Isaacson, Miller Recruits First Black Executive Director for Abraham Lincoln President Library and Museum
March 12, 2021 – Isaacson, Miller recently assisted the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM) in the recruitment of Christina M. Shutt as its fifth executive director and first person of color to lead the organization. Partner Andy Lee led the search with managing associate Jeff Kessner. “Christina Shutt brings tremendous expertise to the job, as well as new perspectives on how to interpret the life, legacy and lessons of Abraham Lincoln,” said Ray LaHood, chairman of the ALPLM board of trustees. “We are thrilled to have her guiding a great institution dedicated to an even greater man,” he said. “After a nationwide search for the best candidate to shape the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum’s 21st century legacy, Illinois is elated to welcome Christina Shutt and her family to Springfield,” said JB Pritzker, governor of Illinois. ”A barrier-breaker in her own right, Christina comes to the ALPLM with formidable experience in lifting up historically marginalized voices and ensuring they are heard and understood in the greater American narrative – and in turn, the American present. Abraham Lincoln’s legacy is not only a critical piece of comprehending our nation’s past; but also in understanding how to navigate our future. I have every faith in Christina as the best person to guide ALPLM forward and help make the life and legacy of Lincoln more accessible to all Illinoisans. We are proud that she has chosen to call Illinois home.”
Ms. Shutt has been executive director of the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock, AK, since 2016 and guided it through the complex process of earning national accreditation, making it only the ninth black culture museum in the United States to earn such a designation. She previously served as associate librarian for special collections and instruction at Hendrix College and has worked in a variety of special collections, including the Center for the History of Medicine at Harvard University. Ms. Shutt holds two master’s degrees, one in history and the other in library science/archives management, from Simmons University.
“You can’t truly understand America without understanding Abraham Lincoln’s impact on the nation,” Ms. Shutt said. “I’m excited to help share Lincoln’s enduring legacy and his relevancy for today. Museums play an important, often overlooked, role in the community. The ALPLM’s path forward must include cultivating partnerships with our neighbors in Springfield and central Illinois.”
Lincoln’s Life and Times
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum uses a combination of rigorous scholarship and high-tech showmanship to immerse visitors in Lincoln’s life and times. The library holds an unparalleled collection of Lincoln books, documents, photographs, artifacts and art, as well as some 12 million items pertaining to all aspects of Illinois history.
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A nationally recognized search firm focused on recruiting transformational leaders for mission-driven organizations, Isaacson, Miller has conducted thousands of placements over more than three decades. More than half of the firm’s work has been in academia, involving university presidents, college chancellors and deans. The firm has filled top leadership posts at Wellesley College, Washington State University, Miami University, Howard University, Bowdoin College, Dartmouth, NYU, Virginia State University, and the University of North Carolina, among others. John Isaacson, the firm’s chair, founded Isaacson, Miller in 1982.
Isaacson, Miller Appoints New President and CEO
The board of directors of Isaacson, Miller has appointed Ericka Miller as the firm’s next president and CEO. She will officially start her term on July 1, 2021, upon the retirement of current president Vivian Brocard. “As one of the first women of color to lead a major national executive search firm, Ericka brings a deep and lifelong commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, consistent with Isaacson, Miller’s core values,” the search firm said.
“Ericka has done an excellent job of building and leading our PreK-12 education and education improvement practice, chairing the promotions committee, and serving as an indispensable member of the board of directors,” said John Isaacson, founder and chair of Isaacson, Miller. “She distinguished herself with her colleagues on the board and was their unanimous choice for president and CEO,” Mr. Isaacson said. “They are both proud and grateful to welcome her as the successor to Vivian. Vivian has led the firm skillfully and leaves an outstanding legacy. She and Ericka will manage the transition together.”
Mr. Lee brings to his practice more than 20 years of leadership in the non-profit, government, and technology sectors. He draws upon his expertise in education reform, healthcare, the environment, and consulting services to identify forward-thinking leaders and help his clients make informed human capital decisions. A member of the Isaacson, Miller team since 2017, he has spent his entire career aiding mission-driven organizations.
Mr. Kessner, who joined the firm in 2014, helps Isaacson, Miller’s higher education clients place academic leadership, including the State University of New York (SUNY) chancellor; presidents of Hamilton College, Dickinson College, and Western Kentucky University; and law school deans at Michigan State University, the University of California-Berkeley, and the University of Florida. He has also completed multiple searches for scholarly association leaders and public policy and government affairs positions at non-profit organizations.
Related: Kittleman & Associates Finds New Leader for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media