Entrepreneur, Chief Executive and Author
Margaret Heffernan was born in Texas, raised in Holland and educated at Cambridge University. She worked in BBC Radio for five years where she wrote, directed, produced and commissioned dozens of documentaries and dramas. As a television producer, she made documentary films for Timewatch, Arena and Newsnight. She was one of the producers of Out of the Doll's House, the prize-winning documentary series about the history of women in the twentieth century. She designed and executive produced a thirteen-part series on The French Revolution for the BBC and A&E. The series featured, among others, Alan Rickman, Alfred Molina, Janet Suzman, Simon Callow and Jim Broadbent and introduced both historian Simon Schama and playwright Peter Barnes to British television. She also produced music videos with Virgin Records and the London Chamber Orchestra to raise attention and funds for Unicef's Lebanese fund.
After leaving the BBC, Margaret ran the trade association IPPA, which represented the interests of independent film and television producers and was once described by The Financial Times as "the most formidable lobbying organization in England."
In 1994, she returned to the United States where she worked on public affair campaigns in Massachusetts and with software companies trying to break into multimedia. She developed interactive multimedia products with Peter Lynch, Tom Peters, Standard & Poors and The Learning Company.
Margaret then joined CMGI where she ran, bought, and sold leading Internet businesses, serving as Chief Executive Officer for InfoMation Corporation, ZineZone Corporation and iCAST Corporation. She was named one of the Internet's Top 100 by Silicon Alley Reporter in 1999, one of the Top 25 by Streaming Media magazine and one of the Top 100 Media Executives by The Hollywood Reporter. Her "Tear Down the Wall" campaign against AOL won the 2001 Silver SABRE award for public relations.
2011 saw the publication of Margaret's third book, Willful Blindness (Simon&Schuster in the UK, Bloomsbury in the US and Doubleday in Canada) which was shortlisted for The Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Best Business Book award. She is visiting professor of Entrepreneurship at Simmons College in Boston and executive in Residence at Babson College. She is a trustee of the London Library and sits on the Council of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and in the UK as well as one the boards of several private companies. Heffernan blogs for The Huffington Post in the US and the UK, for CBS Moneywatch and for Inc.com. She was featured on television in The Secret Millionaire and on BBC Radio 4 in Changing the Rules, which won the 2008 Prowess Media Award. Her latest book is A Bigger Prize: How to Stop Competing and Start Winning through Creative Collaboration (April 2014). She has had three plays broadcast by the BBC and in 2011 has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Bath. She is married with two children.
At digitalNow, Margaret will address how our leadership styles and organizational and board culture can crush creativity by narrowing our focus, disengaging our sense of freedom and responsibility and undermining trust. Innovation requires just the opposite: open and generous minds, working with trust, personal commitment and generosity. The relationships or their outcome: which is the bigger prize?