College Art Association (CAA) has announced Isimeme (Meme) Omogbai as its next executive director in an executive search process guided by Arts Consulting Group. Omogbai succeeds David Raizman, who has served as CAA’s interim executive director since July 2019. Omogbai begins at CAA on March 30, 2020.
"It is a pleasure to welcome Meme Omogbai to CAA as Executive Director,” says Jim Hopfensperger, President of CAA. “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."
As executive director, Omogbai is an employee of the CAA Board of Directors and serves as the Association’s chief executive officer. In this role, she will work with board members, committees, and task forces to develop the Association’s strategic plans. Omogbai’s experience in resource management and the museum world will greatly benefit the membership and the larger visual arts, design, education, and cultural communities with whom CAA works. Omogbai will oversee a wide variety of initiatives, including the CAA Annual Conference, an advocacy program, member services activities, the career center, fellowships, grants and opportunities offered by CAA, and the publications program, which includes The Art Bulletin, Art Journal, Art Journal Open, and caa.reviews.
“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. 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,” says Omogbai. “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.”
Before joining CAA, Omogbai served as a member and past Board Chair of the New Jersey Historic Trust, one of four landmark entities dedicated to preservation of the state’s historic and cultural heritage and Montclair State University’s Advisory Board. Named one of 25 Influential Black Women in Business by The Network Journal, Omogbai arrives with over 25 years of diversified experience in corporate, government, higher education, and museum sectors.
As the first American of African descent to chair the American Alliance of Museums, Omogbai led an initiative to rebrand the AAM as a global, inclusive alliance. While COO and Trustee, she spearheaded a major transformation in operating performance at the Newark Museum and achieved four consecutive years of 4-star ratings for superior management. During her time as Deputy Assistant Chancellor of New Jersey’s Department of Higher Education, Omogbai received Legislative acknowledgement and was recognized with the New Jersey Meritorious Service Award for her work on college affordability initiatives for New Jersey families.
Omogbai received her MBA in Finance & Management Consultancy from Rutgers University and holds a CPA. She did post-graduate work at Harvard University’s Executive Management Program and has earned the designation of Chartered Global Management Accountant. She studied global museum executive leadership at the J. Paul Getty Trust Museum Leadership Institute, where she also served on the faculty.