About Our Presenters

Melanie A. Adams
Director 
Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum

Melanie A. Adams is the director of the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum. With more than 25 years of community engagement experience in museums and higher education, she is dedicated to bringing stakeholders together to address relevant community issues. 

Previously, beginning in 2016, Adams served as deputy director for learning initiatives, at the Minnesota Historical Society. She led efforts at the society to develop strategic partnerships, audiences, and resources within local communities. As deputy director, she managed 26 historic sites and museums throughout Minnesota. During her tenure, she created the community outreach department to provide partnerships and programs outside the museum walls.  

Adams was the managing director of the Missouri Historical Society for 11 years (2005–2016) where she oversaw more than 700 St. Louis community programs annually, including events with more than 100 community partners. Her work focused on addressing the cultural and social concerns of the St. Louis community. 

Adams was president of the Association of Midwest Museums from 2014 to 2016, and she currently serves on the council of the American Association for State and Local History. As a facilitator of workshops on topics related to museums and race, she helps professionals understand barriers to connecting with diverse audiences. 

Her past work has focused on racial inequality in education. Appointed by the St. Louis mayor in 2007 to the Special Administrative Board of St. Louis Public Schools, she worked for nine years with students, staff and the public to help the district regain accreditation. Adams has received numerous accolades for her community work; she was named a St. Louis NAACP 100 Community Leader in 2009 and the Royal Vagabonds Foundation Extraordinary St. Louis Trailblazer in 2014. 

Adams holds a bachelor’s degree in English/African-American studies from the University of Virginia, a master’s degree in education from the University of Vermont and a doctorate from the University of Missouri St. Louis in educational leadership and policy studies. 

Jessica Diaz
Ph.D. Candidate
Division of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences 
Claremont Graduate University

Jessica Diaz is an organizational consultant and coach focused on leader development and employee experience. She is also a Ph.D. candidate in organizational behavior at Claremont Graduate University, where she researches leadership development, employee engagement, and organizational equity and inclusion. At CGU, she serves as the Director of Coaching for LeAD Labs and is an adjunct faculty member in the Division of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences. Outside of CGU, she is a Managing Partner at BCD, a public-sector consulting firm. Before earning her doctorate, Jessica spent over a decade focused on leader development and equity in the education sector, serving in a variety of roles including Managing Director of Leader Development for Teach for America.

Makeba Dixon-Hill
Interim Director
Spelman College Museum of Fine Art

Makeba Dixon-Hill’s professional service centers the ways gatekeepers define community support and how they advocate for themselves. Prior to arriving at the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art as Curator of Education and now Interim Director, she held positions at museums throughout the nation. Her work brings the vision and mission of the institution to life by curating programming and engagement  experiences that scaffold the institution’s world-class exhibitions and special projects. 

Makeba conducts workforce development research within the arts sector and has served on several advisory boards and review committees while lecturing in formal and non-traditional academic and healing spaces.  

She is also a voice over artist, yoga instructor, and writer working on her second book. 

Ben Garcia
Deputy Executive Director, Chief Learning Officer 
Ohio History Connection

Ben Garcia is Deputy Executive Director and Chief Learning Officer at the Ohio History Connection. There he leads special projects and overs  six divisions. Prior museum experience includes tenures in the Education Department at the J. Paul Getty Museum, as Associate Director of Education at the Skirball Cultural Center, as Head of Interpretation and Operations at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley, and as Deputy Director at the Museum of Us. Ben publishes and presents regularly on inclusive museum practice and decolonization. He serves on the boards of Equality Ohio and the Association of Midwestern Museums. 

Edgar Garcia
Assistant General Manager
El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument

Edgar Garcia is currently Assistant General Manager at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument. He has nearly twenty years experience in arts administration, cultural resource management, historic preservation, and urban planning.  

Born and raised in the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Lincoln Heights and Chinatown, he is a  first-generation Mexican-American. A proud alumnus of the Getty Marrow Undergraduate Internship program, he joined The Wall-Las Memorias Project to manage the public art program of the celebrated AIDS memorial. After working for Chattel Architecture and the Breed Street Shul Project, he served as a US-ICOMOS representative overseeing conservation projects in Yaroslavl, Russia. In 2006, he joined the City of Los Angeles as its first Preservation Planner in the Department of City Planning. Managing historic landmarks program for the Office of Historic Resources, he oversaw the safeguarding of thousands of L.A.’s most cherished historic buildings, cultural resources, and public art. In 2013, then newly-elected Mayor Eric Garcetti selected him to oversee the Getty House, the official residence of the Mayor of Los Angeles. In 2015, he was appointed the Mayor’s Art & Culture Deputy. 

He has been selected for numerous fellowships and leadership programs, and most recently was awarded the 2019 German Marshall Fellowship. Garcia is a graduate of Yale University and UCLA. 

Victoria Gerard
Vice President of Programs & Collections
Bowers Museum

Victoria Gerard is Vice President of Programs & Collections at the Bowers Museum.  She oversees all work related to exhibitions, education, public programs, and the museum’s permanent collection while organizing a diverse schedule of exhibitions via partnerships with museums around the world. Her work with the museum’s educators expands the reach of the Bowers while responding to critical community needs.  She also serves as DEAI chair for the Board of the Museum Educators of Southern California. Victoria enjoys reading novels, tending to her garden and giggling over life’s discoveries with her toddler. 

Toni Guglielmo 
Director 
Museum Leadership Institute 
Claremont Graduate University 

Toni Guglielmo is Director of the Museum Leadership Institute at Claremont Graduate University (MLI@CGU). At MLI@CGU since 2013, she has led the development of international executive education programs serving over 1000 museum leaders from around the globe. She is project director for POLARIS: The Museum Mentor Network, which launched in April 2020.  

Dr. Guglielmo is an art historian and educator with a passion for making museums accessible to wide audiences and fostering leadership, innovation, and inclusion in the museum field. Her career bridges positions in both academia and museums, and reflects her interests in combining history, theory, and practice. Toni frequently serves as a guest lecturer and is currently teaching at Southern New Hampshire University. Prior to MLI@CGU, she led an award-winning distance learning program at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Her museum work specializes in the management and administration of start-up museum projects; exhibition, curriculum, and program development; and leading online learning initiatives. 

Studying art history, she holds a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles, an M.A. from Tufts University, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Since 2017, she has served as associate editor for  Curator: The Museum Journal and editor for the April 2021 issue on museum leadership. 

Tim Hallman
Director of Communications & Business Development
Asian Art Museum of San Francisco

Tim Hallman is an experienced museum administrator, strategic thinker, and problem solver adept at cultivating diverse and inclusive purpose-based organizations. He serves as the director of communications & business development at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, responsible for driving audience and community engagement, revenue generation, and sustainability. For the past 20 years in various leadership roles, he has helped guide the museum’s response to the pandemic, dramatic transformation via rebranding, capital campaigns, and facility expansions (two!), and managed strategic business plans, exhibitions, and public programs, leadership changes, and organizational restructuring.   

Marisol Rojas Jara
Manager of Public Programs 
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Marisol Rojas Jara is a Manager of Public Programs at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. She is responsible for creating and producing alongside her program colleagues a variety of events that include festivals, lectures, film screenings, and family weekend programs.  She is passionate about learning and making unique stories accessible to more audiences. When she is not running after her toddlers or at the museum, she enjoys baking and indulging in watching reality cooking shows.  

Maria Jenson
Creative & Executive Director
SOMARTS Cultural Center 

Maria Jenson is recognized as a leader in the arts for advancing innovative strategies to sustain creative communities in the midst of rapidly changing urban environments. As Creative and Executive Director of SOMArts, Jenson has deepened the organization’s commitment to racial equity, creating clear pathways for Bay Area artists to cultivate new ideas and grow their careers. Through her leadership, Jenson has expanded SOMArts’ public programs, advanced new public-private partnerships, and fostered groundbreaking exhibitions such as The Black Woman is God, The Third Muslim: Queer and Trans* Muslim Narratives of Resistance and Resilience, and many more. These projects represent SOMArts’ commitment to incubating the growth and careers of Bay Area artists and curators. 

Prior to joining SOMArts, Jenson was a key member of the SFMOMA External Relations team during the museum’s expansion and was the Founding Director of ArtPadSF, an independent art fair launched in the Tenderloin at the Phoenix Hotel in 2010. A graduate of the 2018 Getty Leadership Institute, Jenson is a sought-after thought leader on the role of cultural institutions advocating for a more democratic and equitable society. 

Melody Kanschat 
Professor of Practice 
Arts Management 
Claremont Graduate University 

Melody Kanschat was appointed Executive Director of the Getty Leadership Institute at Claremont Graduate University (now Museum Leadership Institute–MLI@CGU) in 2013, where she led a team that served over 1000 museum professionals via a variety of online and in-residence executive education programs. She retired from the Executive Director role in 2021 and continues to remain active in the program and at the University as an advisor and professor. Prior to her MLI@CGU experience, Melody enjoyed a 22-year career with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where she served in a variety of executive capacities, including President and Chief Operating Officer. In her private practice, Melody provides executive coaching and consulting services to a variety of non-profit institutions focusing on leadership, operational stability, strategic planning, and capital project development.

Amber Kea-Edwards 
Ph.D. Candidate 
Division of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences 
Claremont Graduate University

Amber Kea-Edwards is a Ph.D. candidate in the Division of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences at Claremont Graduate University and a research associate of LeAD Labs. Her specialization includes race, leader identity, and leader development. As a research associate at LeAD Labs, she has presented at both national and international conferences and has a publication in the Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies. She has taught organizational behavior at California State Polytechnical University, Pomona in the school of Management and Human Resources and the psychology of emotion and motivation at California State University Los Angeles within the Department of Psychology. 

Andrea Kim Neighbors
Manager of Education Initiatives
Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center

Andrea Kim Neighbors (she/her/hers) serves as the Manager of Education Initiatives for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center (APAC), where she collaborates with educators and Asian American and Pacific Islander content specialists on the development of APAC’s National Education Program. Before joining APAC, Andrea was Manager of Community Partnerships at The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC and Tour Manager at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience in Seattle, WA, designing customized museum experiences to best fit the needs of local educators. Andrea was a Getty Leadership NextGen 2019 Fellow and a Board Officer for the American Alliance of Museum’s Diversity Professional Network. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in Cultural Anthropology and has conducted fieldwork in Russian Far East studying the politicization of childhood.

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Carrie Kish
Senior Partner and CEO
CultureSync

Carrie has over 25 years of experience as a consultant, a leadership trainer, and a coach who specializes in leadership training for senior executives, physician leaders, entrepreneurs, engineers, nonprofit leaders, and museum executives. She is a serial entrepreneur who has built and sold several businesses over the last 20 years, the last one for eight figures. 

Carrie has experience working with executives, companies, and teams as diverse as Microsoft, Virgin Galactic, Coca Cola, The San Antonio Spurs, UNLV Medical School, DaVita Healthcare Partners, The Chinese Museum Association, The World Bank, Zappos, and the California Medical Association. 

Carrie has a master’s degree in Organizational Psychology and Change Leadership from Columbia University. Carrie is a CTI Leadership Graduate, a Mastery University Graduate, a Leadership Mastery Graduate and a UCLA Graduate. She is also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach and the Past President and Executive Advisor of The International Coach Federation in Los Angeles. She serves on the faculty of the American College of Physician Leaders, and has been on the faculty with the Museum Leadership Institute at Claremont Graduate University since 2015.

Carrie lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband of 29 years.  They have 4 sons and two dogs. She thinks that being a wife and a mother may qualify her as a leader more than any of her other credentials. Carrie is actively researching and writing her first book on the dark side of leadership. 

Dana Mitroff Silvers 
Founder and Director 
Designing Insights

Dana Mitroff Silvers is a design thinking facilitator and digital experience strategist with expertise launching innovative products, services, and experiences in museums and cultural heritage organizations. She runs a San Francisco Bay Area-based consultancy, Designing Insights, and the resource website Design Thinking for Museums. 

Dana is the former head of the web at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where she oversaw the research, development, design, and production of the museum’s award-winning website for over 10 years. During her tenure at SFMOMA, she spearheaded and drove the website redesign and first mobile site launch, championed and put into practice user research practices, and led a partnership between the museum and the Stanford Hasso Plattner Institute of Design or d.school. 

She regularly presents at museum conferences, including Museums and the Web, Museum Computer Network, American Alliance of Museums, Western Museums Association, California Association of Museums, and MuseumNext, and is a frequent lecturer in the Museum Studies programs at the University of San Francisco and John F. Kennedy University, and the Museum Leadership Institute at Claremont Graduate University. 

She has authored numerous articles and chapters on technology and design in museums, including pieces in The Museum Blog Book (MuseumsEtc., 2017), Sprint Stories (Google Ventures, 2016), and Handbook on the Economics of Cultural Heritage (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2013). 

Dana holds an M.A. in the History of Art from the University of Chicago and a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Southern California. 

Ariana Mungia 
Program Assistant 
Museum Leadership Institute 
Claremont Graduate University 

Ariana Mungia is a scholar, educator, and artist with a passion for centering student voice in the arts through curriculum and practice. She is currently a graduate student at CGU, and the program assistant for the Museum Leadership Institute. Working directly with the director, Ariana assists with administrative, marketing, and program development efforts to advance the goals of POLARIS: The Museum Mentor Network. She also currently works with Claremont Museum of Art’s educational outreach program, Project ARTstART. 

Ariana holds a B.A. from Loyola Marymount University in psychology, an M.A. from Claremont Graduate University in Community Engaged Education & Social Change and is presently pursuing her Ph.D. in Education at Claremont Graduate University. She plans to conduct research and advance practices that focus on the intersection of arts education, equity, and students’ voice. 

Mike Murawski 
Consultant and Author 
mikemurawski.org

Mike Murawski is an independent consultant and author of the book Museums as Agents of Change: A Guide to Becoming a Changemaker (2021). He is passionate about transforming museums, cultural institutions & non-profits to become more equitable and community-centered. After more than 20 years of work in education and museums, Mike brings his personal core values of deep listening, collective care, and healing practice into the work that he leads within organizations and communities.  

Mike is Co-Producer of Museums Are Not Neutral, a global advocacy campaign aimed at exposing the myth of museum neutrality and calling for equity-based transformation across museums. Since 2011, he has also served as Founding Editor of ArtMuseumTeaching, a collaborative online forum reflecting on critical issues in museums. In 2016, he co-founded Super Nature Adventures LLC, a place-based education and creative design agency that partners with parks, government agencies, schools, and non-profits to expand learning in the outdoors and public spaces. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Education from American University in Washington, DC. 

When he’s not writing, drawing, or thinking about museums, you can find Mike on long trail runs in the forests and mountains of the Pacific Northwest. .

Katherine Skinner

Katherine Skinner 
Executive Director
Educopia Institute

Dr. Katherine Skinner is the Executive Director of the Educopia Institute, a not-for-profit educational organization that empowers collaborative communities to create, share, and preserve knowledge. In this role, she has helped to found a range of thriving, community-led networks, including the MetaArchive Cooperative, the Library Publishing Coalition, the BitCurator Consortium, and the Software Preservation Network. She has also provided training, facilitation, and consulting to nurture and strengthen more than three dozen communities and organizations, from C4DISC to CRL, and from Community Webs to IOI

Skinner received her Ph.D. in American Studies from Emory University. She has co-edited four books and has authored and co-authored numerous reports and articles, including Community Cultivation – A Field Guide (2018) and Open Knowledge Institutions (forthcoming 2021). She has served as lead Principal Investigator on 17 research projects, and she regularly teaches graduate courses on curation, preservation, and scholarly communications.

Headshot of Solimar Salas

Solimar Salas
Vice President of Museum Content & Programming
Museum of Latin American Art 

Solimar Salas has 20 years of experience in the museum field and has collaborated on 100+ exhibitions in different aspects including bilingual content development, interpretive goals, programming, and web content management. Her team at the Museum of Latin American Art developed and implemented MOLAA en Casa, which extends the museum’s education programming online, making it available for families, educators, and the general public at home. She oversaw the successful creation of a bilingual online database for Puerto Rican artists at the Museo de Art de Puerto Rico, among other public outreach projects.

Solimar is currently a Board Member of the California Association of Museums where she serves as Chair of the Strategic Action Committee and is part of the Equity Task Force. Between 2017-18, she served as the Secretary of the Board of Directors for the Association of Museums of Puerto Rico. She has served as a grant reviewer for the IMLS, and Peer Reviewer for the Museum Assessment Programs offered by the American Alliance of Museums. Solimar participated in the National Program Committee for the 2015 AAM Meeting, and the Smithsonian Visiting Professional Program in 2011. Solimar holds an M.A. in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University, an MBA in Management of Information Systems from the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón, and a B.A. in Biological Anthropology from Swarthmore College. 

Lisa Sasaki
Interim Director
Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum

Lisa Sasaki was appointed the Interim Director of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum in March 2021. The new museum was established by Congress in late 2020, as part of the Smithsonian. While serving as interim, Sasaki has temporarily left her post as Director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, a migratory museum that brings Asian Pacific American history, art and culture to communities through innovative museum experiences online and throughout the U.S. Previously, she was the Director of the Audience & Civic Engagement Center at the Oakland Museum of California and the Director of Program Development at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. Sasaki was formerly the President of the Western Museums Association’s Board of Directors and currently serves as an advisor on the Advisory Council for the Council of Jewish American Museums. She is a frequent guest lecturer for museum studies graduate programs and has also lectured internationally for ICOM-China and the Museums and Galleries of Queensland. Sasaki holds undergraduate degrees in history and archaeology from Cornell University and a Master’s degree in Anthropology and Museum Studies from the University of Denver.