At every step of her career, Pat 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 co-chairs the US board of Women of the World (WOW). Along with Ronda Carnegie, she partners with the Rockefeller Foundation to curate, convene and host Connected Women Leaders (CWL) forums, focused on collective problem solving among 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 was a contributor to Enlightened Power: How Women Are Transforming the Practice of Leadership, and wrote the Preface to the book and museum exhibition, 130 Women of Impact in 30 Countries. In 2016, she received a Congressional appointment to The American Museum of Women’s History Advisory Council, and in 2019 was named to the Gender Equality Top 100 list of women leaders by Apolitical.
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, serves on the boards of the Skoll Foundation, Participant Media, the Acumen Fund and is 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 is the author of Becoming a Dangerous Woman: Embracing Risk to Change the World. She and her husband, Scott Seydel, live in Atlanta and have six children and 13 grandchildren.
Jess Search writes: "12 years ago, I got together with four other women to start a documentary foundation in London. We had worked in television but we knew the form was more powerful, both creatively and in terms of social impact, than TV had explored. We believe in the importance of independent storytellers and so we built a tiny institution to empower them.
"Today, as Doc Society, we work with incredibly determined filmmakers literally all over the world, helping them to make their best work and for their films to influence communities and policy makers. Maybe some of you have heard of, or been to, our Good Pitch events, or seen our filems, such as CITIZENFOUR and Virunga. Alongside that work, I am also the trustee of three other organisations whose work I believe in. They are Marie Stopes International, who deliver birth control and safe abortions in 40 countries; IPPR, which is a progressive think tank in the UK; and now Kickstarter in NY, which probably needs no introduction to this crowd."
Hank Willis Thomas's work has been exhibited throughout the U.S. and abroad including, the International Center of Photography, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Musée du quai Branly, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. His work is in numerous public collections including the Museum of Modern Art New York, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the High Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, among others.
Thomas's collaborative projects include Question Bridge: Black Males, In Search Of The Truth (The Truth Booth), and For Freedoms. For Freedoms was recently awarded the 2017 ICP Infinity Award for New Media and Online Platform. Thomas is also the recipient of the 2017 Soros Equality Fellowship and the 2017 AIMIA | AGO Photography Prize. Current exhibitions include Prospect 4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp in New Orleans and All Things Being Equal at Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa. In 2017, Thomas also unveiled his permanent public artwork "Love Over Rules" in San Francisco and "All Power to All People" in Opa Locka, Florida. Thomas is a member of the Public Design Commission for the City of New York. He received a BFA in Photography and Africana studies from New York University and an MFA/MA in Photography and Visual Criticism from the California College of Arts. He has also received honorary doctorates from the Maryland Institute of Art and the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts. He lives and works in New York City.
Helen Walters first attended TED in Monterey in 2008. Back then, she came as a journalist, reporting on the ideas and speakers as the editor of innovation and design at BusinessWeek. Later, she helped to write and produce TED's own coverage of the conference. Later still, in 2013, she went all in and joined the organization full-time, first as the ideas editor, launching and running TED's ideas blog, then as editorial director, working to help translate stage talks into wildly successful online videos, and now helping speakers at all major TED events. She also serves as a member of TED's leadership team.
In her previous life as a writer and editor, she wrote about everything from high technology to low culture, including writing one book on experimental animation and three books (yes, really) on T-shirt graphics. She still likes nothing more than talking to interesting people about the ideas and passions that fuel them, and that's why she argues that hers is essentially the best job in the world.
As an author and curator, Deb Willis's pioneering research has focused on cultural histories envisioning the black body, women and gender. She is a celebrated photographer, acclaimed historian of photography, MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellow, and University Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.
Willis received the NAACP Image Award in 2014 for her co-authored book Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery (with Barbara Krauthamer) and in 2015 for the documentary Through a Lens Darkly, inspired by her book Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers 1840 to the Present.
Manoush Zomorodi's passion and expertise lie in investigating how technology is transforming humanity. She is the author of Bored and Brilliant: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Spacing Out, which explores the fascinating side of boredom. In 2018, she cofounded Stable Genius Productions, a media company aimed at helping people navigate personal and global change. Its first project is ZigZag, a show about the changing culture of business and work.
Zomorodi is also the creator and host of Note to Self, "the tech show about being human," which is a coproduction with WNYC Studios. The show was named "Best Tech Podcast of 2017" by the Academy of Podcasters. She’s won numerous awards, including two Gracies for Best Radio Host. She has two kids who still enjoy her company. For now.