Acclaimed Journalist, Bestselling Author, Mother of Four, Former First Lady of California & Architect of Change
A trailblazer for empowering women and one of the world’s leading advocates for women and Alzheimer’s, Maria Shriver serves as an inspiration for others to become “Architects of Change” and make the world a better place.
A force of nature of the highest order — “one who gives back continuously, helping those in need in any way she can” — Maria Shriver is a powerful, passionate, and purpose-driven leader whose work has fostered change and advanced some of our nation’s most pressing issues.
A proud mother of four, Maria’s life has been devoted to her family and to serving greater humanity as a storyteller—reporting and interviewing some of the greatest changemakers of our time. In addition to being a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning journalist and producer, a six-time New York Times bestselling author and an NBC News special anchor, Maria is also the founder of the for-benefit media enterprise Shriver Media. Shriver Media believes media can be used as a force for good in the world. Under Maria’s leadership, it produces digital content, live events, books, documentaries and films that Move Hearts and Minds and Inspire Change.
Maria’s life is driven by her fervent belief that everyone has the ability to become what she calls “Architects of Change’ – people who challenge what is, imagine what can be, seek to make a difference, and Move Humanity Forward. Her online community, her Sunday Paper newsletter publication and her inspiring Architects of Change Conversation series elevate individuals whose work rises above the noise and who seek to Make a Difference and Move Humanity Forward across all areas of human endeavor, with the purpose of inspiring others to do the same.
In addition to her award-winning journalism career, Maria has also been a long-time champion for empowering women. While serving as the First Lady of California from 2003 to 2010, she produced the iconic Women’s Conference, which under her leadership grew into the largest women’s conference in the world. The Women’s Conference raised millions of dollars that funded scholarships, supported domestic violence and poverty initiatives, and single-handedly revived the California History Museum. One of The Women’s Conference’s many features was the Minerva Awards, which Maria created to honor and support women who made extraordinary contributions to all walks of life, from the arts to community activism to business and innovation. Women bestowed with the honor included the likes of Sandra Day O’Connor, Billie Jean King, Gloria Steinem and Oprah Winfrey, to name just a few.
Maria’s groundbreaking Shriver Reports have also changed the conversations around women, work, poverty and Alzheimer’s in America. In 2009, she published the widely-quoted “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything,” which revealed that, for the first time in our nation’s history, women represented half of all U.S. workers and were two-thirds of the nation’s primary breadwinners. In 2011, “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s,” reported for the first time ever that two-thirds of all Alzheimer’s diagnoses are women. In 2014, she published “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back From the Brink,” which reported that the new face of poverty in America was that of a working woman. The report revealed that 42 million working American women were living at or below the brink of poverty, as well as the 28 million children who depend on them. One such woman, Katrina Gilbert, was the subject of the Emmy-nominated HBO documentary that Maria executive produced, “Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert.” Each Shriver Report ignited national conversations about the changing status of women across our society and helped change laws.
In addition, Maria has also been a long-time megaphone for educating the public about the disproportionate effect that Alzheimer’s disease has on women. In fact, it was her Shriver Report that was the first to report that Alzheimer’s disease disproportionately impacts women. To alert women to this fact, she founded the nonprofit organization The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement to raise awareness and funding for this critical issue, and also to ignite conversations around prevention and inspire much-needed personal, professional and political change. She has also worked tirelessly to advocate for America’s caregivers, two-thirds of which are also women. Maria regularly uses her voice and her platforms (including her post as an NBC News special anchor) to report on stories surrounding the brain and the latest cutting-edge information about neuroscience. She has been awarded multiple awards for her tireless service in the Alzheimer’s space. In 2017, the Alzheimer’s Association honored Maria with its first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award for her passion, leadership and dedication to leading the way to a world without Alzheimer’s.
Maria has also written New York Times-bestselling books and produced award-winning film and TV programs that have furthered the public’s understanding of this disease. In 2017, she published the first-of-its-kind coloring book, Color Your Mind, which is specifically designed to engage individuals with Alzheimer’s and the people who care for and love them. She is also the author of the award-winning children’s book “What’s Happening to Grandpa?”, which offers children a touching and optimistic story about Alzheimer’s and encourages acceptance and family dialogue. In 2009, Maria executive produced HBO’s Emmy Award-winning four-part series “The Alzheimer’s Project,” which helped millions of people learn about and better understand how to live with the challenges of the disease. One film in that series, “Grandpa, Do You Know Who I Am?”, was inspired by her children’s book and was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for exemplifying “television with a conscience.” In 2013, Maria also executive produced the Academy Award-winning feature film “Still Alice,” which stars Julianne Moore and tells the story of a woman affected by early onset Alzheimer’s disease.
A shining example of using one’s platform and career accomplishments to positively impact the world, Maria eloquently moves audiences—from the boardroom to the stage and small, intimate gatherings—to lead a purpose-focused life and channel their passions into meaningful contributions that make a difference in the world.