President & CEO
Pat MitchellPresident & CEO, The Paley Center for Media
Since assuming her current role as president and chief executive officer of The Paley Center for Media (formerly The Museum of Television & Radio) in March 2006, Pat Mitchell has guided the institution (founded in 1975) through an exciting rebranding effort and strengthened its public and industry programs by analyzing and interpreting the immense changes in the media landscape. Under her leadership, the Paley Center has become a major convener for media leaders and enthusiasts, continuing to offer its unrivaled collection of radio, television, and advertising content as a lens for exploring the powerful impact of media on our lives, culture, and society. Pat Mitchell was named to Newsweek's 2011 list of 150 Women Who Shake the World and in 2012 was named by the Huffington Post one of the Most Powerful Women Over 50 and featured in Fast Company’s Special Report, The League of Extraordinary Women.
Ms. Mitchell has brought new life to The Paley Center for Media's event series with innovative programming, attracting high profile leaders in entertainment, technology, business, politics, and policy. Drawing upon its influential board of trustees and International Council of media executives, Ms. Mitchell has clearly positioned the Paley Center as both a neutral forum for industry professionals and a public space for media lovers to gather for informative and entertaining events—from evenings with casts and creative teams of current popular series to premieres of new and innovative work to industry dialogues focused on the dynamics of a rapidly evolving and converging media landscape.
An enthusiast of new media herself, Ms. Mitchell continues to lead the Paley Center into the digital era: spearheading the conversion of the organization's collection of nearly 150,000 television and radio programs to a digital format; overseeing the redevelopment of its interactive website; negotiating content deals with prominent Internet portals and broadband companies including Yahoo! and Comcast; and convening the Paley Center's 2007 International Council in the digital media capital of the United States, Silicon Valley, where more than 120 global media executives from broadcast, cable, telecom, Internet, and technology came together to explore the challenges and opportunities of the digital marketplace.
Ms. Mitchell came to The Paley Center for Media from the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), where she was named president and chief executive officer in March 2000, the first woman and first producer and journalist to hold the position. During her tenure, she oversaw the development of many new projects, including a celebrated new series for children focusing on teaching literacy skills and celebrating diversity, a testament to her belief in the power of media to empower and inform. She also led public broadcasting into the digital future with such initiatives as the conversion from analog to digital broadcasting, the launch of a high-definition PBS channel and an on-demand and cable preschool children's service, the growth of PBS's website into one of the three most visited sites on the Internet, and the establishment of the Digital Future Initiative to help define models for public service media using new digital technologies.
Ms. Mitchell came to the world of media when she was recruited from college teaching by Look magazine. Not long after, she took her first story to WNBC New York, where she saw her work go from page to screen—and never looked back. Over the next three decades, Ms. Mitchell worked for three broadcast networks and several cable channels, winning national acclaim both in front of and behind the camera as a reporter, news anchor, talk show host, White House and special correspondent, producer, and executive. In the mid-eighties, she established her own independent production company that produced documentaries, series, and specials for broadcast, cable, and national syndication. She became the first woman to nationally syndicate her own show, the Emmy-winning Woman to Woman, which she also hosted.
In 1992, Ms. Mitchell became an executive in charge of original productions for Ted Turner's cable networks. Over the next eight years as executive producer, her documentaries and specials received thirty-seven Emmy Awards, five Peabody Awards, and two Academy Award nominations.
Ms. Mitchell herself has received numerous awards during the course of her career, including being named to Newsweek's 2011 list of 150 Women Who Shake the World, the Huffington Post’s 2012 list of the Most Powerful Women Over 50, Forbes.com list of "Women Changing the World," and featured in Fast Company’s Special Report, “The League of Extraordinary Women.” The Women’s Media Center will honor Mitchell with their first annual Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012, and going forward, this award will be given annually as the Pat Mitchell Lifetime Achievement Award. Mitchell is a 2008 Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame Honoree and has been honored with the Women in Cable and Telecommunications Woman of the Year Award; the CINE Golden Eagle for Lifetime Achievement; the PROMAX Century Award for contributions to the television industry; Hollywood’s Most Powerful Women in Entertainment; the Sandra Day O'Connor Award for Leadership; the NATPE Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award; and was recognized in 2008 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. Mitchell was named one of the most influential female executives in the media by The Hollywood Reporter and in 2006, prior to coming to the Paley Center as president and CEO, she was honored as one of the first fifty women in The Paley Center for Media's She Made It initiative. In 2009, Ms. Mitchell was appointed a Commissioner by CSIS (Center for Strategic International Study Commission on Smart Global Health Policy). This commission was responsible for preparing a global report for President Barack Obama.
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. Ms. Mitchell is Vice Chair of the Sundance Institute, a Trustee of the Mayo Foundation, a founding member of Mikhail Gorbachev's global environmental organization, Global Green USA, a board member of Acumen Fund, chair of the Jordan River Foundation US Board and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Women’s Forum Inc and the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Mitchell also sits on the corporate board of AOL.
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 Emerson College, Hollins University, Bloomsburg University, and Converse College. She and her husband, Scott Seydel, have six children and ten grandchildren and reside in New York and Atlanta, Georgia.