Margaret Whitehead served in the Office of Programs in the Office of First Lady Barbara Bush. Whitehead also worked as a Congressional Liaison Officer in the Office Secretary of Labor James Hodgson where she received a Meritorious Service Award. In addition to serving on the Board of the National Cancer Research Foundation of America as Development Chair, Whitehead has participated in advocacy and fundraising for numerous other local and national educational, medical, and faith-based organizations, including Stephen Wise Temple Los Angeles, All Saints Episcopal Church Beverly Hills, Potomac School, and Princeton University. She was among the founders of the Los Angeles Conservancy.
Whitehead holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from George Washington University and has also pursued graduate studies at the University of California Los Angeles. In her dissertation, The Making of the Museum of Modern Art's Photography Canon, she asserts that the Museum's promotion of specific photographers and photographs from 1937 to 1988 yielded a canon that so influenced museum and art commerce that it cast the Museum as an arbiter of modern American identity.