The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

Helen McAleer

Helen McAleerHelen McAleer is the chief global development officer for the Walker Group, and MD of Walker Productions, tasked with leading a global team responsible for shaping the Walker Group companies (UK, US, and Aus/NZ) and their properties and products in the development, exploitation, marketing, and sale of auxiliary media rights.

As CGDO, she also supervises all licensed and tie-in publishing for the three companies globally, working with an in-house team of editors and designers on its creation and with the local MDs and commercial directors to implement successful selling and marketing strategies for the mass-market oriented list.

Helen left a Deputy MD post at BBC Worldwide to join Walker Books UK as MD in 2006 in order to take the publisher to the next level in its publishing, licensing, production and digital divisions. She has built Walker UK’s reputation as a forward looking company, geared towards acquisition and management of multiple rights. She has overseen the development of the digital publishing strategy and has remained committed to building new partnerships and growth opportunities for the business.

Keen to establish Walker as a publisher with a strong multi-platform approach, able to deliver Walker IP to new audiences, she set up Walker Productions within her first year. Walker Productions develops Walker content for other media platforms with a range of production partners, with projects including Tilly and Friends for CBeebies, Hank Zipzer for CBBC andFleabag Monkeyface for CITV.

By 2009 Helen had brought all licensing management of Walker brands in house including Lucy Cousins’ Maisy and evergreen property Guess How Much I Love You and has since built up an in-house licensing team and digital publishing division.

Helen began her career in publishing at Random House in 1990. She spent 3 years in the marketing department at Random House before moving on to the marketing department at Penguin Children's Division (Puffin). She then moved to BBC Worldwide to set up the marketing and publicity department for BBC Children’s Books. Helen went on to take a number of roles within BBC Worldwide in both Sales and Publishing and after a few years moved to run the licensing division at BBC Worldwide with responsibility for both children’s and adult product.

By the time Helen left BBC Worldwide in July 2006 she was Deputy MD of all children's product business, responsible for acquisition and investment of programme and distribution rights and the marketing and selling of those rights worldwide.