Since its founding in 1980, MOCA has celebrated the living history of the Chinese experience in America by preserving and presenting the 250-year history, heritage, culture, and diverse experiences of American communities of Chinese descent. Founded as a community-based organization, MOCA has, over a period of four decades, maintained its community centrality while gaining a national following of visitors and members. The museum strives to be responsive to the moment, spotlight politically conscious issues, and provide a platform for open dialogue and dynamic programs. MOCA contributes to a fuller and more nuanced and layered American narrative in highlighting the stories of this immigrant community.
Visitors experience MOCA’s pertinent yet under-told history and content through the curation of seasonal exhibitions; the documentation and collection of the largest research center of Chinese American artifacts in the United States; the production of public programs featuring the stories of Chinese and Asian American milestones, challenges, achievements, and community activism; the organization of a roster of educational initiatives for people of all demographic groups.
Ultimately, MOCA connects the past with the present and the future, bringing together the Chinese American community with the diaspora and people from all walks of life. MOCA envisions its visitors re-entering the world as moral advocates, active historians, and community stewards.MOCA was selected as one of 20 of America’s Cultural Treasures in 2021 by a consortium of leading foundations.
Located at 215 Centre Street, MOCA is currently engaged in a $128 million Capital Campaign for a Home. In the wake of a three-story, five-alarm fire in January 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic, and increased anti-Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI)bigotry, an updated and expanded national Museum of Chinese in America will make a defiant and celebratory statement in the fight against anti-AAPI discrimination and ensure the museum’s sustainability within the New York cultural landscape.
Uniting the visionary designs of artist and architect, Maya Lin, with the cutting-edge innovation of Ralph Applebaum Associates, the new facility will replace MOCA’s current home and expand its current footprint from 12,000 square feet to more than 68,000 square feet. The building will feature a center for research and genealogy, a theater, classrooms, a cooking demonstration kitchen, exhibit space, a canteen, and outdoor gathering spaces. The new space, expected to open in 2026, will offer visitors a welcoming place for research, exploration, education, creation, and gathering.
The Museum of Chinese in America is governed by a 17-member Board of Trustees and has an annual budget of approximately $3.5 million, which will expand as MOCA embarks on its current expansion plans. MOCA is managed by a staff of 11 full-time and six part-time employees.
For more information on MOCA, please visit: https://www.mocanyc.org
Reporting to MOCA’s Board of Trustees, the President will provide leadership, creativity, management, and strategic direction for the museum and pursue a clear and impactful vision for the organization going forward.
The President will champion the museum’s ambitious capital campaign and expansion efforts, and deftly navigate this critical inflection point in the history of the museum. The President will inspire and engage Board and staff, community, and other stakeholders, and bring to scale strategic ambitions and priorities essential to MOCA’s health, vitality, and financial wellbeing.
The President will assume a highly visible external role as chief spokesperson, storyteller, and fundraiser to build awareness and support for the museum, secure the funds necessary to complete the capital campaign, and strengthen the organization’s impact locally and nationally.
Responsible for the programmatic direction of the museum, the President will give emphasis to the development of interesting and unique approaches to telling stories of the Chinese diaspora and sharing these experiences and the richness and diversity of Chinese in America with new audiences. Additionally, the President will be a stalwart figure in the fight against anti-Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI)bigotry.
While embracing the museum’s current sense of place, this person will build and secure a management team, create and implement new business plans and strategies designed to heighten MOCA’s visibility, generate enthusiasm, and attract the broadest range of support.
PRIORITIES AND ONGOING RESPONSIBILITIES
It is expected that the President will be an inspiring yet pragmatic leader who will embrace the power of storytelling, and give priority to the following:
- Thoroughly understand MOCA’s history, culture, mission, programs, operations, and constituents; understand its base of support and its potential, both as a cultural treasure and a world class tourist destination; quickly become familiar with its finances, fundraising efforts, policies, and other critically substantive issues.
- Take ownership of the museum’s strategic planning and direction; prioritize and create measurable steps to achieve its objectives, particularly those that relate to MOCA’s ambitious expansion plans; quickly grasp the numbers and scale of the build-out, and work closely with the architecture and construction teams, exhibition design and planning, and with New York City officials and agencies as appropriate.
- Take the lead in MOCA’s Capital Campaign for a Home; build on the momentum of the campaign to generate increased interest and support and move it to completion; take a significant and active role in the cultivation of major donors; develop key relationships with MOCA’s individual, corporate, government, and foundation supporters; increase museum membership.
- Forge strong and sustainable working relationships with the Board of Trustees; understand their strengths and capabilities and bring forth their best ideas, efforts, resources, and contacts; ensure that the Board receives timely and clear information; continue to diversify and attract new members to the Board.
- Steward and create new and enduring partnerships within the community; build bridges and seize opportunities for fence mending as appropriate; enhance and position MOCA as an integral participant and partner within the greater New York City cultural landscape; underscore through cross-sector engagement and programming the museum’s role as a collegial partner to other institutions across the city.
- Supervise, support, build, and retain a highly qualified and motivated professional staff; support and maintain a collegial environment and delegate appropriate responsibility; ensure administrative policies and procedures are timely and up to date; champion policies, procedures, and hiring efforts which reflect MOCA’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Ensure the short- and long-term financial stability of the museum; provide overarching budgetary guidance and transparency; build MOCA’s capacity; professionalize and strengthen internal processes and systems and demonstrate the business acumen necessary to ensure its ongoing success.
- Leading up to the new museum’s groundbreaking and building phase, develop and solidify plans for temporary programming (i.e., pop-ups and partnerships) and office space; maintain MOCA’s relevance during this transition.
IDEAL EXPERIENCE AND PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS
- The ideal candidate will have an entrepreneurial and creative spirit, a demonstrable passion for history and culture and the role museums can play in contemporary society, as well as the following experience and qualifications:
- A seasoned executive with prior leadership experience in a well-regarded museum or other cultural institution is ideal, or in a nonprofit organization of similar scope, and/or from the for-profit sector, preferably with experience in a public-serving institution; experience leading, coordinating, and aligning strategic plans with organizational capacity and fiscal resources, with a record of achievement in bringing about change in exciting and creative ways.
- Proven senior-level planning and problem-solving capability, with project management skills applicable to MOCA’s expansion efforts, and the requisite significant financial, administrative, and day-to-day operating responsibility.
- Enthusiasm for fundraising with experience in the execution of a successful capital campaign is desirable; a track record of success in identifying, cultivating, and soliciting major donors, foundation grants, and corporate sponsorships, and generating other sources of revenue.
- A commitment to advancing educational, inspirational, and thought-provoking exhibitions, storytelling, and programming that attracts and engages a diverse range of patrons and instills a sense of pride among Chinese American community members, both locally and beyond.
- Financial acumen commensurate with running an institution the size and stature of MOCA; able to develop and manage the budget of a complex nonprofit institution; interpret and articulate financial statements and financial performance.
- Conversant in the use of technology and digital media in promoting an institution, reaching audiences, and creating innovative and engaging exhibitions and programs; meaningful experience in overseeing effective information technology plans and programs.
- Superior communication, writing, and presentation skills that are effective with a range of audiences, including MOCA members, volunteers, staff, business and community leaders, the media, and the general public.
- An advanced degree in an appropriate discipline is preferred; professional experience in a historic, cultural, or academic environment is a decided plus; knowledge of AAM standards and practices desired.
The ideal candidate will also be:
- A creative and collaborative leader; a team builder committed to MOCA’s role and mission; rooted in the community; willing to engage, be highly visible within, and actively participate in the cultural and civic life of Chinatown, the city of New York, and beyond.
- Persuasive and resourceful, entrepreneurial, and charismatic; able to generate enthusiasm, motivate and direct others; able to delegate, negotiate, handle, and prioritize multiple activities and responsibilities with clarity and confidence.
- Intellectually curious, levelheaded, organizationally and politically savvy and sensitive, with an ability to pick up on cultural cues; a sense of urgency and resourcefulness necessary to gain the support and confidence of the MOCA community, internally and externally, in all functions and at all levels.
- Demonstrated understanding of and commitment to the values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access; commitment to mentoring and empowering a dedicated, collegial, and diverse staff.
- Mature, with good judgment and a sense of humor to maintain perspective and balance.
The salary range for this position is estimated at $275,000 to $325,000.
MOCA is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy (including childbirth or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, genetic information, military or veteran status, citizenship, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local law.
Applications, including cover letters and resumes, or nominations should be sent to G. Angela Henry and Susan Gluck Pappajohn at MOCA@PhillipsOppenheim.com.