Cecile Richards has been an activist since she was taken to the principal’s office in seventh grade for wearing an armband in protest of the Vietnam War. Richards had an extraordinary childhood in ultra-conservative Texas, where her civil rights attorney father and activist mother taught their kids to be troublemakers. In the Richards household, the “dinner table was never for eating—it was for sorting precinct lists.”
From the time Richards was a girl, she had a front-row seat to observe the rise of women in American politics. She watched her mother, Ann, transform from a housewife to an electrifying force in the Democratic party who made a name for herself as the straight-talking, truth-telling governor of Texas. But Richards also witnessed the pitfalls of public life that are unique to women. Her experiences paint a powerful portrait of the misogyny, sexism, fake news, and even the threat of violence confronting those who challenge authority.
As a young woman, Richards worked as a labor organizer alongside women earning minimum wage, and learned that those in power don’t give it up without a fight. Now, after years of advocacy, resistance, and progressive leadership, she shares her story for the first time— from the joy and heartbreak of activism to the challenges of raising kids, having a life, and making change, all at the same time.
In this powerful and compelling program, Richards shines a light on the people and lessons that have gotten her through good times and bad, and encourages audiences to take risks, make mistakes, and make trouble along the way.
Cecile Richards' TED Talk has over 1 million views
Former President of Planned Parenthood and New York Times bestselling author of Make Trouble, CECILE RICHARDS is a trailblazing activist and social justice leader who's insights and leadership are in-demand nationwide. Deemed “heroine of the resistance” by Vogue and named to TIME’s “100 Most Influential People in the World,” Richards offers powerful lessons and sharp commentary on politics, social justice, women’s rights and being a force for positive change. Her empowering TED Talk, on "The political progress women have made-- and what's next" has racked up over one million views, and shares the urgent message that if women are not at the table, then they are on the menu. Regularly heralded by audience-members for her inspiration and substantive remarks, after a recent keynote at ComNet, Richards garners tweets of praise such as: "I was too starstruck to tweet during @CecileRichards speech. LOVED her wisdom on storytelling, narrative shift, lessons from her mother and fighting the good fight. she is such a warm, engaging and funny speaker," and "Inspired to listen harder and tell more stories by @CecileRichards."Watch Cecile Richards' TED Talk
Cecile Richards in the news
A globally respected activist and social justice leader with experience as president of Planned Parenthood, deputy chief of staff for House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and founder of America Votes, CECILE RICHARDS is a trusted source of information and insights with a continuous presence in the media. You can follow her latest appearances here:
Cecile Richards' new book is an instant New York Times bestseller
Cecile Richardss new book “Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead,” is an instant New York Times and Amazon Bestseller earning stellar reviews. A powerful story about learning to lead and making change, Make Trouble draws on Richards' decade of experience at the helm of Planned Parenthood, work as "heroine of the resistance" (Vogue), and lifetime dedication to fighting for women's rights and social justice. From watching her mother, Ann Richards, tranforms from a housewife to an electrifying force in the Democratic Party to her time working as a labor organizer alongside women earning minimum wage, Make Trouble is filled with Richards' empowering experiences and lessons on taking risks, making mistakes, and making trouble along the way. The book's reviews speak for themselves: “Cecile Richards’s story is powerful and infinitely readable. Whether you are newly ‘woke,’ a longtime activist, or just a caring citizen wondering how to advance democracy in hard times, Make Trouble has the answers... She is the best teacher on earth—someone you trust” (Women's Rights Icon Gloria Steinem);"With insight and humor, Cecile Richards offers a call to action for aspiring organizers and leaders. A must-read for anyone hoping to make a difference and trying to figure out where to start" (Senator Kamala Harris). In the wake of the book's release, Richards is making headlines and in-demand by major media outlets such as CBS’ This Morning, NPR, MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show and Morning Joe, Business Insider’s podcast, and more, for her insights and sharp commentary on leadership, women’s rights and politics.
Cecile Richards visits HWA
Former President of Planned Parenthood and New York Times bestselling author CECILE RICHARDS visited the Harry Walker Agency, sharing incredible insights on civic engagement, women in the workforce, and the current political and cultural moment. Richards emphasized that we are at a point where women are going to be a majority of the workforce; are the majority of medical and law school classes; and are turning out to vote in record numbers. She highlighted that businesses are really in the position to be leaders of change, where the government is lagging behind. The business community is—and has the opportunity to continue to be—innovative and dynamic, evolving to the reality of demographics, while the government is stuck in gridlock or the past. Richards noted that when it comes to the workplace, more issues unite us than divide us, such as affordable child care, health coverage, and positive, productive work environments—and so businesses have the power to be unifiers amid particularly divisive political times. Named to TIME’s “100 Most Influential People in the World,” Richards has addressed audiences everywhere from Talks at Google to Harvard University, and offers messages of empowerment and actionable advice to business audiences nationwide. She’s headlined both the Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) Conference on “How Business Leads” and the groundbreaking MAKERS Conference, and always receives rave reviews such as: “Cecile Richards was a fascinating, engaging, and charming speaker. With humor, grace and first-rate storytelling, she kept an audience of 800 New Yorkers - women and men, old and young - engaged and excited during an important and stimulating conversation. Her appearance was one of the “hits” of our season.” (Temple Emanu-el Streicker Center).
Cecile Richards Shares What It Takes to Stand up, Make Change
Planned Parenthood’s CECILE RICHARDS sat down with Moira Forbes as part of her Success video series, which interviews female leaders on the pathways and pitfalls to the top . Richards discusses what it takes to stand up for what you believe in and her lessons learned from a lifetime of fighting for women’s rights.Watch Cecile Richards discuss how to drive change > >
Cecile Richards is a national leader for women’s rights and social and economic justice, and the author of New York Times bestseller Make Trouble. As President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund for 12 years, Richards worked to increase affordable access to reproductive health care and to build a healthier and safer world for women and young people.
After starting her career as a labor organizer, working with women earning the minimum wage, she went on to start her own grassroots organizations, and later served as Deputy Chief of Staff to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. In 2011 and 2012, she was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.
Richards is a frequent speaker and commentator on politics and progressive issues. She and her husband, Kirk Adams, have three children and live in New York City and Maine.