Jane Swift

Speech Topics

  • Rising to the Occasion: Public Leadership in Challenging Times
  • Lipstick Republican: Dispelling the Gender Bias in American Politics
  • Balancing Act: The Challenge of Working & Raising a Family

Jane Swift

Former Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Jane Swift earned her place in history as the first woman to serve as Governor of Massachusetts and as the first governor in the United States to give birth while in office, to twin girls. Swift’s term as governor capped more than a decade of public service, as a state senator, a lieutenant governor and a governor, devoted to improving the lives of children and families across Massachusetts.

Today, Swift is the Chief Executive Officer of Middlebury Interactive Languages, LLC.  MIL is a joint venture between K12, Inc., the largest virtual school provider in the United States, and Middlebury College.  MIL provides exceptionally high quality world language learning programs, on line and in person, to the Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade market.  From 2009 – 2011 Swift served as the Senior Vice President of Government Solutions and Strategy for ConnectEDU.  Prior to joining ConnectEDU, Swift founded WNP Consulting, LLC which provided expert advice and guidance to early stage education companies. From 2003-2006, Swift was a General Partner at Arcadia Partners, the leading venture capital firm focused exclusively on the education industry.  Swift currently serves on the boards of Suburban Propane (SPH), Sally Ride Science, and the External Women’s Advisory Network for Deloitte and Touch.   In addition, Swift speaks professionally on women’s leadership, education improvement and work-family integration.

Swift views public education as among the most essential roles of government. As such, ensuring excellence in every school was her top priority as an elected official. As a three-term State Senator, Swift assisted in drafting the landmark 1993 Education Reform Act. As Lieutenant Governor and Governor she implemented many of the critical, but controversial components of the new law.

As Governor from April 2001 to January 2003, Swift implemented sweeping changes in the Commonwealth’s public schools, which have been ranked among the best in the nation.  Under her leadership, Massachusetts public schools benefited from statewide curriculum frameworks, rigorous standards, and a superior assessment system.  Recognizing the gains made in the public schools, the U.S. Department of Education in January 2003 declared Massachusetts schools a national model for other states to follow.

Complementing her work in grade schools, Swift directed a review of early education programs and services, and spearheaded improvements to the state’s adult education and training programs. Also, she advocated policies to help parents balance work and family, and championed the needs of foster children, working to increase adoptions and guarantee free college tuitions.

Swift became governor on April 10, 2001, when Governor Paul Cellucci resigned to become the U.S. Ambassador to Canada. The following month, Swift delivered twin girls, making history as well as national and international news.

Elected Lieutenant Governor in November 1998, Swift was the first woman to run for statewide office while pregnant (she gave birth to her first daughter days before the election.)

As Lieutenant Governor, she worked as “co-governor” with Cellucci to stimulate economic growth, impose fiscal discipline, improve public education, and enhance the quality of life for working families. Then as the Chief Executive of the nation’s 13th largest state, Swift was responsible for overseeing a $23 billion annual operating budget, and for setting strategic direction for 13 cabinet agencies and divisions.

She was elected by her fellow governors to the Executive Committee of the Republican Governor’s Association and the Vice-Chair of the New England Governor’s Association.

Swift began her political career in 1990, when the 25-year-old became the youngest woman ever elected to the Massachusetts State Senate. She quickly became the youngest woman in Senate history to hold a leadership position when she rose to the rank of Assistant Minority Leader.

In 1997, Governor Cellucci appointed Swift as Director of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. Prior to that position, she served as Director of Regional Airport Development at the Massachusetts Port Authority.

Swift has been featured on national television programs such as 60 Minutes, The Early Show on CBS, The Today Show on NBC, The View on ABC, and Inside Politics on CNN. Glamour magazine once declared her “One of 11 Women Who Could Change the Country.”

Swift, who has received seven honorary doctorates and numerous awards, received a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies from Trinity College, in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1987.  She is currently the Class of 1948 Distinguished Lecturer in Leadership Studies at Williams College.

At the podium, Swift remains a tireless advocate of family issues and brings audiences a keen sense of civic responsibility.  She discusses the necessity of balancing work and family, the importance of high standards in education and the role of leadership during troubled times.  Referencing her own experiences as a young woman on the political scene to raising a family while in office, Swift dispels the gender bias in American politics.  She inspires audiences to stand up for gender equality and support candidates based on qualifications, not gender.

A native of North Adams, Massachusetts, Swift resides with her husband, Chuck Hunt, and their three daughters in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  The Hunts own and operate a horse farm, Cobble Hill Farm (www.cobblehillfarm.com).

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