Ellen Goodman has spent most of her life chronicling social change and its impact on American life. As a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist she was one of the first women to open up the oped pages to women’s voices and became, according to Media Watch, the most widely syndicated progressive columnist in the country.
She continues that from her observation post now as a writer, speaker and commentator.
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. An innovative force in American journalism, Ellen brings her trademark intellect, wit, and compassion to her speeches. She’s given keynote speeches all across the country.
Also a board member of Encore.org (Second Acts for the greater good) and founder of The Conversation Project, a public engagement campaign to see that people’s wishes for end of life care are expressed and respected. She is also an Ashoka Fellow.
The year 2020 will mark two momentous landmarks in the experience of American women: the 100th anniversary of woman’s right to vote, and a presidential election that is likely to hang on the use of that vote.
Goodman will celebrate and connect both of these events in an engaging and memorable talk dedicated to passing the torch to a young and diverse generation.
“Women who have been through a half a century of change can pass along to our daughters and granddaughters a belief in the ability to change the country through collective and political action.. The belief that we can do it. Again.”
Longtime journalist, Ellen traces how civility was shattered, who is winning and who is losing in the media mud wrestling. She shows how incivility is tearing us apart and how to call a truce.
“Civility means that we need to be able to talk about things we disagree about, leave our minds and ears open and stay in the same room with the people we disagree with.”
We have seen a generation of change in women’s lives. Ellen has been there, done that and talks about: How far have we come? Where are we stuck? What’s next?
“I don’t think women will ever feel that we’ve achieved equality or become leaders in our own terms until we achieve equality for the values of empathy but also caregiving, family life, community that we were assigned and have held high. We want to make it for our selves AND for our values”.
The generation of social change agents is now embarked on something new: the Longevity Revolution. The new elders are turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 a day. Ellen asks: How will these new seniors find meaning in their Third Act? How does this generation rewrite the script on senior citizenship for themselves and the country?
Older Americans are too often seen as “the problem,” the grey tsunami, part of the generational conflict. When in fact we can be the problem solvers.”
A full 90 percent of Americans believe that it’s important to talk about their wishes for end of life care, how they really want to live to the end of their lives. Yet only 30 percent have actually had this conversation. As founder of The Conversation Project and a daughter who lived this story, Ellen makes this a rich and comfortable subject.
“The conversation about end of life care is not about what’s the matter with us, but what matters to us. Having these conversations is a gift we give our loved ones.”