Lisa Grove has over 20 years of experience in art museum leadership and strategy. With an MBA and a master's in art history from London's prestigious Courtauld Institute of Art, she is as comfortable with a spreadsheet as she is speaking about her award-winning exhibitions. A fearless fundraiser, she has raised more than $42 million raised for endowment, capital, and annual funds in some challenging environments. Lisa is a well-rounded strategic leader with an entrepreneurial spirit who is also a strong manager of her teams and volunteers. She has the experience and personal attributes necessary to take the institutions she leads to new heights.
Director / CEO, Telfair Museums, Savannah, GA, January 2012-present
Provide strategic leadership for one of the nation’s oldest art museums, comprised of three sites including two 200-year-old National Historic Landmark buildings and a contemporary building, that serves 200,000 visitors annually. Lead a diverse and fast-paced special exhibitions program consisting of approximately 20 exhibitions each year featuring works by more than 100 artists spanning three centuries, from 18th century decorative arts to American Impressionist paintings to contemporary art. Create and implement a wide range of public programs, community outreach efforts, technology initiatives, and special events that make the museum a dynamic center for the diverse local community. Oversee a $30 million endowment, $6 million operating budget, staff of 65, and a collection of 7,000 works of fine and decorative art.
Deputy Director, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, 2004-2011
Helped lead CAM St. Louis from its opening year through seven years of rapid growth featuring an award-winning temporary exhibitions program with more than 250 contemporary artists. Published 10 exhibition catalogues and multiple artist editions, and launched several new programs for the local arts community. Raised over $22 million for endowment, capital, and annual operations. Managed $5 million endowment, $2 million operating budget, and staff of 13.
Senior Strategy Consultant, Monitor Group, Cambridge, MA, 1996-2003
Provided analysis and strategic counsel to clients of this top global consulting firm. Advised senior managers and Board members of Fortune 100 companies on a broad range of business issues including marketing, new product development, and competitive analysis. Developed strategic plans, improved governance procedures, and created data-driven financial planning models to strengthen organizational sustainability. Managed client relationships and supervised high-performing teams. Oversaw leadership development program within the firm.
Education Coordinator, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 1992-1993
Coordinated educational workshop for directors of museums participating on a national traveling exhibition tour. Assisted with organization of traveling exhibitions, including research, writing, and project management.
Education & Honors
Competitive two-year scholarship for post-graduate study in the United Kingdom, 1994-1996.
Imperial College Business School, University of London
MBA, Strategic Management, 1996. Degree conferred with Distinction. Best Marketing Thesis Award.
Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London
MA in History of Art, 1995, Distinction on Dissertation.
Stanford University, Stanford, California
BA, American Studies, 1992. Degree conferred with Distinction and Departmental Honors; Summa Cum Laude; Phi Beta Kappa; President’s Award for Academic Excellence.
Gold Award for Best Exhibition (under $25,000 budget), Southeastern Museum Conference, 2016
Getty Leadership Institute, 2016
Governor's Award for the Arts and Humanities, 2015
Lilla M. Hawes Award for Best Book in Georgia History, 2014
Award of Merit from American Association of State and Local History, 2014
Yale Public History Institute, 2013
- Manage successful development of wide range of curatorial projects in fine and decorative arts from 18th century to contemporary art. Oversaw the organization of the major traveling exhibition Spanish Sojourns: Robert Henri and the Spirit of Spain (2013-15 tour), as well as dozens of temporary exhibitions and collection installations. Published three exhibition catalogues.
- Secured over $750,000 in national grants for exhibitions and publications, including grants from the British Council, Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, Horowitz Foundation, IMLS, NEA (four awards), Nimoy Foundation, Pro Helvetia, Terra Foundation, and Warhol Foundation.
- Spearheaded award-winning Slavery and Freedom in Savannah project, a major multi-year scholarly initiative researching the rare urban slave quarters located on the site of one of the Telfair’s historic properties. Project included a symposium, exhibition and publication that received multiple national, regional, and state awards.
- Launched an annual series of exhibitions with contemporary African American artists that explores issues of race in America today through site-specific projects connected with the museum’s historic sites. Artists include Whitfield Lovell, Nick Cave, Carrie Mae Weems, Simone Leigh, and Paul Stephen Benjamin.
- Produced four years of the annual PULSE: Art & Technology exhibition series featuring contemporary artists who utilize digital and interactive technology. Presented a solo show with Leo Villareal and received support from the National Endowment for the Arts to commission a new work using augmented reality technology.
- Strengthened stewardship of the Museum’s permanent collection of 6,000 objects, primarily consisting of American and European 19th and 20th century painting, sculpture, photography and works on paper, as well as an extensive collection of silver, furniture, and other decorative arts. Wrote Museum’s first Scope of Collections and Collections Plan to refine the permanent collection and guide future collecting efforts.
- Increased quality of museum’s permanent collection through strategic relationships with private collectors. Secured significant donation of silver, three contemporary photography portfolios, as well as works by George Bellows, James Brooks, Whitfield Lovell, Rembrandt, Mickalene Thomas, Andy Warhol, and Elyn Zimmerman.
- Created comprehensive stewardship strategies for the museum’s largest collection items – its two National Historic Landmark buildings – to both restore their historic splendor and provide ongoing preservation.
- Developed plan to digitize and share the collection through multiple online channels to better engage both broad and scholarly audiences.
Education & Community Outreach
- Developed a wide range of education programs that serve 10,000 children in Savannah annually, including School Tours, Head Start programs, Art in the Parks and Playgrounds, and summer camps. Led creation of community task force to plan for necessary improvements to the museum’s ArtZeum hands-on children’s area. Launched new monthly Free Family Day program to increase diversity of audiences served. Program attendance increased 400% within first four months.
- Expanded museum education programs and community outreach to teens and underserved audiences. Launched – and secured funding for – multiple new programs including Teen Museum Studies and the Arts Alive Bus.
- Created new citywide Open Studios Weekend that increased the museum's engagement with the local artist community and expanded the public’s interest in supporting local art initiatives.
- Raised over $42 million for annual, capital, and endowment campaigns, including personally soliciting several six and seven-figure gifts. Increased total contributed income by 25%, with a 37% increase in revenue from major gifts and major donor retention rate of nearly 90%.
- Produced record-breaking Telfair Ball that netted $500,000 in profit – quadrupling previous results – by dramatically increasing corporate support and proceeds from the live auction.
- Launched and completed the $5 million Securing the Future Endowment Campaign and reinvigorated the Mary Telfair Legacy Society. Personally solicited six and seven-figure gifts.
- Planned and coordinated an $8.4 million capital and endowment campaign that exceeded fundraising goal ahead of schedule. Helped secure the $5.4 million lead gift, and personally secured other six- and seven-figure gifts.
Financial & Capital Management
- Led major financial turnaround of Telfair Museums in first year as Director, delivering four consecutive years of operating surpluses (and reversing the museum's cumulative losses of over $4.7 million over its previous nine years) while simultaneously growing total operating budget by 20%, filling vacant staff positions, and completing a $5 million endowment campaign.
- Oversee $30 million endowment investment portfolio. Developed revised investment policy and lead quarterly investment performance reviews to assess manager performance. Analyzed museum’s debt structure and renegotiated $6 million bond to reduce annual interest payments by 15%.
- Developed museum’s first Capital Asset Management Plan and long-term capital budget to steward its three buildings. Effectively managed numerous capital projects at the museum’s two National Historic Landmark buildings.
- Within first year at CAM St. Louis, identified more than $500,000 in cost savings and revenue enhancements (25% of total $2 million budget) to eliminate inherited deficit. Continued to balance budget and generate a surplus every year while simultaneously securing $8.4 million to retire building debt and create $5 million endowment before the organization’s 4th anniversary.
Marketing & Audience Development
- Generated record-breaking results for attendance (50% increase), admissions revenue (48% increase), and membership (75% increase).
- Increased Telfair Museums’ profile in the community through frequent speaking engagements, cultivation activities, and professional engagement initiatives with local government and business leaders.
- Launched newly invigorated Telfair Friends of African American Arts membership group to attract and engage new and more diverse audiences with the arts. Doubled FAAA membership within first three months of relaunch to secure $25,000 challenge grant from Jacob Lawrence Foundation.
- Led the museum field in implementing new digital technologies early on. CAM St. Louis was one of the first museums in the country to blog, to offer podcast exhibition tours, to utilize QR codes, and to create iPad gallery tours.
- Initiated strategic public relations activities that resulted in significant improvement in international press coverage: every exhibition organized by CAM St. Louis from 2007-2011 received an article in a major international art publication.
- Raised local, national, and international visibility of CAM St. Louis online. Launched and grew social media presence to over 5,700 Facebook fans, 3,000 Twitter followers, and over 7,000 email subscribers within months of launch. Spearheaded the complete redesign of CAM St. Louis’ brand and website.
Management & Organizational Leadership
- Provide leadership, vision, and guidance to staff of 65 dispersed across three museum sites. Foster creative, collaborative, and productive work environment, as well as a results-oriented culture.
- Created a goal-oriented Strategic Plan that includes multi-year budgets, fundraising goals, and strategic priorities. Developed corresponding annual work plans with clear performance metrics to align staff efforts across the organization.
- Streamlined operations at the museum’s three sites, including all visitor services, retail operations, and food service activities, to enhance efficiency and customer service. Garnered significant improvements to customer satisfaction ratings on Trip Advisor.
- Wrote all core documents and institutional policies during the museum’s first year, from employee handbooks to marketing plans to development procedures. Introduced new employee benefits, including paid maternity and paternity leave and flextime opportunities, to increase staff retention and morale.
- Work effectively with Board Chair, Executive Committee, and Board of Trustees to promote strong governance and oversight. Led comprehensive review and update of key policies and procedures, including bylaws, conflict of interest, committee structure, and nominating procedures. Oversee all board administration activities, including nominations, orientation, committee assignments, governance, and development.