Leadership

The National Emerging Museum Professional Network is comprised of a Board of Directors, Committees, and Chapters.

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Board of Directors

NEMPN is managed by a Board of Directors. The Board consists of a President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Communications Director, Resources Director, and six Regional Directors. The Board meets monthly and holds a communal town hall at least twice annually.

Committees

NEMPN committees support NEMPNs initiatives and operations. Any NEMPN member may apply to sit on a committee. Committees are led by an NEMPN Board member.

Chapters

NEMPN members are encouraged to join an EMP Chapter. Chapters have their own governing body, but work with NEMPN through a Regional Director.  Chapters may be regional or networking-focused, professional development-focused, multipurpose and/or virtual. More about chapters can be found on Find a Chapter.


Current Board Members (2020-2021)

Sierra Polisar
Sierra Polisar, Co-President president@nationalempnetwork.org

Where I live: Nola baby!
What I’m drinking: Campari spritz on my porch
My cat’s name: Morris Bart! One call that’s meow!
What hypes me up: Opening my CSA box, Dipping my toes into the river/lake/ocean/pool, Peach cobbler, Rearranging my bookshelf, Mudlarking, Spa, World Parades
Nicknames: Si PoPo (please don’t call me that)
Favorite Museum: The Wellcome Collection and, not a museum, but the gift shop at the Visionary Art Museum
Industry pet peeve: Hiring folks as contractors instead of staff so museum’s don’t have to offer them benefits
Museum specialties: collections management, inventory, install, Newcomb Pottery
Ask me about: my new house!
I can’t live without my: cast iron pan.

Sierra Van Ryck deGroot
Sierra Van Ryck deGroot, Co-President
president@nationalempnetwork.org

Where I live:  Dirty Jerz (also known as New Jersey or the Garden State)
What I’m drinking:  Most likely a beer – love a sour
My cat’s name:  I don’t have a cat, but shout out to my god-cat (it’s like a godchild, but a cat!), Odin
What hypes me up: A well curated Spotify playlist, Talking about design, Good coffee , Dig Inn, The fleeting moments that I work out and feel #healthy after
Nicknames:  I don’t have any, but I will tell you to never call me Sisi
Favorite Museum: Art Gallery of Ontario. I literally always find myself there whenever I am in Toronto.
Industry pet peeve:  PAY YOUR INTERNS. It doesn’t matter if they are paying for college credit to get an expensive piece of paper. Pay them and pay them a living wage. But also, pay your staff a respectable wage as well. All of them.
Museum specialties: Internships , Informal Education, Programming Cheerleader, Paying people
Ask me about:  the real Jersey Shore, where to find the best apple cider donuts, scheduling sad boi time professionally
I can’t live without my:  Apple products. I am too tethered now. I can’t escape.

Chloe Doucette
Chloe Doucette, Treasurer
treasurer@nationalempnetwork.org

Where I live: A place called Idaho Falls thanks to some clever/shady canal developers. There’s a river here, but the falls are man-made.
What I’m drinking: Raspberry Sour Crush by 10 Barrel Brewing, or Scotch Ale from Idaho Brewing Co.
My cat’s name: Get ready to cry- my cat’s name was Lilly. She was black with a white spot on her chest and meowed SO LOUDLY ALL THE TIME. She honestly had a bigger vocabulary than I do, and she was tolerant of every little hand that wanted to love on her. She died last year. We buried her under a lilac bush and planted Lily of the Valley around her grave. 🙁 Now I have a dog named Fella. I love him.
What hypes me up: Learning about weird things and sharing those stories with other people, Playing the bass in a two-man band with my brother, Being outside with people I love, HALLOWEEN and horrible B-movies, Sharpies, Local politics, Delicious vegetarian options at a restaurant, My daughter doing something she thinks is awesome and then saying “Let’s show dad, he’s gonna FREAK. OUT.”, My husband FREAKING. OUT.
Nicknames: Chlo, CoCo, Chloe Malone- Private Eye
Favorite Museum: Besides the Museum of Idaho where I work, a couple of shout outs- North Carolina Museum of Art, Natural History Museum of Utah, and Cassia Historical Society Museum (because they have a Pullman train car which used to house the purported mummified corpse of John Wilkes Booth.)
Industry pet peeve: Feeling internal or external pressure to settle for less/ bite your tongue because museum work is your “passion”.
Museum specialties: Educational programs of all kinds and for all age groups, research and exhibit development, recognizing the incredible effort and expertise of my colleagues
Ask me about:  The incredibly compelling, ungrateful asshole, Truman Everts- a man who barely survived in the wilderness of Yellowstone for 37 days in 1870.
I can’t live without my: scrunchie, Thermos, and a variety of statement earrings

Laura Santoyo
Laura Santoyo, Secretary
secretary@nationalempnetwork.org

Where I live: Aurora, Illinois (yes, that place from Wayne’s World)
What I’m drinking: Probably wine, though I also enjoy peanut butter whiskey and apple martinis
My cat’s name: Guinness
What hypes me up: The Office, anything Harry Potter related, owls, any time I get to bring up museums in everyday conversation, baking, feminism, museum collections, a new restaurant or food dish, a cute new skirt, pair of shoes, or pair of earrings, anything that has to do with fall or Halloween
Nicknames: Laurito Burrito, also “Lizbeth” – there’s a story behind this one
Favorite Museum: How can you decide?! Colonial Williamsburg comes to mind…but probably only because I grew up around there and it holds some nostalgia for me.
Industry pet peeve: “But we’ve always done things this way”
Museum specialties: collections management, registration, mount making, pest management, social media management
Ask me about: why self-care is important
I can’t live without my: caffeine or my phone

Amina Chergui
Amina Chergui, Director of Resources
resources@nationalempnetwork.org

Where I live: On the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, known as Vancouver, Canada.
What I’m drinking: Cold brew coffee, always, all seasons
My cat’s name: Don’t have one at the moment, but hoping to soon (RIP Jade)
What hypes me up: Learning + questioning, Imagining a decolonized, equitable world for all, Art, history, science, culture, and especially where they intersect, A good storyA drag show!
Nicknames: I have a few, but only my parents get to call me them! One of my favourite means ‘bug-eyed’ in the Kabyle language.
Favorite Museum: Museum of Anthropology at UBC (even before I worked there)
Industry pet peeve: white supremacy culture in our workplaces and neoliberal labour practices (maybe more than pet peeves)
Museum specialties: Museum education, especially with children and youth audiences
Ask me about: what birds I saw today
I can’t live without my:  family (by birth + chosen)

Emily Esten
Emily Esten, Director of Communications
communications@nationalempnetwork.org

Where I live:[hot as hell in] Philadelphia
What I’m drinking: wooder ice
My cat’s name: I unfortunately do not have a cat but I do cohabitate with two cats, Sammy and Boo.
What hypes me up: Public art/Street art/Muralism, a night at the theatre, a new running route, a dress with pockets, exploring used bookstores (shout out to my neighborhood favorite!), Pop culture analysis
Nicknames:  currently nickname-less! Previous nicknames have revolved around the assonance of my repeated E initials.
Favorite Museum: from smallest to largest: Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space, Eastern State Penitentiary, RISD Museum (so many memories!), Balboa Park
Industry pet peeve: “Can you build an app? Can you build [x] asap?” Can we build digital literacy within our organizations and get collaborators involved at the formative stages of our projects to holistically support visitors/visitor experiences?
Museum specialties: Project Management, Digital Content Strategy & Engagement, GLAMs broadly (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums)
Ask me about: which theatre cast recording you should be listening to
I can’t live without my:  graph-ruled notebooks (better for notes & for doodles!)

Kelsey Brow
Kelsey Brow, Regional Director-Northeast
northeast@nationalempnetwork.org

Where I live: QUEENS GET THE MONEY
What I’m drinking: Something that tastes like plants, with gin and egg whites
My cat’s name: Mary Alsop King
What hypes me up: Historic patterns of consumption, Heavy Metal, Brutalist concrete architecture and 1920s prefab concrete garages, Cutting out a new sewing project, Old book smell
Nicknames: History Buff (bro, do you even lift?)
Favorite Museum: Musée Gustave Moreau
Industry pet peeve: funders who pay for consultants or assessments but refuse to pay staff salaries so the plans can never become reality
Museum specialties: Writing, Creative Problem Solving, Historic House Museums/ Small Museums
Ask me about: The time I saved an airplane
I can’t live without my: 24-hour planner

Cassandra Cavness
Cassandra Cavness, Regional Director-Southeast
southeast@nationalempnetwork.org

Where I live: (Sweet Home) Alabama (I know you all just sang that in your head!)
What I’m drinking: Carbonated flavored water, preferably peach
My cat’s name: No cat here. (I think I’m breaking an unspoken Board rule by not liking cats. SHHH!) My dog’s name is Dax.
What hypes me up: Comedy (Bill Burr is my hero!), Cheesy romantic movies, Anything Lin-Manuel Miranda creates (He is LEGIT a genius), Listening to explicit songs on the radio because the edited versions are usually hilarious
Nicknames: CeCe, Cassi, Cass, Miss Cass a Frass
Favorite Museum: The Legacy Museum #Truth
Industry pet peeve:  The pay. When I look at job descriptions I often think “You want how many years of experience and what type of education for THAT amount of money?! Uh…No. Bye Felicia!” I know it’s not all about the money, but let’s be real- it’s a little bit about the money. (Insert Jerry Maguire reference here 😜)
Museum specialties: Grant Writing, Strategic Planning, Project Management, Community Engagement
Ask me about: working with Olympic athletes
I can’t live without my: fiance and kids

Dianne Choie
Dianne Choie, Regional Director-Midwest
midwest@nationalempnetwork.org

Where I live: Brew City/Cream City/Home of the Bronze Fonz, Milwaukee
What I’m drinking: Cola Cola (Classic only, thank you)
My cat’s name: Reggie and Oliver, and my stepcat is Magritte
What hypes me up:  baby animals, children being super weird, bright colors, amazing and inspiring women doing amazing and inspiring things, clothing with fun patterns, especially when it’s a secret pattern in the jacket lining, GOING TO MUSEUMS, seriously.
Nicknames: My sister calls me “Di,” but it’s always awkward when she’s calling out to me in public.
Favorite Museum: Sorry I have to do this superlatives-style: Best Medical Oddities (this is my favorite category): Mutter Museum in Philly | Best Private Collection with Lots of Surrealist Art: Menil Collection in Houston (see also the Cy Twombly gallery next door, which is theirs as well) | Best Extremely Strange Collection of Mostly Junk but It’s Beloved Junk Like if Every Grandma in Town Cleared out Her Attic: Geronimo Springs Museum in Truth or Consequences, NM
Industry pet peeve: The general commitment to tradition and reluctance to look at itself closely and make real changes
Museum specialties: Education from early childhood through teens, but particularly elementary school (taught third grade for two years, woo!)
Ask me about: Podcasts, I am obsessed.
I can’t live without my: Pencil pouch of colored markers

Devin Geraci
Devin Geraci, Regional Director-Southwest
southwest@nationalempnetwork.org

Where I live: Albuquerque, New Mexico.
What I’m drinking: A green chile Moscow mule.
My cat’s name:   Beetlejuice (named after the cartoon series, not the movie!) and Avril (as in Avril Lavigne). They are siblings and often impossible to tell apart.
What hypes me up: Live music, Visiting new places, Hockey( particularly the Tampa Bay, Lightning), New growth on my houseplants (and buying more houseplants…)
Nicknames: I’ve never had a nickname. Growing up, I was always jealous of people with longer names that could be shortened into a nickname.
Favorite Museum: My long lost museum love is the Mary Brogan Museum of Art & Science in Tallahassee, Florida. This was a regular field trip destination during my childhood, my first museum job, and the place where I learned to appreciate horseshoe crabs. Unfortunately it closed in 2013, but my experiences at the Brogan were crucial to developing a love for museums and learning.
Industry pet peeve:  The general disrespect towards and devaluing of front of house staff. And pay disparities!
Museum specialties: Visitor services, management, events and programs.
Ask me about: Horseshoe crabs, skeletons, what TV show I’m binge watching, or my favorite band.
I can’t live without my: cats, sunlight, and an up-to-date calendar.

Jesse Dutton-Kenny
Jesse Dutton-Kenny, Regional Director-West
west@nationalempnetwork.org

Where I live:  Berkeley, CA
What I’m drinking: Pinon Coffee from New Mexico that I buy in bulk to keep me alive
My cat’s name: Fiona, the queen of tortitude
What hypes me up: Making something, anything really, Doing pottery, getting my hands covered in clay, My niblings!, Baking fancy desserts, Checking boxes on a checklist
Nicknames: Jess; chicken (to be fair I’m the big chicken and the cat is the little chicken – our household is weird)
Favorite Museum: I have two! The Gardiner Museum in Toronto, it’s a wonderful ceramics museum! The Oakland Museum of California, probably the first museum I ever went to and the one I return to the most. My ritual every time I go is to visit the baskets in the History Gallery and say hello – see how everyone is doing in the cases.
Industry pet peeve: Gatekeeping; the stunning lack of diversity, and all the barriers to entry that contribute to keeping this field so white (saying that as a white woman with a lot of work to do myself)
Museum specialties: Exhibitions, mount-making, collections care
Ask me about: All my tattoos, some have museum meanings. There is of course one of a chicken.
I can’t live without my: Mugs. I have shelves full of mugs, and I use them all!

Heidi Schruek
Heidi Schureck
partnerships@nationalempnetwork.org

Where I live: I say Atlanta, but the ITP folks, (inside the perimeter), would beg to differ. And, in true sense, I am a settler on Mvskoke land. The land is one of beautiful granite rock, bright red clay, and several large rivers. Just across the street from me, there is a tributary of the Ocmulgee River; I go there often.
What I’m drinking: That H2O. Coffee & Earl Grey tea!! Perhaps a G&T, sour, or gose.
My cat’s names: Solo, as in Han Solo. I also have dogs named Rey and Obi-Won. I’ve been a parent to many rats in my day and have kept caterpillars until they became moths and butterflies.
What hypes me up: Flowers, Bugs, Music with a good bass, Eating food I’ve never had before, Speaking truth to power, Shared liberators energy
Nicknames: Heidi, DiDi, Leigh, Dooz
Favorite Museum: Lawndale Pop-Up Spot
Industry pet peeve: Lip service
Museum specialties: Education and interpretation, Visitor Services, Archives and Collections, Curatorial
Ask me about: Queer Theory
I can’t live without my: sour candy & chosen family (yes that includes non-human animals)

Amy C. Oliver
Amy C. Oliver
international@nationalempnetwork.org

Where I live: I am splitting my time between the burning tundra of the Sonoran Desert in Rio Rico, AZ and the chill lakeside of Lake Monticello, VA. What can I say? I love oxymoronic life experiences.
What I’m drinking: I have cut off the coffee train in favor of water.
My cat’s name:  Phanta, like the 1800s horror theatre, not the soda pop; and, Drew, a chonky creamsicle that quacks fatly
What hypes me up: Anything to do with astronomy and astrophysics, Quietly hunting wildlife with my DSLR, Teaching chemistry concepts live, Playing guitar and violin; music amps up my soul!
Nicknames: Ames; Slimey Greaseball (or Greasy Slimeball…there’s a really old story here and I’ve forgotten which Amy was who)
Favorite Museum: Must I choose one? Well then, this museum has closed and moved, but the Children’s Museum of Utah (now the Discovery Gateway) used to be housed in an historic pool and plunge house. I was a volunteer there when I was a teenager and the adventures around the museum and through the old pools and plunge areas are what made me fall deeply in love with history and discovery.
Industry pet peeve:  Lack of opportunity; so many people spend their entire careers in the same place without the opportunity advance or even grow in their current space through trainings and expansion of knowledge and skill.
Museum specialties: Communications, management/administration, strategic planning, exhibits management and development
Ask me about: My tattoos, how my telescope got his name, and what it was like to work in Cemetery Preservation
I can’t live without my: Criminal Minds series on DVD…don’t judge me…


NEMPN Committees

Advocacy Committee

The Advocacy Committee is currently led by a member of the NEMPN Board. The Advocacy Committee is responsible for championing and working towards meeting the NEMPN Board and community’s advocacy goals through a variety of channels. The primary focus of this committee in 2021-2022 will be around labor issues in the museum field, specifically unpaid internships and salary transparency.

Communications Committee 

The Communications Committee is led by the Director of Communications, a member of the NEMPN Board. The Communications Committee is responsible for the social media presence, in addition to the overall maintenance of the membership platform and the organization’s web presence. The Communications Committee also oversees major communications from the organization such as newsletters, press releases, and general public relations and marketing of the organization’s programmatic activities.

Community Committee

The Community Committee is currently led by a member of the NEMPN Board. The Community Committee is responsible for the development, facilitation, and evaluation of community-focused initiatives and programming. The committee is responsible for maintaining the overall community aspect of the NEMPN, assessing  the support and building needs to build and strengthen EMPs across all chapters.

Conference Committee

The Community Committee is currently led by the Director of Partnerships, a member of the NEMPN Board. The Community Committee is responsible for the presence of the national organization and/or any of its affiliated chapters at Board and/or community identified key conferences for the field. Conference Committee will oversee any conference proposals made by the national organization, disseminate partnership information with any partnering organizations, as well as the logistics and facilitation of any nationally-run conference activities, such as EMP House or the signature EMPancake breakfast. 

Finance and Fundraising Committee

The Finance and Fundraising Committee is currently led by the Treasurer, a member of the NEMPN Board. This committee will oversee all sponsorships, financial partnerships, grants and any fiscal responsibilities that will arise for the organization. They will ensure the ethical and accurate tracking and management of NEMPN’s financial resources in accordance with the organization’s mission, vision, values, and DEAI policies and procedures.

Governance Committee

Every two years, the Governance Committee, formed with representation from all affiliated chapters, Board Members, and community members, reviews the organization’s bylaws, in addition to the mission, vision, and values of the organization, especially the Diversity, Equity, Access and Inclusion (DEAI) policies and procedures. The Governance Committee is also responsible for the collection and auditing of the bylaws of all affiliated chapters at the “Family” level.

Publications Committee

The Publications Committee is currently led by the Director of Resources, a member of the NEMPN Board. The Publications Committee oversees all activities related to any peer-reviewed or formal publications sponsored by or developed by the  organization. The Publication Committee is responsible for the development, calls, editorial work, and dissemination of any NEMPN-sponsored or developed publications, in collaboration with other standing committees as needed.

The National Emerging Museum Professional Network is comprised of an all-volunteer board made up of  leaders from local and regional EMP Chapters and museum professionals across the United States.  Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the NEMPN. 


NEMPN Chapters

NEMPN members are encouraged to join an EMP Chapter or start one if their region does not have one yet. Chapters have their own governing body, but work in collaboration with NEMPN through a Regional Director. Chapters may be regional or networking-focused, professional development-focused, multipurpose and/or virtual. 


A chapter, as defined by NEMPN, is a group with its own leadership structure and independently operating model that shares the mission and vision of the National EMP Network in serving museum professionals, either specifically emerging museum professionals or other configurations of the acronym ‘EMP’. Chapters affiliated with NEMPN receive varying degrees of support from the national organization, as outlined in our network levels section of the guide.