President & Chief Executive
Position: President & Chief Executive
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Reporting Relationship: Board of Trustees
To enrich lives through
exceptional experiences with art and nature.
On November 7,
1883, an exhibition of 453 works by 137 artists opened at the
English Hotel on the downtown Indianapolis Circle. It was the first
exhibition organized by the Art Association of Indianapolis, which
well-known suffragette May Wright Sewall, her husband Theodore and
a small group of art-minded citizens had formed a few months
earlier. In the process, they wrote the mission statement that
spelled out their intentions. The success of that exhibition, which
attracted sizable crowds throughout its three-week run, established
the Art Association as a viable factor in the local cultural scene
and led to more exhibitions, as well as lectures, and eventually a
campus featuring both a museum and an art school.
In 1969, the Art Association changed its name to the
Indianapolis Museum of Art — a precursor to its move the following
year from its longtime home on the campus of the John Herron Art
Institute at 16th and Pennsylvania Streets into a new building at
38th Street and Michigan Road.
The Sewalls would likely be proud of how the small group that
they helped to found more than 130 years ago has grown. The Art
Association has evolved into one of the largest encyclopedic art
museums in the country spanning 5,000 years of art history, along
with active exhibitions and education programs that far surpass
anything the Art Association’s founders could have imagined. The
Indianapolis Museum of Art is complemented by The Garden, the heart
of which is the Oldfields estate, a National Historic Landmark,
thanks to the generosity of Ruth Lilly, Josiah K. Lilly and their
family, whose intent was to create a home for art in nature. A
subsequent addition of 100 acres of adjacent natural land along the
banks of the White River has been reimagined as The Virginia B.
Fairbanks Art & Nature Park featuring outdoor works of art set
among woodlands, wetlands and meadows. In 2009, J. Irwin Miller and
Xenia Simons Miller donated the Miller House and Garden, located in
Columbus, IN, to the institution, ensuring that this National
Historic Landmark, which epitomizes the international Modernist
aesthetic, could be enjoyed by the public.
In 2017, The Indianapolis Museum of Art announced the
unification of the entire campus under one name — Newfields, A
Place for Nature and the Arts.
Representative of Newfields’ innovative spirit and ability to
engage audiences in new ways, Newfields has unveiled creative
programmatic and special event expansions like THE LUME,
Winterlights, Spring Blooms and Harvest
which have resulted in record-breaking attendance and expanded
revenue streams for Newfields. With the ingenuity to leverage
Newfields’ indoor and outdoor spaces year-round, the organization
has a different story than many arts and cultural
institutions nationwide who were forced to downsize their teams or
even shut their doors permanently during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A propensity to change, evolve and transform alongside the
world has always been central to the Newfields story.
In March 2021, Newfields’ Board of Trustees announced the
organization’s comprehensive Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and
Access (DEIA) action plan following its own internal and public
reckoning with racial and social injustice. Developed to be
inclusive of input from employees, board members and community
members, the current plan reflects the organization’s deep
commitment to advancing DEIA values, policies and practices
institution-wide and across Newfields’ relationships with the
Rebuilding trust and stronger relationships with the people of
Indianapolis is a top priority and the organization recognizes that
this will take time. To ensure that their words match their
actions, Newfields developed DEIA Action Plan Commitments,
including a roadmap to:
- Gain Knowledge and Tools- Conduct ongoing DEIA
training at all levels.
- Listen and Engage- Expand and strengthen outreach to
- Include and Consider- Expand admission and membership
- Learn, Adapt, Transform- Engage third-party experts to
conduct cultural review.
- Represent and Support- Pursue greater representation
of artists from underrepresented backgrounds.
- Recruit and Develop- Engage more diverse leadership
and governance among Board of Trustees, Board of Governors, staff,
docents and volunteers.
- Communicate and Ask- Provide ongoing communication and
opportunities to share feedback. The most recent status report is
linked here: https://bit.ly/NewfieldsDEIA6MonthReport
For Newfields, a foundation has been established for continued
expansion, innovation, growth, meaningful connection and
inclusivity, and the future is bright.
THE SEARCH PROCESS
Newfields engaged Korn
Ferry – a top global organizational consulting firm with expertise
in nonprofit leadership and social impact, along with a deep
commitment and track record championing diversity, equity and
inclusion – to partner on the search for Newfields’ next President
To develop the vision for the leadership needed at this unique
moment in time, feedback was incorporated from over 150
individuals, including staff at all levels of the organization and
within 30+ departments, the Board of Trustees, the Board of
Governors, community leaders and a team of consultants. The Search
Committee will partner with Korn Ferry to assess a diverse slate of
potential candidates and reach a consensus on the selection of
Newfields’ next President & CEO, through a highly inclusive,
national search process.
The Search Committee of Newfields consists of members of the
Board of Trustees, Board of Governors, staff and community
- Darrianne Christian, Chair, Board of Trustees – Community
- Katie Betley, Board of Trustees – Philanthropist and Community
- Otto N. Frenzel, IV, Board of Trustees – Community
- Julie Goodman, Community Leader – President and CEO, Arts
Council of Indianapolis
- Sean Huddleston, Board of Trustees – President, Martin
- Michael Kubacki, Board of Trustees – Chairman, Lake City
- Lily Pai, Chair, Board of Governors – Architect, Lily Pai
- Christa Thacker, Staff – Director of Board, Donor and Member
- Jonathan Wright, Staff – The Ruth Lilly Director of The Garden
and Fairbanks Park
All inquiries may be directed to the Korn Ferry team at NewfieldsCEO@kornferry.com.
With the introduction of
Newfields’ next President & CEO, a new chapter begins. The
CEO will partner with a talented team of more than 300
employees, 600 volunteers and docents, the Board of Trustees, the
Board of Governors and the community to envision the
boundless opportunities for their 152-acre cultural
Newfields is a multi-disciplinary institution that features art
galleries, lush gardens, an art and nature park, historic
properties, performance spaces, seasonal festivals and an outdoor
amphitheater. From inspiring exhibitions in the Indianapolis Museum
of Art Galleries to a rejuvenating stroll through The Garden to
concerts in the Tobias Theater (The Toby), guests are encouraged to
interact with art and nature in exciting, unexpected ways. Visitors
may be invited to take a moment of respite in the Virginia B.
Fairbanks Art & Nature Park on one of artist Jeppe Hein’s
playful yellow benches, to catch a film from the Summer Nights
Film Series in the outdoor amphitheater, to explore works
created by African American artists from Indiana in the Museum, to
participate in art making with kids through a Wee Wonders education
program, or to experience The Garden during Winterlights.
In 2018, a comprehensive 30-year master land use planning study was
completed. With a successful $70M campaign to fund key projects of
the master plan complete, many significant enhancements are
currently underway to innovate gallery and exhibition
experiences; develop and enhance The Garden; and improve access to
art and nature.
Newfields is home to the renowned Indianapolis Museum of Art,
among the ten largest and longest operating art museums in the
nation with an encyclopedic collection of 43,000 works of art; The
Garden, featuring 40 acres of contemporary and historic gardens
including the National Historic Landmark Oldfields, Lilly House and
Gardens complete with a working greenhouse; and The Virginia B.
Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, 100 acres of managed natural land
in the middle of Indianapolis proper. The Newfields campus extends
outside of Indianapolis with another National Historic Landmark
property, The Miller House and Garden in Columbus, IN—one of the
nation’s most highly regarded examples of mid- century Modernist
architecture and landscape architecture.
With a mind for the business and a love for the arts and nature,
along with a track record of intently listening, learning and
co-creating with communities, the CEO will be an authentic
relationship builder and engaging leader. Significantly, the CEO
will provide an inspiring strategic vision; a roadmap for the staff
to come together toward their shared purpose; and a true commitment
to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access (DEIA) to ensure all
audiences are welcomed on that journey. The CEO will also
bring fund development expertise to garner the financial resources
to implement the plan successfully; and the motivation for
Newfields to continually evolve and grow.
Highlights as CEO of Newfields in Year 1 and beyond will include
being a part of:
- Championing and leading the implementation of a comprehensive
DEIA action plan. Hiring and collaborating with Newfields’ first
Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer.
- Refining Newfields’ human capital strategy with the Vice
President and Chief People Officer.
- Recruiting, retaining and motivating a dynamic and
intergenerational team of subject matter experts and specialists
across 30+ departments.
- Hiring and partnering with the incoming Melvin and Bren Simon
Director of the Indianapolis Museum of Art as they envision
Newfields’ permanent collection galleries and promote exhibitions
and programs, including Juan de Pareja: A Painter’s Story,
Embodied: Human Figures in Art and Stephen Sprouse:
Rock I Art I
- Leading an energized group of leaders to establish a
comprehensive strategic vision to leverage Newfields’ distinctive
assets: collections, buildings, historic properties, gardens,
portfolio of educational programs, special events, community
connections and more.
- Engaging various community groups, partners, donors and peer
organizations within Indianapolis, throughout the Midwest and
nationally to ensure Newfields forges genuine, long-term
connections to fully realize the mission of the organization.
- Cultivating and establishing relationships with Newfields’
- Sustaining the financial stability of the organization,
including debt reduction and endowment growth.
- Promoting and enhancing Newfields’ positioning as a national
and international leader in the field.
- Overseeing the growth and continued success of The Garden and
The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park and signature
community events with The Ruth Lilly Director of The Garden and
WHAT YOU WILL DO
Newfields is recognized
for revolutionizing the museum and garden experience for the 21st
century. Given the continued expansion of Newfields, the
organization restructured in 2019 and created the role of President
& CEO. The incoming President & CEO of Newfields will work
collaboratively with staff at all levels of the organization,
including direct reports and their teams:
- The Melvin and Bren Simon Director of the Indianapolis Museum
- The Ruth Lilly Director of The Garden & Fairbanks Park
- Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer
- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
- Vice President and Chief People Officer
- Vice President and Chief Operations Officer
- Vice President for Marketing and Communications
- Vice President for Advancement
Strategic leadership, business planning, day-to-day staff
management, external relations and stewardship of all entities
under the Newfields’ name are the primary responsibilities of the
CEO. This passionate and entrepreneurial person will oversee a $30M
annual budget and over $350M in endowment assets, $90M in
buildings and land assets, and an incredible art collection
consisting of 43,000 works of art.
Key responsibilities will include:
Organizational Leadership, Assessment and
- Provide visionary enterprise-wide leadership for Newfields’
short-term and long-term success, growth and sustainability.
- Bring together all Newfields entities to align on a cohesive
strategic vision and business strategy. Partner with direct reports
to approve comprehensive implementation plans across collections,
exhibitions, curatorial, conservation, design, education, public
programs, advancement, hospitality and events, marketing, retail,
horticulture, natural resources, grounds, facilities, building,
operations, custodial, security and operations.
- Recruit, mentor, support and retain a diverse staff from a
variety of backgrounds and
- Operationalize the organization’s stated commitment to
diversity, equity, inclusion and access (DEIA) by implementing
policies and procedures – inclusive of compensation, benefits
and work conditions – to ensure a culture of mutual respect, safety
- Conduct annual performance evaluations and provide regular
feedback for all direct reports and their teams.
Board Development and Governance
- Serve as the primary organization contact to the Board of
Trustees and Board of Governors.
- Cultivate productive working relationships with current board
members and develop relationships with potential board members,
bringing diverse voices, perspectives and lived experiences to
- Practice transparent communication.
- Provide timely updates, reports and performance metrics
regularly to the Boards.
Community-Building and External Relations
- Work to rebuild trust and lead Newfields’ efforts to engage
with all neighborhoods, communities and constituencies in a more
authentic and meaningful way.
- Serve as the national spokesperson for Newfields. Actively
promote the work of the organization through speaking engagements,
conferences, symposia and all forms of media.
- Cultivate and steward lasting relationships with supporters,
members and friends of Newfields.
- Engage with and steward relationships with year-round docents
and volunteers that bring energy to the museum, garden, park,
collections, programs and seasonal experiences.
- Forge partnerships with a wide range of cultural institutions
and peer organizations locally, regionally and nationally.
Finance and Advancement
- Oversee the financial performance of Newfields. Work with the
Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and direct reports to
develop annual budgets and maintain a sound financial plan for the
entire The CEO is ultimately responsible for Newfields’ fiscal
- Partner with the advancement department to secure funding from
individual, corporate, foundation, government and other
- Lead ongoing relationship-building efforts with donors and
supporters through in- person, phone and/or virtual forms of
- Regularly evaluate and identify new opportunities to diversify
funding (earned and contributed) and assess feasibility to execute
based on organizational capacity.
WHO YOU ARE
Authentic Builder of
Relationships Across Staff, Board and Community
- Culture builder with high emotional intelligence that nurtures
the professional development and training of staff.
- Clear, thoughtful and open communicator across board, staff and
- Inspirational leader who engenders trust and works with staff
to create a positive and transparent culture.
- Empathetic listener.
- Culturally self-aware and humble.
- True collaborator.
- Bridge builder with a high level of intercultural competence
and a deep commitment to connecting with audiences of all ages,
races, cognitive and physical abilities, genders, gender
expressions, gender identities, national origins, sexes, sexual
orientations, socio-economic backgrounds, religions and/or veteran
Champion and Advocate for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and
- Action-oriented and accountable leader with authentic
commitment to anti-racist values and a track record of
operationalizing DEIA values into progressive results.
- Individual with the ability to oversee implementation of DEIA
across 30+. departments as an integral part of the fabric of the
- Confident and courageous voice for DEIA.
- Culturally competent organizer with proficiency in managing
- Continuous learner with a willingness to evolve their approach
and mindset, while taking ownership of mistakes or missteps along
Mission-Driven, Innovative, Agile, Dynamic and Strategic
- Team leader with passion for the arts, nature and the mission
- Demonstrated track record of institutional leadership with an
organization of comparable scope and scale.
- Strategist and strategic planner for a multi-faceted
organization with multiple lines of business.
- Naturally curious and inquisitive thinker.
- Visionary leader within an arts and cultural organization
(museum, botanical garden, zoo, aquarium, historic site and
beyond); nonprofit organization; business; educational institution;
government entity; or related setting.
- Transformative leader with ability to manage through
Leader in Finance, Advancement and Business
- Entrepreneurial team leader with business mindset.
- Savvy budget and financial planner.
- Proven fundraiser with expertise diversifying revenue streams
both contributed (annual giving and capital campaigns) and earned
- Honest and trustworthy person with unquestionable
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER
more than 300 employees, interns, and fellows in a wide range of
positions within various areas including conservation, curatorial,
advancement, education, natural resources and security. The
organization employs full-time, part-time and seasonal personnel
within an inclusive and creative environment.
Newfields is an equal opportunity employer committed to a policy
to recruit, retain and promote without regard to race, ethnicity,
religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy,
national origin, age, veteran status, disability, genetic
information or any other protected category. This commitment
extends to all aspects of employment.
Candidates of all degree and
academic certification levels are welcomed. Candidates with the
requisite professional experiences, skills and values outlined in
this position specification are encouraged to apply.
KORN FERRY CONTACTS
and recommendations may be sent to the Korn Ferry Team at: NewfieldsCEO@kornferry.com