Pat Mitchell began her media career in print (at LOOK) and transitioned to television as opportunities opened up for women in the early 1970s. She was among the first women to anchor the news (WBZ-TV Boston) and host a morning talk show (Woman 74). She was the first woman to own, produce and host a national talk show, the Emmy-winning Woman to Woman, which also became the first television series to be placed in the archives of the Harvard-Radcliffe Schlesinger Library on the History of Women.
As the head of Ted Turner's documentary division, the programs she commissioned garnered 37 Emmys, five Peabodys and two Academy Award nominations. In 2000, she became the first woman President and CEO of the Public Broadcasting System. She led PBS through the transition to digital broadcasting, sustained government funding and added many new original series to the national schedule. As head of the Paley Center for Media in New York and Los Angeles, she guided an institution that leads discussion about the cultural, creative and social significance of media. Now as an independent consultant and curator, Mitchell advises foundations and corporations on issues of women’s empowerment and leadership development as well as media relations and governance. Mitchell is a trustee of the Skoll Foundation and Participant Media; chair of the Sundance Institute Board and Women's Media Center and a board member of the Acumen Fund.
In 2010, Mitchell launched and co-hosted the first TEDWomen and for the succeeding seven years, in partnership with the TED organization, Mitchell has curated and hosted TEDxWomen and TEDWomen conferences.
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.
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 is the host and managing editor of Note to Self, “the tech show about being human,” from WNYC Studios. Through experiments and conversations with listeners and experts, she examines the new questions tech has brought into our lives. Topics include information overload, digital clutter, sexting “scandals" and the eavesdropping capabilities of our gadgets.
In January 2017, Manoush and Note to Self launched "The Privacy Paradox," a 5-part plan to help people take back control over their digital identity. Tens of thousands of listeners have completed the 5-part plan so far, which Fast Company calls Manoush's "challenge to us to stick up for our internet rights." Her book exploring how boredom can ignite original thinking, Bored and Brilliant: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Spacing Out, comes out in September 2017.