College Art Association (CAA) has selected Isimeme (Meme) Omogbai as Executive Director and CEO, following an executive search process led by Arts Consulting Group (ACG). She began her tenure on March 30, 2020.
Ms. Omogbai brings more than 25 years of experience in the corporate, government, higher education, and museum sectors. As the first American of African descent to chair the American Alliance of Museums, she led an initiative to rebrand the organization as a global, inclusive alliance. For nearly 10 years, she held various roles at the Newark Museum of Art, including COO, CFO, and Interim CEO. During her tenure, she delivered transformational change leadership and met organizational objectives through strategic leadership, diversity, fiscal planning, budget management, and strategic partnerships. Ms. Omogbai achieved four consecutive years of four-star ratings for superior management and utilized robust business acumen to guide financial strategy, resulting in net assets of $74.3 million. As Deputy Assistant Chancellor of the New Jersey Department of Higher Education, Ms. Omogbai was charged with enriching and expanding programs with direct impact on student collegiate affordability in New Jersey, receiving the New Jersey Meritorious Service Award for her work.
Named one of 25 Influential Black Women in Business by The Network Journal, Ms. Omogbai has served as a member and past Board Chair of the New Jersey Historic Trust and on the Montclair State University’s Advisory Board. She studied global museum executive leadership at the J. Paul Getty Trust Museum Leadership Institute, where she also served on the faculty. Ms. Omogbai is a certified public accountant and holds a master of business administration degree in finance and management consultancy from Rutgers University. She did post-graduate work at Harvard University’s Executive Management Program and has earned the designation of Chartered Global Management Accountant.
In making the announcement, CAA President Jim Hopfensperger said, “It is a pleasure to welcome Meme Omogbai to CAA as Executive Director. The Search Committee conveyed its confidence that Meme will apply her unique administrative experiences, striking energy, and clear vision to the important work ahead at this key moment in the Association’s history."
“I am joining CAA at an unprecedented period in world history as people across the globe are trying to understand what COVID-19 means for their families, communities and organizations,” said Ms. Omogbai. “As I embark on this new role, I want to emphasize that maintaining the health, well-being, and safety of our staff, membership, and stakeholders is and will always be a top priority. We have seen examples of the indomitable human spirit overcome adversity. Art inspired by challenging experiences is a common thread for many of the world’s most distinguished creative minds. Now more than ever there is a need to provide access to robust edifying visual arts experiences that are inclusive of diverse practices and practitioners for every adult and child, professional and student, nationality and race across the globe. Together we can achieve these objectives. With CAA as the preeminent international leadership organization in the visual arts, promoting these arts and their understanding, we will have the opportunity to perform an invaluable service to humanity.”
“Congratulations to Meme Omogbai on her placement as CAA’s Executive Director and CEO,” said ACG President Dr. Bruce D. Thibodeau. “Ms. Omogbai is a visionary leader who will promote inclusion, diversity, equity, and access within the fields of art, art history, and design as the CAA aspires to foster an inclusive culture welcoming of visible and invisible differences.”