Chatham University

Women's Leadership

Strength in numbers

Governor Christine Todd Whitman, Chatham’s Elsie Hillman Chair in Women and Politics, to speak in Pittsburgh

Pennsylvania continues to lag in the number of women participating in politics. Even though women represent approximately half of Pennsylvania’s population, they hold only 17% of the seats in the General Assembly and only one of the Commonwealth’s 19 Congressional representatives in Washington is a woman.

That’s why the Pennsylvania Center for Women in Politics at Chatham University will convene the Pennsylvania 2012 Project’s Western Pennsylvania Inaugural Conference on Friday, Sept. 23, at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh. The keynote speaker is Governor Christine Todd Whitman, Elsie Hillman Chair in Women and Politics at Chatham University.

"The Center is honored to bring Governor Whitman to Pittsburgh to discuss how women can strive to gain greater representation in our state and local governments," noted Dana Brown, the Center’s executive director. "This is critical since the state legislature is preparing the decennial redistricting process, which will greatly affect how we are represented. Our goal is to provide a fresh perspective on women in the political process and develop better ways to engage them in politics."

The conference will begin with an expert panel discussion on redistricting, reviewing the process as well as its importance. Following the discussion, delegates will participate in a conversation on strategizing to increase the number of women in elective office in Pennsylvania–in the upcoming 2012 elections and beyond. The event will end with remarks by Governor Whitman.

The Elsie Hillman Chair in Women and Politics was established by The Hillman Foundation, Inc. in 1997 to honor the Pittsburgh, Pa., native and long–time political native. The chair serves as an inspiration and role model for students, as well as other members of the university community and citizens of the state of Pennsylvania.

For more information, please contact PCWP Director Dana Brown at or 412-365-2725.

About Christine Todd Whitman

Christine Todd Whitman is the President of The Whitman Strategy Group (WSG), a consulting firm that specializes in energy and environmental issues. WSG offers a comprehensive set of solutions to problems facing businesses, organizations, and governments; they have been at the forefront of helping leading companies find innovative solutions to environmental challenges.

Governor Whitman served in the cabinet of President George W. Bush as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from January of 2001 until June of 2003. She was the 50th Governor of the State of New Jersey, serving as its first woman governor from 1994 until 2001. As Governor, Christie Whitman earned praise from both Republicans and Democrats for her commitment to preserve a record amount of New Jersey land as permanent green space. She was also recognized by the Natural Resources Defense Council as having instituted the most comprehensive beach monitoring system in the nation. As EPA Administrator, she promoted common–sense environmental improvements such as watershed-based water protection policies. She championed regulations requiring non-road diesel engines to reduce sulfur emissions by more than 95 percent. Under her tenure, the Agency established the first federal program to promote redevelopment and reuse of "brownfields", that is, previously contaminated industrial sites.

She is also co–chair of the Republican Leadership Council (RLC), which she founded with Senator John Danforth. The RLC’s mission is to support fiscally conservative, socially tolerant candidates and to reclaim the word Republican. She is the author of a New York Times best seller called "It’s My Party Too", which was published in January of 2005 and released in paperback in March 2006.

Governor Whitman serves on a number of non–profit organizations including the Board of Trustees’ Executive Committee of the Eisenhower Fellowships and the Board of Directors of the Council on Foreign Relations. She co–chairs Clean and Safe Energy (CASE) with Dr. Patrick Moore and is a member of the board of directors of the American Security Project. She is Co–Chair of the Aspen Health Stewardship Project, and a member of the advisory board of Reform New Jersey Now. She was also the Co–Chair for the Council on Foreign Relations’ Task Force, More Than Humanitarianism: A Strategic U.S. Approach Toward Africa.

Governor Whitman also serves on the Board of Directors of S.C. Johnson and Son, Inc., Texas Instruments Inc., and United Technologies Corporation. She holds a Professional Director Certification from the American College of Corporate Directors, and she serves as an advisor to the Aspen Rodel Fellowship program. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Corporate Eco Forum, and she serves as a visiting lecturer at colleges around the country through the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program. She serves on the O’Connor Judicial Selection Advisory Committee at the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System. She is a board member for the 2014 NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee.

Prior to becoming Governor, she was the President of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and served on the Somerset County board of Chosen Freeholders.

Governor Whitman holds a BA from Wheaton College in Norton, MA, and is married to John R. Whitman. They have two children and three grandchildren.


Previous Women's Leadership Spotlights