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Ellen  Goodman

Ellen Goodman

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist, Author, Speaker & Commentator

Ellen Goodman

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist, Author, Speaker & Commentator


As a trailblazer and powerful voice for women, she has spent most of her life chronicling social change and its impact on American life. A Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, she was one of the first women to open up the op-ed pages to women’s voices and became, according to Media Watch, the most widely syndicated progressive columnist in the country.

Ellen began her career as a researcher for Newsweek magazine in the days when only men wrote for the newsweekly. After two years, she became a reporter for the Detroit Free Press and then The Boston Globe where she began writing her column. The column was syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group. She wrote her twice-weekly column until 2010 appearing in over 400 newspapers.

In 1980 she won the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Commentary. She has written seven books including the New York Times best seller with Patricia O’Brien, You Know Just What I Mean: The Power of Friendship in Women’s Lives. Ellen also won many other honors, including the American Society of Newspaper Editors Distinguished Writing Award and the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.

She was honored with the President’s Award by the National Women’s Political Caucus and was also presented the American Woman Award by the Women’s Research & Education Institute. In 2008, she won the Ernie Pyle Award for Lifetime Achievement from the National Society of Newspaper columnists.

In 2010, Ellen co-founded The Conversation Project, a public engagement campaign and a movement, that works to change the way people talk about, and prepare for their end-of-life care. As a social entrepreneur she was also awarded as an Ashoka Fellow and a Prime Mover for her work solving social problems.

Ellen also serves on the board of Encore.org, a movement to transform the narrative around aging and encourage elders to use their passions, skills and decades of experience to make a difference in our communities and the world.

A cum laude graduate of Radcliffe College, Goodman returned to Harvard as a Nieman Fellow, where she studied the dynamics of social change, and again as a Shorenstein Fellow.

Ellen has a daughter, stepdaughter, two grandchildren and lives with her husband, Robert Levey in Boston.

Speech Topics

2020: A New Vision for Women

The year 2020 will mark two momentous landmarks in the experience of American women: the 100th anniversary of woman’s right to vote, and a presidential election that is likely to hang on the use of that vote. Goodman will celebrate and connect both of these events in an engaging and memorable talk dedicated to passing the torch to a young and diverse generation.

A Civil Tongue

Longtime journalist, Ellen traces how civility was shattered, who is winning and who is losing in the media mud wrestling. She shows how incivility is tearing us apart and how to call a truce.

The Longevity Revolution: Our Third Act

The generation of social change agents is now embarked on something new: the Longevity Revolution. The new elders are turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 a day. Ellen asks: How will these new seniors find meaning in their Third Act? How does this generation rewrite the script on senior citizenship for themselves and the country? 

Feminism 2.0

We have seen a generation of change in women’s lives. Ellen has been there, done that and talks about: How far have we come? Where are we stuck? What’s next?

Have You Had the Conversation?

A full 90 percent of Americans believe that it’s important to talk about their wishes for end of life care, how they really want to live to the end of their lives. Yet only 30 percent have actually had this conversation. As founder of The Conversation Project and a daughter who lived this story, Ellen makes this a rich and comfortable subject.

The XX Factor: Where Are Women & Men Today

Our generation traded depression for stress – not such a bad bargain. We kicked the doors open, but the glass ceiling is still in place; working mothers are overwhelmed and stay-at-home moms are unsure of what’s next, while young women want to have children somewhere between the graduate degree and menopause. What’s next for the next wave? Anybody want a life?

The Personal is (Too) Political

Welcome to the era of food-fight journalism and ballistic blogging. What’s happening to the media? Goodman takes us from a time when the press shielded the private lives of an FDR and JFK to the time when private life has become public with a vengeance. What do we make of cable TV knockouts and scandals of the day? Is the media part of the polarizing of America? In this keynote speech, Goodman argues for a truly “new” media.

Women & Friendship

Ellen Goodman and Patricia O’Brien, authors of The New York Times Bestseller I Know Just What You Mean: The Power of Friendship in Women’s Lives, treat audiences to a lively discussion of the importance of this central relationship in women’s lives. Work, love, and friendship are the three legs we stand on in life. How do we sustain each other? How do we sustain friendship in a busy life? As a duet, Goodman and O’Brien show as well as describe this connection.

Sex & Sanity?

Goodman speaks to groups with wit and wisdom about the sexual revolution and counterrevolution, sex education and miseducation, and where the pro-choice community is now.