As VP of development at Disney Junior, Berglund plays a prominent role in determining what the TV network airs. “The social and emotional themes really have to resonate,” she says. “We tackle things that kids deal with in their everyday lives—friendship, family, working together, learning from mistakes.” That includes upcoming shows she’s helped create: a Little Mermaid spinoff, Ariel, and Kindergarten: The Musical.
Berglund takes the kernel of an idea for a show, puts together the creative team, a series overview, sample episodes, and pilot scripts. “We even adapt an episode into a storybook with illustrations that we read in focus group tests with kids and parents, to gauge engagement and comprehension,” she says.
“Kim brings an exceptional level of creativity and quality to everything she spearheads,” says Alyssa Sapire, Disney Junior’s senior VP of development, series and strategy. “She is a thoughtful mentor and a great leader, and she inspires creative partners to do their very best work.”
An avid kids’ show viewer growing up (even in her teens Arthur was a fave), the psych major taught second grade after graduation, then planned to become a reading specialist. A year into her Harvard graduate degree in education, she decided to pursue a career in children’s TV and switched to Harvard’s educational media and tech master’s program.
“What I love first and foremost,” she says, “is that we’re creating lighthearted shows for little kids. I don’t come home and have to decompress.” She met her husband, Andrew Berglund ’00, now the data science director at Netflix, their sophomore year. They have two sons, 15 and 13. “I feel really lucky that I can bring some light and joy into the world,” she adds, “and provide content that helps kids learn and grow and become good people.”