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Patricia Wilson Speaker & Booking Information

Executive Director/CEO of Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area
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Patricia Wilson Biography

Patricia Wilson is the CEO of Make-A-Wish, Greater Bay Area. As one of the nation’s largest Make-A-Wish chapters, it grants more than 330 wishes per year for children with life-threatening medical conditions in northern California. A mission-based CEO committed to making the world a better place, she took her most rewarding role in 1998 when the organization had four employees and a $1.6 million budget. Today, she manages a staff of 28, more than 550 volunteers, and a budget of $9 million and is best-known for spearheading the incredible effort to turn San Francisco into Gotham City so that cancer patient Miles could become Batkid for a day. A popular TED speaker, Wilson is a sought after for her inspirational insights on leadership, philanthropy, social media, and public relations. Through uplifting and heart-warming stories, she shares the many lessons she has learned during her tenure in for-profit and non-profit leadership roles, including the importance of building and retaining teams, creating an atmosphere of excellence, and why it’s good to sometimes be affectionately known as the “B.I.C.”

Batkid Saves Gotham (San Francisco). To fulfill a wish for five-year-old leukemia survivor Miles who wanted to be a superhero, Wilson was the mastermind in assembling a gifted team involving thousands of public servants and community supporters. For a day, San Francisco was transformed into Gotham City, complete with a bat signal and Police Chief Greg Suhr’s plea for help. Miles, in full Batgear (and with a grown-up Batman), rescued a damsel in distress tied to cable car tracks, foiled the Riddler’s bank robbery attempt, paused to eat a burger, and then thwarted the Penguin’s attempt to kidnap beloved San Francisco Giants mascot, Lou Seal. To cap the day, Mayor Lee presented Miles with a key to the city (made of chocolate).

The wish became one of the biggest stories of the year. It attracted tens of thousands to attend in person and hundreds of thousands online. Well-wishers included President and First Lady Obama; Batman actors Val Kilmer, Christian Bale, and Ben Affleck; celebrities like Britney Spears; the San Francisco Giants and 49ers; and an astronaut at the International Space Station. The wish created billions of social media impressions. Twitter had an unprecedented 96% positive tweets trending worldwide, and an international audience discussed it in 117 countries. The president also congratulated Miles via his first ever Vine video. The phenomenon was studied by a psychologist and is the subject of the documentary, Batkid Begins. Because of Wilson’s efforts, Miles’ life was forever changed and the world saw what a city can do when everyone comes together for good. For her work, her chapter received the Shorty Industry Awards for “Best Social Good Campaign” and “Best Twitter Campaign,” and she received the Producers Guild of America’s Digital V.I.P. Visionary Award and was named one of the San Francisco Times’ “Most Influential Business Women.”

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