Conference Opening Session to feature advocate Christie Hefner

Contact: Karee Williams

ALA Conference Services


For Immediate Release

June 23, 2009

CHICAGO—Christie Hefner, a passionate advocate of freedom of expression, social justice, equal rights and opportunities for women, will highlight the 2009 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Chicago as the Opening Session speaker.

The Opening Session is part of the 2009 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, and will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 11 at McCormick Place West.

An ardent defender  of First Amendment rights, Hefner created the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards in 1979 to honor individuals who have contributed significantly to the vital effort to protect and enhance those rights for Americans. In 1993, the Playboy Foundation established the Freedom of Expression Award at the Sundance Film Festival to honor those documentary films that best educate the public on issues of social concern.

A champion of freedom of choice, Hefner promotes equal rights and opportunities for women in both the political and corporate realms. She was the first woman elected to the Chicago chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organization and has worked hard to increase the number of women serving on corporate boards nationwide. 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 has also distinguished herself as a committed HIV/AIDS activist, dedicating time and resources to many AIDS-related programs. Hefner raised $30 million to build the Core Center in Chicago, which conducts clinical research and provides prevention education and outpatient care for people with HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases.

Hefner is currently a director of the Center for American Progress, a think tank dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through ideas and actions by combining bold policy ideas with a modern communications platform.

Previously, she served as chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises, overseeing policy, management and strategy in all areas of the company for more than two decades. During her tenure, she recapitalized the company, restructured operations and initiated the company’s highly successful electronic and international expansions. Extending its magazine franchise overseas, Playboy is now available in 25 localized foreign editions and is a bestselling magazine in both the U.S. and the world.Â

Under Hefner’s leadership, the company developed its profitable television business—the first time a magazine successfully leveraged its brand into television—and led the company onto the Internet, making Playboy the first national magazine on the Web.

In her role as chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises, Hefner spoke to audiences around the world on the creation of brands and global multichannel marketing, the merits and benefits of developing and running a family business, women leaders and women in business, how to create a successful international business model, the ever-evolving media and its importance, First Amendment rights and their commercial impact and insight into the American consumer.

Hefner was born in Chicago in 1952. Elected to Phi Beta Kappa in her junior year of college, she graduated from Brandeis University summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and American literature in 1974. She is married to real estate developer and attorney William A. Marovitz, a former Illinois state senator.

For more information on Christie Hefner and the Opening General Session at the ALA Annual Conference, visit the Conference Web site at