Sherrie Westin named CEO of Sesame Workshop

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Sherrie Westin was appointed CEO of Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit that oversees Sesame Street.

Sesame Workshop CEO Sherrie Westin

Westin most recently worked as interim CEO. Her ascension to CEO completes the leadership transition that began when Steve Youngwood announced earlier this year that he would step down.

In a news release, Sesame Workshop Board Chair Gaby Sulzberger said the new leader “has proven herself to be deeply knowledgeable, tireless in her efforts on behalf of children and families, and passionately committed to our mission.” She also said Westin “is the inspirational leader the Workshop needs, and she has the Board’s absolute confidence and support as she accepts this role and leads us into the future.”

Westin joined Sesame Workshop in 1998 as EVP and CMO. She has also led social impact and philanthropy and was president of the nonprofit before the interim CEO appointment.

Before Sesame, she was EVP of network communications for ABC. She was also SVP of communications for U.S. News & World Report, director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs for President George H. W. Bush, and an assistant secretary of public affairs for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

During her tenure with Sesame, Westin has led a partnership with the International Rescue Committee to provide early education to children in the Middle East, which was awarded the MacArthur Foundation’s first-ever “100&Change” $100 million grant. The project has expanded to reach children in Bangladesh, East Africa, Latin America, Afghanistan and Ukraine.

“Children are the most important investment we can make in our future. They are the reason Sesame Street was created 55 years ago, and why the need for our work is greater than ever,” Westin said in the news release. “Carrying on Joan Ganz Cooney’s legacy is both humbling and inspiring, and I’m honored to work with Gaby, the Trustees, and my colleagues to make sure that Sesame Street can continue to help children thrive for the next 55 years and beyond.”

Westin is the first woman to be Sesame Workshop’s CEO since the organization was established in 1968.

“Sesame Workshop’s mission is to help children everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder — and no one has done more to advance that mission than Sherrie Westin, a seasoned leader with both proven experience and an unwavering dedication to uplifting the lives of children,” said Joan Ganz Cooney, creator of Sesame Street and co-founder of Sesame Workshop, in the release. “I can think of no better person to lead Sesame Workshop as it addresses the most pressing needs of children and families around the world.”

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