Ellen Goodman

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist, Author, Speaker & Influential Commentator

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$10,001 to $20,000
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Travels From
Massachusetts, United States

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist, Author,
Speaker & Influential Commentator

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 op-ed 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.

The Conversation Project

Today she continues that work from her observation post as a writer, speaker, commentator and nonprofit leader. At the heart of Ellen’s her work is The Conversation Project, a public health campaign and a movement, that works to change the way people talk about, and prepare for their end-of-life care.

End-of-Life Care

Ellen tells the story of serving as her mother’s caregiver with honesty and humor, delivering her mission and spreading the value of having “The Conversation” at conferences, lectures and workshops nationwide.

Social Entrepreneur

She currently serves as a Prime Mover and an Ashoka fellow, for her work as a social entrepreneur offering innovative approaches to solving long-standing social problems.  She’s also had a seat on the board of Encore.org for more than five years, helping people use their passions, skills and decades of experience to make a difference in our communities and the world.

Writing Career

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 which was syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group two years later. She wrote her twice-weekly column until 2010 when she left with a column about the virtues of “letting myself go.”


Ellen is also called upon as an expert on national panels, and on news outlets from broadcast to radio to on-line journalism. She’s been featured on ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer, Greater Boston with Emily Rooney, NPR’s Morning Edition and Here & Now, PBS NewsHour, TIME magazine.com, USA Today, the Washington Post, Woman’s Day and many others.


She’s a seven time author and in 1980, won the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Commentary. Ellen is also the recipient of many other honors for her work in the field, including the American Society of Newspaper Editors Distinguished Writing Award and the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.

She was honored with the President’s Award by the National Women’s Political Caucus and was also presented the American Woman Award by the Women’s Research & Education Institute. In 2008, she won the Ernie Pyle Award for Lifetime Achievement from the National Society of Newspaper columnists.


A 1963 cum laude graduate of Radcliffe College, Goodman returned to Harvard in 1973-74 as a Nieman Fellow, where she studied the dynamics of social change, and again in 2007 as a Shorenstein Fellow.

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

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 Personal Is (Too) Political

Welcome to the era of food-fight journalism and ballistic blogging. What's happening to the media? Goodman takes us from a time when the press shielded the private lives of an FDR and JFK to the time when private life has become public with a vengeance. What do we make of cable TV knockouts and scandals of the day? Is the media part of the polarizing of America? In this keynote speech, Goodman argues for a truly "new" media.

The Third Act

The generation of social change agents is now embarked on something new: the Longevity Revolution. One of the most remarkable and least heralded changes is in our lifespan. Are the new seniors going to be the generation that rewrites the script on older age, or that hunkers down against change? Goodman answers the question, "Where do we go when we 'let ourselves go?'"

Women and Health

Women play many roles in the evolving story of health care in America. They are family caregivers, the intermediaries between children and doctors, husbands and doctors. They make most of the family decisions about medical care. At the same time, women are patients and research subjects, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. All of this fits into the pattern of social change that columnist Ellen Goodman so expertly tracks.

Women and Friendship

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 counterrevolution, sex education and miseducation and where the prochoice community is now.

All Ellen Goodman Books

I Know Just What You Mean: The Power of Friendship in Women’s Lives
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Value Judgments
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Paper Trail: Common Sense in Uncommon Times
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Recent Books

I Know Just What You Mean: The Power of Friendship in Women’s Lives
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Value Judgments
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