Sunday, May 7

Optimizing the Board’s Role in Fundraising
Date: Sunday May 7 1-2:15 p.m.
Location: 229 America’s Center
Getting trustees to embrace fundraising can be tough. Often raising money is a governance theory in search of a practice. Putting the responsibility into job descriptions or having trustees sign contracts with the responsibility spelled out may feel like progress but saying so won’t make it so. Gain insight from experienced trustees and directors in a frank and pragmatic discussion on the successful strategies and periodic false starts they experienced in building a board that is not just ready and willing…but also able to partner in fund raising.
Berit Durler, Edward Higgins, Mary Baily Wieler, Maureen Robinson, Robert Davis

Valuable Lessons in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) World
Date: Sunday May 7 2:30-3:45 p.m.
Location: 229 America’s Center
The term VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) was first coined by the military, but has been increasingly embraced by the private sector to help explain the environment in which organizations operate. This session will explain how a strong, consciously developed organizational culture can help organizations make better strategic decisions and succeed in a VUCA environment.
Bernard Banks, Kippen de Alba Chu

Risk Factors to Organizational Excellence: Lessons learned from the Accreditation Program
Date: Sunday May 7 4-5:15 p.m.
Location: 229 America’s Center
Join representatives from the Accreditation Commission as they share their observations on the top five overarching challenges to organizational success, drawn from their experiences reviewing museums seeking accreditation, as peer reviewers, and veteran museum leaders. As part of this moderated conversation they will also offer strategies they’ve seen or employed themselves to overcome these challenges, or minimize the impact, and enable institutional excellence. The panel also wants to hear from you about what AAM can do to help museums address these and other issues.
Burt Logan, Kenneth Schutz, Lourdes Ramos, Stephanie Stebich

Monday, May 8

Straight Talk: What DO Directors Want from Development?
Date: Monday May 8 8:45-10 a.m.
Location: 229 America’s Center
The relationship between a director and their development staff has tremendous financial implications for an institution. There continues to be significant turnover among museum chief development officers, often due to misaligned expectations and priorities, especially as new development directors are hired from outside the museum field and junior staff are promoted without experience working with directors and boards. This moderated conversation will be an opportunity to hear from directors about their expectations and needs from development, what works and what doesn’t, and their vision for a successful development program.
Andrew Walker, Carl Hamm, Frances Levine, William Harris

The Line between Creepy and Cool: Getting Data Driven Decisions Right
Date: Monday May 8 1:30-2:45 p.m.
Location: 229 America’s Center
As museums continually work to understand their audiences better, how might data about visitor behaviors and preferences become an integral part of their planning process? What does it mean to make decisions informed by data? While data can help us optimize our financial performance, can it be used to improve how visitors learn and experience the museum? This session argues for using data to help learn from audience behavior and preferences to provide better and more personalized museum experiences.
Colleen Dilenschneider, Kari Alldredge, Kaywin Feldman, Robert Stein, Sebastian Chan

CEO Roundtable Discussions
Date: Monday May 8 3-5 p.m.
Location: Landmark 4 Marriott St. Louis Grand
Museum CEOs/executive directors are invited to participate in informal roundtable discussions by and for museum directors on topics and projects of interest that can be informed by perspectives from other museum CEOs. Presented in collaboration with the Leadership and Management Professional Network.

Tuesday, May 9

Leading with Intent: A Comprehensive Survey and Analysis of U.S. Museum Board Practices, and Policies
Date: Tuesday May 9 8:45-10 a.m.
Location: 229 America’s Center
AAM’s Trustee Initiative: “Leading with Intent” a new national survey of museum directors and board chairs. This session will report on and analyze the findings from this 2016 AAM-BoardSource comprehensive survey and scan of museum board practices, policies and performance. The session panel will provide museum leaders with the opportunity to compare their practices with each other and other nonprofit boards, providing a powerful window into current board leadership and trends.
Andrew Hahn, Dion Brown, Frances Levine, Kathy Dwyer Southern, Lisa Melandri

Effective Altruism, Evidence-Based Giving, and Museums
Date: Tuesday May 9 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Location: 229 America’s Center
Are financial gifts to museums morally dubious? Advocates of effective altruism, a philosophy that applies evidence and reason to determine the most effective ways to improve the world for the greatest positive impact, contend they are. Learn why the effective altruism movement is gathering strength, potentially ominous implications for financial giving to museums, and tactics and strategies to employ for greatest relevancy in this changing philanthropic environment.
Anne Ferola, Laura Callanan, Putter Bert, Susan Wilkening

Forced From Home: Immersing Audiences Into the Global Refugee Crisis
Date: Tuesday May 9 1:30-2:45 p.m.
Location: 229 America’s Center
Today over 65 million people have been forced from home globally; many are refugees driven out of their countries by war, deprivation, and persecution. In the fall of 2016, Doctors Without Borders launched a multi-year interactive traveling exhibit, that recently debuted in five US cities, to broaden public understanding of the plight of refugees and migrants. Join panelists for a discussion on the exhibition, this critical global issue, its implications for the museum field, and a deeper exploration of our role and responsibilities to effect change.
Michael Goldfarb, Stephen Figge, W. Richard West

Wednesday, May 10

A Conversation with Johnnetta Betsch Cole
Date: Wednesday May 10 9:45-11 a.m.
Location: 274 America’s Center
Makeba Clay, former chief diversity officer at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art (NMAfA), will engage NMAfA Director Johnnetta Betsch Cole in a conversation that delves deeper into questions of diversity and inclusion that Cole addressed in her keynote at the 2015 AAM Annual Meeting in Atlanta. Their conversation will focus on why the very future of our museums-as well as of zoological parks and aquariums-requires greater diversity on our boards and staff, in our exhibitions and educational programs, and among our visitors.
Johnnetta Cole, Makeba Clay

Innovating the Future: Impact of Nimble Mid-Sized Museums
Date: Wednesday May 10 11:15-12:30 p.m.
Location: 131 America’s Center
The museums on this pane are uniquely accessible spaces serving broadly diverse audiences using entrepreneurial and innovative strategies for public service. These organizations, located within complex and often contentious social and political environments, demonstrate an effective nimbleness in applying culture-driven thinking towards opportunities and issues central to their local audiences. Their “elastic” thinking can provide a model for the field as museums continue to respond to changing demands from multiple audiences and the real economic pressures of a shifting philanthropic landscape.
Aldy Milliken, Linda Harrison, Marilu Knode, Melody Kanschat