How I help CEOs, COOs and trustees better serve artists and audiences
Navigating crisis and change with results-oriented advice
Growing up in Tucson, Arizona, I was a writer of fiction and non-fiction, and I played the piano. My parents were concerned. Though musical themselves, they felt honor-bound to disabuse me of the notion I could make a living in the arts. So instead I went off to school to exercise my left-brain skills. I received a Stanford University B.A. and University of Virginia Law School J.D. before passing the California Bar Exam.
It was not long before I imagined and then landed in a career that would thoroughly integrate the creative and analytical halves of my nature. For over 30 years, it’s been a pleasure and a privilege to be of service to premier nonprofit arts, cultural and educational institutions as a CEO, COO, and freelance management consultant.
In a rapidly changing environment for nonprofits, I help senior management and trustees become better stewards of their organizations, focusing on crisis and change management, audience engagement, financial and human resource development, strategic planning (including online strategies), and operating performance.
Read more about David at Minneapolis StarTribune
Read more about David’s role in creating the outsized online brand of Walker Art Center, whose websites The New York Times surveyed in 2020, describing them as “the most aggressive and accessible of any American museum.”
At no time in my career have my experience and skills managing crisis and change been more relevant than in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has so challenged our field and required so much quick strategic thinking.
I am known for my results-oriented approach, which is the product of 25+ years as a successful CEO and COO:
- Hone in quickly on challenges
- Align the team to mission and sustainable execution
- Build collaborative relationships with all stakeholders – board, staff, donors
- Implement solutions in less time and more effectively than others
Recent demand for my services has involved:
- Working with the Mucha Foundation, Prague, to circulate Mucha-centered exhibitions to art museums in North America
- Strategic planning centered on DEI, Covid-19 pandemic response (2021-23 plan for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities; read it here), and campus-wide arts and culture initiatives, including foundational programming for a new multidisciplinary arts center
- Executive coaching
- Arts facilities planning (new construction and renovations) (read about the new Arts and Education Complex at Oregon State University)
- Maximizing earned revenues
- Acquiring outstanding C-suite talent-hiring and collaborating closely with executive search firms; constituting and managing search committees and processes
- Creating the case for successful capital fundraising
Not until 20 years after I had left Tucson did I earn my Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA (fiction), the creative degree I might have pursued sooner were it not for my parents’ influence. But I do greatly appreciate my law degree, which has been indispensable in nonprofit governance (including B corporation) and myriad contract matters, including the structuring of key partnerships with artists, publishers, sister arts institutions, and units of government.
My success as a CEO, COO, and nonprofit management consultant derives from my balanced sensibilities. I deeply understand the drive and struggles of the artist, and at the same time I know, in the 21st century, how difficult it can be to sustain institutions whose missions are to bring diverse artists and audiences into dialogue.
I am grateful for the continuing opportunity to help nonprofit cultural organizations in this important effort.