Women’s History Museum in Washington, D.C. The commission will deliver its report to Congress in the spring of 2016.
In addition to her accomplishments both on and off the screen, Mitchell is known for her humanitarian efforts and for her work as a dedicated member of numerous nonprofit boards. She is chair of the Sundance Institute and the Women’s Media Center. She is also a founding board member of V-Day, a global movement to end violence; a founding member of Mikhail Gorbachev's global environmental organization, Green Cross International; a board member of Acumen Fund; and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the International Women’s Forum. Learn more about the causes and projects to which she is committed.
Mitchell is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Georgia with bachelor's and master's degrees in English literature (watch the 2012 commencement address she gave at her alma mater). She has also been awarded honorary doctorate degrees from several colleges and universities and is a much sought-after public speaker, advisor and consultant to foundations and corporations on issues of women’s empowerment and leadership development. She and her husband, Scott Seydel, have six children and 12 grandchildren and reside in New York City and Atlanta, Georgia.
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