Peter Samuelson is proud to serve on the Advisory Board of Participant Productions, which he says is “the most exciting pro-social development in media in a hundred years”.
In 1982, inspired by a little boy battling an inoperable brain tumor, Peter conceived of the Starlight Children’s Foundation—an international charity dedicated to granting wishes for seriously ill children. Starlight has grown to offer eight core psycho-social programs, each restoring some of the laughter, happiness and self-esteem that serious illness takes away from kids and those who love them. As parents and healthcare providers confirmed the positive psychological and often medical impact of Starlight programming, in 1990 Peter brought together leaders including Steven Spielberg and General Norman Schwarzkopf to create the STARBRIGHT Foundation—a charity dedicated to developing media and technology-based programs to educate and empower children to cope with the medical, emotional and social challenges of their illness. In 2004, Starlight and STARBRIGHT completed a formal merger and became the Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation, with offices throughout Australia, Canada, The United Kingdom, Japan and across the United States. Starlight Starbright has a combined operating budget of $35 million and serves over 2.4 million children annually. Peter Samuelson serves as its International Chairman.
In 1999, Peter founded First Star, a separate national 501(c)(3) charity headquartered in Washington, D.C. that works to improve the public health, safety, and family life of America’s abused and neglected children. With Peter as President, First Star provides “top-down” systemic leadership to provide quality and compassionate care for children within the child welfare system, basic civil and legal rights for every child and safe, stable and permanent homes for all children.
Peter is a graduate of Cambridge University with a Masters in English Literature and the fourth of five family generations employed in the film industry. After serving as production manager on films such as The Return of the Pink Panther, he emigrated from England to Los Angeles and produced Revenge of the Nerds, Tom & Viv, Wilde, Arlington Road and many other films. His current film, Stormbreaker starring Ewan McGregor, Mickey Rourke, Alicia Silverstone, Andy Serkis, Bill Nye, Missi Pyle and Sophie Okonedo is released by MGM and The Weinstein Company.
Pat Mitchell was appointed president and chief executive officer of The Museums of Television and Radio in New York and Los Angeles and the International Media Center in March 2006. Mitchell came to the MT&R from the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), where she was the first woman and first producer and journalist to hold the position of President and CEO.
During her tenure at PBS, Mitchell is credited with leading public broadcasting into the digital future with such initiatives as the conversion from analog to digital broadcasting, a new 24x7 cable preschool children' service and new literacy based children's series, the growth of PBS's website into one of the three most visited sites on the Internet, and the establishment of the Digital Future Initiative to define models for public service media using new digital technologies.
Previous to PBS, Mitchell achieved success both in front of and behind the cameral as a reporter, news anchor, talk show host, White House correspondent and documentary producer. She was a special contributor to NBC's Today and CBS's Sunday Morning.
In the mid-eighties, she established an independent production company based at Paramount Studios that produced documentaries, specials and series for broadcast, cable and national syndication. Under this banner, Mitchell was host and Executive Producer of the first female-hosted national talk program, Woman to Woman. She also reported from the conflict zones of Israel, Palestine, Northern Ireland and El Salvador for a NBC series on "Women and War" and produced the first documentary series on the history of women in America, A Century of Women.
In 1992, Mitchell became the executive in charge of original productions for Turner Broadcasting System, working directly for Ted Turner. After the Time Warner/Turner merger, Mitchell was named President of CNN Productions and Time, Inc. Television. Programs produced under her leadership received thirty-seven Emmy Awards, five Peabody Awards, and two Academy Award nominations.
Mitchell has received numerous personal awards including Woman of the Year in Cable and Telecommunications; the CINE Golden Eagle for Lifetime Achievement; the Sandra Day O'Connor Award for Leadership; and the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award for contributions to the television industry. In addition, Mitchell was named one of the most influential female executives in the media by the Hollywood Reporter and was honored as one of the first fifty women in the Museum of Television and Radio's She Made It initiative in 2005.
Mitchell is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the U.S. Afghan Women's Council. She is vice-chair of the Sundance Institute Board; a founding Board member of President Mikhail Gorbachev's global environmental organization, and an advisor to the Center for Public Leadership at the Kennedy School of Harvard University.
Mitchell is also a Trustee of the Mayo Clinic and serves as a Director of the Bank of America and Sun Microsystems, Inc.
A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Georgia, with a master's degree in English Literature, Mitchell has also been awarded several honorary doctorate degrees. She speaks extensively on the subjects of global media and the issues relating to health, education and empowerment of women and children.
She and her husband, Scott Seydel, have six children and eight grandchildren and reside in New York and Atlanta, Georgia.