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Jodie Patterson        

Activist, Entrepreneur, Author & Chairwoman of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation

Jodie Patterson is an author, speaker, advocate, and entrepreneur whose work spans communities as diverse as fashion and beauty brands to media and entertainment organizations to queer and BIPOC advocacy groups. In 2019, she became the first Black person elected to the role of Chair of the The Human Rights Campaign Foundation Board, America’s largest LGBT organization with more than forty years of experience advocating for the rights of this community.

Patterson’s first book, "The Bold World: A Memoir of Family and Transformation," was hailed by Alice Walker as “Marvelous,” and since it’s publication in 2017, Patterson has spoken weekly on topics of identity, gender, race, beauty and how they play out in family dynamics. In 2021, she published her second book, "Born Ready: The True Story of a Boy Named Penelope." It has won several awards and was gifted to all public schools in the state of Kansas. The picture book was inspired by Patterson’s child’s pronouncement at the age of three, “Mama, I’m not a girl. I am a boy” and Patterson’s transformation into an unapologetic advocate for families facing similar journeys.

Her story has been featured in numerous daytime talk shows, evening news programs, national print publications, podcasts, and radio programs, including a short documentary produced by Cosmopolitan magazine that reached more than 11 million views and is currently used by the State of New York for diversity training of its employees. In 2015, Family Circle Magazine named her the #1 Most Influential Mom.

In addition to her advocacy work, Patterson is a longtime entrepreneur. She currently co-owns Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, the acclaimed venue she helped co-found in the late 90s. She also co-founded two beauty brands focused on women of color, both of which have been featured in mainstream publications like O Magazine, the New York Times, Glamour, Vogue, Japanese Vogue, Teen Vogue, More, Essence, Ebony, Uptown, and Domino. In 2014, Cosmopolitan awarded her Beauty Skin Expert of the Year.

Before entering the beauty industry, Patterson served as Director of PR for fashion designer Zac Posen and was the Fashion Director of Sales for the groundbreaking, urban publication, Vibe magazine. She also ran her own boutique PR agency, working closely with formidable brands like Nike, Virgin Records, Sean John, and Lincoln Center.

Having launched her career with a degree in literature from the HBCU Spelman College and a few entry-level jobs at major New York City publishing houses, Patterson continues to be a prolific writer and content creator. She has written content for beauty blogs and podcasts and produced two popular web series, “Girl Crush” and “Real Women,” highlighting and interviewing some of the most dynamic “it girls” in popular culture, including actress Kerry Washington, supermodel icon Iman, and renowned activist Bethann Hardison. Her writing can also be found in numerous pop culture media outlets such as xoJane, Refinery29 and Essence.

In addition to her work with The Human Rights Campaign, Patterson sits on the Board of Directors for The Shabazz Center, which upholds the legacy and teachings of Malcolm X and his wife Dr. Betty Shabazz. She also serves on Mount Sinai’s Institute for Health Equity Research Task Force, Mount Sinai’s Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery Advisory Board, and the Advisory Board of the Ackerman Institute’s Gender & Family Project. In 2017 the United Nations recognized her as a Champion of Change.

Through her platform as an advocate and experience with brand creation and PR, Patterson has collaborated with numerous national and international brands to create impactful, inspiring messaging with an eye toward building stronger communities. Partners include L’Oreal, GAP, Old Navy, Clare Vivier, Bloomingdales, OREO, McDonald’s, Princeton University, NYU, Spelman College, Sarah Lawrence College, Thomas Jefferson University, VICE, LinkedIn, The Brooklyn Museum, Museum of Women, Memorial Sloan Kettering, NASDAQ, UBER, TEDX, and Cannes Lions.

Patterson lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she co-parents her five children with love, education, and family solidarity.

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