Janet Dewart Bell Elected New Chair of the Women’s Media Center Board of Directors



WASHINGTON, DC – The Board of Directors of the Women’s Media Center unanimously elected Janet Dewart Bell as their new chair. WMC Founding Co-Chair and WMC Co-Chair Emeritus Pat Mitchell has named Bell to be the organization’s new president; WMC co-founder Gloria Steinem seconded the nomination.

Janet Dewart Bell is the new chair of the board of directors of the Women’s Media Center. (Image credit: WMC)

In naming Bell, Mitchell said, “It has been a privilege to work with Janet as Vice Chair of the WMC Board of Directors. I respect and greatly admire her background and groundbreaking experiences in the media and the work she currently leads in addressing the challenges of racial justice. The media have such a big role to play in the outcome of this long awaited judgment on racial equity and justice. I am honored to appoint Janet Dewart Bell as the next Chair of the Board of Directors of the Women’s Media Center.

Bell is Founder and President of LEAD Intergenerational Solutions, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing inclusive intergenerational leaders as agents of social change. Bell has extensive experience as a communications strategist, television and radio producer, and management consultant. She is the author of Lighting the Fires of Freedom: African American Women in the Civil Rights Movement (nominated for a 2019 NAACP Image Award); co-editor of Carving Out a Humanity: Race, Rights, and Redemption (published to coincide with the November 2020 25th anniversary of the Derrick Bell Lectures on Race in American Society at New York University School of Law, a series she has founded); and a forthcoming book on the historical discourses of African-American women in politics.

“Janet has dedicated her career to championing gender and racial parity, as an author and through senior positions in media and communications,” said Jane Fonda, co-founder of WMC. “The WMC Board of Directors has been well served in her years as Vice President. We are delighted with her leadership as Chair of the Board of Directors.

“I am honored and touched to be elected President of the Women’s Media Center,” said Bell. “Succeeding Pat Mitchell isn’t trying to put yourself in his shoes. Pat’s career is second to none. Fortunately, Pat believes in helping others get their own shoes and be heard. Pat’s legendary media career and service at WMC remains an inspiration and a challenge as we continue to build on our powerful legacy. Just to say the names of our incredible founders are breathtaking and thought-provoking: Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan , Gloria Steinem. They are not resting on their laurels, but are active agents of change. What they have created, the Women’s Media Center, is needed more than ever. Our skilled and dedicated staff, led by the President and CEO Julie Burton, is a role model on how to get work done effectively and efficiently.

WMC co-founder Robin Morgan noted the strong and consistent continuity of leadership provided by Bell. “Janet has spent decades fighting for racial and gender justice. It is an honor to have someone of her stature and experience as chair of our board, ”she said.

WMC Co-Founder Gloria Steinem said: “Through her important book, Lighting the Fires of Freedom, Janet Dewart Bell has helped complete the story, explain the present and guide us to the future. through the voices and wisdom of many black women who co-created the civil rights movement. Right now, with racial and gender justice at the center of our movement for change, I know we can trust Janet to support our great staff and work to broaden and amplify the wisdom and voices of diverse women in the world. media.

In addition to his multimedia background, Bell has experience in policy advocacy, strategic planning, fund development, media training and education. She is a social justice advocate, activist, executive coach and motivational speaker, with a PhD in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. She and her friend Naomi Nightingale are featured in the current issue of Antioch Alumni magazine in an article titled “What it takes to be a leader” about their extraordinary fellowship and co-teaching. Bell and Nightingale are adjunct assistant professors at Baruch College, City University of New York, where they teach at the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs. Bell, who graduated from Baruch, also sits on the Baruch President’s Vision Council.

She has been a key strategist and senior executive in a number of national organizations including PolicyLink, The Opportunity Agenda, National Urban League, and National Public Radio (NPR). Its programming at NPR has won numerous awards, including a Peabody. The first director of specialty programs at NPR, she helped increase diversity by recruiting and training women and people of color as producers and on-air talent.

As Director of Communications at PolicyLink, Bell was instrumental in developing the organization’s collaborative approach to advocacy and communications and developed its trademark “Lifting Up What Works”. She was Director of Communications at the National Urban League, where she redesigned, edited and marketed the League’s signature annual publication, The State of Black America.

Pat Mitchell is an Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated journalist, producer, and pioneering media executive. She is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Sundance Institute and Editorial Director of TEDWomen, and she made history as PBS’s first female CEO. She is the author of Becoming a Dangerous Woman: Embracing Risk to Change the World. In 2012, she received WMC’s first Lifetime Achievement Award, an annual award named in her honor.

“I am very proud to join my WMC co-founders Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem in thanking Pat Mitchell for her tremendous contributions as Chair of the Women’s Media Center Board of Directors. She’s a dear friend and a leader for women in media for decades. I was deeply honored to present Pat with our first WMC Pat Mitchell Lifetime Achievement Award, ”said Jane Fonda. “Her contributions as President have been immeasurable and have always been focused on promoting gender equality for future generations.”

Robin Morgan thanked Mitchell for her life making media and history for women, noting how fortunate the Women’s Media Center has been to have her as president for many years. Morgan said: “Pat Mitchell’s career spans decades with one singular goal: to lead the way for others. She is a media virtuoso who has dedicated her life and career to empowering women and girls around the world.

“Fifteen years ago, when the Women’s Media Center was first designed, Pat was at the table,” said Gloria Steinem. “Because she has worked so effectively in all types of media, her expertise, ideas and judgment are trustworthy. Although she is stepping down as president, we are grateful that she continues to work with us to create inclusive media.

Past Chairs and Co-Chairs of the Women’s Media Center Board of Directors are Maya Harris, Jane Fonda, Lauren Embrey, Jodie Evans and Helen Zia.


Bell is the former director of communications and public relations for District Council 37 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFL-CIO) in New York City, working with more than 50 local unions. She was a member of the AFL-CIO delegations in Morocco and Tunisia. As communications director of the National Household Employment Committee, she helped ensure coverage of the federal minimum wage for domestic workers.

His accomplishments include a Local Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement (Channel 9, the CBS-TV affiliate in Washington, DC) and Peabody Award-winning programming for National Public Radio.

She chaired the District of Columbia Commission for Women and represented the district at the United Nations Conference on Women in Nairobi, Kenya.

An active volunteer, she sits on the boards of the Andrew Goodman Foundation, CancerCare and the Institute for America’s Future. The previous board service includes Teaching Matters, Demos, and the YWCA of New York City. She is an ordained and active elder in her church, the First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn, an intentionally diverse and inclusive congregation.

The Women’s Media Center, co-founded by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem, is an inclusive feminist organization that strives to increase the visibility, sustainability and decision-making power of women and girls in the media to ensure that their stories are broadcast. said and their voices are heard. We do this by performing media research through the WMC Media Lab; create and model original online and on-air journalism; train women and girls to be effective in the media; and promote women experts in all fields through WMC SheSource.

WMC’s online and on-air journalism channels include the Women’s Media Center Live podcast and radio show with Robin Morgan, WMC Features, WMC Women Under Siege, WMC FBomb, WMC IDAR / E and WMC Speech Project.

For more information, contact Cristal Williams Chancellor, Director of Communications, at [email protected] or 202-270-8539.


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