Mehret Mandefro

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Emmy-Nominated Filmmaker, Entrepreneur, and Thought Leader

    Entrepreneurs
    Keynote Speakers
    Thought Leaders
    Writers / Creators
    Black History & Culture
    Social Justice
    Storytelling
    Women's Empowerment

    Mehret Mandefro: Biography at a Glance

    • Mehret is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, entrepreneur, and thought leader that champions the creative arts as a path to developing a more just society.
    • She co-founded the multimedia production company Truth Aid.
    • Credits include the Sundance and Berlinale Audience Award winner Difret, the New York Times Critic’s Pick Little White Lie, the viral digital series The Loving Generation, and showrunner of Ethiopia’s first-ever teen drama series Yegna.
    • She executive produced the American Masters feature documentary film How It Feels To Be Free which was nominated for an Emmy.
    • Named in Variety 2021 list of most impactful women in global entertainment

    Videos

    Biography

    Mehret is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, entrepreneur and thought leader that champions the creative arts as a path to developing a more just society.  She co-founded the multimedia production company Truth Aid and her credits include the Sundance and Berlinale Audience Award winner Difret, the New York Times Critic’s Pick Little White Lie, the viral digital series The Loving Generation, and showrunner of Ethiopia’s first-ever teen drama series Yegna. She executive produced the American Masters feature documentary film How It Feels To Be Free which was nominated for an Emmy and she is a member of the American Television Academy. 

    Entertaining and inspirational, Mehret’s talks and keynotes are based upon her experiences working at the intersection of social impact and storytelling in the screen sector.  All of the stories she tells center Black women’s voices globally and the impact of her body of work on women and girls also makes her a leading expert in how narrative can be used to shift culture. Her track record at the intersection of social impact and media earned her a spot on Variety’s 2021 list of most impactful women in global entertainment. 

    She has an AB in Anthropology from Harvard University, an MD from Harvard Medical School, a Masters in Global Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as a Fulbright Scholar, and a PhD in Anthropology from Temple University. Her distinctions include being named a “Great Immigrant” by the Carnegie Corporation, a White House Fellow in the Obama administration, and a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar. She is an alumnus of the Sundance Institute’s New Voices Lab, Film Forward, American Film Showcase, and the EAVE Producers Workshop. She lives between Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Alexandria, Virginia with her husband and three children.

     

    Topics

    The Great Resignation: An Act of Self-Preservation arrow-down

    The adage “rejection is protection” has taken on new meaning in the era of The Great Resignation. Instead of dealing with toxic corporate culture, job insecurity, and unhealthy grind expectations— the top three reasons driving the job exodus as published in a recent study— legions of employees are leaving the lives they’ve known behind, in the middle of a pandemic no less. It is an extraordinary collective and pre-emptive act of protection. Mehret knows this all too well. Ten years ago, she left all semblances of a conventional career after working as a medical doctor, policymaker, and C-suite tech executive, and has been journeying ever since, finding new opportunities for herself and creating jobs for others along the way.

    In this conversation, Mehret uses stories from her extraordinary life to take her audiences on a journey that shows what happens when you let go of the expectations that keep you locked into jobs and career paths that are clearly not meant for you, contend with uncertainty, and start charting a new path. In this talk, she invites audiences to explore The Great Resignation as a collective expression of something deeper – the possibility that we can create the lives that we desire if we give ourselves permission to seriously consider this proposition.

    Creative Economyarrow-down

    In this conversation, Mehret discusses her passion and advocacy for the creative arts as a pathway to creating a just society and economic growth in countries where it is most needed. The creative economy is not only one of the most rapidly growing sectors of the global economy, it is also among the most impactful in terms of income generation and job creation. Creativity and culture can also empower people to take control of their own development and lives. Mehret has been at the forefront of creating social impact using culture. From her experience shaping policies that include the creative arts in the development agenda as an engine for economic growth to training the next generation of storytellers across Africa, Mehret speaks directly to the potential the creative economy has to change young people’s lives and empower them to create a new future for themselves.

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