Executive Director- California Association of Museums
Arts Consulting Group
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Founded in 1979 by museum leaders engaged in advocating for Californian museums, the California Association of Museums (CAM), is dedicated to advancing museums across the state of California in service to their communities. With a mission to unify and strengthen California museums to expand their collective impact, CAM exists with a vision for “Stronger Museums for a Stronger California.” The association has five goals: to foster networks and collaboration, advocate collectively and proactively, build capacity, share knowledge, and best practices, and cultivate leadership and diversity.
CAM is one of the most active state museum associations in the nation, committed to providing innovative and educational programs and services to institutions and museum professionals. It supports over 1,200 individual, business, and institutional members within its association, and members include art and historical museums, natural history and science museums, children’s museums, aquariums, cultural centers, botanical gardens, and zoos, as well as museum professionals and businesses.
CAM offers a wide selection of programs and services to its members. These include professional development opportunities, including an annual conference and regional workshops that address best practices and trends. The annual conference in 2021 was entirely virtual, and in 2022 the conference was organized as five mini-conferences in five different cities across multiple weeks. Other programs and services offered include a publication called CAM eNews which is sent biweekly to subscribers; studies and reports; an advocacy program that monitors legislation and spearheads strategic initiatives; and an annual Green Museums Seminar with corresponding Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Sustainability. In addition, there are special initiatives that promote leadership in critical issues affecting museums. There are various membership levels that allow everyone and every budget size to become a part of CAM, including a “pay what you can” option. Membership allows free or discounted conference registration, free programs, a digital archive of past programs and conference sessions, emergency resources for museums and staff, and advocacy work on behalf of museums. Sponsorship opportunities allow organizations to raise awareness about their brand and services to help achieve their marketing goals.
In early 2021, CAM approved a Racial Equity Statement and workplan which outlined the association’s commitment and actions to foster a culture of anti-racism and diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI). CAM established four values for DEAI: Community and Collective Action, Inclusive Leadership, Responsiveness, and Reflection and Connection. As part of this effort, CAM’s DEAI Task Force met with and listened to communities that needed to be better included and represented, then created a plan of action for systemic change, communicated this plan with the public, and activated that plan to grow and adapt its relevance and commitment to those underserved communities. In November 2021, CAM’s Board of Directors approved an Equity Action Plan, and the Task Force transitioned to an Equity Advisory Committee.
There are several Member Committees that actively involve members of the association, including the California Networks Council, an Equity Advisory Committee, a Finance Committee, a Fund Development Committee, a Government Relations Committee, a Host Committee, a Program Committee, a Strategic Action Committee, an Executive Committee, and a Governance Committee. Each committee’s work is guided by a charter and annual objectives, approved by the Board of Directors.
CAM is governed by a 22-member board of directors, consisting of museum professionals from all parts of California, and who represent museums of different sizes, disciplines, geographical region, mission, and scope. This includes art institutions, history museums, multidisciplinary organizations, natural history, and science museums. Board members are identified through nominations by museum professionals and through the pro-active work of the Governance Committee. The staff of four currently includes an Interim Executive Director, a Program Manager, an Administration Manager, all of whom are full-time, and a part-time Communications Manager. There is not a physical office for CAM, and all staff members work remotely.
For the fiscal year ending August 31, 2019, annual revenue was $478,500. Total expenses were $430,000.
The Executive Director will have overall administrative responsibility for CAM in pursuit of its mission. Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will serve as the main spokesperson for the association, fostering connections with museum professionals and museums across the state of California, as well as advocating for museums with civic leaders and members of the Californian legislature. The Executive Director will provide strategic leadership, administrative guidance, and lead fundraising and marketing efforts. They will guide, mentor, and develop a small but dedicated team of staff, and be committed to the values of diversity, equity, access, and inclusion.
Role and Responsibilities
Advocacy, Fundraising, and External Relations
- Serve as the primary spokesperson and ambassador for the association, representing the mission and vision of CAM to the general public, while providing support and guidance to museums.
- Collaborate with Fearless Advocacy, a Sacramento-based advocacy firm, in advocating for California museums.
- Engage with a wide variety of stakeholders, including CAM members, funders, donors, civic leaders, legislators and other government officials, community partners, and patrons, creating meaningful connections and authentic relationships, particularly with rural and indigenous communities.
- Actively promote membership to museums and museum professionals throughout California.
- Guide contributed revenue enhancement, through writing grant applications and reports, proactively engaging with foundations and councils including the Getty Foundation and the California Arts Council.
- Oversee all marketing and communications for CAM and propose innovative and new marketing strategies for the organization in order to strengthen CAM’s brand.
- Lead and implement DEAI strategies including project management, internal and external communities, and engagement plans.
Program Oversight and Financial Management
- Collaborate with CAM staff and contractors to oversee, plan, and implement annual conferences and convenings, as well as convenings of the California Networks Council.
- Provide leadership to a range of committees, including the Program Committee, Equity Advisory Committee, Strategic Action Committee, and Government Relations Committee.
- Develop and manage an annual budget and facilitate its approval by the Finance Committee and Board of Directors.
- Coordinate budget tracking and quarterly budget presentations.
- Ensure that CAM’s accounting practices demonstrate best practices and minimize risk for the organization.
- Oversee and implement accounts payables, receivables, and payroll.
Organizational Management and Board Relations
- Oversee all aspects of the organization, including fundraising and finance.
- Actively lead and oversee the team of staff members to achieve CAM’s mission, providing mentorship, coaching, and goal setting.
- Serve as Human Resources specialist, overseeing benefits and other personnel needs, while ensuring CAM complies with all legal requirements, including managing contracts and leases.
- Analyze and coordinate technology needs and infrastructure for CAM staff.
- Plan and coordinate all board meetings and committee meetings.
- Oversee new board member orientation and onboarding.
- Identify and oversee contractors.
Traits and Characteristics
The Executive Director will be a collaborative and visionary leader, who is socially conscious and a good listener and communicator. Structured and organized, they will be motivated and intellectually curious, open to new methods of working, and will manage and energize staff, keeping them engaged through regular check-ins. With a passion for advocacy, community engagement, and DEAI, the Executive Director will be people-oriented and able to form meaningful relationships with a wide-variety of stakeholders.
Other key competencies include:
- Diplomacy and Personal Accountability – The ability to handle difficult issues effectively and tactfully while being answerable for personal actions.
- Project Management and Teamwork – The capacity to identify and oversee all resources, tasks, systems, and people to obtain results, while cooperating with others to meet objectives.
- Time and Priority Management – The dexterity to prioritize and complete tasks in order to deliver desired outcomes within allotted time frames.
- Interpersonal Skills – The acumen to effectively communicate, build rapport, and relate well to all kinds of people.
A bachelor’s degree is required, and a master’s degree in arts administration, nonprofit management, business, or a related field is preferred. At least five years of work experience in the museum field and/or nonprofit or association leadership is expected. Strong managerial and fundraising experience, coupled with a deep interest and background in the museum field, is desired. Exceptional writing abilities and verbal presentation skills are critical and a track record in equity work is expected. As there is no physical office and staff work remotely, candidates can be based anywhere in the state of California.
Compensation and Benefits
CAM provides a competitive and equitable compensation package in the range of $90,000 to $100,000. Benefits include paid vacation, sick leave, personal days, and holidays; a medical benefit savings account with employer contribution; various wellness incentives to support healthy activities outside working life; $50 a month for indirect costs associated with working from home; and a retirement plan with employee match up to 3 percent.