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Judith Warner is a compassionate and compelling speaker who entertains audiences with her self-deprecating wit and vivid storytelling. For the past 15 years, she has delivered memorable talks and led seminars throughout the United States on the subjects of motherhood, mental health and the media, women’s leadership, work-family policy, and the politics of everyday life.

If you’d like to set up a virtual talk with Judith, for a gathering of any size, you can reach out to her directly via Book Ya Ya.

You can also request Judith to speak by filling out the form below.

Her popular talks include:

And Then They Stopped Talking to Me: Making Sense of Middle School

Warner discusses how being a middle school parent caused her to confront her own inner seventh grader – and led to a wide-ranging exploration of why the middle school years are so miserable, whether they truly have to be, and what we all can do to put them behind us forever and make life better for today’s kids. Delving into the history and science of early adolescence, she delivers eye-opening insights into this challenging time of life, separating nature from nurture and myth from reality. She shows how well-meaning parents sometimes make their kids’ social and emotional travails worse, and argues that, by modeling mature perspective-taking and empathy, adults can guide middle schoolers toward a happier future.

We’ve Got Issues: Children and Parents in the Age of Medication 

Warner charts her own personal journey from naysayer to advocate for greater knowledge and understanding of the mental health issues affecting more than one-fifth of American kids. After setting out to write a skeptical book about the seeming “epidemic” of anxiety and ADHD in young people  (her original contract for the book called it “UNTITLED on Affluent Parents and Neurotic Kids”), she came to realize that, out of ignorance and internalized stigma, she had become a purveyor of prejudice. As she educated herself about the reality of mental health disorders, she attempted to answer the sorts of questions that concerned observers still ask her today: Why are so many kids, teens and young adults getting diagnosed with mental health issues? Where were all these kids in the past? Are they now being pathologized and over-diagnosed? Or is there something about our culture that’s now making them sick?

Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety

In her 2005 best-seller, Warner skewered the American culture of hyper-controlling and all-consuming motherhood, warning that the anxious perfectionism of moms (like her) was both crazy-making for them and potentially harmful for their kids. She blamed the “Perfect Madness” style of motherhood on the total lack of support for families in the U.S., and tied it to the pervasive stress and anxiety of the post 9/11-era. She now updates the book with more than a decade of research on the growth and spread of policies, both in the U.S. and overseas, that can make life easier and more equitable for all families. And she makes a powerful argument that competitive parenting is a perilous game in which even the “winners” ultimately lose.

Opening the Gates

In this hopeful and forward-looking talk, Warner builds upon her body of research on the women’s leadership gap with an in-depth look at the new faces, voices and political organizations working around the country to build a more reflective democracy, from the ground up.


“It’s hard to think of a grand rounds that touched on so many essential themes and soul-searching questions … presentation was masterful — wise, eloquent, and thought provoking.”
Dr. Joshua Roffman, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School

 “… one of the best alumni speakers we have had … did a great job combining the concrete with the big picture message.”
Ron Foreman, CareerLAB, Brown University

Featured Speaking Engagements

Colleges and Universities
Barnard College
Brown University
Bucknell University
Columbia University (Society for the History of Children and Youth)’
University of Connecticut
Emory University
College of Saint Mary
Harvard Business School
University of Richmond
Harvard Medical School
University of Massachusetts – Amherst
University of New Mexico
University of Pennsylvania
University of Rochester
Smith College
Teachers College, Columbia University
Vanderbilt University

Elementary through High Schools
Brearley School
Devereux School
Madeira School
National Presbyterian School
Park School
Perkins School
River School
Sheridan School

Advocacy Organizations

Parent/Professional Advocacy League
Mental Health America
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
National Association for Mental Illness
CHADD of Northern Virginia and Greater Washington, DC

Parenting Organizations
Mocha Moms
Parents League of New York
Wellesley Mothers Forum Group

Professional Associations
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
American Educational Therapists Association
American Professional Society of ADHD and Related Disorders
Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington, DC
Child and Adolescent Pediatric Society of Greater Washington
Oregon Council of Child & Adolescent Psychiatrists

Policy and Government
Carter Center
Center for American Progress
Democratic Senate Retreat
National Academy of Sciences
New America, NYC
Sociologists for Women in Society
Susie Tompkins Buell Foundation
Work-Family Researchers Network

Cultural Institutions
Bethesda Literary Festival
Children’s Museum of Chicago
National Book Festival
92nd Street Y
The Writer’s Bloc

Religious Institutions
All Souls Unitarian Church
Congregation Kol Ami Synagogue
JCC of Houston
Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia
JCCSF at A Clean Well-Lighted Place

Hogan & Hartson
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe
Present Day Club
Shire Inc.
Viacom Inc.

Speaking Request

To request Judith to speak at your event, please fill out this form.

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