In 2017 I served as Interim Vice President for Institutional Advancement, leading staff, maintaining momentum, streamlining systems and spearheading fund-raising efforts during the critical year-end period.
External Relations Project
I was recruited to The Davis Museum at Wellesley College by its director, Lisa Fischman, to perform an analysis and assessment of the museum’s external relations efforts and to make recommendations for an implementation plan to dramatically upgrade those efforts. The project was an outgrowth of a Museum Assessment Program report performed by the distinguished director of The Princeton University Art Museum, James Steward. Over a period of four months I performed 20 interviews with the museum’s leaders and Wellesley senior staff and faculty to identify the key challenges impeding progress in this area. I concluded the project with my recommended strategies for how the museum could take a significant leap forward despite quite a troubled history in this area of its work. As of this writing, the recommendations are being successfully implemented.
Capital Campaign Consultant
The special challenge of preparation and early implementation of North Bennet Street School’s capital campaign was their general lack of a strong fund-raising operation and no capital campaign in 30 years. We spent considerable time on preparation, assessment and hiring of new staff, organizing systems and research, creating a Campaign Planning Committee, envisioning communications. Additionally an early feasibility study had predicted only modest success. The power of a dynamic, talented and charismatic school president combined with strong campaign preparation brought in double the original estimate in the first six months. The school was off and running and I was able to step back.
Major Gifts consultant
I was recruited by this much renowned and beloved summer theatre to strategize, plan, and oversee a brief major gifts campaign in order to bring the theatre into a new season on strong financial footing. Working with the CEO, board leadership and Development staff we were able to reach our financial goal in three months. As a result of this project we then restructured the Development Office and hired a new Director of Development in order to sustain success and momentum.
I was recruited by Kripalu, the first and largest center in this country for yoga and health ($29M budget and 400 employees,) to bring them into the next major chapter of their institutional evolution. After three years we had doubled the board of trustees by bringing on a truly distinguished new group of remarkable individuals from across the country, created a wholly new development office and team, embarked on strategic planning, doubled the number of annual donors and created key philanthropic relationships that can carry the organization into a successful future.
Bennington College invited me to join them as Vice President in order to prepare them for their first major ($100M) capital campaign. Already close to the college through my service on its board, the challenge of preparing it for a major leap into its emerging future had deep personal resonance. During my tenure as Bennington’s VP I redesigned, staffed and strategized the departments of Development and Communications and implemented the new systems and plans in order to embark on the campaign that was to become a pivotal success in the college’s history.
Deputy Director for External Affairs
The Museum of the City of New York recruited me to move this venerable New York institution into a new position of prominence in the city and abroad. I oversaw the operations of Development, Media and Public Relations, Membership, Retail Marketing, and Special Events. It was a transitional moment in the life of what had been a rather sleepy museum in which I was able to bring my experience in the New York cultural world and the international fund-raising world to the table in what proved to be very fruitful ways. We embarked on a major board expansion, tripled annual fundraising and established international relationships with philanthropists, colleagues, foundations and funding agencies, the diplomatic world and City Hall that paved the way for the museum’s evolution into the institution it is today.
I was first recruited by The Asia Society’s president and museum director to assess their renowned visual and performing arts programs. Because of my own museum experience I was also invited to serve as Acting Curator for a term. During this management assessment my double assignment gave me the good fortune to work on three major exhibitions and be sole curator of an exhibition of Buddhist and Hindu art from the remarkable Rockefeller Collection of Asian Art. These experiences led me to become the lead fundraiser for the visual and performing arts programs at the society during the heyday of Japanese fundraising in New York. It was at The Asia Society that I became immersed in the world of international philanthropy and again had the good fortune to work with one of New York’s most distinguished nonprofit boards.
I was invited to join The Cathedral Museum of St. John the Divine, the world’s largest Gothic cathedral, as Director of Visual Arts and Director of the Museum in order to catalogue the cathedral’s vast collection of old master paintings and, in the process, start a new museum in New York. During this very vibrant time there were many artists-in-residence from many disciplines and countries as well as a major capital campaign under way to finish the building’s construction. During my tenure I researched and catalogued the art collection, established important relationships with scholars, art dealers, auction houses, fellow museum colleagues and philanthropists, curated a number of exhibitions, established a now famous onsite tapestry restoration facility, and raised the new museum’s beginning funding. I also worked very closely with one of the great New York City nonprofit boards of trustees.