Marian Heard is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Oxen Hill Partners, a Boston-based company specializing in Leadership Development Programs and Brand Enhancement Strategies.
An energetic and creative leader, she retired early in 2004 as President and CEO of the United Way in Boston and as the Chief Executive Officer of the United Ways of New England, having led both groups since 1992 and serving the United Way in many leadership capacities for over 30 years, the first 17 years in Connecticut. In Boston, she spearheaded the effort that led this United Way from #87 in major gifts to the #1 position in America.
In addition, she was cited for her creativity in leading efforts for children by gaining approval for the first license plate in the nation featuring children where the monies went not to the general fund, but to support programs for children. Proceeds from the sale of this license plate has averaged $30,000 a month for children’s programs.
She is the Founding President and CEO of the Points of Light Foundation which was organized to perpetuate President George H.W. Bush’s (#41) support for voluntary service and continues to serve as a Board member after two terms as the National Board Chair.
She has received numerous awards, including 17 Honorary Doctorate Degrees, the National Public Citizen of the Year Award as well as the prestigious Warren Bennis Award for Leadership Excellence. She was the first United Way executive in America to be named to serve on a corporate board and is currently a member of the board of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Liberty Mutual, CVS/Caremark Corporation, Sovereign Bank and BioSphere Medical. She is a Trustee at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and has been a long-term college trustee, serving at three colleges: Fairfield University, Berea College and the University of Bridgeport, where she served as the President of the Board of Associates.
Marian is a graduate of the University of Bridgeport, where she earned an Associate’s Degree in Executive Secretarial Studies; the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where she received her B.A. Degree in Business and Springfield College where she earned a M.A. Degree in Education. She has also completed the Executive Leadership Program at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor where she focused on Economics and Social Policy.
Known for her keen intellect and insatiable appetite for sweeping national projects focused on the youth of our nation, she has been called a “visionary leader” as well as the “consummate strategist” and serves as Vice Chairman for the Board of Mentor/National Mentoring Partnership. She has also served as a mentor for almost seven years.
In addition, she was the President and CEO of the “Presidents’ Summit for America’s Future,” which was Co-Chaired by Presidents Clinton and Bush. General Colin Powell served as the General Chairman and all former Presidents participated. This was the largest gathering for a domestic issue in the history of our nation.
Gifted at the podium and the recipient of the National Buckley Orator Award, she is a frequent commencement speaker and guest lecturer at a number of colleges and universities as well as a keynote and featured speaker on the topic of leadership for corporate seminars and numerous professional associations. In addition, she has been on frequent speaking tours with widely respected religious leaders such as Bishop T. D. Jakes and Pastor Paula White. Marian is also the hostess of an award-winning radio talk show called, “What’s Happening with Marian Heard.”
An author of two books, “The Complete Leader” and “Take Time,” she also finds times to pursue other interests which include pole walking, traveling and painting. She is an established abstract/impressionist artist with a studio in Boston and is represented by the Guroo Gallery.
Marian was honored in January, 2009, at a White House ceremony by both President George H. W. Bush (#41) and President George W. Bush (#43) for her role as the Founding President and Chief Executive Officer of the Points of Light Foundation, her continuous Board service for 20 years and her outstanding contributions and public service to the children and families of this country.
She is a member of numerous professional, literary and artistic groups including the Women’s Forum, the CEO Club, the Black Corporate Directors, the National Association of Corporate Directors, the Boston Athenaeum and the Natick Service Council. She is also a Life Member of the NAACP.
She is married to Winlow M. Heard, and they are the parents of two married sons and have four grandchildren.