Pat Mitchell started her professional journey 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 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-‘80s, she left a secure position at NBC to establish an 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. 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.
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.
In 2012, The Women’s Media Center honored Mitchell with their first-annual Lifetime Achievement Award. 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 prestigious Bodley Medal from the Bodleian Library at Oxford University.
Mitchell was appointed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as one of nine commissioners to develop a plan to build a National Women’s History Museum in Washington, D.C.
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 chair of the Sundance Institute and co-chair of 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.
Mitchell is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Georgia with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English literature. She 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.
Follow Ms. Mitchell on Twitter @patmitchell.