Chief Digital Officer, Detroit, MI


Founded in 1885, the Detroit Institute of Arts moved to its current site on Detroit's Woodward Avenue in 1927. The museum covers 658,000 square feet that include more than 100 galleries, a 1,150-seatauditorium, a 380-seat lecture/recital hall, an art reference library, and a state-of-the-art conservation services laboratory.

The DIA's collection is among the top five in the United States, with more than 65,000 works. Among its notable acquisitions are Mexican artist Diego Rivera's Detroit Industry fresco cycle, which Rivera considered his mostsuccessful work, and Vincent van Gogh's Self-Portrait the first Van Gogh painting to enter a U.S.museum collection.

A hallmark of the DIA is the diversity of the collection. In addition to outstanding American, European, modern and contemporary, and graphic art, the museum holds significant works of African, Asian,Native American, Oceanic, Islamic, and ancient art. In 2000, the DIA was the first museum in the country to establish a center for African American art as a curatorial department. Furthermore, the museum provides its visitors with the unique opportunity to learn the history of African American art with galleries dedicated solely to this area of the collection.

While the Detroit Institute of Arts has long had digital products and resources website, social media platforms, assets (photography, recordings) it has not had a comprehensive digital strategy for infrastructure, staffing, team training, and, most critically, audience engagement. The digital pivot that the DIA has made due to the COVID-19 public health crisis has amplified the DIA's needs. Working with Balboa Park Online Collaborative (BPOC), the DIA is developing an evaluation of internal practices and a plan to transition to an efficient, productive, and digitally capable organization to ensure that the museum remains relevant to current and emerging audiences and, crucially, that staff have the capacity, literacy, and appropriate tools to support these initiatives.

Over the past several years, the DIA has been working to advance in the areas of talent and culture, focusing on people operations, team member learning and development, workplace culture, anddiversityandinclusion. In the fall of 2019, the DIA was awarded a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services(IMLS) in the area of diversity.As part of the grant, the museum proposedathree-yearInclusion,Diversity,Equity,andAccess (IDEA)journey. This work will guide the DIA in becoming a museum of relevance where a diverse team serves a diverse audience.The ultimate vision is to create a culture of belonging that is felt with its visitors and all stakeholders.In the fall of 2019, the DIA selected The Kaleidoscope Group as its consultative partner for the foundationalIDEA work.Through this foundational work, the DIA team will increase internal capabilities to lead thiswork far into the future.As the DIA moves forward on this transformative journey, it will incorporatethe IDEA lens inallmuseumwork.


Under the guidance of the Director, President and Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) will set the strategic direction for digital design, user experiences, digital production and publishing, information technology, and digital processes within the DIA to maximize the museum's assets and platforms.

This inaugural position will oversee and guide the implementation of a digital strategy and all associated processes, systems, and technologies required to connect the DIA's collection, information, assets, and programming with existing audiences while attracting and building audiences locally, nationally, and internationally. The CDO will build a high-performing team, engage vendors and consultants as appropriate, and lead strategic technology development, ensuring the alignment of technical and digital efforts with the museum's programming and operations.

The CDO will serve as the executive project manager for the implementation of technology and digital projects and oversee a comprehensive portfolio of technology and digital efforts in support of guest services, visitor engagement, online retail, relevant business operations, collection, asset and content management systems, online services, marketing, and others.


The CDO will define and deliver effective digital technology projects and strategy and have the following priorities and responsibilities:

  • Thoroughly understand the DIA and how it operates; build strong working relationships with the Director and with the other senior staff; ensure that plans and strategies are developed in partnership and in conjunction with other programs and initiatives.
  • Conceptualize and implement specific digital products and services across multiple platforms to attract, serve, and retain DIA's diverse audiences; develop and launch innovative digital products that modernize the organization and connect with increasingly technically savvy museum-goers (i.e., advanced apps, virtual online tours, etc.).
  • Conceive, develop, and execute a content distribution strategy; establish in-house digital capability to support the creation of compelling and innovative content for use in the museum, on the website, and in locations extending the museum brand (i.e., into the classroom).
  • Work with stakeholders across the museum to identify clear metrics that measure the effectiveness of digital activities and programming.
  • Attract and retain top-level talent; recruit, mentor, develop, and successfully lead a team to achieve the strategic objectives; implement a strategy to effectively and fairly assign resources and staff to digital creation, production, and delivery needs across the museum.
  • Ensure best practices in customer service; implementation and operations for all technology projects; mentor, guide, and develop staff, encouraging them to engage in the wider museum technology and digital community.
  • Keep current with emerging technologies and abreast of digital initiatives and activities at other museums and cultural institutions.
  • Provide verbal and written reports to the Board of Directors when requested.


Providing visionary leadership backed by deep digital knowledge and experience, the ideal candidate will have or be the following:

  • Highly developed leadership skills with a broad-based knowledge of the full range of digital strategies, platforms, and interactive technologies; demonstrated experience successfully leading, developing, and implementing digital strategy across organizations; museum, cultural institution, or public venue experience is highly desirable.
  • A strategic and creative thinker with the ability to conceptualize and implement institution-wide digital strategies, articulate plans, seek and obtain buy-in from others, and execute goals and objectives across multiple departments.
  • Fifteen years of experience required, 10 of which must be in digital services in an applied technology environment, encompassing infrastructure, business systems, technical support, and user-facing technology; a strategic approach to information technology and information systems and the ability to maintain progress towards established goals and objectives.
  • The ability to network, research, and stay abreast of all relevant developments and approaches in museum practices and innovation; support the museum field by representing the DIA at conferences and forums and highlighting and sharing digital initiatives in which the museum is active.
  • Demonstrated management and team building skills with regard to projects, budgets, and personnel, able to maintain a collaborative work environment by using a performance support process including goal setting, feedback, and development to meet museum strategic goals.
  • In-depth experience and knowledge of the technical, business, and operational aspects of the digital space; demonstrable experience leading or overseeing digital production and delivery, digitization, AV infrastructure, and managing a complex project portfolio.
  • Bachelor's degree in Science, Computer, Technology, or Information Systems or related field required; MBA or MS preferred.
  • Exemplary written, verbal, and listening communication skills and a demonstrated ability to communicate clearly and professionally.

The CDO must also be or have:

  • Demonstrated high level of emotional intelligence, excellent leadership skills, and the ability to lead diverse teams to meet museum strategic goals; demonstrated competencies in IDEA.
  • A catalyst capable of influencing an organization by means of both strategic and hands-on problem-solving and implementation skills, with a transparent and disciplined approach, who is persuasive and persistent in the pursuit of the museum's strategic goals and priorities.
  • Sound business judgment; able to exercise professional conduct, understand and follow business ethics and standards, and maintain a high level of confidentiality in all duties; the ability to work well under pressure, handle multiple priorities, meet deadlines, and work independently with minimal supervision.
  • Able to establish and maintain professional, productive, and courteous interactions that promote positive teamwork; an engaged listener with the ability to build consensus both within the museum and beyond.
  • Emotionally mature, with an intact ego, good judgment, and a sense of humor.
  • The ability to work a non-traditional schedule including evenings, weekends, and overnight travel as needed.

The DIA is an equal opportunity employer.

Please send applications and nominations to Mark Tarnacki at DIACDO@PhillipsOppenheim.com.