Deputy Director, Finance and Administration – Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY


The Deputy Director for Finance and Administration position offers a finance and operations professional the opportunity to contribute to the strategic direction and implementation of initiatives at the Johnson Museum at a momentous time within the institution’s history. As the Museum celebrates its fiftieth anniversary, the team is invigorated by opportunities to further impact the cultural and intellectual life of the Cornell campus and their local community, and to broaden the institution’s reach as a world-class academic museum. The Deputy Director works in close collaboration with the Museum Director in realizing the institution’s mission and is a key member of the Museum’s senior management team. They actively promote and implement the Directors’ initiatives, while also advising on a broad range of Museum issues. The Johnson Museum has a budget of $6.3M and employs 35 staff members, and over 100 undergraduate and graduate student interns and workers.


The Johnson Museum permanent collection numbers 40,000 works, spanning six millennia and encompassing art from most world cultures. Among the strengths of the collection are the holdings of Asian art; more than 23,000 prints, drawings, and photographs ranging from the fifteenth century to the present; modern and contemporary painting and sculpture; European art from ancient times to the present; African sculpture and textiles; and pre-Columbian sculpture and ceramics. Each year the Johnson Museum mounts major exhibitions and programs that present new scholarship and fresh perspectives on the works in their collection or on temporary loan. Many of these exhibitions are inspired by the Cornell curriculum and are the product of partnerships with faculty, graduate students, other museums, research centers, scholars, cultural practitioners, and source communities. The Museum enhances and supports faculty teaching across Cornell’s schools and departments by hosting approximately 350 class sessions per academic year in the Museum’s galleries and classrooms. Educational outreach programs for the regional community are core to Cornell University’s land-grant commitment to public engagement: they serve over 6,000 schoolchildren from schools in a 90-mile radius of Ithaca and offer professional development trainings for regional teachers, many of whom teach in rural areas and for whom the Museum promotes intercultural understanding and global awareness.


Cornell is a private, Ivy League university and the land-grant university for New York state. Cornell’s mission is to discover, preserve, and disseminate knowledge; to educate the next generation of global citizens; and to promote a culture of broad inquiry throughout and beyond the Cornell community. Cornell also aims, through public service, to enhance the lives and livelihoods of students, the people of New York, and others around the world.

Cornell aspires to be the exemplary comprehensive research university for the 21st century. Faculty, staff, and students thrive at Cornell because of its unparalleled combination of quality and breadth; its open, collaborative, and innovative culture; its founding commitment to diversity and inclusion; its vibrant rural and urban campuses; and its land-grant legacy of public engagement.


Nestled in New York’s Finger Lakes region, Ithaca is a unique college town that is consistently rated as a top area to live, work, and study. As the federal land-grant institution for New York state, Cornell has been part of the fabric of Ithaca since their founding in 1865. Located at the south end of Cayuga Lake—the largest of the Finger Lakes—Ithaca boasts unsurpassed natural beauty in its gorges, state parks, and waterfront. Nearby wine trails attract visitors from across the nation.

Collegetown and the Ithaca Commons are a short walk from campus, offering a city atmosphere with an array of restaurants and cultural activities that includes a vibrant music scene. Between urban life and alluring countryside and with more than a quarter of a million visitors coming each year, Ithaca has something for everyone to see and do.


The Deputy Director is responsible for the strategic development, direction, and implementation of business operations, financial policies and reporting, budgeting, planning, security, visitor services, and facilities management. They oversee three direct reports. Together with the Office of Human Resources, they manage hiring, salary distribution, and compliance. Working closely with Museum staff and principal investigators, the Deputy Director participates in the preparation of grant proposal budgets and ensures compliance. The Deputy Director works with the Museum Director and the Director of Development in determining fundraising needs and goals while overseeing the fiscal tracking and reporting of endowments and gifts. They partner with the Museum Advisory Council (a group comprising Cornell Trustees, alumni, campus and community leaders, artists, and museum professionals), and serve as the primary contact representing the Museum throughout the University in areas of facilities, security, finance and planning, human resources, risk management, and all other business operation ventures.

Through their knowledge of administration, they will manage, implement, and enhance cross-departmental initiatives to advance equity and access, integrate new systems and technologies, and promote sustainable practices. As a systems thinker and relationship builder, the Deputy Director will foster an environment where the Johnson Museum staff can thrive and together cultivate a more equitable and inclusive museum. In this leadership position, the Deputy Director plays a key role in ensuring a welcoming work and learning environment and is responsible for partnering with central University resources to strengthen the diversity of the Museum’s workforce.

While position responsibilities vary, all people leaders are expected to foster a culture of belonging and a psychologically healthy work environment by being trustworthy; respecting all individuals; being flexible; supporting work/life integration as well as healthy boundaries; inviting new ideas, alternatives, and perspectives; speaking up and taking action if others are being excluded or treated inappropriately; and recognizing the contributions of others. 


While it is understood that no one candidate will bring every desired skill, characteristic, and experience, the following offers a reflection of the ideal candidate profile for the Deputy Director.

Master’s degree in business administration, Arts Administration, or related experience in higher education or in a nonprofits or arts/cultural organization, and at least 3 years of managerial experience (5 or more years preferred), or the equivalent combination of education and experience.

The Deputy Director of the Johnson Museum will also possess the following attributes and competencies:

Business Acumen and Operational Expertise:

The Deputy Director will have a strong record of successful oversight and management of finance and operations. They will promote a culture of excellence and high-quality execution at all levels within the institution, providing outstanding stewardship for the advancement of the Museum. Highly skilled in budget, financial, and personnel management, this individual will have the perspective to consider the impact of decisions, strategic plans or initiatives, and programs on the organization, and make sound recommendations accordingly.

Skilled and Inspirational Manager:

The Deputy Director will be a decisive, results-driven leader with a collegial, team-oriented working style, open and nimble in adjusting to emerging needs or shifting priorities. With an emphasis on equity, they will have a proven record of visible and effective leadership and management, as well as the demonstrated ability to professionally develop, nurture, and retain a strong team that is focused on impact, excellence, accountability, and efficiency. This individual will be a motivator: able to inspire a shared vision, quality performance, and strong morale; empowering and cultivating staff through active and effective communication, feedback, and delegation; and actively promoting teamwork and collaboration.

External Relations and Relationship-Building:

The Deputy Director will have a compelling public presence and be exceptionally skilled at developing, building, and sustaining excellent relationships. They will have a demonstrated ability to connect with and build bridges among the various constituents at the Museum and on campus, including staff and colleagues at Cornell as well as external partners (e.g., architects, engineers, consultants, and other outside specialists). This leader will have a high degree of public relations insight, able to speak and write fluidly and extensively about the Museum’s history, impact, growth strategy, and future direction to all audiences. This executive will be considerate and open, working collaboratively to find opportunities for the benefit of the Museum as a whole, promoting dialogue to identify best practices, synthesizing divergent views, and coalescing all constituencies around a shared view or plan. The Deputy Director will have the skills to build interdisciplinary linkages between the Johnson Museum and other departments, schools, and collections within and across the University.


The salary range for this role is $140,000 to $170,000 with a generous benefits package. The exact salary that will be offered to the Deputy Director will be determined based on a consideration of the successful candidate’s skills, experience, and geography and aligned with Cornell University’s compensation policies.


Please read the required Notice to Applicants statement by clicking here. This notice contains important information about applying for a position at Cornell as well as some of your rights and responsibilities as an applicant.


Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. Cornell is a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, and does not tolerate discrimination based on any protected characteristic, including race, ethnic or national origin, citizenship and immigration status, color, sex/gender, pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions, age, creed, religion, actual or perceived disability (including persons associated with such a person), arrest and/or conviction record, military or veteran status, sexual orientation, gender expression and/or identity, an individual’s genetic information, domestic violence victim status, familial status, marital status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local law. Cornell also recognize a lawful preference in employment practices for Native Americans living on or near Indian reservations in accordance with applicable law. Cornell University embraces diversity and seeks candidates who will contribute to a climate that supports students, faculty, and staff to all identities and backgrounds. We encourages individuals from underrepresented and/or marginalized identities to apply.


Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Stephen Milbauer, Tenley Bank, and Naree Viner of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express interest in this role please submit a compelling cover letter and resume by filling out our Talent Profile:, or email Stephen directly at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.


Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

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