The distinguished members of our Leadership Council are highly accomplished individuals who have displayed a personal, ongoing commitment to inspire citizen and leadership action to achieve gender equity around the world. Members of the Council help connect the dots of government, media, Hollywood, and NGOs to energize, expand, and amplify the movement to empower women and girls, their communities, and future generations.
Patricia de Stacy Harrison
Patricia de Stacy Harrison is Chair of the Leadership Council of Women and Girls Lead and the president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the steward of the federal investment in public media. During her tenure, Ms. Harrison has established the first Diversity and Innovation Fund for public media — radio, television, online and mobile. Prior to joining CPB in 2005, Ms. Harrison served as Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs and Acting Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs for the State Department.
Loreen Arbus is the President of Loreen Arbus Productions, Inc., The Loreen Arbus Foundation and The Goldenson-Arbus Foundation. Ms. Arbus holds the distinction of being the first woman to head programming for a U.S. network, a feat accomplished twice (both at Showtime and Cable Health Network/Lifetime). Ms. Arbus is the author of six nonfiction books, has written countless articles for many national publications, and was twice nominated for an Emmy. She serves on over a dozen nonprofit boards.
Lidia Bastianich is one of the most-loved chefs on television, a best-selling cookbook author, restaurateur, and owner of a flourishing food and entertainment business. Ms. Bastianich is the chef/owner of four acclaimed New York City restaurants: Felidia, Becco, Esca, and Del Posto, as well as Lidia’s Pittsburgh and Lidia’s Kansas City. She is also founder and president of Tavola Productions, an entertainment company that produces high‐quality broadcast productions. Along with her son, Joe Bastianich, Mario Batali, and Oscar Farinetti, the team opened Eataly, the largest artisanal Italian food and wine marketplace in New York City.
Over the past two decades, Jimmie Briggs has earned a reputation as a respected human rights advocate, journalist, lecturer and educator. A National Magazine Award finalist and recipient of honors from the Open Society Institute, National Association of Black Journalists and the Carter Center for Mental Health Journalism, his book, Innocents Lost: When Child Soldiers Go To War won him accolades in 2005, and took readers into the personal journeys of war-affected youth. For his work with the Man Up Campaign, Briggs was selected as the winner of the 2010 GQ Magazine “Better Men Better World” search, as well as one of Women’s eNews’ 21 Leaders for the 21st Century in 2011.
Nancy Brinker is the Founder and Chair of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Shortly after her sister Susan's death from breast cancer at the age of 36, Ms. Brinker founded Susan G. Komen for the Cure® in 1982. The organization has invested more than $2.2 billion in breast cancer research, education, screening, and treatment. In 2009, President Barack Obama honored her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Brinker is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has received numerous accolades for her global work.
Christy Turlington Burns is the founder of Every Mother Counts, a campaign to end preventable deaths caused by pregnancy and childbirth around the world. In 2010, Christy directed and produced No Woman, No Cry, a documentary about the global state of maternal health. Christy is also an advisor to the Harvard Medical School Global Health Council and the Harvard School of Public Health Board of Dean’s Advisors. She has a BA from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Studies and is currently pursuing a MPH at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York.
Maro Chermayeff is an award-winning filmmaker, producer, director, author and former television executive at A&E Networks. She is Founder and Chair of the MFA program in Social Documentary at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and partner with Jeff Dupre in the film and television production company, Show of Force. A member of the DGA, she is the Director and Executive Producer of the Half the Sky Movement.
Geena Davis is an Academy Award and Golden Globe winning actor, and the founder of the nonprofit The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and its programming arm See Jane, which engages film and television creators to dramatically increase the percentages of female characters — and reduce gender stereotyping — in media made for children 11 and under.
Rohit Deshpandé is Sebastian S. Kresge Professor of Marketing at Harvard Business School, where he teaches in the Owner/President Management Program and in other executive education offerings. He is the faculty chair of the Global Colloquium for Participant-Centered Learning and was a part of the design and delivery team that created the Leadership and Corporate Accountability MBA required course focusing on ethics and corporate governance. In 2008-2009 Mr. Deshpande was the Henry B. Arthur Fellow for Business Ethics.
Abigail E. Disney is a filmmaker, philanthropist and community activist currently producing the multi-media initiative, Awakening, along with Executive Producer and fellow Leadership Council Member, Zainab Salbi. Her longtime passion for women’s issues and peace-building culminated in her first film, the acclaimed Pray the Devil Back to Hell. Ms. Abigail co-founded the Daphne Foundation, which works with low-income communities in the five boroughs of New York City. She also founded Peace is Loud, which amplifies women's voices for peace-building using the power of media.
Rebecca Eaton is Executive Producer of Masterpiece Theatre and Mystery! and has held this role since 1985, during which she has accrued a host of accolades, including 11 Primetime Emmy Awards, six International Emmy Awards, 11 Peabody Awards, a Golden Globe, and two Academy Award nominations. An alumna of Vassar College, Ms. Eaton was a science radio producer for the BBC World Service before coming to WGBH, where she began in arts radio and later produced television documentaries on subjects ranging from business to sports and dance to drama.
Marian Wright Edelman is the Founder and President of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) and has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life. Under her leadership, CDF has become the nation’s strongest voice for children and families. A graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, Ms. Edelman began her career in the mid-60s when, as the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar, she directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Mississippi.
America Ferrera is perhaps best known for her fearless portrayal of Betty Suarez on ABC's hit comedy Ugly Betty. This breakthrough role has earned Ferrera an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and a Screen Actors Guild Award, as well as ALMA and Imagen Awards. Ms. Ferrera secured her place as one of Hollywood's most vibrant young talents with her starring role in the film Real Women Have Curves and appeared in the Women and Girls Lead docu-series Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women and Girls Worldwide.
Eileen Fisher is an American clothing designer, businesswoman, and founder of the Eileen Fisher Foundation. In 1984, Ms. Fisher founded Eileen Fisher, Inc. and serves as the company president. An avid philanthropist who is active in many women's causes, Ms. Fisher has been a supporter and sponsor of the Women and Girls Lead campaign, providing funding and visibility for its films and activities in her stores around the country.
Ernestine Fu authored the book Civic Work, Civic Lessons. Written with public service veteran and professor Thomas Ehrlich, the book offers insights on how and why people of all ages should engage in public service. Ms. Fu began her civic work when she founded a nonprofit at the age of fifteen and now actively blogs about social entrepreneurship.
Nikki Giovanni is a world-renowned poet, writer, commentator, activist, and educator. One of the most widely-read American poets, she prides herself on being "a Black American, a daughter, a mother, a professor of English." Ms. Giovanni remains as determined and committed as ever to the fight for civil rights and equality. Always insisting on presenting the truth as she sees it, she has maintained a prominent place as a strong voice of the black community. Her focus is on the individual, specifically, on the power one has to make a difference in oneself, and thus, in the lives of others.
Christine Hakim is an Indonesian actress, film producer, and the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Teacher Education in Southeast Asia. She is the founder of an organization developed in her name to provide milk for undernourished children on the island of Java and the region of Aceh. This charitable organization also offers scholarships for Indonesian children and young directors.
Maria Hinojosa is the founder of The Futuro Media Group with the mission to produce multi-platform, community-based journalism that respects and celebrates the cultural richness of the American Experience. Throughout her 25-year career, Ms. Hinojosa has reported hundreds of important stories, from the immigrant work camps in NOLA after Katrina, to teen girl victims of sexual harassment on the job, to Emmy Award-winning stories of the poor in Alabama.
Dolores Clara Fernandez Huerta is a labor leader and civil rights activist who co-founded the National Farmworkers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers (UFW). Huerta is currently the president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation and has received numerous awards for her community service and advocacy for workers', immigrants', and womens' rights, including the Eugene V. Debs Foundation Outstanding American Award, the United States Presidential Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Bianca Jagger is the Founder and Chair of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, a Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador, a member of the Executive Director's Leadership Council of Amnesty International, USA, and IUCN Plant a Pledge Ambassador. For over three decades she has been a voice for the most vulnerable members of society, campaigning for human rights, civil liberties, peace, social justice, and environmental protection. She is the recipient of numerous international awards including The Right Livelihood Award, The Amnesty International USA Media Spotlight Award for Leadership, and The United Nations Earth Day International Award, among many others.
Paula Kerger is the President and CEO of PBS, the nation’s largest non-commercial media organization with more than 350 member stations throughout the country. Ms. Kerger joined PBS as its sixth president and chief executive in March 2006. Since her arrival, she has made particularly strong commitments to the arts, news, and public affairs, high-quality content for education, diversity, and the use of new technology to bring public media into the lives of all Americans.
Peggy Kerry is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Fellow at the Foreign Policy Association. She is on the Advisory Board of Action Against Hunger and Global Kids. Ms. Kerry is also a member of the Founders Circle of Girls Be Heard, a theatre collective and educational program. It provides a safe environment for girls to write, direct, and perform theatre productions under the guidance of professional directors and actors.
Shelby Knox is nationally known as the subject of the Sundance award-winning film The Education of Shelby Knox, a 2005 PBS documentary chronicling her teenage activism for comprehensive sex education and gay rights in her Southern Baptist community. Shelby is a Senior Organizer at change.org, where she helps women and their allies start, run, and win campaigns for gender justice. She is on the board of the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) and on the Advisory Board of SPARK, a young feminist organizing collective. Shelby has been called “The Next Gloria Steinem” by Marie Claire and one of “The Next Generation of Feminists” by More Magazine. Shelby lives in New York City.
Nicholas D. Kristof, a columnist for The New York Times since 2001, is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and author of China Wakes: The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power, Thunder from the East: Portrait of a Rising Asia and Half the Sky: From Oppression to Opportunity for Women Worldwide.
Maria Teresa Kumar is the founding President and CEO of Voto Latino and an Emmy-nominated contributor with MSNBC. Under her leadership, Voto Latino has become a key factor in national elections by directly registering over 225,000 new voters and influencing millions more through viral campaigns. Maria Teresa serves on the national boards of Planned Parenthood Federation Action Fund and the Latino Leaders Network, and is a Hunt Alternative Fund Prime Mover and a Council on Foreign Relations Term Member. She started her career as a legislative aide for then Democratic Caucus Chair Vic Fazio, and graduated from Harvard’s Kennedy School and the University of California at Davis.
Susan Lacy has been an award-winning originator of primetime public television programs since 1979. As the Creator and Executive Producer of American Masters, now in its 27th broadcast season on PBS, Ms. Lacy has been responsible for the production and national broadcast of more than 150 documentary films about our country’s artistic and cultural giants, those who have made an indelible impact on the American landscape.
Dyllan McGee is the Founder and Executive Producer of MAKERS. She is also an Emmy-award winning Executive Producer at Kunhardt McGee Productions overseeing all documentary and web programming. Dyllan served as the Director of Content and Operations for the International Freedom Center at Ground Zero in New York, a cultural institution that was proposed as part of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s redevelopment of the World Trade Center site. Dyllan serves on the board of the Gordon Parks Foundation and lives in Katonah, NY with her husband and two sons.
Pat Mitchell is the President and CEO of the Paley Center for Media with headquarters in New York and Los Angeles. Ms. Mitchell believes in the power of media to influence, inform, and inspire, and during her three decade career as a broadcast journalist, a documentary producer, and television executive, she has committed her talents to optimizing that power for positive social change.
Georgette Mosbacher is a successful business leader, nationally recognized political activist, public speaker, author, and an advocate for women and children. As President and CEO of Borghese, a global cosmetic, skincare, and fragrance company, Ms. Mosbacher is well known for her expertise in the beauty arena, as well as her renowned activities as a political fundraiser and activist.
Jennifer Siebel Newsom is a documentary filmmaker, writer, producer, and advocate for women and girls. Ms. Newsom wrote, directed and produced the 2011 Sundance documentary film Miss Representation. Coinciding with the distribution of her film, Ms. Newsom launched MissReprestation.org, a call-to-action movement that provides women and girls the tools to realize their full potential. Ms. Newsom serves as the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of MissRepresentation.org.
Her Majesty Queen Noor is an international public servant and an outspoken voice on issues of world peace and justice. Her conflict recovery and peace-building work has focused on the Middle East, the Balkans, Central and Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Queen Noor has published two books, Hussein of Jordan and Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life, a New York Times best seller published in 15 languages.
Norah O’Donnell is co-host of CBS This Morning, a position she has held since July 2012. Since joining the morning team, O'Donnell has had the opportunity to travel the globe covering major stories, including the historic election of Pope Francis in Vatican City, the devastating tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, the Boston Marathon bombing, the Newtown massacre and many others. An Emmy Award winner, O'Donnell joined CBS News in June 2011 as the network's Chief White House Correspondent.
Farah Pandith is the first-ever appointed Special Representative to Muslim Communities for the US State Department. In the years since her swearing in, Special Representative Pandith has traveled to more than 80 countries and launched youth-focused initiatives including Generation Change, Viral Peace, and Hours Against Hate (a campaign that was a partner with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.) She is also a key architect of the Women in Public Service Project.
Doris Roberts is an American stage, TV, and film actress who has received five Emmy Awards during her illustrious career. Perhaps best known as Marie Barone on the hit television show Everybody Loves Raymond, Ms. Roberts is an advocate for both animals and children, having been active with Puppies Behind Bars and the Children with AIDS Foundation, of which she has served as the chairwoman.
Sharon Percy Rockefeller has been president and CEO of WETA, Washington, D.C.’s flagship public television and radio stations since 1989. Before assuming the top post at WETA, she was a member of WETA’s Board of Trustees for seven years and a member of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for 12 years, including four years as chairman. Mrs. Rockefeller has been honored with the Women of Vision Award from Women in Film and Video and the CINE Lifetime Achievement Award.
Zainab Salbi is an Iraqi American humanitarian, entrepreneur, author, and a media commentator that has dedicated herself to women's rights and freedom. At the age of 23, she founded Women for Women International, a grassroots humanitarian and development organization dedicated to helping women survivors of wars rebuild their lives. Ms. Salbi is Co-Executive Producer with fellow Leadership Council member Abigail Disney on the upcoming docu-series Awakening.
Reshma Saujani is the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, a national non profit organization working to close the gender gap in the Technology field. A graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School and Yale Law School, Reshma most recently served as Deputy Public Advocate of NYC. She is the author of a new book promoting female leadership called " Women Don't Wait in Line."
Amartya Sen is Thomas W. Lamont University Professor, and Professor of Economics and Philosophy, at Harvard University and was until 2004 the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. He is also Senior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. Earlier on he was Professor of Economics at Jadavpur University Calcutta, the Delhi School of Economics, and the London School of Economics, and Drummond Professor of Political Economy at Oxford University.
Premal Shah is the President of Kiva.org. In late 2004, Premal took a 3 month leave from his then job at PayPal to develop and test the internet microfinance concept in India. When he returned to Silicon Valley, he met other like-minded dreamers and quit his job at PayPal to help bring the Kiva concept to life and eventually, to scale. Kiva today raises over $1 million each week for the working poor in +60 countries and was named a Top 50 Website by TIME Magazine. For his work as a social entrepreneur, Premal was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and selected to FORTUNE magazine's "Top 40 under 40" list.
Anne-Marie Slaughter is the president and CEO of the New America Foundation and the Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor Emerita of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. From 2009-2011 she served as the director of Policy Planning for the United States Department of State, the first woman to hold that position. Prior to her government service, Dr. Slaughter was the Dean of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs from 2002–2009.
Megan is an entrepreneur, tech evangelist, engineer, catalyst and connector. At Google[x], Megan works on a range of projects including co-creating/hosting SolveForX to encourage and amplify technology-based moonshot thinking and collaboration. Prior to joining Google, Megan was CEO and earlier, COO of PlanetOut, the leading LGBT online community. Over the years, Megan has contributed to a wide range of engineering projects, including an award-winning bicycle lock, space station construction program, and solar cookstoves.
Tara Sonenshine is the Former Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and serves as a Distinguished Fellow at Georgetown University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. She is the winner of 10 News Emmy Awards among other accolades in journalism for programs on domestic and international issues.
Hari Sreenivasan is the Anchor of PBS Newshour Weekend, Senior Correspondent for the nightly program as well as the Director of Digital Partnerships. Prior to joining Newshour, he was at CBS News, reporting regularly on the "CBS Evening News,” "The Early Show" and "CBS Sunday Morning." Sreenivasan has received Emmy nominations for NewsHour coverage of the Gulf oil spill, his work on an Interactive piece for PBS Frontline Targeting the Electorate and for his reporting at CBS.
Stanley Tucci is an Academy Award nominated actor, accomplished writer, producer, and director, and the host of ITVS’s Independent Lens series. Mr. Tucci has appeared in more than 50 films, countless television shows, and a dozen plays, and won a wide array of awards including multiple Golden Globes, Emmy’s, and honors from the New York Film Critics, and the Boston Society of Film Critics, among others.
Melanne Veveer is the Executive Director of the Institute for Women, Peace and Security at the Edmond A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Prior to this, Ms. Verveer was the first United States Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues. In this capacity, she worked to ensure that women’s participation and rights are fully integrated into U.S. foreign policy, and played a leadership role in the Administration’s development of the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.
Mary Wilson is an American vocalist, best known as a founding member of The Supremes. Additionally, Ms. Wilson is a best-selling author, motivational speaker, businesswoman, and former U.S. Cultural Ambassador. Ms. Wilson still performs with the same passion as she did singing with the original Supremes, but is now using her fame and flair to promote humanitarian efforts to end hunger, raise AIDS awareness and encourage world peace.
Sheryl WuDunn, the first Asian-American reporter to win a Pulitzer Prize, is a business executive, lecturer, and best-selling author. She is a senior managing director with Mid-Market Securities, an investment banking boutique. Previously, Ms. WuDunn was an executive at Goldman, Sachs & Co. and both an executive and journalist at The New York Times. She is co-author of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, a New York Times best-selling book about the challenges facing women around the globe.