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Keynote Speaker Ellen Goodman
Ellen Goodman
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Ellen Goodman

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Summary of Ellen Goodman

Ellen Goodman is one of the most influential journalists in the US. Her Pulitzer Prize-winning column appears in over 400 newspapers, making her the second most widely read columnist in the country. Ellen is an American original. A gifted writer who senses emerging shifts in our public and private lives, Goodman specializes in illuminating the cultural debates that become national obsessions. A truly innovative force in American journalism, she is widely acclaimed as a voice of sanity, and readers depend on her to help them make sense of their changing lives and relationships. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Commentary, Ellen Goodman has won many other awards, including the American Society of Newspaper Editors Distinguished Writing Award, the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and the President's Award from the National Women's Political Caucus.

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Ellen Goodman's Pulitzer Prize-winning commentary appears in more than 300 newspapers. Since 1976, she has written about social change and its impact on American life. She was one of the first women to open up the oped pages to women's voices and is today, according to Media Watch, the most widely syndicated progessive columnist in the country.

Ellen began her career as a researcher for Newsweek magazine in the days when only men wrote for the newsweekly. She landed a job as a reporter for the Detroit Free Press in 1965 and, in 1967, for The Boston Globe where she began writing her column in 1974. It's been syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group since 1976.

A 1963 cum laude graduate of Radcliffe College, Ellen returned to Harvard in 1973-74 as a Nieman Fellow, where she studied the dynamics of social change. In 2007, she was a Shorenstein Fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where she studied gender and the news. As the first Lorry I. Lokey Visiting Professor in Professional Journalism she taught at Stanford in 1996.

Ellen's first book, Turning Points (Doubleday, 1979), detailed the effect of the changing roles of women on the family. Six collections of her columns also have been published: Close to Home (Simon & Schuster, 1979); At Large (Summit Books, 1981); Keeping in Touch (Summit Books, 1985); Making Sense (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1989); and Value Judgments (Farrar Straus Giroux, 1993) and Paper Trail: Common Sense in Uncommon Times (Simon & Schuster, 2004). She is also co-author with Patricia O'Brien of I Know Just What You Mean: The Power of Friendship in Women's Lives (Simon & Schuster, 2000).

Ellen won the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Commentary in 1980. She's won many other awards, including the American Society of Newspaper Editors Distinguished Writing Award in 1980. She received the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights in 1988. In 1993, The National Women's Political Caucus gave her the President's Award. In 1994, the Women's Research & Education Institute presented her with their American Woman Award. In 2008, she won the Ernie Pyle Award for Lifetime Achievement from the National Society of Newspaper columnists.

Ellen has a daughter, stepdaughter, two grandchildren and lives with her husband, Robert Levey in Boston.

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The XX Factor
Women as Leaders

After a generation of change, women are stalled just below the glass ceiling, just outside the White House, just beyond the CEO office. We're half the medical students and only three percent of the heads of Fortune 500 corporations. We're half the law students and only 16 percent of Congress. We're doing the balancing act of work and family and bumping our heads against the limits. It's time to talk again about women and leadership. What can we can bring to the table beyond the coffee? Let's talk about women's values as well as women's rights. What have we learned in this presidential campaign year about the old barriers and the new energy for change.

The "F" Word

Whatever happened to Feminism? One generation traded depression for stress. Not such a bad bargain. But the glass ceiling is still in place, working mothers are overwhelmed, housewives are desperate and young women want to have children somewhere between the graduate degree and menopause. Are we stuck? What's next for the next wave? Anybody want a life?

Is This Any Way to Cover a Campaign?

In an era of food fight journalism and ballistic blogging, what's going on with the media? Ellen takes us from a time when the press shielded the private lives of an FDR and a JFK to the time when the personal has become public with a vengeance. What do we make of cable TV knockouts and scandals of the day? Is we are back into an era of pink and blue news? And what's happened to women's voices? Ellen argues for a truly 'new' media.

Women and Health

Women play the primary role in America's health care story. They are family caregivers and the intermediaries between children and doctors, husbands and doctors. They make most of the family decisions about medical care. In the past decades we've seen enormous change in all these areas. We've seen women becoming half the medical students. We've seen nurses struggling to gain more respect for their role. At the same time, we've seen women as patients coping with the research on hormones. The magic pill that was supposed to keep them young forever now appears to be a danger more than a help. All of this fits into the pattern of social change that Ellen tracks.  

Women and Friendship (with Patricia O'Brien)

Ellen and Patricia O'Brien, authors of the New York Times best-seller, I Know Just What you Mean: The Power of Friendship in Women's Lives, have treated audiences to a lively discussion of the importance of this central relationship in women's lives. Work, love and friendship are the three legs we stand on in life. How do we sustain each other, how do we sustain friendship in a busy life. As a duet, they show as well as describe this connection.

Sex & Sanity?

Ellen also speaks to groups with wit and wisdom about the sexual revolution and counterrevelotution, sex education and miseducation and where the prochoice community is now.

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