Owner and Lead Artisan, Moderncity + Main; Academic Advisor and Instructor, University of Delaware
After graduating from UD, I worked for five years in Washington, D.C. as a Manager of Initiatives for the Center for the Study of Modern Art (now the University of Maryland Center for Art and Knowledge) at the Phillips Collection. During my tenure at the Phillips, I had the great opportunity and fortune to work side-by-side with innovative thought-leaders, arts advocates, leading and emerging contemporary artists, and even policy makers (it was D.C., after all!). In this position I worked collaboratively across departments to plan, manage, and execute public programming, exhibitions, guest lectures, classes, symposia and special initiatives. With the support and leadership of the museum and Center directors, I helped orchestrate over 75 programs; developed projects with over 25 contemporary artists including Hans Haacke, Alfredo Jaar, Ragnar Kjartansson, Janine Antoni and Wangechi Mutu; and managed over a dozen regional, national, and international collaborations and partnerships including private, public, and nonprofit organizations and educational institutions. The experience of working for a museum with such an incredibly forward-thinking and global focus was instrumental to my professional development as a small-business owner.
In addition to holding the positions of Academic Advisor and Instructor within the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics at UD, I own and operate a small business: Moderncity + Main. As the owner, I direct and develop every aspect of the business—operations, communications and marketing, research and development, partnerships, etc. Having the acumen and aptitude needed to run and grow a small business is something I developed and fostered during my time at the Phillips Collection. If it were not for those seemingly endless hours of programming and strategic planning, negotiating and communicating with contemporary artists, and encouraging educational and cultural partnerships, I would not have the skill sets to direct the operations and growth of a small business. Part of my story has also laid the groundwork for my Shine the Light Foundation, which focuses on raising awareness about domestic violence in the US and abroad.
My professional and personal development can most certainly be traced back to my time as an undergraduate student in the Art History and French Language programs at UD. Going beyond academic and scholarly skills like learning how to effectively communicate and translate an idea represented in an image or text to support or establish a new narrative, I learned a great deal about time- and project-management, the importance of collaboration, the value in thoughtful expression, and the reward of hard work.
Considering my professional trajectory and where this path began for me at UD, I enthusiastically believe that the value of pursuing and obtaining a degree in the humanities is not to be underestimated—especially in a time when ideals like compassion and acceptance seem to be shaken. The ability to view society and the world objectively and thoughtfully through a critical and informed lens, and communicating these views, is something of considerable worth.