Mon, Nov 26, 2018

Laura Best LaPorte on the MAH’s planned executive transition in 2019

In mid-2019, Nina Simon will transition out of her role as executive director of the MAH to focus full-time on a new nonprofit initiative to share the MAH’s innovative community model with organizations around the world. The board, led by president Laura Best LaPorte, will work closely with Nina and senior staff to recruit a new executive director to lead this incredible institution after Nina’s departure. This is Laura’s statement about the planned transition.

The MAH is a strong and vibrant institution, welcoming people from all walks of life to gather, learn, have fun, and build bridges across our differences.

As the president of the MAH board, I’ve seen firsthand how our exhibitions, programs, and community partnerships have made a significant positive impact here in Santa Cruz County. I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished under Nina Simon’s leadership. When Nina was hired, the board gave her the mandate to make the MAH a thriving community gathering place. She brought together an extraordinary team of staff, launching new partnerships and creative programs. Through exhibitions and festivals – and the reinvention of Abbott Square – we’ve fulfilled that vision.

Now, we are ready to recruit a new director to lead the next stage of the MAH’s growth. The MAH today is a larger, stronger institution than ever before in its history. We have hundreds of community partners, generous members, and energetic volunteers. We have visionary senior staff–Stacey Marie Garcia, Jonathan Hicken, and Lis DuBois–who lead a diverse, inspired team. There are exciting opportunities ahead for the MAH, like deepening mission delivery in Abbott Square, building new partnerships throughout the region, and sharing our community issue exhibitions (on issues like foster care and senior isolation) statewide. I look forward to working closely with the board, staff, and our treasured community supporters to recruit a new director who can take the MAH to the next level.

We are approaching this transition with care and intention. Over the next six months, we’ll define our expectations for future leadership, recruit extraordinary candidates, and explore future possibilities. The MAH is a participatory community institution, and we intend to invite community input as part of this recruitment process. If you have specific ideas of what you’d like to see in the next MAH director, I hope you’ll share your ideas with myself, Nina, or the chair of the Recruitment Committee, trustee Ken Doctor.

I’ve enjoyed every minute of my work with Nina. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished and excited for the opportunities to come. I hope you will join me in supporting the MAH’s next steps as a vital community institution.

Laura Best LaPorte
President of the Board of Trustees