Director and Chief Executive Officer

Director and Chief Executive Officer

Orlando Museum of Art

Orlando, FL   |   September 10, 2020

The Current Situation and Opportunity

The Orlando Museum of Art (“OMA”) is a regionally based, world-class institution highlighting Contemporary, American, Ancient American, and African art through more than two dozen on- and off-site temporary and permanent exhibitions annually. As with other cultural institutions which have had to close temporarily and make other adjustments due to the impact of COVID-19 on tourism and visitorship, OMA has found itself at a juncture where re-imagining how to engage with audiences beyond the walls of the Museum has become a more urgent priority.

Additionally, just before the pandemic caused much of the country to enter lockdowns, the previous Director/CEO of the OMA resigned his position with the consent and agreement of the Board. The circumstances that led to this decision were nuanced and complex, but an outgrowth of the decision was the Board taking some time to do some self-examination and to affirm and reaffirm their commitment to the OMA. As such there is a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm for furthering both OMA’s near term and long term success.

It has been an unusually challenging year, but under the seasoned and steady leadership of Interim Executive Director Dr. Luder Whitlock (a former OMA trustee for many years) the museum weathered the storm and there is an excellent, highly motivated staff working together as a team. The Board of Trustees is confident that OMA will emerge in better shape financially than was expected and with the restructuring of development activities coupled with the concurrent improvement in both the operation and management of the OMA, there will be a work environment and an in-place team ready to rally behind the new Director/CEO.

The next Director/CEO will have the singular opportunity to partner with the Board of Trustees and staff to refine and realize OMA’s next chapter. With guidance and support from a motivated and engaged Board of Trustees, the Director/CEO will be the prime mover in enhancing the Museum’s profile to increase visibility and recognition in the community and among peer institutions. The Director/CEO will guide the Museum and its professional staff in pursuing its mission and assuring a sustainable future, garner support for the institution’s priorities including serving as chief fundraiser leading the Museum’s development team, provide skillful oversight of its operations, and serve as a thought leader in planning exhibitions, publications, and programs that engage the local community and an expanding audience.

As the face of OMA, the Director/CEO will have the gravitas, enthusiasm, and ambition to develop and leverage a range of relationships locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. The Director/CEO is also seen as the primary advocate for arts and culture in the community and speaks for the Museum’s collections, exhibitions, connecting the public to arts and culture. OMA’s Director/CEO will take the Museum into the next phase of its evolution.

View recent news about the Museum, click here: See you in September

Managing During and After COVID

Key priorities for OMA’s next Director/CEO will be to collaborate with the Board of Trustees to navigate the current pandemic environment effectively; as the immediate situation evolves, the Director/CEO will revisit and revise the Museum’s current strategic plan as needed, while planning for the exit and move forward after COVID-19 is no longer a constraint on our lives and activities.

Presently, OMA has an annual operating budget of $2.6 million and a team of approximately 41 full- and part-time staff. The Board of Trustees currently includes 31 members. Up until 2020, the Museum served approximately 160,000 visitors annually and has 5,000 member households. The endowment currently stands at $4.5 million.

About Orlando Museum of Art (“OMA”)

Founded in 1924, and incorporated as a 501(c)(3) institution, the Orlando Museum of Art is a leading cultural institution in the region. The purpose of the Orlando Museum of Art is to interpret and present the most compelling art for the public to experience, and to positively affect people’s lives with innovative and inspiring education programs that will endure as a cultural legacy in Central Florida. The mission of the Orlando Museum of Art is to inspire creativity, passion, and intellectual curiosity by connecting people with art and new ideas.

Annually, the Museum presents 10 to 12 exhibitions on-site and 13 exhibitions off-site, award-winning art enrichment programs, unlimited gallery tours, teacher in-service training programs, video programs, distinguished lectures, art appreciation lectures, studio classes, lecture/luncheon programs, and outreach services in its facility and throughout the community. The services benefit visitors from all 67 counties in Florida, the other 49 states, and numerous foreign countries. These programs are implemented by the Museum’s staff, its Board of Trustees, and more than 700 volunteers, many of whom are part of its membership of 5,000 individuals.

Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the Orlando Museum of Art (OMA) is a regional asset, member organization of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), Blue Star Museum, and a catalyst for life-long learning in service to the central Florida community and visitors from around the globe. Funding for the Orlando Museum of Art is generated through earned income, with generous financial contributions from the Board of Trustees, the Museum’s Ambassadors, Council of 101, Orange County Government through the Arts & Cultural Affairs Program. OMA is also sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, the City of Orlando, the Winifred Johnson Clive Foundation, A. Friends’ Foundation, Bank of America, the Warren and Augusta Hume Foundation, Rita and Jeffrey Adler Foundation, Walt Disney World Company, the Chesley G. Magruder Foundation, United Arts of Central Florida with funds from the United Arts Campaign, Celebrity Cruises, UCF Foundation, Advent Health, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, Walker & Company, Inc., CNL Charitable Foundation, Hunter Vision, PNC Foundation, Sam Flax Art & Design Supplies, Sun Trust Foundation, Publix Super Markets Charities, Dixon Ticonderoga Company, anonymous donors, members, corporations ,and foundations.

Collection History

OMA’s holdings form the cornerstone of the Museum and are a cultural resource for the community. Comprising over 2,500 works of art, the permanent collection and long-term loans include Contemporary Art, Contemporary Graphics, American Art spanning from the late 19th to mid-20th century, African Art, and Art of the Ancient Americas. For more information on OMA, please visit the Museum’s website.

Why Orlando: A Brief History and Current Status

Orlando is more than Disney World and the accompanying theme parks, as important as they are to the present and future economy of the area. Today Orange County has a population of 1.4 million in which 55% own homes, 88% are high school graduates, and 34% have college degrees or higher. It is the hub of Florida, served by the Orlando international Airport, and the new and under development Brightline high speed rail that will connect Miami to Orlando and ultimately include Tampa. Crossed by Interstate 4, the Florida Turnpike, and accessible to both Interstate 75 and Interstate 95 as well as Port Canaveral, it is easy to understand why the attractions drew over 72 million annual visitors pre-COVID. Of that number, 50.6 million came through the Orlando International Airport, making it the busiest airport in Florida and tenth largest in the United States. It continues to grow, adding a third terminal nearing completion now that will add additional capacity and also house the Brightline train terminal. Additionally, there is the University of Central Florida, the largest university in the United States, with a student population of 70,000 and over 220 degree-granting programs housed in 13 colleges. The opportunities for continued growth and maturing of OMA are significant.

Main Focus, Priorities, and Key Responsibilities

The Director/CEO is responsible for fulfilling the Museum’s mission and its financial objectives by providing leadership and creative vision for its growth, and skillful management of Museum operations. The Director/CEO serves as the spokesperson and advocate for the Museum’s art collections, and for the importance of art and culture to the community. As the Museum’s primary representative to the community, the Director/CEO inspires broad support for the Museum and expands its profile as a cultural beacon for the region.

Specifically, the next Director/CEO will be responsible for the following:

Leadership & Management

  • Provide engaging leadership to the Museum, with respect for its history and a creative vision for its future. Serve as the experienced and influential representative of the Museum locally and in the regional and national arts/cultural and museum community.
  • Collaborate with the Board of Trustees to refine the Museum’s long-term goals, creating and executing an overall strategic plan. Engage the Board as active participants in fundraising efforts, and in cultivating and identifying potential Trustees and donors.
  • Provide inspirational leadership and skilled management for the Museum staff. Foster a culture of openness and collaboration among staff, volunteers, and the Board of Trustees so that each may be informed and enhance the other’s work.
  • Provide skilled and diligent oversight of the Museum’s financial resources and operations. Work with the Board of Trustees to communicate with transparency and provide high-quality information to support sound policy decisions and facilitate their fiduciary responsibility.

Fundraising & External Relations

  • Cultivate major gifts from and steward the institution’s most significant past, current, and potential donors.
  • Cultivate collectors and gifts of art to the Museum’s permanent collection.
  • Lead the Development and External Affairs team in the creation and implementation of plans to include membership; annual fund; donor cultivation, appreciation, and retention; major gifts and planned giving; government agencies; corporate and foundation relations; marketing; communications; and capital efforts.

Artistic & Programmatic Leadership/Audience Engagement

  • Provide experience and industry stature in order to elevate the Museum’s profile in the artistic and museum community regionally, nationally, and internationally.
  • Maintain and extend the Museum’s reputation for high-quality exhibitions which draw new audiences. Develop with staff a vision for the Museum’s exhibitions and programs that reflects a commitment to creative excellence that is accessible to a diverse range of audiences.
  • Continue to assess the current collection, while continuing to move the Museum forward with its acquisitions and deaccessioning; actively safeguard the physical health of the collection, diligently informing the Board of any long-term considerations.
  • Provide understanding and knowledge of the art and museum world and its key players, and an ability to translate this into meaningful collaborations and exhibitions for the institution that speak to the community and national audiences. Actively cultivate relationships with artists and collectors interested in deepening the Museum’s collections.
  • Embrace the power of new and interactive technology and its applications to advance the visitor experience.
  • Work in close collaboration with staff and volunteers to enhance the visitor experience before, during, and after a visit to ensure positive and enjoyable experiences for all audiences.
  • Pursue opportunities that contribute to and involve the community. Local residents are an important focus for museum activities and are only part of the growing multi-ethnic and multi-generational population whom the Museum aims to serve.


  • Develop, implement, and accomplish the annual operating plan and annual budget of the organization as approved by the Board of Trustees, working with staff to evaluate day-to-day operational effectiveness of the Museum and align resources to fulfill strategic goals.
  • Create a positive working environment for the entire organization, strong staff morale, and a culture of teamwork and mutual support among all staff. Implement policies and procedures that ensure ongoing professional development and motivate and guide a highly functioning team.
  • Oversee, along with guidance and support from the Board, budgeting, the annual financial audit, tax filings, and maintenance of correct and complete records required; maintain the healthy operation of the Museum under all state, local rules and regulations and contractual requirements and in keeping with the best practices and standards of collecting museums.
Candidate Profile

We are seeking candidates with at least 10 to 15 years of management experience in a museum setting, preferably with an advanced degree in art history, arts management, or another related field. Additionally, top candidates will possess the following professional expertise, leadership competencies, and personal qualities:

Strategic and Visionary Leader: The Director/CEO will be a dynamic leader with an entrepreneurial and enthusiastic spirit, and the background and skills to deliver on the mission of the Museum, partnering with the Board to create a vision for its future. This individual will be a proven strategic thinker who is agile in ambiguous situations and capable of providing stability and confidence when faced with important and quickly changing circumstances. The Director/CEO will be a consultative thought-leader to the Board and other stakeholders, demonstrating strong emotional intelligence (“EQ”) and an ability to recognize and manage risk.

Mission Fit and Expertise: This leader will be an energetic advocate and champion for the Museum with the intellect, knowledge, experience, and training to represent and elevate the Museum in the region and in the broader cultural world. Genuine and deep commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. They will have the expertise and network to work effectively with the curatorial team to develop and seek out world-class, compelling exhibitions to expand audience engagement and build the Museum’s credibility.

Expertise in Development and Fundraising: The Director/CEO will be a bold and experienced fundraiser with a measurable track record of success in development, and the expertise and mindset to build strong relationships within the community with past, current, and potential donors, as well as the Board. This leader will have substantial experience with various fundraising and communications channels, including major gifts and capital campaigns, and the ability to provide high-touch engagement with all of the Museum’s constituents. The Director/CEO will be a flexible, confident, and self-motivated leader who will partner closely with the Board of Trustees to devise a successful fundraising strategy for the Museum which leverages the unique landscape of the region’s philanthropic community.

External Relations and Relationship-Building: Dedicated to reaching out to people and serving as an ambassador for the Museum in the community; genuine interest in making connections and becoming embedded in the Orlando community; experienced in government relations and partnerships. The Director/CEO will have a compelling public presence and be exceptionally skilled at developing and sustaining relationships. They will have a demonstrated ability to interact comfortably with a range of constituents, building bridges among the various stakeholders of the Museum and throughout the region, including members, visitors, donors, the Board, and community leaders. This executive will have a high degree of public relations insight, serving as the outward-facing representative of the Museum, able to speak and write fluidly about the Museum’s legacy, impact, growth strategy, and future direction to all audiences. This executive will be considerate and open, identifying opportunities for collaborations which benefit the Museum as a whole, promoting dialogue to identify best practices, synthesizing divergent views, and coalescing all constituencies around a shared vision and goals.

Business Acumen and Operational Expertise: The Director/CEO will have a strong record of successful oversight and management of finance and operations. Highly skilled in budget, financial, and personnel management, this individual will have the perspective to consider the impact of decisions, strategic plans or initiatives, and programs on the organization, and make sound recommendations.

Skilled and Inspirational Manager: A good listener and collaborator; able to manage through conflict. The Director/CEO will be a results-oriented leader with a collegial, team-oriented working style, open and nimble in adjusting to emerging needs or shifting priorities. They will have a proven record of visible and effective management and the demonstrated ability to professionally develop, nurture, and retain a strong team that is focused on impact, excellence, accountability, and efficiency. This individual will be an effective motivator who communicates a shared vision, inspires quality performance, and cultivates strong morale by empowering staff through active and effective communication, feedback, and delegation and by promoting teamwork and collaboration.


The Diversified Search Group has been exclusively retained for this engagement. John Mestepey, Naree Viner, and Stephen Milbauer are leading this search. To make recommendations or to express your interest in this role please visit this link or email [email protected]. All nominations, inquiries, and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

The Orlando Museum of Art is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+, and other underrepresented applicants.

About Diversified Search Group

The Diversified Search Group is a portfolio of wholly-owned search firms serving specialized sectors. Our family of firms was ranked one of the top 5 executive search firms by Forbes in 2020. Our innovative cross-firm partnership model allows our teams to seamlessly leverage deep and broad industry knowledge with unparalleled access to highly diverse and expansive candidate networks.

Among our five partner firms, two firms have teamed up for this assignment

Diversified Search, with a 45+ year history of retained executive search, was founded in 1974 by a pioneering woman with a pioneering purpose: to revolutionize the job search and hiring for process for women. Over the years, as the firm grew, its mission did, too. While still forging a path as a leader in the area of diversity and inclusion, the firm dedicated itself to attracting and retaining inspiring, transformational leaders of every background who would bring steady direction, bold thinking, and fresh ideas to its clients and their organizations.

Koya Leadership Partners, the nation’s premier search firm dedicated to mission-driven leadership, is a key member of the Diversified Search Group. Koya has an exclusive focus on mission-driven clients and was founded on the philosophy that “The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World.” With close to 100 team members nationally and a global reach, Koya has earned its reputation as the leading firm in the mission-driven search. Clients come to Koya and return for our high-quality client service and exceptional placements.

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