Staff is available for consultation and speaking engagements on a select basis.
President and CEO
A results-oriented, entrepreneurial, strategic leader with a track record of leading transformative change in nonprofit organizations, Laura served as the Alliance’s chief operating officer for five years before becoming the chief executive officer in 2015. Laura led the 2012 re-launch of the Alliance, including rebranding the organization and redesigning its membership and excellence programs – leading to a 70% growth in membership and the organization’s first five profitable years in a decade. More recently, Laura led the development of the Alliance’s current strategic plan which emphasizes topics that Alliance members strongly believe are vital to the future viability, relevance and sustainability of museums: diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion in all aspects of museums’ programs and structure; changing business models for financial sustainability; and museums’ growing role in the P-12 education ecosystem. Laura is also a passionate advocate for strong and engaged boards, speaking to numerous museum boards each year.
Prior to joining AAM, Laura served as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of The JASON Project, an international nonprofit education program at the National Geographic Society with a mission to inspire and motivate students to learn science through great explorers. In the late 90s, Laura helped launch the MarcoPolo: Internet Content for the Classroom program at the former MCI Foundation and managed its partnerships with 50 state departments of education, as well as MCI’s community relations programs.
After studying in Tokyo, Japan during high school and graduating from American University in Washington, D.C., Laura gained public accounting experience at PricewaterhouseCoopers, with a focus on nonprofit clients. Laura is a Virginia-licensed CPA and a private pilot. She resides in Northern Virginia with her husband and daughter.
Chief of Staff
As AAM’s chief of staff, Brooke oversees key strategic priorities, internal functions, and board relations. She joined AAM in 2010 as a member of the international department. Previously, Brooke worked in Washington, DC, and Moscow, Russia, for an educational exchange program and then as the assistant director of a DC-based foreign policy institute. She once bought a one-way ticket to Siberia in the middle of January and lived among Russian circus performers until it got cold enough to go home.
Center for the Future of Museums
Vice President, Strategic Foresight & Founding Director, Center for the Future of Museums
Elizabeth is AAM’s vice president for strategic foresight, and founding director of the Center for the Future of Museums—a think-tank and research & development lab for the museum field. She is the author of the Alliance’s annual TrendsWatch report, and writes and speaks prolifically on the trends shaping the future of nonprofit organizations. (M.A. Duke University, B.S. Yale University, Museum Management Institute).
Marketing & Communications
Director of Marketing & Communications
Joseph has been a professional communicator for more than 25 years, with experience as a news reporter, editor, technical writer, instructional designer, webmaster and online strategist. From his early years writing for local newspapers, through to his present role leading marketing, communications and public relations for the Alliance, he’s always been a strong advocate for the audience, whether called readers, end users, members, attendees, visitors, customers, friends or followers.
Marketing & Communications Manager
Josette coordinates and executes marketing efforts across multiple media platforms, including newsletters, email campaigns, and graphics. She came to the Alliance in 2017 after working in digital media and brings with her a passion for bachata dancing and video production.
Director of Content and Community Engagement
Megan is responsible for content and community engagement at the Alliance, including oversight of AAM’s strategy for digital and print publishing and digital media. Since joining the Alliance in 2015, she also has directed key global and education-related initiatives. Her professional experience has spanned the federal government and non-profit sectors and has included (and at times blended) projects related to international development, public diplomacy, arts education, youth leadership, and story-telling through public radio. She is an avid traveler and enjoys playing in a quartet in her spare time. Megan holds a Master’s degree in Education from Harvard University and a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Virginia.
Senior Director, Leadership Programs & Special Events
Dean has oversight for editorial content for Museum magazine, book publishing, leadership programs and the Conference of the Americas. He has been at the Alliance for over two decades where he previously provided supervision for the meetings and professional development department and international programs. He enjoys travel, documentary films, and great stories.
Content & Editorial Strategist
Cecelia is responsible for publishing content on the Alliance blogs and website. She also manages the AAM Information Center. Cecelia started her career as a registrar in museums and came to the Alliance as an accreditation coordinator in 2008. Her favorite animal is a Giant Panda.
Joseph is responsible for editing and publishing online content, and supporting the department’s administrative needs. He has a professional background in communications and digital publishing, both in and out of the museum field, and an academic background in art history and communication studies.
Government Relations and Advocacy
Director, Government Relations and Public Policy
Barry Szczesny is Director of Government Relations and Public Policy where he develops, implements, executes and evaluates the Alliance’s current and long-range public policy goals and legislative objectives. Barry has more than 20 years of federal government relations and advocacy experience representing non-profit organizations, including museums, most recently as Principal of Potomac Federal Consulting. As an attorney, he served as outside general counsel to The Art Institute of Chicago. Barry is a return AAMer: from 1996 to 2001, he was AAM’s Government Affairs Counsel and Assistant Director of the Government and Public Affairs Department and looks forward to once again helping advance its mission to champion museums. He lives in Alexandria with his wife and four-year-old son.
Ember has been an @AAMer for several years and is perpetually impressed by the work of museums. Advocacy is a personal and professional passion. In her free time you’ll find her binge-watching The West Wing or Grey’s Anatomy reruns with a good cup of coffee, tea or wine in hand.
Arthur G. Affleck
Vice President, Development
As AAM’s Vice President of Development, Affleck leads all aspects of the Alliance’s fundraising programs and activities with the primary goal of building a culture of philanthropy in support of the Alliance’s 2016-2020 strategic plan. Affleck has spent over 20 years working for higher education institutions and at other nonprofit organizations like the College Board and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. In the higher education space, Affleck has served as either Vice President or Vice Chancellor of Institutional Advancement at private and public and colleges & universities. He has won several awards for excellence in fundraising from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). Affleck has authored several articles and in 2008, he wrote and published a book “YES YOU CAN—Finish High School and Go to College.” He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Tuskegee University, a Master’s degree in Administration & Supervision of Higher Education from Auburn University, a Juris Doctor degree from the American University-Washington College of Law, and a Certificate from the Institute for Educational Management at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
Director of Institutional Giving
Eileen cultivates and stewards individual donors and foundations and develops strategic corporate sponsorships that support activities and strategic initiatives that benefit the museum field. Eileen started her career on Capitol Hill, worked at the Kennedy Center and came to the Alliance in 2001. Her favorite activity outside of work is reading books.
Shelagh joined AAM in 2017. Responsible for advancing the Alliance’s fundraising and donor relations, she raises revenue in support of our Annual Meeting, Museums Advocacy Day, the Center for the Future of Museums, and other priority projects such as AAM’s innovative leadership programs and research initiatives. Shelagh came to the Alliance from an independent school where she served as director of annual giving, and previously she was a marketing and fundraising consultant for museums and other cultural institutions for 15 years. She loves art, cycling, whales, and the color yellow.
Senior Director of Standards & Excellence
Julie provides leadership and oversight of AAM’s Continuum of Excellence including the Accreditation and Museum Assessment Programs, and other standards and ethics initiatives of the Alliance. She has been involved with accreditation and efforts to nurture institutional excellence throughout her 20 + year tenure at AAM, providing her with insight into the practices, issues, and challenges faced by museums and non-profits of many types and sizes.
Museum Assessment Program Officer
Since 2014, Danyelle has worked at AAM with the Museum Assessment Program, she also manages our volunteer team of Peer Reviewers and works with AAM’s other Excellence programs. Prior to coming to AAM Danyelle worked at Winterthur Museum, the Delaware Historical Society, the Jewish Museum of Maryland, the Baltimore Museum of Industry and the Susquehanna Museum at the Lock House. She has a B.A. in History from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and an M.A. in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University. Danyelle is also the Vice-Chair for the Registrar’s Committee for MAAM.
Accreditation Program Officer
Ms. Sharma returned to AAM and the Accreditation Program in February 2014; she previously served as an Accreditation Program Officer from 2005-2008. Before joining AAM she served as the Exhibitions Registrar at the National Building Museum. Prior to her relocation to Washington, DC, she was Assistant Registrar for Loans and Exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, and Registrar at the David and Alfred Smart Museum at the University of Chicago. Ms. Sharma got her start in the museum field at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She has a B.A. in Art History from the University of California, Irvine.
Accreditation Program Officer
Allison works with the museums participating in accreditation and AAM’s other Excellence programs. She came to AAM from a historic house museum in 2014 and is active in the leadership of the Small Museum Association. When not busy with all things museum, Allison knits and sews.
Museum Assessment Program Officer
Susan works with museums and peer reviewers participating in the Museum Assessment Program (MAP) to help strengthen operations, plan for the future and meet professional standards. She began her museum career in the education department of an Art and Science Museum and has a background in healthcare and staff training and development. Susan holds an M.A. in Museum Studies from John Hopkins University. She enjoys traveling, food, fiber arts, and visiting museums everywhere.
Finance and Administration
Carol has been with AAM for over 35 years, starting in administrative support, progressing to office management, and more recently directing Finance and Administration. Carol earned a degree in Studio Art at the University of Maryland and previously worked at the Baltimore Museum of Art as a docent before joining AAM.
Director, Human Resources
Katherine has enjoyed managing “all things HR” at the Alliance since Halloween of 2005. Prior to starting her association/museum career, she worked for a credit union in a variety of roles including opening new accounts, approving consumer loans and leading the recruitment process and orientation of new employees. Outside of the office, you’ll likely find her biking along the Mt. Vernon trail.
Information Technology and Media
Director, IT and Application Services
Josh has over ten years of experience in non-profit IT operations. As the Director of IT and Application Services, he oversees all technology platforms and services. He has a keen interest in analytics and data projects and is an avid Tableau user. Outside of work he enjoying scuba diving and traveling. If you want talk technology or Ctenophora drop him a line!
IT and Digital Media Specialist
Anthony is the IT and Digital Media Specialist at AAM. He has over 25 years of experience as an IT professional. Anthony assists the Director of IT and is responsible for the day to day IT and A/V support at the office. In addition, he is the technical lead for the Content Team and for digital media projects. Anthony is a graduate of Duke University with a B.A. in Afro-American Studies with a Concentration in Computer Science. Originally from Delaware, he is known outside of the office as “The Hip Hop Historian” and you may bump into him at events related to Hip Hop Culture in the DC Area.
Membership and Programs
Vice President, Membership & Excellence
Janet is responsible for membership, registration, and customer service. She also oversees the Continuum of Excellence programs. Prior to joining the Alliance in 2001, Janet was a museum director. An avid traveler, she is always planning her next trip.
Director, Member Services
Member Services Manager
Lauren H. Griffin, membership services manager, is responsible for addressing the immediate needs of AAM’s members, including joining and renewals. She especially loves to help members access the myriad of resources available. Lauren started her career in membership services after several years working in museums as an educator. In addition to her passion for museum work, Lauren has a BFA in ceramics and is a practicing artist.
Member Services Manager
As Member Services Manager, Brianne works directly with AAM’s members to ensure seamless customer service and to connect them to resources available through the membership program. Prior to joining AAM, Brianne worked in community programming and museum education. She enjoys sharing her passion for museums and spending time outdoors.
Meetings and Events
Director, Meetings and Events
Veronica Mooney is the Director of Meetings and Events at AAM. Prior to joining AAM, Veronica was the Executive Producer of Events at New America where she oversaw the production of more than 200 events annually. Veronica produced and developed innovative event experiences and educational programs for the Solar Electric Power Association, Solar Energy Industries Association, and American Wind Energy Association. Veronica received her Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation from the Convention Industry Council in 2011. She is a graduate of the George Washington University with a B.S. in Geosciences, and is a native New Yorker.
Meetings and Events Manager
Clara oversees all offsite and Headquarters Hotel events hosted during AAM’s Annual Meeting & Museum Expo. She also manages the annual meeting’s “Market Place of Ideas” which is a mini-expo and networking event for professional networks and attendees. Prior to joining AAM, Clara was an events associate at a think tank in Downtown D.C., supporting the production of more than 200 events each year.
Assistant Director, Exhibits & Business Partnerships
Shelon Atwater, assistant director, exhibits & business partnerships is responsible for the planning, management and execution of the exhibit hall at the AAM Annual Meeting and MuseumExpo. She also assists with the management of non-dues revenue generating operations. Shelon started off in member services at the Alliance in 1992.
Manager, Conference Education
Tiffany Burns, Manager of Conference Education is responsible for managing the session proposal process, the National Program Committee, and training and coaching speakers for the AAM Annual Meeting and MuseumExpo. Tiffany joined the Alliance in 2018.
Project Manager of Executive Office and Strategic Initiatives
Evlyn is Project Manager, Executive Office and Strategic Initiatives at the American Alliance of Museums. She began working at AAM in 2016. Prior to AAM, she was the Director of Operations and Director of Member Services at the Arts & Health Alliance, and most recently a Membership Associate at The Phillips Collection. She currently serves as Chair of the Dance Metro DC board, the regional service organization for the professional field of dance, and is a past Furia Flamenca dance company member. Evlyn holds a MA in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University and a BA in Graphic Design and Art History from University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Project Manager of Strategic Initiatives
Alexandra Roe is a program manager responsible for overseeing AAM’s strategic projects. She joined the Alliance in 2015, and for two years focused specifically on global exchange programs for both youth and museum professionals. She has a particular passion for studying East Asian art, and when she’s not running around the DMV, you can find her back in her home town of Jupiter, Florida exploring the mangroves and the intracoastal.