Heather Morgan, currently the vice president of content and programming at Harkins Theatres, has been named the new president of the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation—making her the first woman to hold that role in the non-profit group’s august 85-year history.
Morgan began her career at AMC before moving on to Harkins, where she oversees the strategic placement of roughly 900 movies annually, as well as inclusive programs that educate and entertain audiences. These include the Women’s Equality Film Series, Hispanic Heritage and Black History Month programs, Sensory Friendly Screenings, Tuesday Night Classics, and more. She holds a PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and is often sought after to coach and advise members of the industry about stress management, work-life balance, physical and mental health, leadership development, and employee engagement.
“Heather is an accomplished executive with innovative ideas whose expertise will lead the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation to new heights as we create a path for growth and continue to care for members of our community in times of need,” said Todd Vradenburg, executive director, Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation. “We are all looking forward to working with her,” Vradenburg added.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the critical role that the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation serves within the industry. The only charity of its kind in the nation, through its Pioneers Assistance Fund, Will Rogers provides financial assistance to members of the distribution and exhibition community in times of need. The need had never been greater than throughout the pandemic when film releases were halted, theaters were shuttered and employees were furloughed. The charity administered more than $3.5M in aid and helped 10,000 people remain in their homes, buy basic necessities and navigate the hardship.
“As our industry changes and evolves, so too do the needs of its members,” said Morgan. “This charity is a cornerstone of the industry and we will continue to reinvent ourselves and our programs to ensure that we are providing the support and resources needed to ensure the future success and prosperity of this place that so many of us call home.”
On being the first woman to serve as president of the charity, Morgan said: “While I am truly humbled and honored to have been chosen as the first to pave the way, it is far more gratifying knowing that I will not be the last.”
Morgan will begin serving in her role on January 1, 2022, as the Foundation is preparing to celebrate its 85th anniversary with the return of the Pioneer of the Year Dinner in September 2022.