Lisa Witter is the chief operating officer of Fenton Communications, the largest public interest communications firm in the country. She heads the firm's practice in women's issues and global affairs for clients including Women for Women International, MoveOn.org, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, the American Medical Association, the American Lung Association and many others. She is a co-founder of the award-winning website SheSource.org, an online brain trust of women experts to help close the gender gap among commentators in the news media. She was honored as an outstanding activist and expert on women's issues by Oxygen.com for her work on a national campaign against privatizing Social Security during the 2000 presidential election. Lisa is a blogger and political commentator with her work appearing on MSNBC, Fox News, The Huffington Post, AlterNet and Anderson Cooper 360. In 2004, she was a contestant on the Showtime reality show American Candidate. Witter is co-author of The She Spot: Why Women Are the Market for Changing the World and How to Reach Them.
She is on the advisory board for Indianapolis University's Women and Philanthropy Institute, Pop!Tech, Momsrising.org, Women for Women International and Climate Counts.
Topic: Who are the best contemporary role models for women?
Lisa Witter: I don’t wanna just say the usual suspects but a couple of people come to mind, Oprah Winfrey, forever changed politics with her endorsement of Barack Obama. I mean here was the woman’s woman right and she endorsed the man and when it comes to women making decisions about what products they buy or ideas, having a third party endorsement of someone they really respect and they really respect her. She’s been phenomenal, she is making money hand over fist, she is giving back, she is an amazing role model of what it means to be a woman. I think that a woman named Marie Wilson who founded the White House Project and started take your daughter to work day, now it’s take your daughters and sons to work day. She’s really changing the image of what it means to be a woman leader in this country and so I really, really respect what she’s doing. There’s a woman named Zainab Salbi who runs Women for Women International who when she got married, she took her honeymoon in Bosnia and visited the Rape Camps and decided to dedicate her life to rebuilding post war places and she believes in what I believe and what Kofi Annan believed that if you invest in women, you get a huge return on your investment when it comes to building communities. So she is amazing, Wangari Maathai has done amazing work and Nobel Peace prize winner of showing the power of a woman to create an intersection between improving the community, empowering women and stopping environmental damage from going on. So those are the women that I get up, you know, and think about every day but I also get up and think about my mom, you know, who is just an average person and she’s really had an incredible impact on my life and I think sometimes people look for heroes sort of on the third outer rung away from them and I actually think there’s something to learn from the people who are just sitting around you.