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Chief Operating Officer

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Software Engineering
Bentonville, AR, USA
Posted on Saturday, July 8, 2023

The mission of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is to welcome all to celebrate the American spirit in a setting that unites the power of art with the beauty of nature. Founded by philanthropist and arts patron Alice Walton, Crystal Bridges is a public non-profit charitable organization.

Job Description:

Position Title: Chief Operating Officer (COO)

Position Type: Full Time

FLSA Classification: Exempt

Division: Executive

Department: Operations

Reports to: Executive Director and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer

Position Summary

Reporting to the Executive Director and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) will serve a critical role, elevating operational effectiveness and efficiency across the organization while maximizing financial and operational performance. The COO will have oversight over key administrative efforts. The COO will have full responsibility to ensure Crystal Bridges and the Momentary operations meet the museum’s growing needs while maintaining budget parameters. The COO will serve as a member of the Strategy Team and will share the organization’s vision and champion its efforts to grow capacity and increase impact. The COO will work effectively and strategically with departments across the museum and support aspects of the evolving Momentary development and operations.

The COO will be a seasoned executive with a track record of successful management and decision-making in a complex organization. The successful candidate will have demonstrated experience working with diverse communities and a strong commitment to the core values of the museum. The COO will be a natural collaborator practiced in establishing and leveraging innovative partnerships with other organizations, a servant-leader, an excellent listener who can prioritize across teams, and operationalize vision and tactical strategy.

The successful candidate will be a natural connector of people and ideas. The COO will be capable of working with others to develop differentiated strategies with multifaceted approaches. This proactive individual will be a thoughtful, articulate, and inspiring leader who will work closely with staff, volunteers and external partners to build on the organization’s successful accomplishments to date. The COO will bring a customer service mentality and inspire those around her/him to approach their work in the same way.

The COO will play a vital role in fostering a collaborative and mutually beneficial relationship with Art and Wellness Enterprises (AWE), our support organization. You will work with AWE to develop and implement annual and long-term fiscal and operational and capital plans to maximize sources of contributed and earned income. The COO will be fiscally savvy and responsible for the supervision of day-to-day operations for an organization of over 330 staff and a $50M annual operating budget and growing. The COO will create and maintain systems that ensure programming meets the highest quality standards for all, including the interest and support of broad, diverse and untapped local, regional and national audiences, and will serve as a critical leader in a 100,000 square foot expansion planned to open in 2026.

The COO will lead the Culinary, Retail, Volunteer Services, Protection Services, Guest Services and Inclusion & Belonging efforts of the museum and directly supervises the following positions: Director of Protection & Guest Services, Director of Retail, Director of Inclusion & Belonging, Director of Operations-Momentary, Director of Culinary Operations, Sr. Executive Assistant, and Manager of Volunteer Services.

Job Duties and Responsibilities

Organizational Leadership

As a critical member of the museum’s leadership team, the COO will:

  • Plan, align, manage, and evaluate the progress of the organization toward its dual goals of access and impact by creating strong accountability measures
  • Lead the day-to-day operations of the organization and increase the capacity for all team members to advance the mission of the museum
  • Drive, at a tactical level, the organizational plans related to HR, IT, Finance, Trails & Grounds, Operations, Business Services (Retail, Culinary, Special Events), Protection Services and Guest Services to ensure the museum reaches its programmatic and organizational goals.
  • Promote, facilitate, and embody an engaged, impact-oriented culture grounded in respect, collaboration, learning, and the mission and values of the museum
  • Embody the spirit of the organization by serving as champion who supports proposals to develop and grow staff engagement
  • Create a culture of transparency and consistency while always taking into account what is best for the museum and its stakeholders.
  • Establish systems to optimize the organization’s ability to make decisions and a culture that values effectiveness.


  • Serve as part of the leadership team that sets priorities, establishes policies, develops budgets, and sets long-range strategic goals for the museum.
  • In partnership with the leadership team, Board, and staff, enhance and contribute to the museum’s strategic plan; develop and align short and long-range objectives with the strategic plan; ensure that approved policies are evaluated and updated.
  • Work closely with members of the staff to build an infrastructure for the museum that will sustain growth; evaluate the Museum operations already in place; where appropriate, create and implement new systems and procedures throughout the institution; evaluate the museum’s activities broadly.
  • Maximize unique programmatic opportunities, preserve and maintain the museum’s physical assets, determine the best use of available indoor and outdoor space to support the museum’s activities and mission.
  • Ensure, by effective leadership and management, that the day-to-day operations and programs of the museum are professionally and efficiently administered consistent with the museum’s strategic plan.
  • Empower, delegate appropriate responsibility and accountability, and provide strategic oversight among of all operating departments to ensure all short- and long-term goals are accomplished.
  • Provide direction challenge and work closely with staff: listening to their ideas; understanding their strengths; and encouraging each member’s professional growth.
  • Create an atmosphere that rewards initiative, holds all accountable, exceeds industry standards, and encourages productivity and cross-departmental collaboration.


  • Manage the museum in a fiscally responsible and knowledgeable manner, taking into consideration the financial implications of operations, programming and acquisitions for the institution.
  • Understand and be proficient with financial statements, operational analyses, risk analysis and financial forecasting/information to communicate and lead internally and with our Board of Directors
  • In collaboration with AWE, be the key driver of annual operating, and capital budgets; analyze results throughout the year; identify potential issues; develop reports that afford the team members increased knowledge of their budgets and how their decisions affect budgets
  • Maintain current knowledge of and ensure compliance with applicable federal, state, and local requirements

Operationalizing Strategy

Be a strategic, growth oriented thinker capable of creating and deploying an effective operational vision, framework, and culture.

  • Possess the inclination to seek and analyze data from a variety of sources to support decisions and to align others with the organization's overall strategy.
  • Take an entrepreneurial and creative approach to developing new, innovative ideas that will stretch the organization and push the boundaries of the field.
  • Have the ability to effectively balance the desire/need for broad change with an understanding of how much change the organization is capable of handling, to create realistic goals and implementation plans that are achievable and successful.

Talent Management

  • In cooperation with AWE’s Human Resources team:
    • design and develop an integrated strategic program for all people-related functions in the organization, including recruitment, onboarding, orientation, performance management, coaching, training, staff and leadership development and recognition
    • evolve performance management systems that allow for clear goal-setting and accountability
    • develop and make flourish a progressive, holistic wellness program that nurtures a productive, healthy and joyous team
    • evolve performance evaluation and accountability to provide the necessary feedback to and motivation of team members; promote a culture of high performance and continuous improvement that values a commitment to quality
  • Fulfill the diversity, inclusion and equity efforts of the organization in partnership with the Executive Director and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer
  • Collaborate with all teams to excel in determining and meeting resource needs, hiring, evaluation, orientation, training, coaching, and development
  • Cultivate and steward positive team relations throughout the museum
  • Activate a robust succession plan to ensure individual and organizational goals are met
  • Foster volunteer talent to create meaningful experience for each individual while achieving organizational strategic goals
  • Develop and foster organizational internship and fellowship (high school, undergraduate and graduate) effort to create interest in the field and employment at the museum

Qualifications required for your success

  • Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration or related field preferred
  • Extensive experience in a progressively responsible organizational senior management role
  • Knowledge of principles and practices of human resources development and administration
  • Financial management experience
  • Demonstrated track record managing people, operations and budgets in a complex organization; competence, ease and experience handling multiple revenue streams; success in identifying earning income opportunities.
  • Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, leadership techniques, and coordination of people and resources
  • Proven ability to build and nurture relationships with staff members and other individuals from a broad swath of society – from the indifferent or intimidated, to dedicated museum guests and supporters.
  • Demonstrated ability to serve as an effective spokesperson and ambassador with outstanding verbal and written communication skills, able to generate awareness, excitement and appreciation.
  • Exhibits empathy and respect to all individuals by empowering staff and volunteers to openly embrace inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility

Personal attributes that support your success

  • Highest degree of personal ethics, integrity and ability to treat all information with appropriate levels of confidentiality.
  • Connector who builds strong relationships with others, demonstrates strong emotional intelligence and an ability to communicate clearly and persuasively.
  • Ability to collaborate effectively in problem solving and decision-making
  • You are a team player and express servant-leadership when collaborating with others
  • You are results oriented and exercise sound judgment in your work
  • A lifelong learner, who is inquisitive and solves problems with bold thinking and innovation
  • Committed to building and modeling equitable systems, beginning with diversity, access and inclusion.

Licenses and Certifications

  • Valid driver’s license and clean driving record.

Physical Demands and Work Environment

The physical demands and work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this position. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Physical demands: In the work environments described below, Position requires sitting at desk/workstation and utilizing a computer and telephone for prolonged periods of time, good eye/hand coordination, verbal and written conversation with others,). Vision abilities required by the job include close vision.
  • Work Environment: Work will be performed in an office environment and in museum spaces. The noise level in the work environment is usually low to moderate. Some overnight travel may be necessary.

All offers of employment are contingent on your successful completion (where permitted by state law) of a confidentiality agreement and background check. Crystal Bridges requires all employees to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment, or meet Arkansas state requirements, subject to accommodations. In addition, you will need to provide proper identification verifying your eligibility to work in the United States on your first day of work.

Crystal Bridges is an equal opportunity employer committed to building and maintaining a culturally diverse workplace that is free of discrimination and harassment of any kind. We encourage women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans to apply. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, veteran status, or any other status protected by the laws or regulations in the locations where we operate.