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For decades, iconic columnist Ellen Goodman has shared her thoughts on the tumult of social change and its impact on families. Describing herself now as a “recovering journalist,” the Pulitzer Prize winner continues to drive conversation and alter perspectives through her work as a writer, speaker, commentator, and nonprofit leader.

After managing several difficult decisions as her mother’s primary caregiver, Goodman founded The Conversation Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end-of-life care. She continues to direct the organization while writing and speaking on several other topics such as handling the challenges of raising kids in the age of social media and YouTube.

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.

Full Profile

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. A gifted writer who senses emerging shifts in our public and private lives, Goodman specializes in illuminating the cultural debates that become national obsessions.

What do we make of a world in which some folks hide women under chadors while others post XXX nude photos of women on the Internet? Do we really want to be putting human eggs up for sale or holding DNA accountable for a person’s success or failure? What does it mean that our political discussions so often take the form of food fights and sound bites?

These and other questions are Ellen Goodman’s beat. 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, 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.

She has authored seven books; her most recent is PAPER TRAIL: Common Sense in Uncommon Times.


Ellen Goodman Speaker Videos Back to top

Keynote Speech


Ellen Goodman brings attention to the most important conversation that we’re not having in the U.S. today: a discussion about how people want to live out their last days and ultimately end them. In only 100 years, we have added 30 years onto the average life expectancy, and while technological advances have been miraculous, some people who have received life-saving interventions deal with depression and regret afterward, as they wrestle with their wishes and their loved ones’ wishes concerning their end of life care.

Goodman urges people to avoid negative experiences and feelings by having a conversation that lays out their expectations in difficult life-or-death scenarios. “It’s always too soon until it’s too late,” she debunks the mindset most people have on addressing this much avoided topic. She illustrates her own experience, regrets, and lessons learned, as she shares how she went from being “a working mom” to a “working daughter” when her mother’s health and mind began to deteriorate.

Keynote Speech



Speeches / Speaking Engagements Back to top


An innovative voice in American journalism, Ellen Goodman brings her trademark intellect, wit, and compassion to audiences across the country. A keen observer of social change, she chronicles the way families, women’s lives, the media, and values have been transformed over the turbulent past generation. Now, as founder of The Conversation Project, she continues to share insights and inspiration, encouraging families and individuals to tell their stories and express their wishes for end of life care as she works to change the cultural norms and common American attitudes regarding death.

Her lecture topics include:

A Civil Tongue
Welcome to the era of polarized politics, food fight cable shows and ballistic blogging. 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.

Supermom to Mama Grizzly
Where Are Women Headed? A generation after the women’s movement shattered the world of Mad Men, women have kicked the doors open but left the glass ceiling in place. We still have conflicts between work and family, but Sarah Palin claims to be a feminist. What′s next for the next wave?

Friendship in the Era of Facebook
Ellen and Patricia O′Brien, are authors of the New York Times best-seller, I Know Just What you Mean: The Power of Friendship in Women′s Lives. They lead a lively discussion of what friendship means in the era when we count Facebook friends by the dozens. 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.

The Personal is (Too) Political
Ellen takes us from a time when the press shielded the private lives of an FDR and a 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? Ellen argues for a truly ‘new’ media.

The Third Act
The boomers are turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 a day. We are in the midst of a longevity revolution. How will these new seniors find meaning in their Third Act? Will the senior boomers be the problem or the problem solvers? How does this generation rewrite the script on senior citizenship for themselves and the country?

Sex & Sanity?
Ellen speaks with wit and wisdom about the sexual revolution and counter revolution, sex education and miseducation. How do we make sense of sex and fight the media messages that damage our children? How do we keep from slipping back to a time when abortion was illegal? Ellen engages a new generation in an ongoing struggle.





* Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.

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    Paper Trail : Common Sense in Uncommon Times
    In this rich and savvy collection of commentaries on the events, people and issues that shape and define our world, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and New York Times bestselling author Ellen Goodman cuts to the heart of the stories and controversies that helped to define our times.

    For over twenty-five years, nationally syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman has been training her lens on contemporary American life. A marvelously direct writer with keen insight into what makes the average American tick, laugh and occasionally boil with rage, Goodman takes her measure of the national psyche in a voice that is at once perceptive, witty and deeply humane.

    Paper Trail, her first collection in more than ten years, journeys through an era that has been golden in its advances and bleak in its disappointments. In a voice both reasoned and impassioned, she makes sense of the cultural debates that have captured our attention and sometimes become national obsessions. She wrestles with the close-to-the-bone issues of abortion, working mothers and gay marriage, the struggles for civil liberties and equal rights, and the moral complexity of assisted suicide and biotech babies. As she wends through the era of the Clinton scandals and the "amBushing" of America, the dot-com boom and bust, the horrors of September 11 and the War on Terrorism, Goodman pauses to celebrate some of our lost icons, including Jackie Onassis, Princess Diana and Doctor Spock. She reminds us as well of the fleeting fame of such instant celebrities as Elian Gonzalez and Lorena Bobbitt.

    The lines that separate public and private life dissolve under Goodman′s scrutiny as she shows us how Washington politics, Silicon Valley technology and the national media culture infiltrate our jobs, relationships and minds. With the trademark clarity that readers count on, she walks us through the dilemmas posed by new technologies that range from cloning to cell phones and makes us laugh at the vagaries of Viagra and Botox and unreality TV. And in a world that sometimes seems to be stuck on fast forward, she holds on to values as timeless as a family Thanksgiving and a summer porch in Maine.

    Including more than 160 of Ellen Goodman′s lively and stylish columns, this timely collection walks us along the paper trail in a voice that is both crystal clear and original.
    Order Here





A Civil Tongue
Welcome to the era of polarized politics, food fight cable shows and ballistic blogging. 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.

Supermom to Mama Grizzly
Where Are Women Headed? A generation after the women’s movement shattered the world of Mad Men, women have kicked the doors open but left the glass ceiling in place. We still have conflicts between work and family, but Sarah Palin claims to be a feminist. What′s next for the next wave?

Friendship in the Era of Facebook
Ellen and Patricia O′Brien, are authors of the New York Times best-seller, I Know Just What you Mean: The Power of Friendship in Women′s Lives. They lead a lively discussion of what friendship means in the era when we count Facebook friends by the dozens. 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.

The Personal is (Too) Political
Ellen takes us from a time when the press shielded the private lives of an FDR and a 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? Ellen argues for a truly ‘new’ media.

The Third Act
The boomers are turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 a day. We are in the midst of a longevity revolution. How will these new seniors find meaning in their Third Act? Will the senior boomers be the problem or the problem solvers? How does this generation rewrite the script on senior citizenship for themselves and the country?

Sex & Sanity?
Ellen speaks with wit and wisdom about the sexual revolution and counter revolution, sex education and miseducation. How do we make sense of sex and fight the media messages that damage our children? How do we keep from slipping back to a time when abortion was illegal? Ellen engages a new generation in an ongoing struggle.


Keynote Speech


Ellen Goodman brings attention to the most important conversation that we’re not having in the U.S. today: a discussion about how people want to live out their last days and ultimately end them. In only 100 years, we have added 30 years onto the average life expectancy, and while technological advances have been miraculous, some people who have received life-saving interventions deal with depression and regret afterward, as they wrestle with their wishes and their loved ones’ wishes concerning their end of life care.

Goodman urges people to avoid negative experiences and feelings by having a conversation that lays out their expectations in difficult life-or-death scenarios. “It’s always too soon until it’s too late,” she debunks the mindset most people have on addressing this much avoided topic. She illustrates her own experience, regrets, and lessons learned, as she shares how she went from being “a working mom” to a “working daughter” when her mother’s health and mind began to deteriorate.

Keynote Speech