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Sheryl  WuDunn

Sheryl WuDunn

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist & Business Executive


Sheryl WuDunn, the first Asian-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize, is a business executive and best-selling author. She co-founded FullSky Partners, a consulting firm focusing on double-bottom line ventures in new media, technology and healthcare services. She is also on several boards: the Board of Overseers at Harvard University, the Board of Directors at BayFirst Financial Corp., based in St. Petersburg, FL, the advisory board of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and at Street Smarts VR, which uses virtual reality to train military police and other first responders. Read More >

Previously, Ms. WuDunn has been vice president in the investment management division at Goldman, Sachs & Co. and a commercial loan officer at Bankers Trust. She is also one of a small handful of people who have worked at The New York Times both as an executive and journalist: in management roles in both the strategic planning and circulation sales departments at The Times; as editor for international markets, energy and industry; as The Times’s first anchor of an evening news headlines program for a digital cable TV channel, the Discovery-Times; and as a foreign correspondent for The Times in Tokyo and Beijing, where she wrote about economic, financial, political and social issues. Ms. WuDunn has taught classes about China at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, and about responsible investing and double bottom line ventures at Harvard Kennedy School, where was  a Hauser Visiting Leader.

With her husband, Nicholas D. Kristof, Ms. WuDunn is co-author of Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope (2020), a New York Times best-selling book that explores the great challenges and opportunities for America’s working class. This story is told, in part, by following the lives of some of the children whom Kristof grew up with, and why one quarter died prematurely in adulthood while others had journeys of resurgence involving recovery and commitment to helping those less fortunate. In addition, they co-wrote A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity, a New York Times best-selling book about altruism and how to bring about change in our society using evidence-based strategies. Published in late 2014 by Knopf, A Path Appears was turned into a three-part PBS documentary airing in January and February 2015 and was featured on numerous network television shows. They also co-authored Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, a No. 1 New York Times best-selling book about the challenges facing women around the globe, published in 2009 by Knopf and featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Colbert Report, among other shows. Half the Sky was a multi-platform digital effort that included a highly popular documentary series that aired on PBS in October 2012, mobile games and an online social media game on Facebook that hit No. 9 in its second week on the platform.

Ms. WuDunn has co-authored two other best-selling books about Asia: Thunder from the East and China Wakes. She won a Pulitzer Prize with her husband for covering China, along with the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Lifetime Achievement. She has also won other journalism prizes, including the George Polk Award and Overseas Press Club awards. Ms. WuDunn has also won a White House Project EPIC award, and she has been a judge for the State Department “Secretary’s Innovation Award for Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment.” She has won other awards, including the Asia Women in Business Corporate Leadership Award, the Pearl S. Buck Woman of the Year Award, and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Prize, among numerous other awards.

In 2011, Newsweek cited Ms. WuDunn as one of the “150 Women Who Shake the World.” In 2012, she was selected as one of 60 notable members of the League of Extraordinary Women by Fast Company magazine. In 2013, she was included as one of the “leading women who make America” in the PBS documentary, The Makers. She was also featured in a 2013 Harvard Business School film about prominent women who graduated from HBS. In August 2015, Business Insider named her one of the 31 most successful graduates of the Harvard Business School.

Ms. WuDunn earned an M.P.A. from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, where she is a former member of its Advisory Council. She was a member of Princeton University’s Board of Trustees. She earned an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. She graduated from Cornell University, where she is an emeritus member of the Board of Trustees and served on Cornell’s various Board committees, including the Finance Committee, the endowment’s Investment Committee and as co-chair of the Academic Affairs Committee.

Ms. WuDunn received an honorary doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania and Middlebury College. She lectures on economic, political and social topics such as the challenges in China-US relations, social impact investing, how to heal America’s inequality and polarization, and has been asked to address a wide range of audiences including former Vice President Al Gore, the IMF and World Bank. Ms. WuDunn has discussed China and economic issues on television and radio programs, such as Meet the Press, Fox Business News, and The Colbert Report, and on NPR and Bloomberg TV. She has discussed philanthropic issues on programs such as NBC’s Dateline. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Speech at the 2010 Global Dinner

Fox Business News Interview

Half the Sky Book Trailer

TED: Our Century’s Greatest Injustice

Speech Topics

Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope

Based on their new, critically acclaimed book, Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope, Kristof and WuDunn share a harrowing account and detailed look into the epidemic of depression, unemployment, poverty and addiction that is plaguing the working class across America – and the government's failure to address it. Available to speak separately or together, Nick and Sheryl are passionate about giving a voice to the voiceless and telling the hard truths that need to be told. Known for their moving storytelling and incomparable insights into the events that shape our world, they leave audiences inspired to drive change, take on challenges and make a difference.

Healthcare on a Tightrope: The Imperative for Equity

Nick Kristof and Sheryl Wu Dunn’s New York Times bestseller, Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope has been called an “absolute must-read for anyone working in the field of healthcare, public policy and public health.” Weaving sobering data about America’s explosion of addiction, chronic disease, and suicide with the moving personal stories of Kristof’s own hometown in rural Oregon and their knowledge of healthcare around the world, the Pulitzer Prize winners provide an unflinching look at the root causes of diseases of despair and America’s declining life expectancy. Their multifaceted solutions champion public health approaches that include greater access to healthcare, understanding the social determinants of health, childhood education, addiction treatment vs. incarceration and addressing the connection between adverse childhood episodes and chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Appearing individually or together, they place human faces on the impact of approaches and policies, providing a hopeful way forward from a crisis of the vulnerable to greater equity, access and health.

A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity

Equal in urgency and compassion to Half the Sky, this stirring speech by WuDunn is even more ambitious in scale: nothing less than a deep examination of people who are making the world a better place, and the myriad ways we can support them. Read More >

With scrupulous research and on-the-ground reporting, WuDunn investigates the art and science of giving by determining the current most successful local and global aid initiatives, evaluating the efficiency and impact of specific approaches and charities, as well as fund-raising. She offers practical advice to audiences on how best each of us can give and what we can personally derive from doing so.  Read Less ^

The China Challenge

Co-author of the best-selling book China Wakes: The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power and former foreign correspondent in Beijing for The New York Times, WuDunn has three decades of experience as a reporter, editor and business executive engaging with China at a high level. Read More >

In her current role at Piedmont Partners Group Ventures and Mid-Market Securities, she has followed the Chinese economy, investment climate and business opportunities and also worked with US-based companies that have done business or expanded into China in areas such as investment management, technology, telecom and new media. Most recently, WuDunn has been sourcing test kits, masks, gowns and other PPE to address the COVID-19 pandemic and seeing how China has been handling the pandemic there.

China used to be considered a copycat country, but it has been gaining in innovation. And how long will its population accept rising incomes but no meaningful ballots? Can the Chinese model continue indefinitely at home as the middle class grows? China’s political legitimacy rests on economic growth, so what are the prospects for interplay between China’s economic growth and its political climate?

In speaking about China, she uses storytelling as a way to communicate issues, challenges and developments about the country. Most business executives aren’t professional storytellers and most journalists don’t invest or do business with China, but WuDunn offers unique insights on the China challenge. Read Less ^

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

Why Students Should Care About the World—& Change It

Solutions for Challenges Facing the Working Class

How Education Can Help Bridge the Social Divide

Polarization of American Culture & the Role of Social Media

How to Heal America’s Inequality & Political Divide

Social Impact Investing: What Works & What Doesn’t

The China Competition & US-China Relations

What China Will Mean to Young Americans in the Coming Decades

Are the US & China Headed for Conflict?

Half the Sky: How Women Can Help Change the World