Executive Director

New England Museum Association

Arlington, MA 02476




Apr 18, 2023

Based in Massachusetts and serving the northeast region, the New England Museum Association (NEMA) connects a community steeped in learning, collaboration, and action to cultivate a better museum world. A world where all institutions consistently fulfill their potential for their stakeholders and society at large. NEMA creates opportunities for learning, personal growth, creative idea exchange, and inspiration that help individuals and institutions do their best.

NEMA can be traced back more than 100 years ago to the first “New England Conference” organized by Delia Isabel Griffin, founding director of the Boston Children’s Museum. Since then, NEMA has grown to become the country’s largest and one of the most active regional museum association with programs and services that extend beyond the region’s borders. NEMA hosts a variety of programs and events throughout the year, including networking receptions, educational webinars and workshops, roundtables with leaders, and the annual conference attended by an average of 800 museum professionals; where Publications, Excellence, and Lifetime Achievements Awards are given. Resources for the field include NEMA Marketplace, New England Museums Now (an online journal), NEMA jobs, Museum Document Exchange, NEMA 911, and Professional Affinity Gatherings. NEMA’s efforts also include a salary and benefits survey, advocacy through public policy, and work that addresses the relationship between the environmental crisis and the cultural sectors.

The NEMA Conference is one of the most significant annual museum community events for networking in the country. With over a hundred educational sessions, renowned keynote speakers, local off-site visits and evening events, the conference is NEMA’s second-largest operating revenue source after membership. NEMA’s network of memberships, over 2,600, includes museums of all scale and subject matter, other cultural institutions, individual museum staff persons and professionals, businesses who provide products and services to the museum field, and colleges and universities who educate museum professionals. Member benefits include admission to participating regional museums, discounts for insurance plans, access to NEMA publications, professional networking and professional development, award competitions, and numerous professional resources, including an online forum and an annual conference.

Over the past two years, the NEMA board and staff have engaged in intensive organizational reflection and training on issues relating to diversity, equity, access, inclusion, and justice (DEAIJ). NEMA recently announced its revised mission and value statements, along with a long-term strategic focus that centers equity and justice. New leadership will be key to implementing this ambitious and important strategy at all levels of NEMA’s operations.
Central to the new mission, are six core values:

 NEMA exists to cultivate a better museum world.
 NEMA believes that all people should be treated equitably, and that equity centers on changing the museum structures that are systemically oppressive.
 NEMA believes in expanding and enriching the diversity and interconnectedness of the museum field.
 NEMA believes that the existential threat of the global environmental crisis poses unprecedented risk to museums, historic resources, and belongings of cultural value, requiring immediate sector-wide action.
 NEMA believes in anticipating, assessing, and fulfilling the evolving needs of our museum community.
 NEMA believes that the people, stories, collections, and experiences that enliven museums have the ability to create a more just society.

NEMA has a physical office in Arlington, Massachusetts with four full-time members, including a Director of Administration, a Director of Programs and Advocacy, a Director of Membership and Development, and a part-time administrator. NEMA has a 15-member board of directors led by President Raney Bench. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021, NEMA reported a total revenue of $437,217, with $256,234 in contributions and grants, $146,712 from program services, and $34,039 from other investment income. Total expenses were $391,409.

NEMA recognizes that the organization and those of its members were founded within a colonizing society that continues the exclusion and erasure of many Indigenous peoples throughout New England and beyond.

Arlington, Massachusetts is located on the ancestral lands of the Massachusett Tribe. As a lively suburb with a flourishing local arts scene, Arlington contains beautiful parks and open spaces, and business districts that boast unique local retailers, two theaters, and several museums and historic sites. It has a population of nearly 50,000. Arlington is bordered by the cities of Medford, Somerville, Cambridge, Winchester, Lexington, and Belmont and has excellent access to metropolitan Boston six miles away.

New England is a region of rolling mountains, rich farmland, salty seacoasts, and everything in between. Steeped in history and full of spirit, New England is home to some of the nation’s most popular cultural attractions and arts organizations, parks, universities, and a wonderful array of museums. Four distinct seasons and the perfect assortment of big cities and small towns make New England a favorite travel destination and a great place to live and work.


Position Summary
Reporting to the board of directors, the Executive Director (ED) of NEMA will be responsible for supervising all aspects of management, operations, membership, conference, and strategic partnerships, with a particular focus on fundraising, advocacy, and communications. As a primary spokesperson for NEMA, the ED will foster positive connections with museums and museum professionals across New England and beyond and will advocate for museums with civic leaders locally, regionally, and nationally. Committed to the museum field and the needs of NEMA members, the ED will recognize systemic racism, white supremacy, colonialism, and other forms of discrimination in the museum field and model work on DEAIJ initiatives both internally and externally. The ED will collaborate with a small, yet dedicated, staff, sharing duties at all levels, as well as with an engaged board, as an integrated team to achieve NEMA’s strategic priorities. They will champion NEMA’s mission, values, and core principles, building authentic relationships to support the organization’s operational and programmatic goals.

Role and Responsibilities
Strategic Leadership and External Relations
 Demonstrate and disseminate systemic change and advancement in the museum field through advocacy, publications, conference participation, workshops, and other means.
 Facilitate an inclusive planning process to develop a comprehensive strategic plan and long-range goals for the organization.
 Serve as the face and a primary spokesperson (along with the Board President), representing NEMA’s mission and vision to the general public as well as civic leaders locally, regionally, and nationally.
 Develop a comprehensive contributed revenue strategy, raising contributions through membership, fundraising, and grant writing, to ensure financial stability, securing new sources of income.
 Engage with a wide variety of partners, including members, funders, donors, and other community groups, creating meaningful relationships.
 Guide communications and public relations, research for white papers, the NEMA website, and alliances with other organizations to build meaningful partnerships.
 Serve as a liaison with the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the Council of Regional Associations, IMLS, AASLH, and others, participating in conferences and meetings as needed.
 Lead and implement strategic equity and justice initiatives, initially and externally, being a change maker who can implement NEMA’s new values and DEAIJ initiatives.

Membership and Program Oversight
 Cultivate new members, retain existing memberships, and oversee the administration of membership records, enrollments, and renewals, as well as ensure growth and satisfaction of the membership base.
 Report regularly to NEMA membership on strategy, governance, and financial issues.
 Collaborate with the staff and board of directors in developing programs, services, long-range goals and strategic objectives for the association.
 Evaluate the effectiveness of programs, membership benefits and services, and provide reports to the board of directors.
 Support the implementation and management of the publication of external communications including newsletters, journals, white papers, and special publications.
 Oversee the Annual Conference, ensuring that it generates significant income for NEMA and significantly impacts the museum field, and ensure financial sustainability, satisfaction of participants and vendors, quality and variety of programming, and other metrics.

Organizational Management and Board Governance
 Hire, supervise, and mentor all staff and contractors, conducting annual performance reviews, while serving as an active mentor to staff in their professional growth.
 Oversee the implementation of employment policies and standards of conduct, ensuring that NEMA is an equitable and collaborative workplace and remains in compliance with all required regulations.
 Develop the annual operating budget with the Audit and Finance Committee.
 Prepare capital budget requests for board approval and ensure accuracy and transparency in NEMA’s bookkeeping and accounting practices.
 Negotiate contracts, administer grant funds, arrange and oversee an independent audit, ensuring proper use of NEMA’s real property, and oversee NEMAs’ database and technology plan.
 Provide leadership at board meetings, with the Board President, while preparing meeting agendas and reports on NEMA’s strategic plan, membership programs, and finances.
 Document board meetings and decisions, share in orientation and support of board members and chairpersons of NEMA’s Professional Affinity Gatherings.
 Take a leadership role in managing board and staff records and policies so that they are transparent and accessible.
 Establish a strong working relationship with the board, serve as a member of board committees, carrying out various governance duties.
 Work as a change leader to help NEMA’s board and staff through organizational change to better live NEMA’s values, while communicating those changes to the members.


Traits and Characteristics
The Executive Director will be an inspiring leader who demonstrates strong interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence. Flexible and humble, they will be an excellent communicator who actively listens and values interaction with all. They will be innovative and receptive to new ideas and new ways of doing things. The ED will be an authentic people-oriented leader, who is able to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for NEMA staff and members. Collaborative and versatile, they will be an engaged team player comfortable with delegating authority when appropriate and exert authority when needed. They will be comfortable rolling up their sleeves and taking on tasks large and small to support the team and the organization.

Other key competencies include:

 Teamwork and Diplomacy – The ability to cooperate with others to meet objectives, while effectively and tactfully handling difficult or sensitive issues.
 Personal Accountability and Continuous Learning – The capacity to be answerable for personal actions, while taking initiative to regularly learn new concepts, technologies, and/or methods.
 Creativity and Innovation – The dexterity to create new approaches, designs, processes, technologies, and/or systems to achieve a desired result.
 Appreciating Others and Interpersonal Skills – The sensitivity to empathize with and care about others, while effectively communicating, building rapport, and relating well to all kinds of people.

No degree or specific number of years of senior leadership experience is required, although proven senior leadership experience is expected. Qualified candidates must be committed to NEMA’s mission, vision, and values. They will have extensive knowledge of leadership in membership organizations that comprise a diverse range of nonprofit organizations and the individuals who work for and support them. Demonstrated fiscal accountability and a track record of nonprofit fundraising success are essential. A substantial amount of travel across the region is expected, and they must be comfortable working with a small team. Exceptional communication skills are critical.

Compensation and Benefits
NEMA provides a competitive and equitable compensation package with an annual salary range of $90,000–$97,000. Benefits include paid vacation, sick leave, personal days, and holidays; health, long-term disability, and life insurance; and an employer-matched 403(b) retirement plan. While the physical office is located in Arlington, Massachusetts, a flexible remote and in-person work schedule will be considered.