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Visual Effects Society Announces Nancy Ward as New Executive Director

The Visual Effects Society (VES), the industry’s global professional honorary society, has announced Nancy Ward has been selected as the Society’s new Executive Director.  Ward, who joined the Society in 2014 as the organization’s Program and Development Director, was appointed Interim Executive Director upon the retirement of Eric Roth in September 2022, who had served as leader of the organization for nearly 20 years.  The VES Board of Directors voted on the selection of Ward at the culmination of a comprehensive search process, guided under the leadership of VES Chair Lisa Cooke.  Ward’s elevation to Executive Director is effective immediately.

In announcing Ward as the Society’s new executive leader, VES Chair Lisa Cooke stated, “Nancy has a passion for the VES and a vision to further uplift the Society and bring it to the forefront of the global entertainment community.  She has earned a tremendous reputation among the Board, staff, Sections, worldwide membership and industry partners, and we are confident that the VES will achieve new heights under her leadership.  I am thrilled to have someone of Nancy’s caliber to helm our next chapter.”

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as Executive Director of the Visual Effects Society,” said Executive Director Nancy Ward.  “It’s an enormous privilege to connect, educate, honor and celebrate the hardest working – and probably most underappreciated professionals – in entertainment, around the world. The VES is a beacon of creative and technological innovation and excellence, and it is my intention to further grow the Society into a powerful resource that is recognized and respected in all corners of the globe.  I look forward to building on the strong foundation created by Eric Roth, and helping the Society cement its position as a leading voice at the epicenter of the entertainment industry.

Members of the VES Executive Director Search Committee shared the following about Ward’s selection –

“The VES is extremely lucky to have had Nancy among the significant pool of candidates seeking this important role,” said Chair Emeritus Jeffrey A. Okun, VES.  “At this pivotal time in the industry, we are excited to work together to take the Society to the next level with Nancy at the helm.”

“Nancy has a clear vision for carrying the VES forward, focused around growth, continuing education, increased visibility and service to our membership,” said 2nd Vice Chair Susan Thurmond O’Neal. “Since she joined the organization, Nancy has deeply invested in the Society and helped achieve some of our longstanding goals, and I know she will continue that trajectory of success.”

The Search Committee also included 1st Vice Chair Emma Clifton Perry, VES Secretary Rita Cahill and Chair Emeritus Mike Chambers, VES.

In her capacity as VES Program and Development Director, Ward oversaw direct fundraising, partnerships, alliances and new programs.  Her accomplishments include: driving annual sponsorship revenue; overseeing and directing the publishing team for VFX Voice, the Society’s flagship, award-winning print and digital magazine; spearheading initiatives around diversity, equity and inclusion, virtual production and women who lead VFX; overseeing the annual VES Honors Celebration, VES New York Awards Celebration and other VES and Section events; and leading the VES Archives initiative and development of the Society’s forthcoming VES digital museum.

Prior to joining the VES, Ward spent more than a decade in advertising, direct marketing, brand identity and business development, managing successful multi-million-dollar campaigns – as both a client and an ad agency account manager – for General Motors, Taco Bell, Mattel, office products, financial services companies and various nonprofits.

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