Widely acknowledged as having developed the strategies for reinventing Playboy Enterprises as a successful global multimedia corporation, Christie Hefner has not only been a prominent and successful businesswoman, but a passionate advocate for social justice.
Hefner has been involved in freedom of expression activities for more than 25 years, serving as a board member of the Magazine Publishers Association and the American Civil Liberties Union and an advisory board member of the Nation Institute and the Creative Coalition, which honored her with its Christopher Reeve First Amendment award in 2001.
She led the Playboy Foundation's work with clinics, researchers and educational groups that advance scientific and social understanding of human sexuality, and directed the Company's decision to be among the first U.S. corporation to fund AIDS research.
Hefner served as project director of Chicago's CORE Center, raising $30 million to build a four story, 60,000 square foot facility that provides a comprehensive range of outpatient care to individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. In recognition of her leadership in establishing the CORE Center, she received several awards including the Humanitarian award from the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, "Friend for Life" award from the Howard Brown Medical Center, the Corporate Leadership award from the AIDS Pastoral Care Network and "Advocate of the Year" from AIDS Legal Council of Chicago. She also is the first woman to receive the Executive Leadership Award from the National Society of Fundraising Executives.
In September 2000, Hefner and her husband, former Illinois state senator William Marovitz, were presented with the inaugural Champion of Freedom Award from the Anti-Defamation League for their commitment to diversity and inclusiveness.
In 2002, Hefner was honored by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association's Vanguard Award with its Distinguished Leadership, the cable industry's highest honor, for her longstanding commitment to First Amendment rights and workplace diversity. In 2003, she received the University of Illinois at Chicago's Family Business Council's Leadership Award, bearing an inscription recognizing her "vision, determination and courage in refocusing, diversifying and ultimately ensuring the future of an American icon, leading Playboy into the new millennium."
Hefner is regularly sought after for interviews by reporters from major media around the world, including The New York Times, Fortune, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, 60 Minutes, The Washington Post, The Economist, and Business Week. Her work has led to many speaking engagements before such groups as the National Press Club, World Economic Forum, American Advertising Federation, National Newspaper Association, Forrester Research and the National Cable Television Association. She is a contributor to If You Had Five Minutes With the President (Harper, 2004), a nonpartisan collection of essays based on issues surrounding the 2004 presidential election.
She also has lectured on college campuses nationwide, including the Harvard Business School, University of Chicago, the Wharton School of Business, Columbia University, and Northwestern University, where she delivered the 2000 commencement address.
Hefner serves on the boards of the Business Committee for the Arts, Canyon Ranch Health Resort, The Chicago Council on Foreign Relations and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association's Diversity Committee, and on the board of governors of the Museum of Television & Radio Media Center.
Christie Hefner was born in Chicago in 1952. Elected to Phi Beta Kappa in her junior year of college, Hefner graduated from Brandeis University summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and American literature in 1974. The year following graduation, Hefner worked as a freelance art critic for the Boston Phoenix, New England's largest arts and entertainment weekly. She became a President's Councilor of her alma mater in 1978.