Pat Mitchell

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Pat Mitchell
Pat Mitchell (8157972890) (cropped).jpg
Mitchell in 2002
Born (1943-01-20) January 20, 1943 (age 78)
Alma materUniversity of Georgia BA, MA
OccupationGlobal media businesswoman and philanthropist
Spouse(s)Scott Seydel
ChildrenMark Mitchell, Clark Seydel, Rutherford Seydel, Rosina Seydel, Lael Seydel, Scotto Seydel

Pat Mitchell (born January 20, 1943) is a businesswoman in the media industry who has worked as a CEO and producer. Her career has focused on using media as a force for social change, with a special emphasis on the representation of women's voices and stories.

Mitchell partners with the TED organization to co-curate and host an annual global TEDWomen conference.[1] Mitchell also advises foundations and corporations on issues of women's empowerment and leadership development as well as media and governance. 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 the chair[2][3] of the Women's Media Center and Sundance Institute boards; a founding board member[4] of V-Day, a global movement to end violence; a founding member of Mikhail Gorbachev's global environmental organization, Green Cross International; a member of the George Foster Peabody Awards[5] board of directors; a member of the board of the Skoll Fund[6] and Acumen Fund;[7] a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences; and the International Women's Forum.

The first woman president and CEO of PBS,[8] she most recently served as president and CEO of the Paley Center for Media;[9] she is now a senior adviser to the organization. Mitchell is also the former president of CNN Productions, where she executive produced hundreds of hours of documentaries and specials, which received 35 Emmy Awards and five Peabody Awards.

She was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 2008,[10] named one of the Most Powerful Women in Hollywood by The Hollywood Reporter and featured in Fast Company’s special report, "The League of Extraordinary Women: 60 Influencers Who Are Changing the World.[11]"

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[12] she gave at her alma mater). She has taught at the University of Georgia, Virginia Commonwealth University, and at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.


Pat Mitchell started her career 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[13] 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 (including 35 Emmy Awards and five Peabody Awards) 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. She was a co-host on the daily NBC daytime talk show America Alive! in 1978.[14]

In the mid-80s, she left a secure position at NBC to establish an independent production company to create, produce and host the Emmy Award-winning daytime series, "Woman to Woman,"[15] which was the first national program produced and hosted by a woman. "Woman to Woman"[16] 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.

In 2012, The Women's Media Center honored Mitchell with their first-annual Lifetime Achievement Award.[17] 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 Bodley Medal from the Oxford University. Mitchell was appointed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as one of nine commissioners[18] to develop a plan to build a National Women's History Museum in Washington, D.C. The commission delivered its report to Congress[19] in the fall of 2016.

Mitchell is the author of the forthcoming book, "Becoming a Dangerous Woman: Embracing Risk to Change the World" from Seal Press.

She and her husband, Scott Seydel, have six children and 12 grandchildren and reside in New York City and Atlanta, Georgia.


  1. ^ Gowland, Lelia (16 January 2018). "The Leader Behind TEDWomen". Forbes.
  2. ^ "Pat Mitchell bio, Board Co-Chair". Women's Media Center.
  3. ^ ""Sundance Institute Elects Pat Mitchell to Chair Board of Trustees"". Hollywood Reporter. 10 November 2014.
  4. ^ "Pat Mitchell — Board member". V-Day. 1 January 2014.
  5. ^ "Who We Are". Grady College and University of Georgia. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  6. ^ "Pat Mitchell Joins Skoll Fund Board". Skoll Foundation. 6 January 2017.
  7. ^ "Acumen Board". Acumen.
  8. ^ Carter, Bill. "PBS Names Turner Broadcasting Executive as Its New President". Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  9. ^ "Pat Mitchell Appointed President & Chief Executive Officer of The Museum of Television & Radio | The Paley Center for Media". The Paley Center for Media. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  10. ^ "Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame Class of 2008". Broadcasting & Cable Association. 19 October 2008.
  11. ^ "Pat Mitchell". Fast Company. 5 June 2012. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  12. ^ "Commencement Speech delivered by Pat Mitchell". Pat Mitchell Media.
  13. ^ Mitchell, Pat (20 January 2016). "I Almost Gave Up".
  14. ^ "Shows like 'America, Alive' should be encouraged". Public Opinion. 1978-08-11. p. 52. Retrieved 2020-10-24.
  15. ^ O'Connor, John (1983). "TV: New 'Woman to Woman' Series". The New York Times.
  16. ^ "Woman to Woman Videotape collection, 1983-1984". Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.
  17. ^ "Women's Media Center Announces Pat Mitchell To Be First Recipient Of Lifetime Achievement Award". Women's Media Center Press Release. 8 December 2012.
  18. ^ "American Museum of Women's History Congressional Commissioners".
  19. ^ "American Women's History Museum Commission".

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