Organization: The Museum of Science and Industry

Location: Chicago, IL

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About The Museum of Science and Industry:

Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) is the one of the best known and most loved science and technology museums in the world and the largest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. MSI has welcomed more than 175 million guests since opening in 1933. Its mission is to inspire the inventive genius in everyone by presenting captivating and compelling experiences that are real and educational. Even bigger than MSI’s mission is its vision – to inspire and motivate our children to achieve their full potential in the fields of science, technology, engineering and medicine. The organization’s 400 employees are inspired by and live MSI’s vision and mission.

MSI is housed in the only remaining building from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and is also one of only 11 museums in Chicago standing on park district land. It was built as the fair’s Palace of Fine Arts by Burnham & Root architect Charles Atwood. Facilities include over 14 acres of hands-on exhibits and more than 400,000 square feet of exhibit space, Chicago’s only five-story, domed Omnimax® theater, three restaurants (The Brain Food Court, Museum Café and Finnigan’s Ice Cream Parlor), four Gift Shops (Museum Store, The Galaxy Shop, The Kids Stop and the U-505 Store), a student and teacher e-learning center with videoconferencing capability, an 800-seat auditorium and two smaller theater spaces, 12 learning lab areas for education programming, connected indoor parking and other guest services.

In 2011, MSI completed a $209 million capital campaign, transforming and upgrading more than 80 percent of its exhibitions. Its most recent permanent exhibits – Science Storms and YOU! The Experience – are the most interactive and hands-on in the world and have won 28 international design awards, including every top award in the museum field.

MSI’s Center for the Advancement of Science Education operates a number of learning labs interwoven throughout its exhibits, inspires thousands of inner city youth to get involved in science and technology through its 40 after school science clubs in Chicago’s neighborhoods, and provides courses to hundreds of public school science teachers that improve classroom instruction and student achievement. The Science Achievers youth development program teaches not only science content but public speaking and college readiness skills and is changing the lives of our youth.

MSI’s Board of Trustees is widely considered one of, if not the best, nonprofit boards in the city and made up of many of the top business CEOs and civic leaders in the Chicago community. Under the guidance of the Museum’s finance committee, the CEO and the CFO continuously work to maintain sound fiscal policy.

The Opportunity:

Reporting directly into David Mosena, President and Chief Executive Officer, the Vice President, Finance & Administration / CFO is a key leadership role with frequent and regular Board exposure. The Vice President is one of six Vice Presidents that comprise MSI’s Executive Team, and is the only officer other than the CEO with Board-designated authority to execute contracts on behalf of the Museum. As part of the Museum’s Leadership team, the Vice President participates in shaping a shared vision for the future, developing and executing strategy, leveraging best practices, managing organizational transformation and creating a high-performance, results-driven culture that develops leaders across the institution.

The Vice President is directly responsible for Finance & Accounting, Facilities & Operations, Information Technology Services, retail operations (stores, restaurants and special events), contracted services and legal services of the Museum. As currently structured, the Vice President will manage a team of five direct reports (Controller, Director of Information Systems, Director of Facilities, General Counsel and a Senior Administrative Assistant) representing approximately 70 employees.

MSI program priorities and workforce have gone through substantial change in the last five years. It has matured into a cutting edge, world-class exhibition and educational institution focused on the future of science and technology. It has seen a major transformation of its exhibition content, its education programs and the experience it creates for its guests – three of the strategic goals of the 2005 capital campaign. As a result, MSI is seeking an innovative, proactive, collaborative and strategic leader who contributes to the organization beyond the financial function. S/he will be instrumental in instilling a solutions-driven approach to the function, aligning it to the evolving culture of the institution. In particular, as MSI continues to identify alternative revenue streams for MSI via researching new products and lines of business, the CFO will proactively be involved in the analysis of alternative business development opportunities through feasibility and market analysis.

The Vice President must have a genuine passion for the mission of MSI and the ability to inspire those around him/her to work together. S/he will have a fundamental understanding that the functions under his or her care are dedicated to serving the overall mission of MSI and run their team in a strategic, collaborative manner. This individual must possess a deep appreciation for the business challenges that nonprofits face and an excitement to help focus on proactively identifying solutions.

Specific responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring the finance team is organized and operates in a way that is most supportive of MSI’s mission and strategy. On the most fundamental level this includes making financial information clear, accessible and relevant to the needs of management and working in partnership with MSI staff to achieve the institution’s goals in a team- oriented manner.
  • Building, leading and mentoring a diverse financial leadership team; encouraging collaborative working relationships within the financial team and across the organization.
  • Working closely with the CEO, serving as a primary resource on the finances of MSI to the world class Board of Trustees and the Finance, Audit, Compensation and Buildings & Grounds Committees specifically.
  • Monitoring and maintaining overall governance, policies and procedures for accounting and reporting requirements. Ensuring accurate and timely internal financial reporting and adherence to appropriate internal controls and accounting practices. Ensuring that those practices are best-in-class for nonprofit organizations.
  • Assuring cooperation with a full disclosure to the independent auditor to ensure timely and accurate audited financial statements.
  • Managing MSI’s annual business planning/zero-based budget process.
  • Assessing organizational performance against the annual budget and the institution’s long-term strategy.
  • Overseeing the treasury function and cash management. Under the direction of the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees, overseeing the endowment investment management and debt financing to ensure judicious investments and borrowings as needed.
  • Overseeing the facility operations for the historic landmarked building including building and grounds maintenance, facility construction including exhibitions and general building and grounds needs, and contract services including food, retail, garage and security.
  • Providing leadership and direction for the Information Technology department, including a proactive focus on the continued development of technology and cross- function usability throughout the organization.
  • Overseeing MSI’s legal function by the internal General Counsel for contracts and legal obligations.
  • Managing insurance programs through risk management manager and partnerships with outside advisors.

Candidate Profile:

The Vice President, Finance and Administration / CFO will have a distinguished record of progressively increased responsibility and performance at a for-profit company or mission driven, nonprofit organization (ideally a blend of both). The Vice President will be a passionate advocate for the mission of MSI, with an appreciation of its traditions and the belief in its future.

A proven leader and strong financial executive with 15+ years of experience, the Vice President will be recognized as having the highest standard for financial integrity and professionalism and be fully knowledgeable in nonprofit accounting. S/he will also have a successful track record of leading financial and other teams that have contributed to the overall success of the organization. In terms of style, s/he will have a track record of collaborative, strategic leadership within former organizations and a history of problem-solving and change management, including collaborative partnerships with colleagues. The Vice President will have an undergraduate degree in finance, accounting or business. An MBA and/or CPA is preferred.

In addition, s/he will possess the following skills, attributes and competencies:

Building Relationships and Using Influence: The successful candidate must be able to build and sustain excellent relationships at multiple levels internally and with the various external constituencies including the Board of Trustees. S/he leads by example and will do what it takes to get the job done. It is imperative that s/he is able to treat others with respect and always stay true to the mission of the institution. Moreover the ideal candidate is an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics and values; someone who can be trusted without reservation.

Business Acumen: A high level of intellectual horsepower and a curious mindset. S/he must be able to “deep dive” into the details of the organization while staying focused on the big picture. S/he must be able to conceptualize and analyze both problems and solutions, identifying key metrics that will help the entire organization to improve performance towards achieving the mission.

Leading Teams: S/he will lead and develop high performing teams committed to mission and goals of the institution. This individual will foster trust and collaboration among team members and use teams to address and resolve relevant issues. S/he will effectively establish rapport and effective relationships at all levels and empower colleagues to deliver results.

Passion for the Mission: S/he will have a true passion for the mission of MSI and a commitment to effectively leading his or her team to support the goals of the institution. S/he will embrace the culture of MSI, while always having an eye on how to foster best-in-class practices in a productive manner with colleagues. A commitment to partnering and client service will resonate well and enable him or her to help achieve the mission.


Koya Leadership Partners has been exclusively retained for this search. This search is being led by Alison P. Ranney and Alexandra N. Corvin.

To express your interest in this role, please email Alison and Alex directly at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

The Museum of Science and Industry is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBT applicants.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained search and consulting firm that works exclusively with non-profits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit