My Work Experience
My background is in Museum and Theatre Education; after earning my BA in Theatre from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, I came to DC to work at the Shakespeare Theatre Company. My experience in the power of education outside of the classroom led me to pursue my Master’s in Museum Education and Leadership at Bank Street College in New York.
In 2008 I began working at Ford’s Theatre on 10th Street NW, where I was responsible for coordinating the design, fabrication, installation, and opening of their brand new basement museum. This was no small feat: a 4,000 square foot museum with a budget of $4 million, and the task of building consensus among the National Park Service, Ford’s Theatre nonprofit staff, notable Lincoln scholars, and the museum design and fabrication firm. Good practice for the teamwork, management, and collaboration required for town council!
From there I started my career in federal civil service, working for five years in the Office of the Chairman at the National Endowment for the Arts. It was here that I really honed my skills in working with, and not against, bureaucracy and red tape, and trying to do a lot with a little. My work required interfacing with a lot of high-level leaders in the government, and distinguished artists around the world. I learned so much about the value of partnership, and the balance between when to have a strong leadership voice and when to sit back and listen.
For the past five years I have worked in the Office of Strategic Partnerships at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. My work involves using the tremendous resources of the Smithsonian Institution to support and uplift the work of African American Museums around the country, and African museums across the ocean. My job, in a nutshell, is to talk with museums that have not always been given a lot of resources, ask them what they need, and try to make that happen, building their capacity so they can do the wonderful work they do even better than before. It involves a lot of paperwork—I am responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars in contracts and agreements—and a lot of listening. My work has taken me to Dakar, Senegal and Cape Town, South Africa. But at its core, I love my job because I get to use my strengths—organization, collaboration, project management, communication—to make a measurable positive impact in a field I care deeply about.
Pictures below from some of my work in Cape Town, and when I was a featured speaker as a 2018 Smithsonian Institution Emerging Leader.