Women are more activated and energized than ever before. There has been an unprecedented surge of women rising up to use their voices, run for office, and demand change. More than ever, there is a sense of urgency about the need for gender equality and diversity of all types in positions of leadership in the public, private and citizen sectors. When it comes to women in politics, the inequality is staggering. While women are half the national population, the number of women serving in political office remains startlingly low: 20% of Congress, 23% of the Senate, and only 6 women out of 50 governors. What will it take to have gender parity in politics? With all the serious problems facing our country and the world right now, how can we ensure that we have women’s voices and visions equally represented?

This event will explore what has held women back from the highest levels of leadership and what we can do to propel women into politics and public office. The goal of this event would be multifold: to encourage women of all generations to run for office, to support women candidates by voting and supporting their campaigns, and also offer inspiration and guidance on amplifying our own political voice, as engaged, informed citizens, to get out the vote, to effectively support the issues and causes we believe in and be heard, and find our own pathways to creating change.

Media executive/TEDWomen curator Pat Mitchell
Journalist/Founder of What Will It Take Movements Marianne Schnall   

Opening Q&A: House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

Democratic Candidate for NY State Senate, District 34, Alessandra Biaggi
Dr. Kerry Healey, President of Babson College
Activist, Educator and Writer Brittany Packnett
Strategist and CNN Political Commentator Symone Sanders

Held weekly every Monday at 6:30pm during the academic terms,  Skirball Talks hosts visionaries from the worlds of politics, the arts, sciences, academia, and more. This event is free and open to the public.

PLEASE READ IN FULL REGARDING SEAT RESERVATIONS: RSVP does not guarantee a ticket. You can begin picking up tickets at the NYU Box Office (566 LaGuardia Pl) 2 hours prior to event. Even if you have picked up a ticket, please be aware that if you are not seated in the theater by 6:20pm, we will be opening up the theater to people in standby line. Tickets must be claimed by 6:10 pm. Unclaimed tickets will be released to those on the standby line.

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The event will be organized in partnership with Marianne Schnall’s  What Will It Take platform a media, collaboration, learning, and social engagement platform that inspires, connects, educates and engages women everywhere to advance in all levels of leadership and take action. What Will It Take acts as a connective tissue bringing together existing stakeholders and champions of women’s leadership across industries on a single platform to foster collaboration and coordination.

This event is in partnership with Catskill Carriage, a luxury transportation provider that believes in supporting opportunities for people to realize their full social change potential.

Alessandra Biaggi is the Democratic Party candidate for New York State Senate in her home district, NY-34. The granddaughter of Italian immigrants who lived in Hunts Point, she is the fourth generation of her family to live in the District. Before launching her campaign, she served in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Counsel’s Office focusing on the New York State’s women’s policy agenda, advocating for passage of the Reproductive Health Act and the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act. During the historic 2016 election, Alessandra was the Deputy National Operations Director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, overseeing a budget of $500 million, 38 state directors and 45 associated staff.  Her run for office is preceded by a decade of advocacy and service to the people of New York. She interned for the Kings County D.A.’s Office, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and was a legal fellow for New York State Homes and Community Renewal, working to ensure that families across New York State had access to affordable housing.

She served as Assistant General Counsel for Governor Cuomo’s Office of Storm Recovery, working with small businesses and municipalities to rebuild New York after Hurricane Sandy. She was a 2015 New Leaders Council (NLC) fellow, sat on NLC’s Advisory Board, and is a member of The New Agenda’s Young Women Leadership Council. Alessandra attended Pelham public schools and holds degrees from New York University and Fordham Law School. She is also a graduate of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University.

Dr. Kerry Healey took office as President of Babson College in July 2013, following nearly three decades of service in academia, government and humanitarian work. Healey is the thirteenth president of Babson and the first woman to hold that position. Prior to Babson, she served with distinction as the 70th lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, was a Special Advisor on the Romney for President Campaign, and led numerous philanthropic initiatives in the United States and abroad. 

Healey was the founding co-chair (alongside Swanee Hunt) of Political Parity, which provides a nonpartisan platform, invoking the energies of dedicated leaders, researchers and funders, to change the face of US politics. Supported by a leadership team of more than 50 women at the top of this field, the program has worked to elevate the number of women in the halls of Congress and governor’s mansions across the country.

Healey holds an AB in government from Harvard College and a PhD in political science and law from Trinity College, Dublin.

Pat Mitchell is known for her leadership in the media industry as a CEO, producer and curator. Her career has focused on using media as a force for social change, with an emphasis on the representation of women’s stories.

Mitchell is the former president of CNN Productions, where she executive produced programs that have received 35 Emmy Awards and five Peabody Awards. In 2000, she became the first woman president and CEO of PBS. Mitchell also served as president and CEO of the Paley Center for Media.

In 2011, Mitchell partnered with TEDTalks to co-curate the TEDWomen global conference. Mitchell is especially proud to have been recognized by The Women’s Media Center with its first Lifetime Achievement Award. The annual award is given to women who are advancing women through media. She also advises foundations and corporations on women’s empowerment and leadership development as well as media relations and governance.

She is the chair of the Women’s Media Center and Sundance Institute boards, a founding board member of V-Day and Participant Media, and a member of the Skoll and Acumen Fund boards, and the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2016, she served on the American Museum of Women’s History Congressional Committee.

A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Georgia, Mitchell holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English literature. She has taught at the University of Georgia, Virginia Commonwealth University, and at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics.

Cited by President Barack Obama as a leader whose “voice is going to be making a difference for years to come,” Brittany N. Packnett is an unapologetic educator, activist, writer, and national leader in social justice. Known as @MsPackyetti on social media, Brittany is Vice President of National Community Alliances for Teach For America, where she leads a team engaging in partnerships with communities and children of color. She is a Fall 2018 Resident Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics.

Brittany is Co-Founder of Campaign Zero, a comprehensive policy platform to end police violence, a video columnist for Mic News, and a frequent writer for major publications, including her recent series, ‘Falling In Love,’ challenging diverse women to move boldly in their power. Recently she founded Love + Power, a platform to inspire and outfit people for justice.

An active protestor, Brittany was a member of the Ferguson Commission and President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. She continues to advocate for urgent systemic change in protest, policy, and the media.

Among her many honors, Brittany has graced the cover of Essence Magazine, been named one of TIME Magazine’s 12 New Faces of Black Leadership, and honored at the 2018 BET Awards. Brittany has received the Peter Jennings Award for Civic Leadership and shares the number 3 spot on Politico’s 2016 50 Most Influential list.

Brittany is an alum of Washington University in St. Louis, American University in Washington, and is a current Aspen Institute Education fellow. She is a proud board member of Rise To Run, an organization committed to recruiting grassroots, diverse, progressive women to run for office, and Erase The Hate, NBCUniversal’s Emmy winning initiative to rid the world of discrimination.

Nancy Pelosi is the Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives in the 115th Congress.  From 2007 to 2011, she served as the first woman Speaker of the House, and she has led House Democrats for 16 years.  Pelosi has represented San Francisco, California’s 12th District, for 31 years. In 2013, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Pelosi brings to her leadership position a distinguished record of legislative accomplishment.  She led the Congress in passing historic health insurance reform, key investments in college aid, clean energy and innovation, and initiatives to help small businesses and veterans.  She has been a powerful voice for civil rights and human rights around the world for decades.  Pelosi comes from a strong family tradition of public service in Baltimore.  Married to Paul Pelosi, she is a mother of five and grandmother of nine.

A champion for women, communities of color and those in need, Symone D. Sanders is a democratic strategist, communications consultant, CNN Political Commentator and a Spring 2018 Resident Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School. Symone rose to prominence during her tenure as the National Press Secretary for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. At 25, Symone demonstrated an uncanny command of the issues earning her a place in history as the youngest presidential press secretary on record and a spot on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of 16 young Americans shaping the 2016 election.

However, Symone was not new to presidential politics. When she was 16, she introduced former President Bill Clinton at a luncheon in Omaha, Nebraska. Following her remarks, President Clinton said, “Symone spoke so well I really hate to follow her.” President Clinton went on to write about Symone in his book, Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World.

Now, Symone draws from her experience on the national stage to provide perceptive analysis on political and social issues. Her lively presentations challenge the conventional wisdom that strong communities are only defined by what we have in common. Instead, she outlines the way our differences contribute to effective social movements.

Symone has been featured on NPR, Fox News, MSNBC, NBC, BET, TV One and CNN. She has been profiled in the Washington Post, the New Yorker, ESSENCE Magazine and ELLE.

Marianne Schnall is a widely published journalist whose writings and interviews with high profile figures have appeared in a variety of media outlets including CNN.com. Forbes, O, The Oprah Magazine, Marie Claire, the Women’s Media Center, AOL Build and The Huffington Post.  Marianne is the founder and CEO of What Will It Take movements, a media, collaboration, learning, event and social engagement platform that inspires, connects, educates and engages women everywhere to advance in all levels of leadership and take action. She is also the founder and Executive Director of Feminist.com, a leading women’s website and nonprofit organization.

Marianne’s latest book is What Will It Take to Make A Woman President? Conversations About Women, Leadership and Power (recently recommended by Beyoncé ) featuring interviews with politicians, public officials, thought leaders, writers, artists, and activists in an attempt to discover the obstacles that have held women back and what needs to change in order to elect a woman into the White House and advance in all levels of leadership.

Through her writings, interviews, and websites, Marianne strives to raise awareness and inspire activism around important issues and causes. 

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The Skirball Talks series is made possible in part by a Humanities New York Action Grant and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. 

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Symone D. Sanders
Symone D. Sanders
Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi
Marianne Schnall
Marianne Schnall
Pat Mitchell
Pat Mitchell
Dr. Kelly Healey
Dr. Kerry Healey
Brittany Packnett
Brittany Packnett
Alessandra Biaggi
Alessandra Biaggi