May 22, 2019 – New Hampshire-based executive search firm Gail Nessel Colglazier has helped to place two top leaders for the Cape Cod Museum of Art (CCMoA) in Dennis, MA. The non-profit reportedly started seeking a lone executive director 16 months ago, but in the end opted for two leaders.
Benton Jones becomes the non-profit’s director of arts and Susan Johnson is director of operations.
“We’ve been engaged in a very thorough search process since last September and had many excellent candidates,” said Kathleen Fowler, president of the board of trustees. “Benton and Susan were unanimously identified as the most highly qualified and the right combination to guide the museum into a successful future. Their vision, experience and leadership will complement each other in their respective roles.”
“The CCMoA community is looking forward to working with and supporting Benton and Susan as they forge an expanded role for the museum’s future,” said Ms. Fowler.
A 16-Month Search
After an unstable past, the 38-year-old museum is finally debt-free, according to the Cape Cod Times. For nearly a decade, the non-profit experienced deficits that once reached $300,000, the newspaper said. With its budget stabilized and a small endowment, the museum is now looking to boost attendance and is considering renovations.
“We’re now able to go year-to-year without worry, and we want to grow from there,” Ms. Fowler told the newspaper. “Hopefully, we can make an institution that people here on the Cape will fall in love with and can enjoy.”
Gail Nessel Colglazier partnered with the museum’s search committee in conducting the assignment. Ms. Fowler told the Cape Cod Times that the search took longer than expected and that some candidates backed away because of the museum’s past problems, the cost of living in the area, salary concerns and the expansive scope of the original job description.
Mr. Jones, the museum’s education director, has been serving as acting executive director since last fall. He will oversee programming, exhibits and education.
A glass sculptor, Mr. Jones also runs the Millstone Sculpture Gallery, in Brewster, MA.
A Creative Community
Ms. Johnson will handle day-to-day management, finances, staff and grant-writing. She joins the organization from Cape Cod Village, where she served as executive director and was previously a member of the board. Ms. Johnson has also been executive director of Harwich Ecumenical Council for the Homeless and executive officer of the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Cape Cod. She is co-founder of Katelynn’s Closet, a non-profit organization that provides clothing and necessities to impoverished children.
“I extend a warm welcome to Susan,” said Mr. Jones. “Through our collaborative team leadership, I feel the CCMoA will dually benefit, providing the creative freedom necessary to be innovative with our exhibitions, broaden our educational offerings and sustain our community focused programs, while ensuring continued growth and forward-looking development that our, and every museum, needs.”
Why Recruiters Center On Fundraising Skills
Organizations nationwide are under pressure to find leaders who can act as de facto chief fundraisers – and recruiters are in lock step to find talent to satisfy the demand. These leaders need to be strategic thinkers who can motivate the stakeholders whose philanthropy pulls everything together.
“I am thrilled to have this opportunity to work with artists and the creative community, as well as the dedicated staff and volunteers to help bring the CCMoA to its full potential,” said Ms. Johnson. “I am encouraged by the support of the board of trustees, as together we are committed to establishing deeper audience engagement, ensuring financial sustainability and preserving the distinctive artistic identity of the Cape.”
A Granite State Search Firm
Founded by artists in 1981, the Cape Cod Museum of Art preserves and celebrates the distinctive artistic identity of Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. CCMoA is a hub of cultural growth and creativity that educates, inspires and excites the imagination through its outstanding art collection and diverse programming. Located in a beautiful setting surrounded by a sculpture garden, the museum has seven galleries, a museum shop and film screening room. The museum is supported in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod.
Gail Nessell Colglazier, which is based in the Manchester, NH area, is run by Ms. Colglazier. The firm, established in 2017, provides executive searches for museums and career counseling services for those who work in, or seek to work in, museums. Most recently, she was executive director of the Orleans (MA) Historical Society. She has also served as an associate search consultant for Museum Search and Reference in Londonderry, NH. Before that, Ms. Colglazier spent 27 years working for museums, including as executive director of the American Independence Museum in Exeter, NH, board member with the New England Museum Association in Arlington, MA and executive director of the Manchester (NH) Historic Association/ Millyard Museum.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media