November 17 | 2021
SEMC Leadership Institute: Leading for Today's Challenges
April 24-29, 2022
Duke Mansion
Charlotte, North Carolina
SEMC is thrilled to announce the 2022 Leadership Institute: Leading for Today's Challenges, which will be offered as an in-person program run over the course of one week in April 2022.
After years of thoughtful planning, curriculum design, and diligent forward movement, the SEMC Leadership Institute, developed in partnership with the Association of African American Museums, was first offered in fall 2020. Although COVID adjustments necessitated the Institute launch as a virtual program, the experience was powerful and contained a solid curriculum taught by leaders in their fields, that covered six areas:
  • Reflecting Your Best Self
  • Building Inclusive Cultures
  • Strategic Communication and Thinking
  • Leadership Challenges
  • Adaptive Leadership
  • Creating Your Best Self as an Organization
The 2022 Leadership Insitute will once again focus on developing diverse and inclusive future museum leaders who:

  • Can identify and build on their existing personal strengths

  • Assess how to maximize these strengths internally in an organization and externally as part of a community

  • Identify methods to capitalize on their strengths and their environment to move an institution forward
The program, focused on leadership training for staff of small - and mid-sized institutions, will offer peer-to-peer learning and reflection in addition to high-quality instruction and guidance from the accomplished faculty. With a cohort of no more than 16, the Leadership Institute will offer attendees a reflective, supportive experience and provide directed opportunities to look both inward and outward, develop inclusive leadership skills, and identify each individual's best self in the process.

Who should apply?
The 2022 Leadership Institute aims to cultivate a diverse cohort of museum professionals who are at the mid-career level and beyond, looking for a program to develop skills that will assist and empower them to be inclusive, forward-thinking leaders of departments, organizations, boards as well as encourage purposeful connection and partnerships with the communities their organizations serve.

The 2022 Leadership Institute tuition is $1,500 for SEMC and AAAM members and $1,600 for non-members.

Application deadline
Applications for the 2022 Leadership Institute will be accepted through January 15, 2022. Applicants will be notified of the outcome by early February 2022.

Please reach out to Zinnia Willits, SEMC Executive Director at
2022 Leadership Institute Faculty
Dr. Laura Morgan Roberts
 Professor of Practice, U. of VA Darden School of Business
Marsha Semmel
Principal of Marsha Semmel Consulting, Inc. 
Robert Bull, Jr.
President of The Compass Group Inc. 
Testimonials from members of the 2020 Leadership Institute Cohort:

I have attended a number of workshops where there was zero confidence in the
instructor’s real-world experience/application. The faculty from this Institute shared
from a place of real-world experience and authenticity. ...this Institute injected hope,
inspiration, and motivation in a way that was not forced but rooted in deep reflection
and commonality of cause.

The Institute opened my eyes to the tools and strategies that I could use to navigate the
daily challenges of the museum field and leadership, to build a more impactful future,
and to become the next, improved version of myself. It also provided me with an
opportunity to engage with a group of amazing, like-minded professionals.
What about the location of the 2022 Leadership Institute?
What is the Duke Mansion?
Built in 1915 and tripled by its most famous owner James Buchanan Duke, The Duke Mansion has been home and host to leaders of the 20th century. Duke’s most lasting legacies, including Duke University, Duke Energy and the Duke Endowment, took shape at the home. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Mansion is operated as a nonprofit with all proceeds being used to preserve and protect this community treasure.

  • 20 individually decorated guest rooms
  • 6 rooms with shared sleeping porches
  • Accessible rooms
  • Guest business center
  • Free WiFi throughout
  • Twenty-four-hour front desk service
  • Full breakfast served every day (included in your room rate)
  • Guest library and book collection
  • Professional meeting and event planning staff
  • Ability to host events from 2-300 guests
  • Onsite Executive Chef and culinary staff
  • State of the art audiovisual equipment for meetings and events
  • Four and a half acres of beautiful gardens and grounds
  • Special and unique areas in and out of doors for meetings and events
Inviting outdoor spaces for Leadership Institute attendees to gather, relax and continue conversations
Comfortable indoor spaces for lectures and group discussion.
Lush grounds and serene areas that invite contemplation and reflection on the day's events.
What did the SEMC2020 Leadership Institute cohort think about the program?
In their own words:

This institute will empower you to find your best self, be the change, become a voice for
inclusivity, and take on giants.

I loved the instructors and they fit perfectly together. They introduced a culture of
positivity and lifting each other up. That’s not an across-the-board standard.

As a result of the Institute, I feel more confident and competent to speak up when
invited to the “table”.

My understanding of what an equitable, inclusive, diverse workplace looks like and
what I should expect from my employers has shifted. I’m more aware of what I want
and what to look out for.

I’ve become a better listener. I ask thoughtful and insightful questions to provoke a
more honest and transparent culture within our department.

Figuring out the aspects of a good leader helped me communicate what was missing
from my job and realize it wasn’t unrealistic for me to expect those things.

I am thinking about ways that I can make DEI effort, in cultural and historical
organizations, more effective and less burdensome for museum professionals who are
people of color.

My vision for my organization’s external community has expanded. I’m considering
how we interact with the community and who will be our audience in 10-20 years. I
often think about the long haul.

I prompt peers with conversations on topics and skills I learned during the Institute
that could serve as aid in organizational growth.

I can better diagnose strengths and weaknesses in my organization, understand the
phases of where we are and identify areas that need to be addressed. I feel better
equipped to make positive changes.

I have been taking advantage of the new network that I gained through the
Leadership Institute. I am incredibly grateful for those relationships.

Just having a network of peers that have gone through the same topics, just using each
other for ideas or when things get hard is my main thing.

It’s nice to have a group of people I don’t work with to ask questions about my job and
organization. We have the cone of silence and there’s no fear of judgment.
I’ve appreciated having a sounding board and a group

It has really opened my eyes to so much potential in myself and in my organization.
I have already encouraged some of my colleagues to apply to the next one.

This Institute has given me such confidence that I did not have before... I now feel
more empowered as a museum professional with the connections and tools that I need
to continue to improve in this field. You will not be the same; you will be more
successful and prepared to adapt to obstacles...
Just a few of the prestigous guest lecturers from the 2020 Institute
Beverly Robertson
President and CEO
Greater Memphis Chamber
Former (1997-2014) President of the National Civil Right Museum, Memphis, Tennessee
Emily Zimmern
Executive Director (1995-2015)
Levine Museum of the New South
Charlotte, North Carolina  
Micah Parzen
Museum of Us
San Diego, California 
What happend AFTER the Institute
The on-site Leadership Institute is a beginning: a beginning of understanding your leadership qualities and potential; a beginning of gaining skills and confidence you'll need to activate your potential; and the beginning of a strong bond with your Leadership Institue cohort.

The alumni aspect of this program is developing, and over this past year, the inaugural Leadership Cohort has:

  • Set up a Slack Group to continue communicating, share resources, and ask for advice.

  • Participated in monthly happy hour discussions facilitated by SEMC at which each member of the cohort chooses a leadership topic and leads the conversation.

  • The 2020 cohort attended a final, facilitated workshop at SEMC2021 to culminate their Leadership Institute experience. This was a hybrid workshop that included all the cohort and instructors, together one final time. Registration to the SEMC2022 Annual Meeting is included in the Leadership Institute tuition.

Your Leadership Institute experience will not end in Charlotte! As a participant, you will be part of a unique professional cohort for the months and years beyond!

"The SEMC Leadership Institute not only provides you with the resources and framework to be an impactful leader, but it also empowers the desire and promise already inside of you."
Final Leadership Institute workshop at SEMC2021
The 2020 cohort were togther both online and in-person including participation from all three faculty.
The 2020 cohort uses Slack to communicate.
SEMC is grateful for the support of our
2022 Leadership Institute Sponsors and Partners
We want you to know that we greatly appreciate your support through membership and will continue to work hard to provide training, virtual connection and resources to our southeastern museums community. 
New to SEMC?
Connect with other SEMC Emerging Museum Professionals and Mid-Career Museum Professionals on the following pages:

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