ISSUE 6 | VOLUME 7 | September 2016    

Art Career News – Fall 2016

What makes a good leader?

Highlights of The Museum Life Podcast: Empowering Leaders

For all our talk about leadership in the museum field, its definition remains elusive. Following are highlights from The Museum Life podcast on leadership, staff development and career strategies on September 9, 2016: click here (56 minutes) The Museum Life is hosted by Carol Bossert and broadcast on Internet Radio.

  1. Leadership is inspiring others to share a common vision and achieve group goals, plus strengthening other people's abilities to excel. It is helping others reach their fullest potential.
  2. There's no gene called leadership. It can be learned and taught.
  3. Communication styles matter; we give and get information in different ways, so it is important to understand the communication style of those around you in order to be effective.
  4. Thomas and Associates leads a workshop Empowering Leaders in Every Department. Our tools help staff understand their communication style. People are usually surprised to see which colleagues are in which communication style group.
  5. Sadly, staff training is among the first to go in tight budgets.
  6. Currently, there is a high turnover rate among directors of museums. People may not stay in their jobs for 30 years as in the past.
  7. In the middle range of museum professionals and administrators, just like middle class America, staff are concerned they cannot make a living.
  8. A museum career is not financially viable for many people and groups, and compensation in museums often militates against diversity.
  9. Board members and visitors may not fully understand the complex work behind-the-scenes in museums, unlike hospitals, where the infrastructure is more outwardly visible.
  10. The museum sector is a knowledge industry, where lifelong learning is important and there are many formats for study and advancement.
  11. Managers may say they want to hire someone different, but in the end, they hire people who are like themselves. That has to change, especially for museums as they are educational and service organizations for multiple constituents. As an executive recruiter, I try to bring diverse candidates to the board.
  12. There now are four generations in the workplace. Millennials seek mentors to advance their careers and to learn all they can from them.
  13. Millennials like interaction; they make decisions in groups, whether with their peers or with the level above them.
  14. Millennials want to move faster in their careers than other generations; they will go on to a new position once they feel they have learned all they can in their current position.
  15. Thomas and Associates offers outplacement and career transition services. We try to partner with more traditional outplacement firms because they do not understand the culture or the positions in the arts.
  16. Our career advice for those starting out or entering the field: Understand yourself and look deep inside. Consider what motivates you, what gives you joy and where you can be the most effective.

About Thomas & Associates, Inc. /
Celebrating our 16th Anniversary serving the global arts community, Thomas & Associates, Inc. is an innovative firm with offices in New York City that offers staffing, consulting, career services and training programs for museums, non-profit organizations, and arts and culture businesses nationwide. In addition to permanent placement and executive search, Thomas & Associates also provides temporary and interim personnel at all levels and has recently launched its career advisory division and outplacement services to address the needs of arts and culture professionals everywhere.

Please contact us at 212-779-7059, or visit our website at for more information on our firm and our services.
We look forward to hearing from you!

Thomas & Associates, Inc. | 40 West 37th Street - Penthouse A, New York, NY 10018
Phone 212.779.7059 | email