Contemporary Jewish Museum — Director of Marketing and Communications-completed

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The Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM)

Director of Marketing and Communications

Position Description


Painter Executive Search is supporting The Contemporary Jewish Museum in their search for an experienced Director of Marketing and Communications as it prepares to celebrate 10 years in its iconic Daniel Libeskind-designed home and looks to its future.

The Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM) is an original among Jewish and cultural institutions. With a mission to make the Jewish experience relevant for a 21st century audience, The CJM maps the intersection of contemporary art with Jewish culture, history, and ideas —energizing both domains. Located at the heart of the Yerba Buena cultural district in San Francisco, California, The Museum is a thriving hub of cultural discovery that draws a diverse audience. The CJM’s innovative exhibitions and programs educate, challenge, and inspire over 125,000 visitors annually, 44% self-identified as Jewish and 56% from the broader community.

At The CJM, new perspectives on contemporary culture, history, art, and ideas thrive. Working directly with local and international contemporary artists, The CJM fulfills its mission through exhibitions, scholarly work, and education programs that challenge traditions and inspire new ways of seeing, engaging with, and repairing the world. The CJM is shaped by the Bay Area’s passion for innovation, a Jewish community rooted in the region’s affirmation of diversity, a commitment to contemporary art, and a bold, experimental approach to public programs. The CJM is not only in the vanguard of Jewish life, but also at the forefront of museum practice. As a non-collecting institution, it is a cultural agent that shares art and ideas as they evolve—activating dynamic and fun participatory experiences that today’s museum visitors seek.


The Director of Marketing and Communications (Director M & C) is a vital member of The CJM’s senior leadership team and will have the opportunity to play a key role in creating and implementing a multi-year marketing and communications plan designed to achieve The Museum’s goals. She or he is responsible for brand strategy, leading all marketing, internal and external communications, public relations, publications, and audience development including all digital and social media. The Director of M & C will also provide recommendations to the Executive Director and senior management team to enhance The Museum’s reputation and visibility. This position will play a key role in leading the efforts to commemorate ten years in its critically-acclaimed Daniel Libeskind-designed building. The Director of Marketing and Communications reports to the Executive Director and supervises a staff of five professionals.

This position requires significant creativity and broad marketing and communications experience in order to lead strategic messaging and branding while actively supporting daily execution. The team produces a significant volume of work and is in service to all departments of The Museum. This position requires a leader who can seamlessly engage at the 10,000-foot level around The Museum brand and audience development, with particular expertise in the areas of cost-effective digital and social media and earned media coverage, while supporting a strong team who executes an innovative mix of traditional and cutting-edge media strategies. This requires someone who can deepen an evolving vision of the unique contributions of The CJM and translate that vision into an organization-wide understanding and a cohesive narrative resulting in the development of vivid and clear targeted messaging to be used by all in service to The Museum including internal leadership and the Board.

Historically, marketing efforts at The CJM have been focused on changing exhibitions which are critical for a non-collecting institution. The opportunity now is to grow engagement with visitors who will come to know The CJM as a destination for a vast array of experiences inside and outside the Galleries. Currently, The CJM enjoys a high degree of visitor satisfaction; the future requires capitalizing on what is working and cultivating new ways to reach target audiences. Infusing the brand with a Jewish gestalt; playful, warm, intelligent and sophisticated, the Director of M & C will be encouraged to bring new ideas and methods to the institution. The CJM’s internal culture embraces contemporary, imaginative approaches and this role has the opportunity for significant influence.

Organizational History and Culture

Founded in 1984, The CJM’s institutional model has continuously evolved since The Museum’s humble beginnings in the Jewish Federation of San Francisco’s building. In 1995, the Board seized an opportunity offered by San Francisco’s Redevelopment Agency to create a new museum in a former power substation that had stood vacant for years. The CJM opened its boldly-designed, 63,000-square-foot Daniel Libeskind-designed building in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena arts district in 2008. The renovated landmark incorporates spectacular additions that reference, in constructed form, Hebrew letters symbolizing “life” and “a garden of meanings.” Its very structure communicates the vibrancy of Jewish life. Acting as an anchor of the now revitalized area, The CJM draws in and reflects outward the energy of this center of world-class tech, commercial, and culture—transmitting power once again in a new form.

Over the past decade, on-site attendance has grown to over 125,000 visitors annually. The CJM’s changing exhibitions and public programs provide a dynamic canvas for new ideas. The Museum’s curatorial strategy of originating exhibitions and bringing to San Francisco exhibitions from other venues that would not travel here otherwise has proven to yield strong results in public engagement, visitor loyalty, and contribution to scholarship.   In recognition of The CJM’s innovation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts have awarded grants to support the 2017 and 2018 exhibitions and public programs. The CJM’s exhibitions are pioneering, and are distinguished by an international roster of artists, loans from major collections, and recognition ranging from The Atlantic and The New York Times to Domus and Architectural Record. Recent accolades and awards affirming The CJM’s distinction include an Excellence in Museum Education award from the California Association of Museums, inclusion in the prestigious Slingshot awards of inspiring and innovative Jewish organizations, and recognition as “a must-visit stop in San Francisco.”

The CJM embraces inclusiveness. Abraham’s “open tent” and tikkun olam (literally, “repair of the world”) are guiding concepts for how it engages the public. The CJM is a museum where audiences from all backgrounds can find meaning and community—and strives to be a model for how culturally-specific organizations can speak to diverse audiences, build community, and enable all people to see their own experiences reflected through a Jewish prism. The CJM has a family attendance rate 15% higher than the national benchmark for art museums and is one of only two West Coast museums with a full-time staff member dedicated to creating access initiatives for all ages and abilities. Additionally, The CJM partners with 50+ organizations annually—connecting with diverse communities to extend a welcoming hand or give a helping hand modelling both best practices and Jewish values.

Internally, The CJM has 42 employees working in a highly collaborative fashion to develop and execute a wide range of offerings for diverse audiences. Working together on many levels, the team supports and contributes to one another’s work, and collectively continues to evolve, refine and inform the goals of the organization. Marketing and Communications sits at the center of these efforts and functions as both a service provider for executing critical communications projects and as an in-house consultant to enhance and tailor ideas to engage target audiences and increase visitor engagement. The organization is highly ambitious and mission-oriented. Creating new and effective ways to enable The CJM to further its role as a vibrant cultural asset will be a core component of the success of this position.

Representative Exhibitions (Past, current and upcoming)

Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition

Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition, was the first comprehensive retrospective of his life and work. Kubrick exerted complete artistic control over his projects; in doing so, he reconceived the genres in which he worked. The exhibition presented in the Summer of 2016 at The CJM covered the breadth of Kubrick’s achievements, beginning with his photographs for LOOK magazine taken in the 1940s, and continuing with his directorial achievements of the 1950s through the 1990s. Kubrick’s films were represented through annotated scripts, production photography, lenses and cameras, set models, costumes, and props. In addition, the exhibition explored Napoleon and Aryan Papers, two projects that Kubrick never completed, and the technological advances developed by Kubrick and his team. This exhibition was organized by the Deutsches Filmmuseum, Frankfurt am Main, Christiane Kubrick and The Stanley Kubrick Archive at University of the Arts London.

From Generation to Generation: Inherited Memory and Contemporary Art (an original CJM exhibition)

In the Spring of 2017, The CJM presented the work of twenty-four contemporary artists who grappled with memories that were not their own–these remembered and recalled stories were represented in a variety of media. The artists themselves were secondary witnesses to the past events they use in their works, and it is precisely this distance in time and space that allowed them to offer powerful narratives open to a wide range of interpretation and expression. The exhibition, co-curated by CJM Assistant Curator Pierre-François Galpin and independent curator Lily Siegel, expanded on the groundbreaking work by Dr. Marianne Hirsch on postmemory. Dr. Hirsch writes that postmemory is “the relationship that the ‘generation after’ bears to the personal, collective, and cultural trauma of those who came before—to experiences they ‘remember’ only by means of the stories, images and behaviors among which they grew up. But these experiences were transmitted to them so deeply and affectively as to seem to constitute memories in their own right.” These artists through their works, search, question, and reflect on the representation of truths related to ancestral and public narratives of historical moments such as the Holocaust, the struggle for civil rights for African Americans, and the Vietnam War among others—ultimately attempting to understand their own past.

Sabbath: The 2017 Dorothy Saxe Invitational Exhibition

Started in 1984 and now in its eleventh iteration, The Dorothy Saxe Invitational is an important component of The Museum’s long-standing tradition of inviting artists from a variety of backgrounds to explore a Jewish ceremonial object, holiday, or concept within the context of their own medium and artistic philosophy. Inviting fifty-seven artists to comment on Sabbath—the day of rest—gives the diverse group an opportunity to examine the depth of the fourth commandment, its influences, and its universality. A pillar of many religions and a staple of the modern workweek, the ideas in the Sabbath are integral to how time is viewed. In order to explore the many layers of meaning of the Jewish Sabbath, the artists were given excerpts from Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel’s 1951 masterpiece, The Sabbath. Heschel argued that Judaism is a religion of time, finding meaning not in space and the material things that fill it, but in time and the eternity that imbues it.

Contraption: Rediscovering California’s Jewish Artists (an original CJM exhibition, opening February 2018)

Contraption: Rediscovering California Jewish Artists is a group show that presents the work of sixteen California-identified artists of Jewish descent—both historical and living—whose work refers to the machine either literally or metaphorically. What they share, and what the exhibition explores, is an experience of California that when combined with their Jewish culture led them to look to the machine and the gimcrack as a source of imagery, metaphor, and at times consolation. Through parody and exaggeration of a mechanical ethos, these artists also find a way to use humor as a defense mechanism.

Director of Marketing and Communications



  • Serve as a member of The Museum’s senior management team providing guidance and expertise to inform decisions in order to accomplish The Museum’s overarching strategic and operational priorities;
  • Develop a comprehensive, multi-year marketing and communications plan to refine and strengthen The CJM’s brand, diversify and expand audience engagement, and strengthen The Museum’s marketing and communications infrastructure and team;
  • Lead the implementation of integrated strategies, plans and campaigns for marketing, advertising, public relations, promotions, and social media activities;
  • Participate in and/or facilitate the representation of The Museum at exhibition openings, events, engaging directly with the media, including local, domestic and foreign press;
  • Ensure that the institutional vision and values are successfully expressed and extended through all initiatives; be the brand advocate working to align operating strategies with organizational core values;
  • Work in partnership with the Executive Director, Chief Curator, and other members of the senior management team to refine and strengthen The Museum’s brand;
  • Be an external face of The CJM; effectively represent The Museum with a broad array of constituents, including promotional partners, and community, arts and business leaders;
  • Model and facilitate open dialogue within the department, with internal and external partners, and with diverse audiences;
  • Be a reliable and valued colleague who offers thoughtful analysis, thinks strategically and is practical and approachable.

Operational and Staff Management

  • Hold organizational responsibility for the success of all marketing and communications programs and strategies including brand and website, audience engagement, traditional and digital/social media communications, strategic community engagement, design and copy for all print and digital communications and materials including those for general use, exhibitions, facilities rentals, retail operations, and fundraising, and public and media relations;
  • Recruit, nurture and challenge a qualified and motivated professional staff; delegate specific responsibilities with appropriate authority and establish accountability and clear lines of communication;
  • Support the policies, procedures and communication required to align priorities and available resources; support creation of flexible solutions and creative approaches to organizational needs;
  • Bring relevant research, data, and analysis of industry trends to museum leadership and interpret its significance to The Museum;
  • Evolve data tracking and metrics that are appropriate for the size and scale of The Museum to inform future initiatives;
  • Develop, maintain, track and analyze budgets for all M & C department operations and activities;
  • Work in partnership with the Chief Operating Officer to develop, manage, and maximize marketing and communications resources and budget.

Marketing, Communications, and Editorial

  • Oversee creative development, production and distribution of all communications, publications and promotional materials, including members’ Exhibition + Program Guide, annual report, Member e-news, Online Features, social media presence and other items;
  • Advance The Museum’s digital strategy and use of online and mobile resources; set procedures for inclusion of content from various departments and ensure editorial standards; maximize the value of the newly launched website and enhanced systems capability;
  • Oversee external advertising and public relations consultants, providing expertise, guidance and clear objectives to achieve exhibition and institutional goals;
  • Support leadership, including the Executive Director in developing target messaging for public and donor audiences and establish a brand tool-kit with easily accessible narratives for constituent engagement;
  • Support the development of new wayfinding and other visitor-centered communications for the newly envisioned site modifications, facilities and exhibition space;
  • Support the further development of communications and collateral for revenue-generating activities including venue rentals;
  • Work in close partnership with the Executive Director, Chief Philanthropy Officer, and other members of the senior management team to design messaging and materials for the comprehensive campaign;
  • Oversee and participate in the research, writing and editing of all The CJM’s press releases;
  • On behalf of the Executive Director and The Museum leadership, shape internal communications and positions including those concerning public policy, news events affecting The Museum and the field, and exhibits and artists presented at The Museum, as well as other important issues or events as needed.


A successful Director of M & C candidate will likely have:

  • Demonstrated success with developing and executing marketing and communications strategies designed to increase attendance and revenue;
  • Experience managing a production-oriented team combined with executive level engagement around brand strategy and organizational vision;
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills; strong creative problem-solving and analytic capabilities;
  • Solid experience with digital marketing, online and mobile advertising, and social media initiatives;
  • Ability to interact in an effective, tactful, and professional manner with the internal and external teams, the media and the public;
  • Experience with developing and maintaining financial projections and budgets; a track record of managing on time and on budget;
  • Experience managing the production of marketing/promotional materials and working closely with graphic designers;
  • Experience directing and driving robust organizational storytelling including video and new media;
  • Experience managing a multi-faceted brand identity;
  • Exceptional writing and editing abilities;
  • A history of strong collaboration; someone who actively seeks strategic partnerships and develops effective relationships;
  • Knowledge of museum operations, the arts industry or arts marketing is preferred; experience working in an art and/or cultural history museum ideal;
  • A track record of successful collaboration with fundraising professionals;
  • Knowledge of Bay Area businesses, media, tourism and hospitality contacts would be valuable.


  • Deeply mission-oriented and aligned with The CJM’s vision;
  • A team builder with both vision and strong management skills; one who can motivate and direct diverse partners while establishing accountability and shared success;
  • Extremely proactive approach to work; solutions-oriented with attention to detail;
  • A good listener and strategist; comfortable receiving input from many sources and able to analyze disparate information to create and execute a sound, well-organized plan or procedure;
  • Inspires trust, creativity and cohesiveness;
  • Superb poise; substantial communications, presentation, and public speaking skills;
  • Calm, diplomatic and able to disengage with the demands of the daily work-cycle to chart and evolve critical ideas, relationships and trust;
  • Demonstrates an effective project-management orientation; facilitates and models clear communication, flexibility and a solutions-focus approach;
  • A hard worker; a ‘doer’ with a willingness to work hands-on with a high energy level;
  • Resourceful—able to set priorities, build efficiencies and create opportunity;
  • Exercises high ethical standards;
  • Strong affinity for, and understanding of, Jewish heritage and culture; familiarity with the Bay Area Jewish community a plus;
  • A gifted mentor and team-builder; able to encourage and grow talent and collaborative work in service to great ideas;
  • Demonstrates intellectual depth, moral integrity, creativity and entrepreneurship.


For additional details or to submit your experience for review, please contact;

Nancy Painter

(415) 202- 6240