Visual Effects Society (VES) announced that 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.
“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,” said VES chair Lisa Cooke.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as Executive Director of the Visual Effects Society. 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,” said Ward.
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. 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,” said VES chair emeritus Jeffrey A. Okun.
“Nancy has a clear vision for carrying the VES forward, focused around growth, continuing education, increased visibility and service to our membership. 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,” said second vice chair Susan Thurmond O’Neal.
The search committee also included first vice chair Emma Clifton Perry, VES secretary Rita Cahill and VES chair emeritus Mike Chambers.
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.