SVP of Corporate Communications, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield
Maria has a distinguished background in national and international public policy, media relations and communications in the private and government arenas. In her current role as SVP of Corporate Communications at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, Margita is responsible for all internal and external comms for North America with a focus on bringing URW’s motto “Reinventing being together” to life for both employees and customers.
Her communications experience crosses industries. She has been Vice President of Communications for California Resources Corporation, the state’s largest independent oil and natural gas producer as well as Vice President, External Communications for Disney Consumer Products leading PR teams spanning Disney Publishing, The Disney Stores and DCP Licensing, the world’s largest licensor. Before joining Disney, she was Vice President for Corporate Communications and Latino Programs Officer at Health Net, Inc., one of the nation’s largest publicly traded managed health care companies.
She also served as Press Secretary for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger during his first term. As a member of the senior staff, she was a key advisor to the Governor on media strategy, crisis and issues management. Prior to joining the Schwarzenegger administration, Thompson served as the Political Producer for Larry King Live in Washington, D.C., then CNN’s highest-rated, award-winning political news program.
Before working for CNN, Margita worked at the White House in the Office of the Vice President as Press Secretary to Mrs. Lynne Cheney. She was also the California Press Secretary for Bush for President during the 2000 election, serving as the principal contact for California-based and Spanish language media.
Margita’s leadership of Health Net’s Latino Initiative was profiled in the 2012 issue of Hispanic Executive. She received an Emmy in 2010 as a political analyst with the KCAL/ CBS team for 2010 election night political coverage. Hispanic Business Magazine named Thompson one of its 2010 Corporate Elite. In 2009, she was Co-Chair of Latina Action Day for HOPE (Hispanas Organized for Political Equality). She serves as the State Senate appointee to the Board of Trustees, California State Summer School for the Arts. She completed the Latino Leadership Institute at UCLA’s John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management. Margita also volunteers with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles as a Big Sister, and is a fellow at USC’s Jesse Unruh Institute of Politics.
She earned her B.A. in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley. She graduated with her Master of Public Policy degree from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where she was named the Parker Montgomery Fellow for distinguished leadership in California.