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Pat  Mitchell

Pat Mitchell

President & CEO of The Paley Center for Media


Since assuming her current role as president and chief executive officer of The Paley Center for Media in March 2006, Pat Mitchell has guided the institution, founded in 1975, through an exciting rebranding effort. She has strengthened its public and industry programs by analyzing and interpreting the immense changes in the media landscape. Under her leadership, the Paley Center has become a major convener for media leaders and enthusiasts, continuing to offer its unrivaled collection of radio, television and advertising content as a lens for exploring the powerful impact of media on our lives, culture and society. Read More >

Drawing upon its influential board of trustees and International Council of media executives, she has clearly positioned the Paley Center as both a neutral forum for industry professionals and a public space for media lovers to gather for informative and entertaining events. An enthusiast of new media herself, Mitchell continues to lead the Paley Center into the digital era: spearheading the conversion of the organization's collection of nearly 150,000 television and radio programs to a digital format; overseeing the redevelopment of its interactive website; negotiating content deals with prominent Internet portals and broadband companies including Yahoo! and Comcast; and convening the Paley Center's 2007 International Council in the digital media capital of the United States, Silicon Valley.

Mitchell came to The Paley Center for Media from the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), where she was named president and chief executive officer in March 2000, the first woman and first producer and journalist to hold the position. During her tenure, she oversaw the development of many new projects, including a celebrated new series for children focusing on teaching literacy skills and celebrating diversity, a testament to her belief in the power of media to empower and inform. She also led public broadcasting into the digital future with such initiatives as the conversion from analog to digital broadcasting, the launch of a high-definition PBS channel and an on-demand and cable preschool children's service, the growth of PBS's website into one of the three most visited sites on the Internet, and the establishment of the Digital Future Initiative to help define models for public service media using new digital technologies.

Mitchell is recognized as a proven business leader and respected executive in the entertainment industry. Under her leadership, Forbes magazine named PBS one of the "Magnetic 40" companies, a first for PBS. She was also named to Newsweek's 2011 list of 150 Women Who Shake the World, the Huffington Post’s 2012 list of the Most Powerful Women Over 50, Forbes.com list of "Women Changing the World," and featured in Fast Company’s Special Report, “The League of Extraordinary Women.” The Women’s Media Center honored Mitchell with their first annual Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012, and going forward, this award will be given annually as the Pat Mitchell Lifetime Achievement Award. Her work has been recognized with 37 Emmy awards, including one for her self-launched, nationally syndicated series, Woman to Woman.

Her leadership, however, extends beyond the boundaries of the media world. She has a long history of activism in her community and in nonprofit organizations. She serves on the Board of Trustees of the Sundance Institute, a Trustee of the Mayo Foundation, the Women’s Leadership Advisory Council of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and the National Board of Girls, Inc. She is one of the founding members of the American chapter of Mikhail Gorbachev’s environmental organization, Green Cross International. A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Georgia with a masters degree in English literature, she was honored in May with an honorary doctoral degree in arts and humane letters by Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. She was inducted into the Business Hall of Fame at Georgia State University and recently joined the Bank of America’s Board of Directors. Read Less ^

Speech Topics

Social Responsibility in Business

The Importance of Taking Risks

Women in the Media

Leadership and New Levels of Excellence