ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas

President & Chief Executive Officer

Museum of African American History
President & Chief Executive Officer
Boston, Massachusetts

About the Museum of African American History

The Museum of African American History (MAAH) is a premier not-for-profit institution that was established in 1963. It is New England’s largest museum dedicated to preserving, conserving, and interpreting the contributions of African Americans in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Museum’s unique mission is to connect colonial and early African American history and culture in Boston and New England with the abolition of slavery and current explorations of race and the struggle for human rights. Their collection encompasses over 3,000 artifacts chronicling a story that begins on the African continent, moves across the Middle Passage, anchors itself in Boston’s Harbor in 1638 with the arrival of the first documented kidnapped Africans on the slave ship, The Desire, and progresses to the establishment of a free black community on Beacon Hill in the late 1700s.

Strategically located on historical Beacon Hill in Boston and on the island of Nantucket, the Museum is comprised of four original 19th century buildings, including two National Historic Landmarks:

  • The African Meeting House in Boston (built in 1806)
  • The Abiel Smith School (built in 1835), the oldest public school in the U.S. dedicated to educating African American children
  • African Meeting House (c. 1820) and the Seneca Boston-Florence Higginbotham House (c. 1774), both on Nantucket.

The Museum has strong partnerships within the community which include The National Park Service that runs the https://www.nps.gov/thingstodo/explore-the-black-heritage-trail.htm and has designated the Museum as one of the 39 African American Heritage Sites. https://legacyofslavery.harvard.edu/ continues to work with the museum on public programs and exhibitions. UMass Boston College of Education and Human Development is a partner developing educational programs for Boston area high school students. The Boston University, Center of Anti-Racism is a committed partner. Additionally, MAAH works with a host of other area academic institutions on programs and projects.

Throughout the year, the Museum presents innovative exhibits, special events, lectures, programs and educational activities for children and adults that strive to foster empathy and understanding, empowering visitors with the knowledge of how it connects and impacts current affairs in the racial equity arena.

For more information on the Museum of African American History Boston, please visit https://www.maah.org/.

The Opportunity

At this pivotal time in its history, The Museum of African American History is not only celebrating its rich heritage, but also is elevating itself into a more structured organization with a critical goal of attaining accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums. With this aim in mind, the Board of Directors and Advisory Board are focusing on their strategic priorities and developing key initiatives to move the museum closer to its fundamental goal. The Museum is poised for its next chapter, cementing its place as a leading resource for African American history and culture nationally.

The Museum of African American History seeks an outstanding execution-focused leader to serve as President & CEO. The overarching goal will be to lead the organization into a sustainable world class historical museum while building new relationships, establishing best practices and strengthening fundamentals. Ultimately, enhancing and anchoring current ties to the community. Reporting to the Board of Directors, the new President & CEO will work, in partnership, with the Board to develop a strategic approach to achieving the Museum’s goals. The President & CEO will manage the entire institution, leading the Museum’s professional staff and programs as well as supervising daily operations.

Further, the President & CEO will work closely with the Chief Development Officer, play a leadership role in fundraising, and will enthusiastically approach resource-building with bold creativity and clarity of purpose. Focus on increasing and diversifying financial support from individual donors, foundations, corporations, and government funders will be vital, for annual operations and capital needs to build the Museum’s endowment. This is an opportunity for a dynamic leader to develop a powerful sense of shared purpose, with a connection to community while motivating them to engage in the opportunities and challenges ahead. The President & CEO will act as an ambassador for this iconic Boston Museum, serving as a spokesperson on behalf of the work of the Museum and the African American community. Additionally, the new President & CEO will embrace and initiate partnerships and collaborations by building a wide range of constituencies across the State, committed to strengthening the Museum’s position and sharing its unique history with the world.

Candidate Profile

The President & CEO will be a dynamic, high-energy leader with a minimum of 10 years of strategic leadership experience in a growing museum or historical society with an emphasis on African American history or the arts. The President & CEO must have demonstrated experience building and/or re-establishing an organization or portion of an organization. They will be known as a change agent displaying superb managerial, financial knowledge and problem-solving skills. Additionally, they will possess underlying ethical values, integrity, strength, confidence along with well-honed collaborative skills. Core to their success will be the track record of cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding large gifts with the ability to share the museum’s powerful story to the Boston community and our nation.

The new President & CEO will possess the following attributes and competencies:

Strategic Leadership & Bold Vision

The President & CEO will have an entrepreneurial spirit and be able to guide and substantially contribute to the continued articulation of the identity, values, mission, and strategy of the Museum. They will work with the Board to construct the vision that upon implementation will bring to life an inspirational future for the Museum and transform it into a destination place that will continually draw new audiences. The President & CEO will be an experienced and innovative, cultural arts not-for-profit manager. They will have the capacity to understand the trajectory of the Museum and its potential in the field. Fundamentally, the President & CEO will be a “change agent” with the ability to successfully lead the Board and staff through a period of transformation.

Business Acumen & Museum Management

The President & CEO will be results-oriented and able to translate the Museum’s over-arching goals into clear objectives for the Board and staff. They will leverage the Board’s strengths to further the mission of the museum and actively engage Trustees in its work. The President & CEO will have a track record of successful Board development and management and will always partner closely with the Board. They will approach the financial oversight of the Museum with objectivity and balance, with an even-handed and reasoned approach to budgetary decision-making based on a clear understanding of the strategic objectives of the organization. The President & CEO will monitor the budget and ensure that sound financial controls are in place while setting attainable financial priorities to ensure that the organization delivers on its commitments.

Strengthen Infrastructure and Operations

The President & CEO must support and motivate the organization’s staff and promote a positive, multicultural work environment. They will provide inspirational, well-conceived and effective management by fostering a culture of strong department collaboration, open communication and accountability among staff, volunteers and the Board of Directors.

The President & CEO must work to lead the effort to improve the Museum’s operational and technological systems at the Boston and Nantucket locations. They must drive the adoption of new technology and embrace digital strategies to elevate and expand the organization’s reach, create a more exciting and impactful visitor experience and bring the Museum into today’s digital era.

Collaborator & Bridgebuilder

The President & CEO will persuasively communicate the Museum’s direction and strategy both internally and externally and will ensure effective communication among the wide range of collaborators. They will be skilled at building and sustaining excellent relationships at multiple levels and with varied constituencies to ensure the Museum has the leadership and partnerships in place to achieve its goals.

Development

The President & CEO must be a prolific or proven emergent fundraiser with the track record of bringing in new sources of funding. They will have an inspirational approach to building collaboration and buy-in generating support for new and existing interested parties. The President & CEO will be able to elevate the MAAH brand, generating high cultural capital and viral buzz.

The President and CEO will be a proven leader, knowledgeable in museum management, and one who engenders trust and is deeply passionate about taking MAAH to new heights.

Compensation & Benefits

Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience. The range will be $200k – $225k.

Contact

Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Maureen Alphonse-Charles and Rose Bowen of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express interest in this role please submit your materials https://talent-profile.diversifiedsearchgroup.com/search/v2/18799, or email Rose Bowen directly at https://tinyurl.com/j43vnjjy. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email https://tinyurl.com/2xf3f73n. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

The Museum of African American History is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com/

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