Lead. By Design.

Guiding nonprofits to lead with purpose toward organizational excellence and achievement using creative problem solving and strategic goal setting.

Successful nonprofits navigate complicated internal and external environments every day. They must be focused yet nimble, use every resource to its best advantage, deeply understand their value to their communities and supporters, and be able to articulate that value to a broad audience.

Areas of Expertise

  • Governance & Leadership
  • Organizational Assessment & Development
  • Planning

In a career spanning four decades, Anne Ackerson served as director of several historic house museums and historical societies in central and eastern New York, the director of the Museum Association of New York, and the executive director of the national Council of State Archivists. She is now a full-time consultant/contractor.

In 1997 Anne began an independent consulting practice focusing on organizational development issues for the smaller nonprofit cultural institution. In this capacity, she has worked with a wide variety of cultural and heritage organizations ranging from museums to arts councils to orchestras and community theatres. Among the range of projects with which Anne has been involved include organizational assessment, board development, assisting with executive search, evaluating membership and annual giving programs, program sustainability, and strategic, business and master planning. She facilitated the planning for a consortium of eleven Albany, New York-area history museums and historic sites as they worked together to create new ways to collaboratively attract heritage tourism.

She is the co-author with Joan Baldwin of Leadership Matters, published in 2013 by AltaMira Press American Association for State and Local History series, and Women in the Museum: Lessons from the Workplace, published in 2017 by Routledge. A second edition of Leadership Matters: Leading Museums in an Age of Discord will be published in 2019. Their weekly blog, Leadership Matters, has 800 followers and receives almost 40,000 visitors a year.

Her interest in leadership paved the way for her participation on a national team of 35 library, archives, and museum representatives, where she helped develop the Nexus LAB Layers of Leadership, an IMLS-funded project managed by Educopia Institute in collaboration with the Center for Creative Leadership. This project “…provides a common lens for understanding high-demand leadership training skills and competencies across libraries, archives, and museums. The ‘Layers of Leadership’ documents the key challenge, key leadership tasks, skills necessary to address those tasks, and outcomes sought within seven ‘layers’ of leadership, from ‘Leading Self’ to ‘Leading the Organization’ to ‘Leading the Profession.’”[1]

She co-facilitated a half-day leadership forum for the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) in 2018, and will be co-developing and presenting a similar workshop for women leaders at the 2019 AASLH annual meeting. She writes about management and leadership issues for cultural institutions in her blog, Leading by Design.

Anne is a frequent keynoter, workshop presenter and author, focusing on issues of leadership, board and organizational development, governance issues, and planning. She is a regular webinar presenter on issues of museum leadership, succession planning, gender equity, and board roles and responsibilities. She developed curriculum materials and a webinar on strategic planning for the American Association of State and Local History’s StEPS program, a national standards program for history museums. She teaches AASLH’s Small Museum Pro online course on museum leadership and administration and co-teaches a course on leadership for the Johns Hopkins University museum studies graduate program.

Anne is also a co-founder of the Gender Equity in Museums Movement (GEMM), which is committed to raising awareness, affecting change, and championing transparency about gender equity in the museum workplace. In 2018, she spearheaded a research project revealing that 62% of the museum workforce has been affected by gender discrimination.

Anne W. Ackerson
1914 Burdett Avenue
Troy, New York 12180
518 271-2455 phone

Download Anne W. Ackerson’s Resume here

[1] Educopia Institute website. https://educopia.org/nexus-lab-layers-of-leadership/. Accessed May 20, 2019.