Ridings was named President and Chief Executive Officer of the Council in March 1996 after a distinguished career in the newspaper and communications industries. She has been a newspaper publisher, television producer/host, feature writer, political reporter, consultant/editor in government relations and leader of public policy research projects and organizations. From 1988 until joining the Council, she served as president and publisher of Knight-Ridder's Bradenton Herald in Florida. She also served as a Knight-Ridder general executive while based in Charlotte, North Carolina and held editorial and reporting positions at The Charlotte Observer, The Kentucky Business ledger, and The Washington Post.
She was president of The League of Women Voters of the United States from 1982 through 1986, and in that capacity was an Akron Roundtable speaker in September 1983. She has been a trustee of the Ford Foundation, a director of the Benton Foundation and serves on the board of Independent Sector. Internationally, she has made speaking tours for the U.S. Department of State led two fact-finding delegations sponsored by NATO and served as a member of the Ford Foundation visitation teams.
She earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a master's degree from the University of North Carolina. Recipient of numerous awards, she holds honorary degrees from Spalding University and the University of Louisville, is listed in the International who be Who of Professional and Business Women and in the Foremost Women of the Twentieth Century.