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Rebecca Sive      

Public Affairs Strategist; Nationally Recognized Expert on Women's Issues

Rebecca Sive began her career as a community organizer in Chicago. Now a nationally recognized expert on issues of economic security, health care, and equality of opportunity for women and girls, Rebecca presents an organizer’s analysis of strategies for advancing women’s and girls’ interests and needs.

Rebecca brings to her audiences a unique set of life lessons gained from work both at the grassroots and in the board room. From her experiences in the 1960s through today, she presents case studies and strategies for mobilizing change that can be used by leaders in any community and organization.

Today, more than ever before, businesses must address the opportunities and challenges presented by increasing numbers of women in all levels of the workforce. In addition, there is a major generational shift in thinking from women who came of age in the 1960s to women who are beginning their careers today. Rebecca’s case studies illustrate what women have learned, what they have changed, and what they still need to change, personally and professionally.

Rebecca is President of The Sive Group, Inc., a public affairs firm. She is listed in Who’s Who in America and its related publications, as well as in Feminists Who Changed America (University of Illinois Press). She has received numerous honors, including distinguished achievement awards from both her alma maters, Carleton College and the University of Illinois. In 1977, she co-founded the Midwest Women’s Center, one of the nation’s first independent human service agencies run by and for women. From 1981 to 1986, she was executive director of the Playboy Foundation, and then Playboy’s vice president for public affairs, where she steered the corporation’s advocacy efforts in freedom of speech, equal rights, and opposition to the death penalty. In late 2008, Rebecca was part of a national summit of women leaders gathered to develop a unified issue agenda for consideration by President Obama. She was part of a similar gathering at the outset of President Clinton’s administration and among the founders of the National Women’s Agenda, which presented a similar agenda to President Jimmy Carter.

In 2018 Sive released her first book, Vote Her In: Your Guide to Electing Our First Woman President.

Speech Topics

The New Progressive Era: A View from the Barricades

The 2008 presidential election brought new attention to the world of community organizing and the lessons of its founder, Saul Alinsky. Trained as a community organizer by Alinsky’s students, Rebecca applies her understanding of the power of community organizing to analyzing the new federal era and the ways in which public interest advocates are approaching the opportunities it presents for victories on matters uppermost in the public’s mind: health care and economic opportunity.

Life Lessons for the Woman on the Move

Wishful thinking won’t get you where you want to go. And wishful thinking won’t create the change you and your sisters can believe in. Taking these lessons to heart will: Sisterhood is powerful; the personal is the political; leave no stone unturned; confront and co-opt when you have to; slay the dragons in your path; and many more.

To illustrate the power of sisterhood in advancing women’s careers and realizing their dreams, Rebecca draws on her experience shaping campaigns for women’s equality and justice, on behalf of leading national advocacy groups, such as Women Employed, the YWCA, the National Women’s Political Caucus, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the Women’s Business Development Center. She also draws on her writings, as well as on her leadership in philanthropy, government and business as one of the earliest women officers of Playboy Enterprises.

Women in the U.S. Healthcare Marketplace: Caregivers, Decisionmakers and Gatekeepers

As our new and tech-savvy President takes charge, and as mega-trends like digitizing medical records for patients and their families gain wider currency, women hold the key to a healthy America. Why? Because women comprise a rapidly increasing percentage of health care professionals. In addition, they are America’s primary family caregivers and health-care decision makers at all income levels. Governments are providing billions to spread the scope of health IT. Business is creating new health IT products. Providers are developing new strategies for patient care. Women’s voices must be heard to make those efforts successful and to assure that we reach the so-far elusive goals of reducing costs while improving outcomes.

For this presentation, Rebecca draws on her thirty years of experience developing women’s health programs, including counsel to the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois. That experience includes Rebecca’s findings for the City of Chicago, published in the Urban Women’s Health Agenda, marking one of the earliest efforts by a major American city to identify the issues and create new approaches to effective women’s and girls’ health care for America’s cities. Rebecca also draws on her recent counsel to a health IT firm, launching a personal health record product for girls and women.


'It's time for a century of women': The argument for electing a female ...

Chicago author Rebecca Sive's "Vote Her In" makes the case that only a woman president will make the economic and social progress women need.

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