Q: Can you share a bit about yourself, where you’ve lived, schooled, worked and the moves you’ve made with your husband and sons?
I was born in Philadelphia and raised in Bucks County, PA outside the city. I majored in art history at the University of Pittsburgh, which is where I met my husband, David who is from western PA. After learning the marketing and public relations ropes at an ad agency, I took a position for two of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh — the Carnegie Museum of Art and the newly opened Andy Warhol Museum. In time, I was charged to focus on helping set a vision for The Warhol which was both about aiding international scholarship utilizing its unique collection while also creating a distinct new community resource for Pittsburgh. I even led the charge to get one of the town bridges named after Andy Warhol — it was lots of fun and important community work. Ever since, my career has primarily focused on leading art museums — their strategic planning, resource development, outreach and community engagement work.
Later, when our sons were quite young, we moved to New York City. I worked for the International Center of Photography, both a school and museum. We lived in Brooklyn and loved the strong sense of community there. After a handful of years, we moved to Los Angeles where I accepted a position with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the largest encyclopedic art museum west of the Mississippi. While in SoCal, I also worked for the Museum of Contemporary Art, the biggest NPR affiliate covering Southern California, and in a consulting capacity for many other smaller organizations. Our entire family has been blessed to get to know and explore these wonderful cites, surrounding regions, and also traveling the world together including Japan, England, Ireland, France, Malaysia, Mexico and more.
Q: Regarding your recruitment to CMA and your connection to Executive Arrangements, would you tell us a bit about your top priorities in considering a relocation and how you were able to navigate through your concerns and get the answers needed?
While considering the position with the Cleveland Museum of Art, I was drawn to its international reputation and commitment to the local community, and the closer proximity to our families in Pennsylvania. I’d visited the CLE museums on mostly day trips in the past. Our primary concern was for our teenage sons. I had a few connections in town who I reached out to and they mentioned Executive Arrangements as a great asset. Then the museum’s recruiter informed me that I’d be receiving help from EA, which I was relieved to hear!
We had a call with Caroline at EA and told her about our interests individually and as a family including our needs and concerns. Schools were at the top of our list. Our kids interests include music, robotics, swimming, cycling, climbing, camping and outdoors adventures, and a continuity of their coursework given that it was likely we’d move them midyear. Caroline gave us immediate feedback and shared lots of optimism, as well as information through a great online portal.
The EA team came back to us with an itinerary focused on everything we discussed. We toured a number of neighborhoods within a short commute for me including Rocky River, Shaker Heights, Orange, and Solon. Each neighborhood tour was anchored around a school visit with the kids. Despite a touch of overwhelmedness, the experiences and tools EA gave us helped us sort through our picks and find what was best for us. We let the kids have some agency by choosing the schools and then found our way from there. Despite cold wintertime visits we had lots of fun and thought the neighborhoods, parks system, and every school were so impressive and beautiful. EA helped each of us so that it wasn’t all about me and we were so grateful for that.
Q: Cleveland Museum of Art is a beloved Cleveland institution, congrats on your new role as Deputy Director and Chief Philanthropy Officer. What were your challenges in stepping into your position amongst a pandemic? Where would you like to see CMA in 5, 10 years from now? Can you share about the new outdoor gardens?
Thank you! My job really is centered around the community — the people who visit and support the institution, but of course I needed to first establish my understanding of the people and the systems in place within the museum, so it’s been a challenge meeting people externally. With time, we’ve all found more comfort in using online tools to connect and I’m so grateful to have met lots of people in the community who not only gave me a warm welcome but also introductions to many more people and places in town.
The CMA has an historic understanding of its place in the community and I want to help it continue to be not only a place that brings pride and respite for the community, but also to encourage a deep sense of community ownership and connection with the institution.
The Nord Family Greenway and Holden Terrace, our new garden, and all the surrounding outdoor spaces around the museum, are a great example of how the museum literally connects with the community. We feature a number of public events, when possible, and are so happy to see people on bikes, walking, picnicking on the grass, and getting a moment of peacefulness and natural beauty around the park. We have a number of sculptures installed around these spaces too so you can experience art even when the museum galleries are closed.
Q: What do you enjoy most about living in Pepper Pike and Orange Schools?
We enjoy the amount of open space in Pepper Pike. We have a wooded property with resident Barred Owls, loads of frogs, and beautiful birds. After living in more congested cities, it’s been wonderfully soothing through this time. But we appreciate it being easy to connect to so many diverse and vibrant city offerings across town.
Orange Schools have a really rich program of courses and great teachers. There are so many terrific public and private schools in CLE. We liked that the Orange school population is small and it is easy to get help through the transition. The school has a great music and robotics program and terrific college-prep resources. We also greatly appreciate the diversity of the population.
Q: And because everyone enjoys recommendations, what are some of your favorite in NE Ohio; restaurants, outdoors, shows you are streaming?
As a family you can always find us exploring the Cleveland Metroparks. Just yesterday, as a matter of fact, we stopped at a South Chagrin Reservation picnic spot and found a glorious waterfall and river hike. The Cuyahoga Valley National Park is phenomenal. There are great shops, farm stands, vineyards all around the Park. We love to go to eat in Lakewood, the surrounding college towns, custard shops, skate parks, climbing wall in Shaker, the ice rink in Chagrin Falls.
We really like to support local artists and makers in town and we’ve enjoyed the creative work of Sugar Moon Bakeshop who has had a delivery bakery series recently which is delicious, photographer Lauren B, Amber N. Ford, and ceramics from Lauren HB Studio, and Yumiko Goto (Echo of Nature). You can find them all easily via Social Media.
We’re also enjoying the latest entertainment from the Great British Baking Show, and Queer Eye.
Q: In closing, can you share any silver linings you’ve experienced during COVID-19 either professional or personally?
Silver linings include having lots of family time, cooking, a focus on nature and the outdoors, feeling resilient despite tough times, thinking more consciously about self care and health, and making a point to connect with people in new ways.