Interim Directorships

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The Glass House, New Canaan, CT

 

Rena Zurofsky is a highly experienced interim director. Serving terms from three to eighteen months, at various museums and historic sites, Rena has been variously called upon to mentor, hire and reorganize staff; develop and implement new educational and public programming; improve social media outreach; create partnerships with other institutions; plan and produce annual appeals and fundraising events; develop and implement annual budgets; solicit grants and corporate donors; and help develop boards.

Additionally, as interim director, Rena Zurofsky may be called on to help boards identify the qualities they seek in a new director, and to interview candidates for final selection.

Rena Zurofsky has served as interim director of Philip Johnson’s Glass House, New Canaan, CT; Lyndhurst, Tarrytown, NY; the Higgins Armory Museum, Worcester, MA; Heritage Museums and Gardens, Sandwich, MA; and Chesterwood, Stockbridge, MA.

Recent Accomplishments

During her eighteen-month tenure as Interim Director of The Glass House, Rena worked with the existing staff to revivify their commitments and accomplish the following:

  • Introduce Conversations in Context, innovative new public programming based on previously private events. These monthly property walks present new ways of appreciating the property through the eyes of well known artists, architects, curators and scholars.  Each event is shared via edited video through the website.
  • Introduce Dine with Design, an event that mixed artisanal food and beverage with the spectacular environment.
  • Improve website design for easy access, and added scholarly content as well as a director’s blog.
  • Attract new corporate donors to help support the above programming
  • Improve the results of the annual fund.
  • Double retail revenues.

As she commenced her seven months as interim director at Lyndhurst, Rena found a reduced and stressed staff facing the opening of a new season only five weeks away. In the first month, a new senior guide and visitor services manager were hired, a new mansion tour was developed (to be further refined throughout the season), and guides were hired and trained. Over the next six months the following were planned and implemented:

  • A tour to feature the 67-acre romantic landscape and assorted out buildings
  • The first curated outdoor art installation in the “bones” of the enormous greenhouse.
  • New social media outreach and on-line ticketing.
  • The first chamber concert within the mansion’s music room, in collaboration with another Westchester non-profit, Copland House
  •  “Candlelight” tours to capitalize on Tarrytown’s Halloween season, resulting in substantial new revenue.
  • New theatrical tour of the mansion for the Christmas season, in collaboration with a local non-profit theatre troupe.
  • Reinterpretation of some of the mansion’s rooms, including removal of barriers to allow visitors an improved experience.
  • Successful grant application to fix a significant leak in the vast historic roof.

About Interim Directorships

Interim directorships are a sound business practice in a variety of circumstances. If a founding director or a long-term director leaves, an interim director can help a board and staff prepare for change while ensuring that important institutional activities proceed as necessary.

Similarly, if a director has been asked to leave, an interim director helps to deal with institutional upset, calming staff, boards, and community stakeholders through steady leadership.