Penguin Speakers Bureau

Marie C. Wilson

Founder and President of The White House Project


Marie C. Wilson is founder and president of The White House Project, co-creator of Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, and author of Closing the Leadership Gap: Add Women, Change Everything (Penguin 2008).

In 1998, while president of the Ms. Foundation for Women, Wilson founded The White House Project in recognition of the need to build a truly representative democracy—one where women lead alongside men in politics, media, and business. She left the Ms. Foundation in 2004 after two decades, to devote her full energy to The White House Project.

Over the past ten years, under Wilson’s direction, The White House Project has led groundbreaking research and program initiatives that work to fill the leadership pipeline with a richly diverse, critical mass of women. In 2004, the organization launched its signature Vote, Run, Lead training program, which engages women in the political process as voters, as activists, and as candidates for political office. The program has inspired, informed, and equipped thousands of women to take the lead in public life by demystifying the political process for the female half of the population—a constituency that is rarely tapped for positions of political power.

Wilson has also led the organization’s efforts to expand women’s leadership outside of the political arena. To combat the dearth of women experts in the media, in 2005 The White House Project launched, an online database that connects high-level female experts to top news media outlets. To bring parity to the business sector, the organization founded the Corporate Council, a group of senior executive women who are active agents of change within their corporations. To bring women’s leadership and perspectives into the debate about national security, Wilson spearheaded the organization’s Real Security Initiative, which was a driving force behind 2007’s International Women Leaders Global Security Summit. To honor the culture-changers who have brought positive images of women’s leadership to the American public through film, television, theater, sports, and advertising, The White House Project hosts its annual EPIC (Enhancing Perceptions in Culture) Awards each spring in New York City.

A leading advocate and voice on women’s issues, Wilson is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. She is a board member of the Women Donors Network and also a member of the Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Wilson is a regularly featured blogger on The Huffington Post and appears frequently as an expert commentator and guest on programs including Good Morning America, The Today Show, National Public Radio, the BBC, MSNBC, Lifetime, CNN, FOX and ABC.

Born and raised in Georgia, Wilson served on the Des Moines City Council. She has five children and four grandchildren, and resides in New York City.

Speaking Topics

  • Closing the Leadership Gap: Add Women, Change Everything


Tiffany Dufu and Marie C. Wilson at TEDxWomen 2012

Featured Book

Closing the Leadership Gap

“Every man who’s in despair over world leadership—and every woman who fears her gender is a barrier to leadership—will find hope and help in Closing the Leadership Gap."

– Gloria Steinem

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