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President & Chief Executive Officer

Indiana, United States
Salary Not specified
Closing date
Jan 21, 2022

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Full Time
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President & Chief Executive Officer 

Position: President & Chief Executive Officer
Organization: Newfields
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 community.

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 communities.
  • Include and Consider- Expand admission and membership policies.
  • 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:

For Newfields, a foundation has been established for continued expansion, innovation, growth, meaningful connection and inclusivity, and the future is bright. 

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 & CEO.

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 leaders:

  • Darrianne Christian, Chair, Board of Trustees – Community Volunteer
  • Katie Betley, Board of Trustees – Philanthropist and Community Leader
  • Otto N. Frenzel, IV, Board of Trustees – Community Volunteer
  • Julie Goodman, Community Leader – President and CEO, Arts Council of Indianapolis
  • Sean Huddleston, Board of Trustees – President, Martin University
  • Michael Kubacki, Board of Trustees – Chairman, Lake City Bank
  • Lily Pai, Chair, Board of Governors – Architect, Lily Pai Designs
  • Christa Thacker, Staff – Director of Board, Donor and Member Relations
  • Jonathan Wright, Staff – The Ruth Lilly Director of The Garden and Fairbanks Park

All inquiries may be directed to the Korn Ferry team at

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 campus.

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’ supporters.
  • 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 Fairbanks Park. 

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 of Art
  • 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 Management

  • 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 and belonging.
  • 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 Newfields.
  • 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 health.
  • Partner with the advancement department to secure funding from individual, corporate, foundation, government and other partners.
  • Lead ongoing relationship-building efforts with donors and supporters through in- person, phone and/or virtual forms of communication.
  • Regularly evaluate and identify new opportunities to diversify funding (earned and contributed) and assess feasibility to execute based on organizational capacity.

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 the community.
  • 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 statuses.

Champion and Advocate for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access (DEIA)

  • 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 institution.
  • Confident and courageous voice for DEIA.
  • Culturally competent organizer with proficiency in managing intercultural conflict.
  • Continuous learner with a willingness to evolve their approach and mindset, while taking ownership of mistakes or missteps along the way. 

Mission-Driven, Innovative, Agile, Dynamic and Strategic Leader

  • Team leader with passion for the arts, nature and the mission of Newfields.
  • 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 change. 

Leader in Finance, Advancement and Business Planning

  • 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 revenue.
  • Honest and trustworthy person with unquestionable integrity.

Newfields has 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.

Inquiries, interest and recommendations may be sent to the Korn Ferry Team at:


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