Nothing can prepare one to be the board chair of a robust regional art museum. There are no “Board Chairs of Small Art Museum for Dummies” guidebooks to grab off the shelf to quickly study up for one of the hardest and most demanding jobs in nonprofit volunteer leadership sector.
Beyond the anticipated tasks of strategic planning, fundraising, and supporting the museum’s director, the chair of a small art museum also many need to oversee the complicated process of accreditation, capital project construction management, and even an international pandemic crisis and its impact.
All the above was part of Cathy McCoy’s portfolio when she became the Chair of the Academy Art Museum board in 2017. Starting with the intensive process of re-accreditation, resuming a capital fundraising campaign, working with a new museum director, overseeing construction of a new courtyard entrance, and last, but hardly least, managing the AAM’s response to COVID-19, all were part of her daily life for the last four years.
A practicing corporate and securities lawyer before retiring to Oxford, with a long tenure at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and then later as a partner at Arnold & Porter, Cathy was not only familiar with working on very complicated issues, she has always welcomed them; even those found at an art museum.
As is the Spy custom for many years, we asked Cathy to participate in our “Exit Interview” format to share her experience in this vital volunteer role. She documents how one of the Eastern Shore’s most important cultural institutions grew under her watch, as well as a few thoughts about its future.
This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about the Academy Art Museum please go here.