Sessions and Presenters

Museums in Action: Institute at Sagamore 2014

An Insider's Guide to Advocacy

September 21st-24th


Session Descriptions and Presenter Bios



The AAM Guide to Effective Advocacy

Ember Farber, Assistant Director, Advocate Engagement 

American Alliance of Museums

This interactive session will teach participants how to effectively make the case for museums. Following AAM's best tips, the group will work on tools and exercises that museums of every size can add to their advocacy toolbox.

About the presenter:

Ember Farber is the Assistant Director, Advocate Engagement at the American Alliance of Museums. In that role she communicates with the Alliance's advocate network and the museum field about federal policy issues affecting museums through legislative and advocacy updates, calls-to-action, prints, email and social media. She maintains AAM's public advocacy materials, designed to mobilize and engage advocates at all experience levels. Advocacy is a personal and professional passion for Ember, who holds a Master's degree in Political Management from George Washington University and a Bachelor's degree in American Government and English Literature and Composition from the University of Virginia.


Understanding the NYS Government and How it Can Help Museums

Paul M. Bray, Attorney, Bill Drafter, Editor and Columnist

PMBray LLC,, Times Union

This session will describe the organization and functioning of the State Legislature including budgeting and law making and what you should know to gain support for a museum and cultural and civic activities. It will include learning the key decision makers and the timing of decisions (like when legislation is being introduced), when the budget is considered and acted upon and the dynamics of elections; and how to present your governmental requests.

About the presenter: 

Paul M. Bray is a retired bill drafter (1970-2000) at the NYS Legislature, former policy advisor at NYS DEC, founder and former editor of Corporate Strategies Today and Capital Commons Quarterly, columnist with Times Union, editor of Tech News website and lecturer at UAlbany. He is the recipient of the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, Italy, a founder of NYS's first state heritage area, member of numerous non-profit boards, founder and former President of Albany Roundtable Civic Lunch Forum and advocate for and member of the boards of numerous environmental, cultural, civic, historic preservation and park nonprofit organizations.


Decoding Albany: Becoming a More Effective and Skillful Advocate

Sheila Healy, Government Relations Consultant, MANY Lobbyist

Public Strategies LLC

Jack McEneny, Former Member of Assembly,

Current Historian of NYS Assembly & Historian of Irish American Herigate Museum

New York State government can appear opaque and confusing from an advocate's viewpoint. Effective advocacy requires year around attention as policy is developed, budgets prepared, legislation passed and contracts approved. This session will provide you with an inside working knowledge of the respective roles that the independent branches of government and elected leaders play in this process and help you to more skillfully navigate this complicated environment.

About the presenters:

Sheila has over 25 years experience in state government, nonprofit management and representing national, state and commnunity-based nonprofit organizations before the New York State legislature and the Executive Branch. Early in her career, Sheila worked for the New York State Division of the Budget for 14 years in programs ranging from capital planning and budgeting, public authorities, to health and human services. She completed her career in NYS government working as a Special Assistant to former Governor Mario Cuomo. In 2006 Sheila joined Brown & Weinraub LLC as a Government Relations Consultant before she launched Sheila Healy Government Realtions to focus exclusively on offering lobbying and consulting services to nonprofit organizations including the Museum Association of New York. Shortly thereafter, she merged her firm with Public Strategies LLC to expand the range of services provided to nonprofits. Sheila's background in electoral politics on the national, state and local levels gives her a deep appreciation and understanding of the political context in which public policy is advanced.

Assemblyman Jack McEneny (retired) spent his entire career in public service.  From 1993-2012 he served in the NYS Assembly representing the 104th District (Albany County) where he held the posts of Senior Member of the Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development Committee as well as Chairman of the Speaker’s Work Group on the Assembly Chamber.  He also continues to serve as official Historian of the Assembly, a post he has held since 2006.  Before serving in the Assembly, McEneny spent time as the Assistant Albany County Executive (1989-1991), Albany County Historian (1989-1991), Director of the New York State Urban Cultural Parks Program (1985-1989), Commissioner of the Department of Human Resources for the City of Albany (1971-1984) and on more than 50 boards and organizations over his career, including the Archives Partnership Trust, Saratoga-Capitol Region Parks Commission, and SUNY Albany’s Center for Applied Historical Research.  McEneny is author of several works of history, includingAlbany: Capitol City on the Hudson and has received more than 50 civic awards.  He holds a degree in History from Siena College as well as a Certificate in Public Administration from the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government.


How to Succeed at CFAs (Consolidate Funding Application)

Hillarie Logan-Dechene, Director of Philanthropy

The Wild Center

Sarah Kijowski, Interim Director

Slate Valley Museum

Garet Livermore, Executive Director

Great Camp Sagamore

Curious about the CFA process? Frustrated with the process? Learn what worked for these organizations. Hear about their success stories. Learn about tactics that work and those that don't. Gain valuable tips from the museums who have made it through the process.

About the presenters:

Hillarie Logan-Dechene has made her career working in the not-for-profit sector and primarily in museums. She is the Director of Philanthropy at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake, NY. In this position she is responsible for all membership and development activities for the young vibrant science museum. Logan-Dechene has spent her entire professional career strengthening non-profit and educational institutions in the North Country. Hillarie Logan-Dechene is a member of the Board of Directors for the Museum Association of New York.

Sarah Kijowski grew up in Crown Point, NY surrounded by the rich histories of the Champlain Valley and the Adirondack Mountains. She earned a BA in history from SUNY Potsdam and a MA in History Museum Studies from SUNY Oneonta's Cooperstown Graduate Program. A generalist professional by training and educator by nature, Sarah enjoys working to secure the engagement and support necessary to grow and sustain healthy and vibrant museums, particularly those providing life enriching experiences in under-served, rural communities. Sarah has experience in fundraising, education and interpretation and is currently the Interim Director at the Slate Valley Museum.

Garet Livermore joined the staff of Great Camp Sagamore in September of 2013. He is a museum professional with over 25 years experience in the field. He has worked at museums in New York and Vermont including The Fenimore Art and Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown and the Shelburne Museum. Grants projects developed and managed by Livermore include major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute for Museum and Library Services. In Cooperstown he worked to bring the Empire State Carousel to the Museum including managing donor relations, building construction and program design. 


From Where We Sit: REDCs on the CFAs and More

Cali Brooks, Executive Director

Adirondack Foundation; North Country REDC

James B. McKenna, President/CEO

Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism; North Country REDC

Hear from representatives from the North Country Regional Economic Development Council on their take of the Consolidated Funding Application process.  What makes a successful application? What do they look for? What types of projects have received funding? Learn tips on the CFAs and other REDC matters.

About the presenters:

Cali Brooks is the Executive Director of Adirondack Foundation, the community foundation serving the Adirondack region. Brooks has served on the Membership Committee for the Council on Foundations, the NYS Attorney General’s Leadership Committee on Nonprofit Revitalization, the North Country REDC, Common Ground Alliance Core Team and the North Country Health Systems Redesign Commission. She is a 2014 recipient of the Hudson Headwaters Health Foundation Community Champions Award. Cali has worked with dozens of organizations through the U.S., Southeast Asia and Central American to strengthen civil society. She was a staff member of the HKH Foundation, where she conducted a survey to assess the economic, social, cultural and environmental strengths of the Adirondack Region. Prior to the Foundation, Brooks served in the Public Affairs Office of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. She is a graduate of Evergreen State College and holds a Master’s degree in International and Intercultural Management from the School for International Training.

James McKenna has directed the organization now knows as the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism, the accredited destination marketing organization responsible for promoting Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake and all of Essex and Hamilton Counties, which covers a large part of the Adirondack Park of NYS, for over 30 years. In his tenure, he has been involved in strategic tourism marketing and planning, and most recently led the development of six destination master plans for towns in the Adirondack Park. Presently Mr. McKenna is a member of the North Country REDC, serves as a Trustee and Vice Chair of the Henry Uihlein II and Mildred A. Uihlein Foundation, and is a Board member of the Adirondack Council and of the NYS Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus.


How to Be a Good Neighbor and Tell Everyone About It

Elizabeth Duane, Director, Marketing & Community Relations

Corning Museum of Glass

Is your organization an active participant in your local community? Do you take part in local events, fundraisers, programs, etc? Learn how to successfully be a part of your community and use it for marketing your organization. If you're part of something - spread the word! Get known!

About the presenter:

Elizabeth Duane joined the Corning Museum of Glass in 2001 as the Marketing Manager, and became the Director of Marketing and Community Relations in 2008. In this position, she is responsible for developing, implementing, and managing all marketing and sales initiatives for the Museum. This includes overseeing the activities of the tourism sales staff; directing the guest services, events, and membership activities; and developing short- and long-term marketing, sales, and membership goals. Duane received her bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Management from Alfred University in New York. She has previously held positions at The Statler Hotel & J. Willard Marriott Executive Education Center, The Sheraton Inn & Conference Center, and Schuyler ARC, and is actively involved with a number of professional and community organizations.


The Advocacy Toolkit

Devin R. Lander, Executive Director

Museum Association of New York

Jim Larson, Legislation Relations Specialist

New York State Unity Teachers (NYSUT)

Drawing on his years of experience as a member for the NYS Assembly Program & Counsel staff and his current work with the New York State Unity Teachers, Jim Larson will outline the value of advocacy from both sides of the equation. Jim's presentation will include information on best practices for advocacy employed by NYSUT as well as everyday tools that organizations can use to advocate on their own behalf at all levels of government. Devin will be focusing on his experience as a staff member for a Legislator who cared about museums and cultural institutions.  He will discuss advocating from the inside, including various attempts to add money to the budget for cultural organizations, draft and move legislation, and meet with various representatives from the Governor's office, agencies, other Legislators, central staff and more.  This session will give real world examples of tactics that worked and those that did not.

About the presenters:

Devin Lander joined MANY after six years with the New York State Assembly as Deputy Legislative Director for Assemblyman Steve Englebright. During his time in the Legislature, Devin worked as the Committee Clerk for both the Assembly Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development and the Committee on Governmental Affairs. Devin also acted as the Staff Director for the Historic Hudson-Hoosic Rivers Partnership, a public-benefit corporation created by the NYS Legislature to preserve, enhance, and develop the historic, agricultural, scenic, natural, and recreational resources and the waterways within the Northern Hudson River region.

Jim Larson recently joined the NYSUT Legislation Department, continuing an almost 20 year career in advocacy and legislative initiatives. Until recently, Jim had been a member of the Assembly Program & Counsel staff, rising to the level of Deputy Secretary for Program & Policy. Both Jim's professional work and community charity work center around building partnerships and energizing constituent groups. Jim's past board membership includes the Eleanor Roosevelt Democratic Club, Our Brothers' Keepers Foundation, and Jim currently sits on the Board of the Albany Society for the Advancement of Philanthropy and BEAR ALBANY.



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