The Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) is the world’s foremost professional society supporting and advocating on behalf of children’s museums, and those who work at and otherwise sustain them. With the vision of a world that honors all children and respects the diverse ways in which they learn and develop, ACM leverages the collective knowledge of children’s museums through convening, sharing, and dissemination. ACM is committed to serving all children and families by cultivating spaces that stimulate curiosity, motivate learning, and model empathy and justice.
ACM supports children’s museums in developing rich environments that stimulate children’s natural playfulness and creativity. With nearly 500 members in all 50 states and in 19 countries, ACM champions children’s museums and those they serve. As a global leader, advocate for children, and resource for the children’s museum field, ACM and our member organizations strive to build a better world for children. Started in 1962, ACM is celebrating its 60th Anniversary this year, marking six decades of leadership and impactful service.
We champion children’s museums and together enrich the lives of children worldwide.
A world that prioritizes the rights of all children to playful learning and a healthy, safe, and equitable future.
ABOUT CHILDREN’S MUSEUMS
A children’s museum is defined as a nonprofit educational and cultural institution committed to serving the needs and interests of children by providing exhibits and programs that stimulate curiosity and motivate learning. Children’s museums offer an educational experience that cannot always be found in a classroom—experiential, immersive, memorable, hands-on learning through play.
More than 31 million individuals visit a children’s museum every year. Children’s museums are connected by their audience—children and families—and provide a unique space to reach a child with their family. Children’s museums support the physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development of children while also supporting the caregivers who accompany them.
Children’s museums are unique community institutions that recognize that play is learning; all children have the right to developmentally appropriate and high-quality learning experiences; family, culture, environment, and society are recognized as critical factors in all children’s lives to effectively serve them; and pursuing equity and inclusion is a best practice.
While every children’s museum is unique, all children’s museums—regardless of size—function as local destinations (featuring designed spaces such as exhibits), educational laboratories (via programming), and act as community resources and advocates for children.
ACM’s Chief of Staff will support ACM leadership in ACM’s core business, staff-management, and board-relations processes. The Chief of Staff reports to ACM’s Executive Director (ED) as a member of ACM’s leadership team.
SCOPE AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The Chief of Staff supports the functioning of core organization-wide business and governance functions, working closely with ACM’s ED, Board of Directors, various Board committees, Finance and Administration, and all ACM staff. The role requires an experienced people and project manager who brings operational excellence to bear in designing and implementing processes that support the ED, ACM staff, and the Board of Directors in executing ACM’s mission and priorities effectively and efficiently. In addition to being a confident, enthusiastic, and collegial leader with an eye for detail and strong problem-solving instincts, the Chief of Staff should be enthusiastic about ACM’s mission, committed to delivering exceptional value to ACM’s members, and motivated by the importance of early learning, and learning through play in informal learning environments, like children’s museums.
The Chief of Staff will function as an advisor and thought partner to the ED and will lead work in each of the areas described below, among other work as assigned. The Chief of Staff is a member of the ACM Leadership Team and has the signature authority delegated by the Executive Director.
Organization-Wide Staff and Project Management (30%)
Work with all staff, in collaboration with the Leadership Team, to ensure that projects are on schedule and in a timely manner, communication across teams is clear and frequent, and communication with the ED is targeted, intentional, and useful for all parties.
Support the leadership team in their own effective team management, leadership, and approach to projects.
Manage the annual performance planning process for the organization.
Work with the team planning Interactivity to ensure that it effectively harnesses the contributions of all ACM staff members to implement a successful Annual Conference. Also work with the ED to identify and invite plenary speakers and organize plenary sessions along with the Senior Director of Professional Development.
Attend and convene internal and external meetings as a proxy for the ED, as appropriate.
At the direction of the ED, manage special projects and programs that support ACM’s strategic plan and focus, in close coordination with Leadership Team members, as appropriate.
Organizational Operations (20%)
Support the ED, and ACM’s Senior Director of Finance and Administration on the design, adoption, and regular review of various business processes, policies, and procedures.
Working with Leadership Team members, update/establish and maintain a filing and records system for the Office of the ED and general office processes.
Provide logistical support in organizing occasional events, workshops, and convenings that are led by the ED or the Board of Directors, with support of the Senior Manager, Professional Development, and the Director of Communications.
Partner with the Senior Director of Finance and Administration, ED’s Executive Assistant, Office Manager, Director of Communications, and others in developing and maintaining the organization’s overall calendar of activities and scheduling processes in the context of the ED’s schedule, travel, and priorities.
Organize staff activities and retreats, and work with ACM staff to coordinate periodic recognition and appreciation events for colleagues.
Collaborate with Senior Director of Finance and Administration and ED to support the annual budgeting and reforecasting process; this can include working with project teams to build out their program budgets.
Work with the Senior Director of Finance and Administration—and seek input from ACM leadership team and staff—for new or updated coordination tools, collaboration software, staff interactions, and other processes and approaches for improving staff coordination, teamwork, and internal communications.
Support for the ED (20%)
Support the ED in the strategic prioritization and policy-setting for the work of the association as a whole; this includes anticipating problems, navigating sensitive situations, and pointing out potential blind spots to the ED.
With support from the Office Manager and the Executive Assistant—who manages the immediate scheduling meetings and events for the ED—review the ED’s calendar to ensure strategic time allocation. Field issues and requests from ACM staff for ED’s time, attention, input, or approval, working to ensure urgent matters receive a timely response.
Help to prepare the ED for meetings and events and implement a process across ACM staff for the production and review of briefing materials.
With support from the Executive Assistant, arrange detailed domestic and international travel plans, itineraries, and agendas on behalf of the ED. Occasionally accompany the ED on selected trips to provide staff support.
Compose and prepare outgoing correspondence on behalf of the ED, as requested.
Prepare agendas, coordinate preparatory materials, facilitate, and record outcomes and action items from various meetings on behalf of the ED, including regular discussions among ACM’s leadership team and staff.
Board Relations (15%)
Manage the calendar of ACM’s Board of Directors and committee meetings, in coordination with staff liaisons to committees and with Board members and their scheduling staff.
For the Board of Directors, Executive, Finance, Governance and Nominating Committees, and, if convened, other short-term task forces, work with appropriate staff liaisons to organize and attend meetings (in-person and/or via teleconference or videoconference), prepare agendas, coordinate, and assemble briefing materials, record minutes, and maintain a digital filing system of Board and committee materials and actions.
Work with the staff liaisons for each of ACM’s ad hoc committees to ensure consistency and coordination of process, charters, agendas, and work plans across the committees and between committees and the Board.
Track board and committee membership to support the ED and Board President in engaging participation reflective of the diversity of ACM’s members. Update internal and public-facing membership and contact lists for Board of Directors and all committees, with support from the Director of Communications.
Liaise with the ED, Board President, and Nominating Committee on new board member research, recruitment, orientation, and retention. With the Nominating Committee, support the annual election of officers and members of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee.
Liaise with Board President’s staff to prepare his/her itinerary and briefing materials for activities with ACM.
Develop positive relationships with members of the Board of Directors—a diverse and international group of senior executives in the children’s museum field—and their staff; answer or field incoming questions and correspondence from board members and their staff; and coordinate opportunities for the ED and the ACM leadership team to engage personally with board members on a regular basis.
Support annual board self-assessment process and annual conflict of interest declaration process; and assist the ED and Board President in setting and tracking an updated Board Pledge and Commitment Checklist (in collaboration with Development) and individual action plans for each member of ACM’s Board of Directors, as appropriate.
Manage Consultants and Temporary Staff (10%)
The Chief of Staff will manage selected consultants and temporary staff, as needed. Specifically, the Chief of Staff will:
Manage selected consultants and the project budgets associated with their work, including by participating in annual operations planning and budgeting processes and engaging in a monthly review of budget performance against revenue and expense targets.
As directed by the ED, manage temporary staff who are hired to priority projects that are led by the ED.
Responsibilities Shared by All ACM Leadership-Team Members (5%)
As a member of ACM’s leadership team, the Chief of Staff will:
Advance ACM’s new strategic plan by working as part of ACM’s leadership team to implement and refine a realistic and forward-thinking plan for implementing that vision and working with ACM staff to help make that vision and work plan a reality.
Contribute to the development and use of efficient processes, effective management practices, and clear communications across the organization to ensure that day-to-day operations are performed with the highest levels of accountability, productivity, consistency, and integrity.
Share responsibility and accountability for member engagement, satisfaction, and retention.
Attend, provide staff support for, and contribute to the success of ACM’s Annual Conference—InterActivity.
Attend professional meetings and conferences as assigned to promote ACM collaborations, programs, and activities.
Other duties as assigned.
EXPERIENCE AND SKILLS REQUIRED
The Chief of Staff will have a clear record of achievement in operations and administration, and will be driven by ACM’s mission, values, and a commitment to leading positive social change in service of children’s museums, children, and families. This candidate will be an experienced administrator or operations professional with a high degree of energy, attention to detail, integrity, and trustworthiness, as well as the analytical, organizational, and interpersonal qualities to earn respect and cooperation from ACM’s staff, board, members, partners, vendors, and contractors. The ideal candidate will thrive when working and communicating with a diverse team and a wide range of external stakeholders—and will excel at making teams more effective, efficient, and collaborative.
Desired experience and attributes include:
Bachelor’s degree, Master’s level preferred.
At least five years of nonprofit or corporate experience strongly preferred.
Established, demonstrated, and verifiable record of success in providing excellent administrative, operational, and advisory support for one or more senior executives through calendar management, preparation of briefing materials, prioritization of incoming requests, correspondence, complex travel arrangements, strategic and tactical advice, process facilitation, and relationship management.
Effective orchestration of the logistical aspects of executive-level meetings and larger convenings, development of agendas, and coordination of informative briefing materials and meeting collateral.
Experience designing and implementing internal communication and collaboration processes and tools that support efficient and effective teamwork and ongoing organizational development.
Empathy and Humility:Care deeply about helping others, putting the team first, and is motivated to improve their own leadership by doing so.
Outcomes Orientation:When faced with a new problem, has a bias for action. Enjoys getting to an initial hypothesis quickly with limited data and building a plan to test and improve hypotheses with a path to quickly running experiments to gather more information.
Intellectual Curiosity:Is a fast learner who enjoys taking on new problems they have not yet encountered and is able to drive to initial hypotheses quickly. Is resourceful in getting data and enjoys working with others to identify where to go to gather data and propose initial recommendations.
Analytical Rigor:Takes a fact-based, hypothesis-driven approach to new problems and can add structure to a previously open-ended problem, then drive to a solution by leveraging facts and numbers as evidence.
Strong Communication: Is adept at communicating across and collecting information from different parts of the organization. Is comfortable presenting recommendations, a solution, and next steps to a management team. Strong writing and communication skills that are effective with a range of audiences and stakeholder groups nationally and globally.
Candidates for the role will benefit from, but not be required to have, experience liaising with a governing board, executive-level stakeholders, and experts, such as in the context of a membership organization or similar large organization with diverse stakeholder interests.
In an increasingly complex world, children’s museums provide a place where all kids can learn through play and exploration with the caring adults in their lives. There are approximately 400 children’s museums around the world, which annually reach more than 31 million visitors. ACM provides leadership, professional development, advocacy and resources for its member organizations and individuals.