Quick Snapshot

Pat Mitchell is known for her leadership in the media industry as a CEO, producer and activist. 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.

The first woman President and CEO of PBS, she most recently served as president and CEO of the Paley Center for Media; she is now a Senior Advisor 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 5 Peabody Awards.

She was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 2009, named one of the Most Powerful Women in Hollywood by Hollywood Reporter and featured in Fast Company’s special report, The League of Extraordinary Women: 60 Influencers Who Are Changing the World.

Mitchell currently advises foundations and corporations on issues of women’s empowerment and leadership development as well as media and governance. She is the Chair of the Women’s Media Center and Sundance Institute boards, a founding board member of V-Day, a member of the board of the Acumen Fund, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Mitchell partners with the TED organization to co-curate and host a global TEDWomen conference.

A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Georgia, with a master's degree in English literature, Mitchell has taught at her alma mater, Virginia Commonwealth University, as well as Harvard University’s Institute of Politics.

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

Longer Version

As host of "Woman to Woman" in the 1980s

As host of "Woman to Woman" in the 1980s

 Pat Mitchell started her professional journey as a college 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 news weekly, LOOK magazine. Only nine months later, LOOK stopped publishing, and Mitchell, an unemployed single mother 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 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.  

 In the mid-eighties, she left a secure position at NBC to establish her own independent production company to create, produce and host the groundbreaking and Emmy-award-winning daytime series,  “Woman to Woman,” which was the first national program produced and hosted by a woman. "Woman to Woman" 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, and that ten-hour series, A Century of Women, was broadcast in 1993 on the Turner cable networks as well as 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 the Peabody Award for Excellence; several were nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary.

She was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 2009, named one of the Most Powerful Women in Hollywood by Hollywood Reporter and featured in Fast Company’s special report, The League of Extraordinary Women: 60 Influencers Who Are Changing the World.

As a volunteer activist in the Congo with One Billion Rising, the biggest mass action to end violence against women in human history

As a volunteer activist in the Congo with One Billion Rising, the biggest mass action to end violence against women in human history

In 2012, The Women’s Media Center honored Mitchell with their first annual Lifetime Achievement Award, and this award is given annually to a woman in media chosen by Mitchell and the Women’s Media Center Board. 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 to create a more equitable society for women. She is also one of twelve Americans awarded the prestigious Bodleian Medal from the Bodleian Library at Oxford University. Mitchell was recently appointed by Congressional Leader Nancy Pelosi as one of nine Commissioners to develop a plan to build a National Women’s Museum in Washington, DC. The Commission will deliver its report to Congress in Spring, 2016.

In addition to her accomplishments both on and off the screen, Ms. Mitchell is also known for her humanitarian efforts and her work as a dedicated member of numerous nonprofit boards. She is Chair of the Sundance Institute and the Women’s Media Center. She is also a founding board member of V-Day, a global movement to end violence; a founding member of Mikhail Gorbachev's global environmental organization, Green Cross International; a board member of Acumen Fund; and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the International Women’s Forum. Learn more about the causes and projects to which she is committed.

A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Georgia, with a master's degree in English literature, Ms. Mitchell has also been awarded honorary doctorate degrees from several colleges and universities and is a much sought after public speaker, advisor and consultant to foundations and corporations on issues of women’s empowerment, and leadership development. She and her husband, Scott Seydel, have six children and 12 grandchildren and reside in New York City and Atlanta, Georgia.