The Children’s Museum in Easton (CME) is a much-loved treasure in southeastern Massachusetts. Since its founding in 1986, CME has provided creative hands-on learning experiences to young children and their families both at the museum itself and through the programs that it offers to schools, shelters, and other sites throughout the region.
The Children’s Museum in Easton has strong roots in the community and a stellar reputation, known for providing innovative and high-quality programs and hands-on exhibits to generations of families throughout the southeastern region of Massachusetts. With its founding executive director retiring after a 25-year tenure, the Board of Directors of the Children’s Museum in Easton seeks an executive director with a passion for children and their learning, and the experience and skills to lead the organization into the next phase of its important work. The Children’s Museum in Easton offers candidates the joy of working with children and an opportunity to be creative and innovative in leading this well-established and highly-regarded organization into the next phase of its important work.
Overview of the Organization and Programs
The mission of the Children’s Museum in Easton is to help children and families become life-long learners, using hands-on experience as the key to stimulating curiosity and motivating learning. Central to this mission is an underlying philosophy that every effort is made to assure that the organization’s programs and activities are available to ALL children, regardless of means.
The Children’s Museum in Easton is a nonprofit organization located in an historic three-story firehouse building in the heart of Easton’s historic downtown district. The organization’s hands-on, experiential permanent exhibits include a creatively-designed and nationally-certified outdoor play-scape — The Wild Place — and it offers a range of programs, including family-oriented special events, art, science and music classes, sleepovers, birthday parties, babysitting training for teens and pre-teens, and special museum days exclusive to families with children on the Autism Spectrum. Throughout the year, CME offers a diverse array of weekly events, along with activities based on a weekly theme, and also hosts field trips from schools throughout the region. CME has developed a focus on STEM programming, with museum exhibits and its Science on the Go! traveling enrichment programs that are offered to schools throughout southeastern Massachusetts, including those with majority low-income children. CME also holds two signature events — A Night at the Brewseum (a craft beer fundraiser) and the Father’s Day Road Race — that have become well-loved annual happenings in the community.
CME is governed by a 14-member board of directors comprised of leaders from Easton and surrounding towns who represent the fields of education, legal services, financial services, banking, engineering, speech pathology, and biotechnology. It also has a board of advisors that engages leaders from around the region. The organization is financially stable; its FY budget is just under $600,000; it owns the firehouse building in which it is housed, and has revenue streams from grants, corporate sponsors, events, program fees, family memberships, admissions and individual contributions. CME currently employs four full-time and three part-time permanent staff, as well as a number of seasonal staff who are employed during peak times of the year — primarily summer — as well as interns drawn from nearby colleges and universities.
Strategic Opportunities and Challenges
The Children’s Museum in Easton faces a pivotal opportunity as it embarks on this transition. The founding executive director built a strong foundation of financial stability, a stellar reputation, a network of strong relationships in the community, and a complement of outstanding programs and exhibits that impact the growth and learning of thousands of children each year.
The next leader can pick up the reins to further enhance what CME does well, while guiding the organization toward thoughtful innovation that will support and sustain its well-earned reputation for excellence. The next Executive Director of the Children’s Museum in Easton will have opportunities in the following areas:
Leadership and Outreach:
- Lead the transition from a dedicated founder-led operation by continuing to foster and retain relationships and build new partnerships with key contacts in human services, education and community affairs both in Easton and the region. Work collaboratively with the board of directors to set a strategic direction that responds to the changing landscape, strengthen the organization’s mission impact, and ensure sustainable growth in the coming years.
- Continue to grow the CME’s funding base to support the organizatoin’s ongoing sustainability and planned growth in pursuance of ever-more mission impact.
Marketing and Messaging:
- Enhance marketing and core messaging to increase CME’s visibility and public awareness with a targeted focus on access for children of lower income families and an eye to diversity and equal access. Accomplish this by applying innovative initiatives and strategies that encourage children and parental participation.
Staffing and Culture:
- Assess staff skill sets to determine needs and abilities of current and future employees. Develop and execute a plan for structuring the organization to fully leverage employees’ skillsets. Establish and maintain a workplace environment culture that supports the success of the mission.
- Develop and enhance the current STEM activities by identifying the more successful programs currently offered at CME and expand into new and innovative programs that focus on the inclusion of children who have limited or no access to these programs.
- Facilitate building a robust board of directors with an eye to member engagement. Develop a stronger governance model in which all involved understand and fulfill board responsibilities and expectations.
Profile of the Ideal Candidate
The next Executive Director of the Children’s Museum in Easton will be able to lead the organization in innovative directions while holding true to its core purpose of providing creative, hands-on learning experiences to young children of all backgrounds and abilities. This position requires a leader with high emotional intelligence, a relationship-builder who can easily and genuinely connect with people and is astute at building strategic partnerships.
Bachelor’s degree required; Advanced degree preferred.
Skills, Experience and Attributes
Passionate advocate for the mission
The ideal candidate will have demonstrated passion for creating rich learning experiences for children in his/her/their personal and professional history and be able to translate that passion into an articulate and compelling story.
Experienced nonprofit or business manager
The ideal candidate will have significant professional experience in supervising and managing staff, budgeting for strategic financial management, and efficiently aligning and maximizing resources.
Demonstrated success in raising funds
The ideal candidate will have demonstrated success in fund development. The candidate will be experienced in growing revenue from individual and corporate donors, and be skillful in securing foundation grant-funding.
Exceptional communication skills
The ideal candidate will be able to passionately articulate the organization’s mission and deliver compelling presentations to public and private audiences. The candidate will also have strong writing skills and be skillful in telling stories as a powerful tool to attract donors and engage the community.
A thoughtful visionary and creative entrepreneur
The ideal candidate is skilled in setting strategic direction and holding a vision while being able to identify and respond quickly and creatively to growth opportunities. The candidate will continually scan the environment for key trends and new opportunities, can leverage opportunities, and has an innovative approach to solving problems and overcoming challenges.
Astute networker and collaborator
The ideal candidate will have a proven track record of building and maintaining strong relationships with people of influence in the nonprofit, corporate, and education arenas, as well as the ability to build effective collaboration among these various groups.
Keen emotional intelligence
The ideal candidate will have keen listening skills, empathy, self-awareness and the ability to connect with people of different styles, professional levels and backgrounds, as well as encourage those traits in CME’sstaff.
The ideal candidate will be able to inspire, develop and empower staff and create a productive team-based culture that welcomes inclusion and diversity. S/he/they will be able to build and maintain a climate of trust and respect where each worker feels appreciated for his/her/their strengths and contributions. The ideal candidate will embrace a learning environment.
Experience working with boards of directors
The ideal candidate will be skilled in working effectively in partnership with a board of directors to carry out the mission of the organization and in setting strategic direction.
Strong social media and information technology skills
The ideal candidate will have strong skills in utilizing social media, information technology and internet-based consumer/constituent messaging.
Candidate Guidelines and Additional Information
This search is being conducted by TSNE MissionWorks' Consulting and Executive Transitions Program with Transition Consultant Catherine Bradshaw. All submissions are confidential. Interested candidates should submit materials to:
Electronic submissions sent via this link are preferred.
Please include a resume and a cover letter with salary requirements, information regarding how you learned of the position, and a description of how your qualifications and experience match CME’s needs. All submissions will be acknowledged. Submissions of candidacy will be accepted until the position is filled. Salary is commensurate with experience, within the framework of the organization’s annual operating budget.
The Children’s Museum in Easton is actively seeking to build a diverse and experienced team and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, handicap, age, religion, sexual orientation, or national or ethnic origin. CME is an equal opportunity employer.