Professional Development


Design thinking is a big buzzword these days, and is being applied in both corporate and not-for-profit settings. However, it is much more than simply thinking like a designer might. Indeed, design thinking is about combining analytical and creative methods to arrive at innovative solutions. Dana Mitroff Silvers, the Founder and Principal of the consulting practice Designing Insights and the...
Are you an advocate for yourself within your own workplace?
Ask yourself these questions: Is the senior staff and/or board at your museum aware of your impact on your organization? Do you feel truly valued? Are you able to effectively communicate with your coworkers about your position within the greater organization? Do you feel like you are being compensated appropriately? Are you comfortable...
by Christy Ham
While this year’s theme of the WMA Annual Meeting was Inspire, community was a hot topic of discussion, and it was one that hit home for me. I am new to the museum field and did not quite know what to expect. My adventure into the world of museum professional started in the Fall of 2017 when I took on the newly-created position of Membership & Visitor Experience Supervisor at...
by Cara Gallo
After brushing the desert dust off myself, I was promptly anointed with enthusiasm by the splashy drive from Seattle airport – inspiration sparkled as we arrived at the glistening Murano Hotel. The streets aligned with trees of fiery tones illuminated through the shrouding fog, their autumnal hues and aromas began to feed this Jersey girl hankering for fall’s change – absent from my...
by Meka Manchak
I started in the museum field in 2009. The Great Recession was in full-swing and museums—like a lot of industries--were not hiring. I interned, unpaid, for a full-year before catching a break and landing a full-time position working in exhibits at a history museum. I stayed at that museum for five years gaining experience, chasing new opportunities, and trying to learn as much as...

The new year brings an opportunity to make a fresh start and set the course for a happy and successful 2019. As the year winds down, it’s a great time to examine how we can make adjustments to the way we work.
Burnout is a problem in all sectors, and non-profit workers can be especially vulnerable to workplace fatigue. Many museum workers face expanding job responsibilities, long hours, and...
by Azha Simmons
Since my time as a graduate student I’ve enjoyed attending museum conferences and the Western Museums Association Annual Meeting is one of my favorites. My attendance at this conference was very special, because I recently graduated from my Museum Studies program from John F. Kennedy University. I was no longer attending the conference as a student, but as a new emerging museum...
by Christina Ayson
Attending academic conferences as a doctoral student can be a daunting experience. Navigating the various codes of etiquette, the theory driven panels, and networking amongst senior faculty from elite institutions is intimidating. I have often left these conferences more tired than invigorated. WMA was different; I felt inspired, challenged, and integral to the progression of...
By Danielle Robbins
We are social creatures. The need to share and connect, to learn and grow because of each other is fundamental to our wellbeing. The act of fulfilling this need is what it means to inspire. To inspire is to influence, and though we can be inspired while alone, it is a circuit only half complete until we share with another in a meaningful way. It was this kind of sharing that...

The benefits of having a mentor can be invaluable to professionals at any career stage. Mentors can help with setting and achieving career goals, learning new skills, or offering a fresh perspective when you are facing challenges at work. Mentor relationships don’t exclusively benefit the mentee alone, however. Many mentors report feeling a sense of satisfaction from being able to help another...

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