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Marie Wilson  

Founder and president of The White House Project, co-creator of Take Our Daughters to Work Day

An advocate of women's issues for more than 30 years, Marie Wilson is founder and president of The White House Project, co-creator of Take Our Daughters to Work Day and author of Closing the Leadership Gap: Why Women Can and Must Help Run the World (Viking 2004). Wilson founded The White House Project in 1998 in recognition of the need to build a truly representative democracy - one where women lead alongside men in all spheres.

Wilson started The White House Project while she was still president of the Ms. Foundation for Women, a position she has held since 1984. She stepped down as president of the Ms. Foundation on June 30th, 2004 to devote her full energy to The White House Project. She was president of both organizations for six years. In honor of her work, the Ms. Foundation has created The Marie C. Wilson Leadership Fund, which will be under her sole advisement. Since its inception, The White House Project has been a leading advocate and voice on women's leadership. Under her stewardship, innovative research and initiatives have been hallmarks of the organization. Highlights of the last six years include groundbreaking research on young women's political participation, an analysis of women's appearances as guests on the influential Sunday political talk shows, the convening of women CEOs and executives for two national leadership summits, a conference of international women leaders, a partnership with The Girl Scouts to launch the Ms. President patch and initiatives centering on influencing popular culture.

In March 2004, in conjunction with Wilson's national book tour for Closing the Leadership Gap, she announced the launch of Vote, Run, Lead, which provides a roadmap for addressing the issues she raises in her book. Through the initiative, The White House Project recruited and trained 1,000 women to run for political office, along with more than 25,000 women to get-out-the-vote for the 2004 election.Over the last thirty years, Wilson's accomplishments span becoming the first woman elected to the Des Moines City Council as a member-at-large in 1983, co-authoring the critically acclaimed Mother Daughter Revolution (1993, Bantam Books), and serving as an official government delegate to the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, China in 1995. And in the year 2000, in conjunction with Mattel, Wilson brought the world President Barbie.

As president of the Ms. Foundation for Women, Wilson increased the Foundation's budget from $400,000 to $8.6 million, established an endowment fund, which now stands at $22 million and created innovative and sustainable programming. Wilson has been profiled in The New York Times Public Lives column, has appeared on The Today Show, CNN, National Public Radio and other national programs and is quoted widely for her expertise. Born and raised in Georgia, Wilson has five children and four grandchildren.

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