CHRISTIE HEFNER [BIO]- WOMEN DRIVING EXCELLENCE 2017 HONOREE
From 1988-2008, Christie was Chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises, Inc., making her the longest serving female CEO of a U.S. public company. Christie restructured the company, initiating its highly successful electronic and international expansions, including leading the company onto the Internet, making Playboy the first national magazine on the web. She also greatly expanded the leveraging of the Playboy brand via licensing, generating close to $1 billion in annual global retail sales, 80% of them in women’s products. When she left, over 40% of her executives were women. For three years she was named to FORTUNE’s list of the 100 Most Powerful Women.
Today, she serves as Chairman of Hatch Beauty, a brand and product innovation company in the personal care space. She also recently joined the advisory board of the RDO Companies, a $3 billion family owned agricultural conglomerate.Both companies’ CEOs are women. Before that, she served as Executive Chairman of Canyon Ranch Enterprises, a new division of the renowned wellness lifestyle company created to extend the Canyon Ranch brand via media and business partnerships.
Christie is a passionate advocate of freedom of expression, social justice and equal rights and opportunities for women. In 1991, she was inducted into the Women’s Business Development Center Hall of Fame for “opening doors and building opportunities for all women entrepreneurs.”She received the 2002 Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership, cable industry’s highest honor, for longstanding commitment to the First Amendment rights of cable programmers and operators and for strong advocacy of workplace diversity. She was a founding member of The Chicago Network, The Committee of 200, and the Chicago Chapter of Women Corporate Directors, and she was the first woman elected into the Chicago Chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organization. She has served on the board of advisors for Springboard since 2007, which is a network of innovators, investors and influencers who are dedicated to building high-growth technology-oriented companies led by women and has raised over $7 billion for women owned start-ups.
She serves on the board of Trustees for Rush University Medical Center and has also distinguished herself as a committed HIV/AIDS activist, dedicating time and resources to many AIDS-related programs. She spent four years as project board chairman for the CORE Center––a public-private partnership between Rush University Medical Center and Cook County Hospital––and raised $30 million to build this innovative clinic and research facility, which opened in Chicago in the summer of 1998. The CORE Center conducts clinical research and provides prevention, education and outpatient care for people with HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases.
She was also co-chair of the Capital Campaign for the Black Ensemble Theater’s state of the art Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center which is committed to using theater as a cultural bridge, bringing together people of all nationalities and cultures to facilitate communication, understanding and acceptance, while celebrating the uniqueness of the human spirit.
She has long worked to elect women candidates, including three successful Senators this last cycle and was a founding member of EMILY’s list.
She also serves on the board of the D.C. based Center for American Progress Action, the leading progressive public policy think tank.