Executive Director

Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

Museum Overview

The Betty Brinn Children’s Museum is dedicated to providing hands-on educational experiences that help children build fundamental cognitive, social, emotional and physical skills during their formative years, and to educate adults about the profound influence of early learning on a child’s academic and lifelong success. The Museum is a private, nonprofit organization that opened its doors in 1995, thanks to a grassroots effort begun by three Milwaukee women: Therese Binder, Susie Gruenberg and Julie Sattler-Rosene, determined to create a place where families in southeastern Wisconsin could learn and play together. The Museum is named in honor of Betty Brinn, a successful Milwaukee businesswoman who spent most of her childhood in foster homes and orphanages throughout Wisconsin. As an adult, Betty dedicated her life to helping underrepresented women and children in the Milwaukee area secure health care. Her legacy continues to impact the city of Milwaukee in this treasured educational landmark.

Museum exhibits and programs reflect developmental milestones recognized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, as well as state and national academic standards, and promote school readiness by focusing on early literacy; beginning science, technology, engineering, arts, and math concepts; the development of planning and problem-solving skills; cooperation, self-esteem and self-discipline; and physical coordination. The Museum’s mission is supported by the design of age-appropriate, hands-on exhibits and programs for children, and adult education programs that focus on early childhood brain development, learning styles, parenting skills and how the museum environment can be used to promote a young child’s cognitive, emotional, social and physical growth. The Museum is committed to ensuring access by all children and families in the community and served over 85,000 people in 2018 at reduced fees or for free. The Museum’s Maker Initiatives were established in 2013 to expand the organization’s core learning-by-doing mission to the larger community through year-round maker programs at the Museum, community outreach, the annual presentation of Maker Faire® Milwaukee, and the establishment of its satellite makerspace, Brinn Labs, in 2018.

Position Overview

The Betty Brinn Children’s Museum is seeking a dynamic, visionary leader with a proven track record of success in management to serve as its next Executive Director. The Executive Director will provide leadership, vision and direction for all aspects of the organization to achieve the Museum’s mission and goals. Ideal candidates will have a passion for early childhood education in all its forms, and the Maker movement, with a focus on learning by doing, an appreciation for creativity, and the ability to embody and communicate that passion as a primary ambassador for the Museum in the community.

The Executive Director will serve as the Museum’s primary representative in the media, in fundraising contexts and in community settings. He or she will have a desire and ability to successfully develop relations with the community and diverse constituents, including individuals, corporations, foundations, other nonprofit organizations and more. Working closely with the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will focus on strategic and operational planning for the future. Moreover, the Executive Director will be able to manage the growth and development of the Museum to address the specific and evolving needs of children, families and the greater community. A leadership approach that is as accessible, supportive and empowering is essential, balanced by strong decision-making and results-oriented accountability. We seek a principled leader with a proven successful track record of sound financial administration and strong operations management.

For more information and to learn more, visit bbcmkids.org and brinnlabs.org.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

Strategic Vision and Leadership

  • Collaborate with the Board to refine and implement the Museum’s strategic and annual plan including objectives and strategies with clear performance measures.
  • Ensure that the budget, staff, programs and operations are aligned with the Museum’s core mission.
  • Provide inspirational leadership and direction to all staff; ensure the continued development and management of a professional and efficient organization.
  • Establish effective decision-making and operational processes that will enable the Museum to achieve its long- and short-term goals and objectives.
  • Cultivate a strong and transparent working relationship with the Board and ensure open communication about the measurement of financial, programmatic, and impact performance against stated milestones and goals.

Fiscal Management and Fund Development

  • Develop and execute short and long-term comprehensive fund-raising development plans including for individual major donors, foundations, public sources and new events.
  • Create and maintain effective annual fundraising strategies to meet Museum goals.
  • Establish and oversee financial plan including revenue and expenses to ensure financial integrity, growth, and stability of the organization.
  • Manage annual audits and ensure that Museum stays current with its fiscal reporting responsibilities.
  • Maintain consistent communication with Board Finance Chair and the Board at large on all fiscal developments.
  • Cultivate relationships with (potential) major individual, foundation and corporate donors.
  • Ensure that a flow of diversified funds is received to make continuous progress toward the achievement of the Museum’s mission and, that those funds are allocated properly to reflect present needs and future potential.

Staff Leadership and Operational Planning 

  • Support and promote the Museum’s mission and continue to advance those principles.
  • Lead the staff by setting expectations, being accessible, delegating and empowering.
  • Develop metrics to benchmark organizational health and maintain accountability.
  • Establish a culture of performance excellence and continuous improvement.
  • Demonstrate and lead efforts for diversity and inclusion among staff, partners and suppliers.
  • Oversee sales, visitor experiences and product/exhibit development.
  • Ensure strong management and staff through training and ongoing staff development.
  • Refine, maintain and execute educational philosophy of the Museum.
  • Continue and expand programs to service low income and underserved communities, including those served by social service agencies and people with special needs.
  • Set operational and cultural tone for the organization through demonstrated transparency and communication
  • Oversee the delivery of a superior Museum visitor experience, community outreach efforts and a high-quality revenue generating exhibit for sale and rental program.

Community Relations and Partnerships

  • Create lasting and beneficial partnerships with private and public leaders in the community.
  • Oversee public relations and marketing efforts and events.
  • Professionally and with energy, advocate for, and represent the Museum in the community and with media.
  • Build and sustain strong relationships with key partner constituents in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

Board Relations and Governance

  • Collaborate with Board leadership to develop long term vision, strategy and goals for the Museum.
  • Maintain clear and transparent communication with the Board Chair and Executive Committee.
  • Ensure that the Board of Directors has the necessary information to effectively perform its fiduciary and governance responsibilities.
  • Partner with Board members on donor cultivation and solicitation.
  • Serve as a key liaison between the staff and the Board to ensure that the decisions of the Board are communicated and implemented.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Minimum of a B.A. degree from an accredited university. Advanced degree preferred
  • Prior nonprofit leadership experience preferred; management of a complex program, department and/or organization preferred
  • Familiarity with best practices in early childhood education
  • Substantial board development, fundraising, marketing/branding and fiscal management experience a must
  • Ability to set clear priorities, delegate, and guide investment in people and systems is essential
  • Experience in developing and executing long term and annual plans including objectives, strategies and financial and non-financial measurements
  • Excellent coalition building skills with an ability to communicate and work effectively with a variety of internal and external stakeholders; a persuasive negotiator able to achieve consensus amongst differing opinions
  • Outstanding presentation, writing and communication skills and the experience and proclivity to be an outgoing spokesperson, relationship builder, and fundraiser
  • Strong commitment to the professional development of staff; successful track record of recruiting and retaining a diverse team
  • Proven capacity for leadership, including the ability to effectively assemble and motivate a team of professionals to achieve ambitious and measurable results
  • Proven ability to develop and maintain meaningful relationships with diverse and key stakeholders
  • Experience with a major capital campaign effort is a plus

Instructions for Executive Director Applicants

For full and confidential consideration, please email all items below, combined into one document, to BBCM@leadingtransitions.com no later than 5:00 p.m. CT on Thursday, June 20, 2019:

  1. A letter describing:
  2. Your qualifications for this Executive Director position
  3. Your specific interest in the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum’s mission
  4. Your salary parameters
  • Addressed to Mindy Lubar Price, President & CEO – Leading Transitions
  1. A detailed and updated resume; and
  2. The names of, your relationship to, and contact information for, three professional references.

Please note:

  • References will not be contacted until a candidate has been notif
  • Background and verification checks will subsequently be performed, with candidate permission.
  • All inquiries and interactions with potential candidates are kept in strict confidence.