Organization: Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Express Interest

About LACMA:

Since its inception in 1965, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has been devoted to collecting works of art that span both history and geography, in addition to representing Los Angeles’s uniquely diverse population.

Today LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States, with a collection that includes nearly 130,000 objects dating from antiquity to the present, encompassing the geographic world and nearly the entire history of art. Among the museum’s strengths are its holdings of Asian art; Latin American art, ranging from pre-Columbian masterpieces to works by leading modern and contemporary artists; and Islamic art, of which LACMA hosts one of the most significant collections in the world.

A museum of international stature as well as a vital part of Southern California, LACMA shares its vast collections through exhibitions, public programs, and research facilities that attract over a million visitors annually, in addition to serving millions through digital initiatives, such as online collections, scholarly catalogues, and interactive engagement at Situated in Hancock Park on over 20 acres in the heart of Los Angeles, LACMA is located between the ocean and downtown.

In April 2006, Michael Govan became CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director of LACMA. Formerly president and director of Dia Art Foundation and deputy director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Mr. Govan is the seventh director in LACMA’s history.

Mission Statement

LACMA’s mission is to serve the public through the collection, conservation, exhibition, and interpretation of significant works of art from a broad range of cultures and historical periods, and through the translation of these collections into meaningful educational, aesthetic, intellectual, and cultural experiences for the widest array of audiences.


LACMA has its roots in the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art, established in 1910 in Exposition Park. In 1961, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art was established as a separate, art-focused institution. In 1965, the fledgling institution opened to the public in its new Wilshire Boulevard location, with the permanent collection in the Ahmanson Building, special exhibitions in the Hammer Building, and the 600-seat Bing Theater for public programs.

Over several decades, the campus and the collection have grown considerably. The Anderson Building (renamed the Art of the Americas building in 2007) opened in 1986 to house modern and contemporary art. In 1988, Bruce Goff’s innovative Pavilion for Japanese Art opened at the east end of campus. In 1994, the museum acquired the May Company department store building at the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax, now known as LACMA West.

In recent years, LACMA has committed to expanding, upgrading, and unifying the museum’s 20-acre campus through the addition of new buildings, monumental public artworks such as Chris Burden’s Urban Light and Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass, and open-air gathering places for the community. With the opening of BCAM (2008) and the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Exhibition Pavilion (2010), both designed by Renzo Piano, LACMA added 100,000 square feet of gallery space to the campus, more than doubling the museum’s exhibition space. Together, these developments have transformed LACMA into a more vibrant and accessible cultural hub that reflects the tremendous diversity, history, and creativity of Los Angeles.

Having first completed the expansion of the museum, LACMA is now focusing on replacing the four aging buildings on the east campus (the Ahmanson, Art of the Americas, and Hammer Buildings, as well as the Leo S. Bing Center) with a single structure that will house the museum’s vast permanent collection, a theater, and public program, retail, and restaurant spaces. This new proposed permanent collection building is the long-anticipated culmination of over a decade of transformation.

Position Summary & Key Responsibilities:

Reporting to the Chief Operating Officer, the Associate Vice President of Human Resources will join a vibrant and entrepreneurial organization, and will embrace the opportunity to support the ongoing evolution of LACMA. The Associate Vice President is responsible for directing all of the people functions of the organization in accordance with the policies and practices of LACMA. S/he develops and drives the implementation of HR strategies and initiatives that align with LACMA’s business priorities and goals, and serves to position the institution as the employer of choice by instituting best practices from within the field of human resources and organization development.

A skilled communicator and thoughtful manager, the Associate Vice President will serve as a strong ambassador both internally to LACMA’s employees, interns and fellows, as well as to outside constituents. The Associate Vice President will be a highly strategic and accountable leader, ensuring that LACMA’s systems are efficient, accurate and secure. S/he will be a versatile and capable project manager with an organizational development perspective, experienced in navigating large-scale change and its impact on people and policies.

The Associate Vice President is responsible for the following:

Key Responsibilities

  • Plans, develops, organizes, implements, directs and evaluates the organization’s human resource function and performance, including organization effectiveness. Translates the strategic and tactical business plans into HR strategic and operational plans.
  • Participates in the development of the organization’s plans and programs as a strategic partner of top management, but particularly from the perspective of the impact on people. Specifically, continues improving the programs, policies, practices and processes associated with meeting the strategic and operational people issues of the organization. Continually assesses the competitiveness of all programs and practices against the relevant comparable organizations, industries and markets.
  • Evaluates and advises on the impact of long-range planning of new programs/strategies and regulatory action as those items affect the attraction, motivation, development and retention of the people resources of the organization.
  • Assesses organizational performance and effectiveness, identifies talent gaps, and proposes solutions that support the business.
  • Facilitates the consistent application, implementation and improvement of HR policies, processes, and programs.
  • Develops progressive and proactive compensation and benefits programs to attract talent and provide motivation, incentives and rewards for effective performance, ensuring that such programs are competitive and aligned with relevant comparable organizations.
  • Establishes credibility throughout the organization as an effective listener and problem solver of people issues.
  • Develops appropriate policies and programs for effective management of the people resources of the organization, ensuring legal compliance. Included in this area would be programs for employee relations, affirmative action, sexual harassment, employee complaints, external education and career development, among others.
  • Plans and leads organization design and change management projects to streamline and implement new structures, roles and/or processes in accordance with best practices in organization development.
  • Coaches managers on HR policies and processes, including talent planning, learning and development, and performance management to promote engagement and a culture of continuous growth and development.
  • Enhances and/or develops, implements and enforces HR policies and procedures of the organization by way of systems that will improve the overall operation and effectiveness of the organization. In particular, oversees the human resource information systems database and provides necessary reports for critical analyses of the HR function and the people resources of the organization.
  • Manages the budget and other financial measures of the HR department.
  • Develops and drives people engagement and organization effectiveness strategies that foster an environment where all employees are respected and valued.
  • Evaluates the HR division structure and team plan for continual improvement of the efficiency and effectiveness of the group as well as for providing individuals with professional and personal growth opportunities.
  • Oversees benefits administration and benefits processes, working closely with the Benefits Administrator.
  • Serves as liaison for coordination with the LA County Department of Human Resources and implementation of their policies and procedures for LACMA staff who are County employees.
  • Oversees HR related software and systems, with a strategic approach to utilize tools that result in efficiencies and better information and reports on staff for both HR and supervisors across the museum.

Core Competencies:

The Associate Vice President of Human Resources will be an experienced, thoughtful human resources professional, who will have primary oversight over all HR functions at LACMA, including employee relations, compliance, benefits administration, recruiting, onboarding, organization development, and HR IT systems. As part of the senior administrative team at the Museum, the Associate Vice President of Human Resources will be a cultural ambassador for LACMA, both internally and with the Museum’s external partners. With a measured, judicious and thoughtful approach to leadership, this individual will operate with great care for confidentiality, process, and compliance. The Associate Vice President will be an empathic, thoughtful, and disciplined partner to other senior leaders at the institution and to all staff at LACMA, including administrative, curatorial and all operational employees. In addition, this leader will be flexible and strategic in managing the anticipated transformation at LACMA.

Successful candidates will have at least 10 years of relevant, progressive experience in human resources leadership with expertise in organization development and effectiveness, change management, administrative and supervisory experience. S/he will be inclusive, perceptive and consultative, with a strong mission-driven orientation in overseeing Human Resources at LACMA. This professional will also have exceptional judgment, trustworthiness, confidentiality and high ethical standards. A bachelor’s degree is required for the position, and a master’s degree and/or professional certification is preferred.

The ideal candidate will have the following personal competencies and characteristics:

Accountability and Expertise in Human Resources Management:

The Associate Vice President will have a high level of professional experience, an acumen for human resources leadership, and the demonstrated ability to lead and manage this area for a complex organization. S/he will possess comprehensive knowledge of the practice of human resources, including legal compliance; labor relations knowledge is a plus.  Candidates will have managed a significant human resources operation with a correspondingly substantial budget and headcount. With LACMA’s financial and personnel needs in mind, s/he will employ a comprehensive approach to forecasting progress and achieving sustainable, well-supported solutions with accountable, measurable systems for tracking and reporting. Additionally, s/he will be able to work collaboratively and effectively with Finance and Accounting departments, to enhance efficiency and effectiveness of processes and policies related to payroll, retirement planning, etc.

Leadership Ability and Operational Excellence:

A proven strategic thinker with the vision, capacity, and experience to understand and balance a complex array of constituent needs, the Associate Vice President will serve as strategic advisor to the Museum’s senior leaders. S/he will clearly articulate issues to senior leadership, collaborating to develop clear decisions, ably negotiating challenges and operating with a high degree of transparency and clarity. S/he will be agile in ambiguous situations and capable of providing stability and inspiring confidence when faced with important and quickly-changing circumstances, including through analyzing and evaluating various scenarios from a budgetary and risk assessment perspective. S/he will evaluate and advise on the adequacy and soundness of the organization’s policies and systems concerning human resources and will have the proven ability to understand, analyze and interpret complex challenges. The Associate Vice President will manage a team of professionals working toward specific, measurable goals.

Innovation and Strategic, Entrepreneurial Leadership:

The Associate Vice President will be a highly experienced, mission-driven leader with an entrepreneurial spirit, a measurable track record of strong results, and an outcome-driven mindset. This individual will oversee planning and development of human resources initiatives, diagnose critical areas for attention, build consensus with stakeholders, and implement decisive, clear strategies that anticipate and address problems with effective solutions. S/he will be a proactive, collaborative change agent with the mindset to challenge the status quo while remaining sensitive to LACMA’s culture, employee morale and place in the community. The Associate Vice President will be experienced leading and managing organizational change, with a thorough, detailed and wide-ranging perspective on the impacts of these changes on the culture and community. With a thoughtful, strategic approach, s/he will have practical experience in communicating change across campus and to institutional stakeholders, including those related to organizational expansion, technology or other systemic changes.

Relationship-Builder; Persuasive and Influential Communicator:

The Associate Vice President will possess exceptional written and verbal communication skills, with an inspired ability to listen intently, think clearly and respond effectively, empathically and judiciously to a variety of challenges. S/he will be able to deliver difficult messages, while maintaining a positive relationship and protecting confidentiality. The Associate Vice President will be a strong writer, capable of preparing written reports for COO, General Counsel and senior leaders that effectively summarize investigations, research and recommendations. This leader will garner support for all aspects of the management of human resources, including developing the internal structures and systems to support new and innovative programming. With confidence, empathy and gravitas, the Associate Vice President will be skilled at building and sustaining excellent relationships across LACMA with a demonstrated ability to connect, build bridges and command respect. S/he will work to develop relationships internally and externally for the benefit of LACMA, identifying organizational efficiencies and leveraging opportunities to advance the institution’s mission and practice. S/he will be consultative, promoting open dialogue across LACMA, synthesizing divergent views and coalescing the organization around a shared and inclusive vision for human resources.


LACMA has exclusively retained Koya Leadership Partners for this search. This search is being led by Michelle Bonoan and Sheila Hennessey. To express your interest in this role, please submit your materials through Koya’s online link here or email Michelle and Sheila at the following:

Michelle R.S. Bonoan
Managing Director

Sheila Hennessey

An Equal Opportunity Employer: It is the policy of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to provide all persons with equal employment practices and opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, veteran or marital status or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information, visit