US Female Think Tank/Symposium. Who'd you invite?

So, let’s say you were assigned to create a think tank/symposium of important contemporary individuals who would meet periodically (annually?) to discuss the Great Issues of the Day. You’d presumably want a cross-section of disciplines (the fields of law, business, academia, science, politics, humanitarian work, etc.), ages, philosophies, and geographical representation. The only criteria are that:

(A) They must be women
(B) They must be alive/non-imaginary (etc.)
© They must be U.S. citizens or residents.

So, who would be on your short (or not-so-short) list? Let’s say we’re talking 2 to 3 dozen individuals.

Let’s now add another component. Let’s say that this group is committed to having its efforts affect (and presumably benefit) the larger world, so in addition to those listed above, there would also be included an additional collection of women who not only could contribute to this group’s efforts, but who also have high visibility and influence. While not a lot of the above group of women may be household names (except perhaps in their specific fields), this additional collection probably would be–women of letters, art, media, sport, or any other field that gives them an easy public platform to serve as ambassadors or outreach representatives for this group.

So, if you were a fly on the wall of one of their first meetings, who would you expect (and hope) to see? Which picks would be no-brainers, and who might you choose that’s a provocative, off-the-beaten-path choice that would add something unique, unexpected, or dynamic to such an organization?

I’ll kick things off with one dozen suggestions.

Oprah Winfrey
Condoleeza Rice
Hillary Clinton
Carly Fiorina
Indra Nooyi (new female CEO of PepsiCo
Anne Mulcahy (Xerox)
Meg Whitman (ebay)
Elizabeth Dole
Melinda Gates
Maureen Dowd
Mary Sue Coleman (Univ. of Michigan president)
Shirley Tilghman (Princeton president)

No symposium was complete without hookers and booze, so I’d invite a few hetairai: does Paris Hilton take bookings?

Dr. Irene Pepperberg.


Asia Carrera. A Mensa member, computer nerd, (former) porn star.

A superb list, but…Maureen Dowd?

Madeline Albright

OK, I will swap Maureen Dowd for Madeline Albright. I have heard Madeline Albright speak and she is wonderful! How did I forget her the first time?!?