December 10, 2020 – New York City-based Bridge Partners has placed Lavita McMath Turner as the first chief diversity officer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The search firm’s founders Tory Clarke and Larry Griffin led the assignment. “Lavita McMath Turner has an exceptional record of success promoting equity throughout her career in cultural and higher education institutions, and she will be a key partner in helping The Met evolve into a more inclusive place to work, visit, and learn,” said Daniel H. Weiss, president and CEO of The Met. “I am greatly looking forward to working together—with the full support of our board and so many across the institution—to achieve these goals.”
Ms. McMath Turner brings with her a wealth of experience creating change through policies, practices, and programs that allow all members of a community to feel valued, included, and supported. In her most recent role as assistant dean for equity, inclusion and experiential learning at Stella & Charles Guttman Community College, CUNY, she provided strategic leadership in shaping the college’s equity, diversity and inclusion plans and worked to address the equity gaps for students with diverse backgrounds.
Prior to this, Ms. McMath Turner was the first director of government relations at CUNY’s Kingsborough Community College, where she led important civic engagement efforts and advocated for providing more equitable access to higher education. She also worked at the Brooklyn Museum, managing their government relations department for six years and supporting the museum’s efforts to engage more deeply with the Brooklyn community. She serves on the boards of the Center for Racial Justice in Education and the Fair Elections Center.
2020 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Recruiting Report:
Building a Balanced and Diverse Workforce
Hunt Scanlon Media’s latest market intelligence recruiting report – this time focused on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion – will be available later this fall! The nation’s top executive recruiters are resetting expectations and looking for new ways forward to build balanced and diverse workforce teams for their clients.
According to executive recruiters, DE&I should not just be a priority, but an integrated part of every company’s leadership goals. Some companies have even tied DE&I metrics to executive compensation. But it’s more than that.
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In her role at The Met, Ms. McMath Turner will collaborate closely with partners in a wide range of departments, particularly human resources, to oversee the execution of the museum’s current diversity, equity, inclusion, and access plan as well as commitments to anti-racism, diversity and a stronger community, issued in the summer of 2020, and to lead the creation of new initiatives that support The Met’s goals to become ever more inclusive, equitable, fair and welcoming.
“I have dedicated my career to creating equity, inclusion and community within a range of arts and culture and higher education institutions, so it is with great excitement that I accept this new position at The Met,” said Ms. McMath Turner. “The Met is committed to ensuring that both its staff and visitors feel valued and are able to experience the museum as a more diverse, equitable, inclusive and accessible cultural institution, goals I look forward to helping The Met achieve.”
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, among the world’s great cultural institutions, has an encyclopedic collection of more than two million objects spanning 5,000 years, an operating budget of $315 million, an endowment of $3.1 billion and a staff of 2,200 working at three sites: The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Cloisters and The Met Breuer.
Recruiting and Retaining Your Next Chief Diversity Officer
Diversity, inclusion, and equity have become headline issues, putting pressure on organizations and leaders to respond in a meaningful way. Investors are also expressing their displeasure with discrimination allegations. Russell Reynolds Associates’ review of 2017 and 2018 incidents involving bad executive behavior showed that companies experienced an average seven percent decline in market capitalization, or $4 billion, in the days and weeks following such news.
The upside associated with fostering diversity, inclusion and equity has also become more tangible. A recent McKinsey & Company study found that organizations with diverse boards and executive teams were up to 35 percent more likely to outperform their less-diverse competitors.
In an institutional diversity, inclusion, and equal access policy statement issued in spring 2019, the museum declared that “Diversity, inclusion, and equal access have been, and will continue to be, fundamental principles at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.” In the summer of 2020, the museum issued its commitments to anti-racism, diversity and a stronger community that detailed 13 priorities and memorialized the institution’s objective to bring meaningful change through systemic improvement to the museum’s policies, practices, and priorities. The list includes new approaches to how the museum hires, trains, supports and retains staff; how it will build, study, and oversee the collection and programs; and how it will structure governance and engage the museum community.
Bridge Partners is a certified minority supplier and a minority business enterprise. Based in New York, with offices in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston, the firm has completed higher education/academia senior leadership searches for roles such as head of human resources, head of finance, head of audit and deans. Its non-profit clients include non-profit and for-profit clients include the Denver Housing Authority, Women In Need, TIAA-CREF, Freddie Mac, Accion, Colgate-Palmolive, YWCA, Starbucks, and the Federal Reserve System.
Ms. Clarke supports senior global search assignments for private sector, public sector and international non-profit/social venture clients, across all functions. A 20-year veteran of the executive search industry, she has recruited diverse executives, including CEO/presidents and their leadership teams, at both head office and regional locations around the globe.
Mr. Griffin partners with clients on leadership assignments within the private, federal/public and non-profit sectors. He has been in executive search for nearly 30 years and has recruited diverse leaders across multiple functions from CEO/executive directors/presidents, to functional heads including chief financial officer, chief marketing officer, chief information officer, chief strategy officer and their teams.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media