Heather Felix Returns to Lead Easton Technology Center

Alumna plans focus on leadership for students aiming for tech careers
Heather Felix (M.S. ’92, ’94) is the new program director of UCLA Anderson’s Easton Technology Management Center. Before joining UCLA’s staff, Felix was a senior manager of chemical research at Phillips; director of research development at Discus Dental LLC; and product manager at Pharmavite.

Felix is no stranger to the UCLA campus: For more than five years, she was campus relations manager in UCLA’s Technology Development Group. The Bruin connection runs even deeper, as her parents are both longtime UCLA faculty members. Her mom, Sherie Morrison, Ph.D., is with the David Geffen School of Medicine and her dad is UCLA Anderson Professor Emeritus Don Morrison. Felix’s sister Michelle Oliva (’95) is also an Anderson alumna. Collectively, they are the Morrisons of Anderson’s Morrison Family Center for Marketing Research and Data Analytics. We sat down with Felix to discuss her new role at Easton and some of her goals for the center.
Q: What was it about the Easton Center that intrigued you enough to join the staff?

I’ve been at UCLA for the last five and a half years working to support the commercialization of UCLA technologies and, certainly, our entrepreneurial ecosystem in general. I was interested in the opening at Easton because the whole mission of fostering better technology leadership at a business school is intriguing to me.

At least 25 percent of our MBAs are interested in jobs in technology, and the reality today is that every industry is a tech industry. Technology is touching the way everybody does business, no matter what vertical the industry happens to be in.

And so the opportunity to be at Anderson and help shape programming and work with our faculty director (Terry Kramer) on the actual curriculum offerings was really exciting to me. It’s a tremendous opportunity to help shape future technology leaders and to give back to the Anderson community.

Q: You’ve only just come on board. That said, what plans might you have for the center?

Our first task is looking at all of our existing programming and seeing what’s working and what could be improved. Terry and I have talked about making sure that all of the programs we offer are really high quality and have value for the MBA students. The MBAs are all coming in with work experience, and you can often acquire direct vertical skills lots of ways. So I think it’s important that more of what we work on is really looking at leadership and innovation and technology, and understanding the implications of all the rapid changes we’re seeing.

I’d like to figure out how there might be initiatives or programs that we could work on with departments beyond Anderson. There are incredible things happening in the School of Medicine and UCLA Health, UCLA Engineering is top notch. Given that our mission is all about making sure we can graduate future leaders in technology, working across campus is something that I’d like to see the Easton Center do more of.

Q: Could you tell us about the upcoming CES®@Anderson conference, which Easton is organizing along with Anderson student organization AnderTech?

It circles back to what we talked about before: These days, every company is a tech company at some level, and that is the overarching theme for CES.

We’ve got great speakers across a variety of industries in which they’re not just talking about their specific industry vertical, but also about what they’ve learned, what they’ve seen throughout their careers, how they may have had to pivot. It should be a really interesting day of programming. The finale is fun, it’s all physical demonstrations by different tech companies and other UCLA startups whose founders will talk about what they’re working on.