Kate Herlihy ’08
I'm currently the Planning and Logistics Manager at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The role captures many different responsibilities I spend a significant amount of my time project managing exhibitions and supporting daily operations. Each spring I work alongside the COO/CFO in running the annual budget and operational planning process. I sit on the Museum's management team and support strategic planning initiatives as well.
My career in the arts started at Bowdoin! I spent the summer between Junior and Senior year working in the Art History department making slides (!) and supporting the department's professors and staff. After graduating, a position opened up at the Museum and I landed the job thanks to faculty support. At the Bowdoin College Museum I worked under Director Kevin Salatino, planning and executing blockbuster exhibitions like Edward Hopper's Maine. Working at a small organization helped me see all sides of running a museum from curatorial research to paint selection and I loved it! After a few years I decided to get my MBA in Boston, with the goal of having a strategic role in an arts organization.
I've been at the Gardner Museum for 3 years now and I feel lucky to have a role that allows me to work across departments and problem solve creatively. I'm grateful for all the advice I've been given by mentors mentorship has been so important to my career path especially to those who advised me to work a few years before deciding on graduate school. As a student I really admired my art history professors (and still do!) and was strongly considering a graduate level degree in art history. However, I learned on the job that my skill-set and temperament are much better suited to project management. As a student it's not always easy to understand what kinds of jobs are out there working for a few years really opened my eyes to the possibilities.
Work hard, stay flexible, and grow your network!