Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs
Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs onstage during the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Governors Awards at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on November 16, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Who is Cheryl Boone Isaacs?

Cheryl Boone Isaacs became the first black president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2013, and only the third woman to hold that position in the organization’s 86-year history. A woman who fulfilled her childhood dream of working in the movie industry by working in publicity and marketing before joining the Academy as a member, Isaacs, now in her sixties, has broken an important barrier in an industry many see as run by mainly, older white men.

Why is she on theGrio’s 100?

This is not the first time Isaacs became a “first” in her field. She was also named the first black woman to head a studio marketing department when she became the president of theatrical marketing at New Line Cinema in 1997.

“With both situations, I worked very hard and had great support from staff and leadership wherever I worked. When I got the job at New Line it was a big first and the same thing here,” Isaacs told the Los Angeles Times.

Some also see her election as an indication that the group seeks to diversify the influential professional organization, which was found to be 94 percent white and 77 percent male according to a recent study.

What’s next for Cheryl Boone Isaacs?

Isaacs will bring her sensibility for hard work and breaking ground into her new role, which will include tasks such as planning the coming Academy Awards.

“Another big part of her job will involve the fundraising and design plans for the academy’s $300-million movie museum, slated to open in 2017,” reports the Times. She will also focus on ongoing programs that benefit the academy’s 6,000 members.

The importance of her position is deeply meaningful to Isaacs, who cried when she was elected president of the organization responsible for the most prestigious prize in the movie industry. It’s a passion she will bring to making Hollywood’s halls of power more diverse — starting with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

“We have increased the diversity with the inclusion of new members, and we are going to continue on this road,” she said of her election. “It’s very important to me.”

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