Kristen Shepherd is a collaborative, innovative leader in the art world whose background in fine arts and business informs her analytical, entrepreneurial approach to solving business challenges. She is skilled at crafting and articulating a strategic vision, fostering relationships across diverse constituencies, and building highly effective teams.
Ms. Shepherd completed her Master’s degree in History of Art with a focus on Pre-Raphaelite art. She started her career at Sotheby’s auction house in New York. From 1999-2008 her work for Sotheby’s included leadership roles in strategic initiatives and special projects regarding publications, financial services, budgeting, real estate, and worldwide marketing ventures. In 2007 she helped create a loyalty program that enabled clients to make philanthropic contributions to museums and cultural institutions throughout the United States—all fully funded by Sotheby’s based on the clients’ purchasing activity on a co-branded credit card.
In October 2008, she joined the Whitney Museum of American Art as the Director of Membership and Annual Fund. During a time of financial challenge for nonprofit institutions, her team strengthened the Whitney’s membership program through online initiatives and strategic marketing projects that responded to members’ interests. She oversaw research efforts, collaborated with colleagues in departments throughout the Museum, and developed a strategic vision along with detailed action plans to launch the Whitney’s innovative and award-winning “Curate Your Own Membership” program. Ms. Shepherd is also responsible for commissioning and launching the online microdonation fundraiser Clickistan, an art project created by digital media artists Ubermorgen.com.
Ms. Shepherd moved to Los Angeles in 2013 to accept a senior position at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), focusing first on revitalizing the membership program and later leading the entire Audience Strategy and Services division. In that capacity, she oversees the Marketing, Membership, On-site Services, and Data Analytics departments, and is responsible for museum-wide marketing strategy and implementation, optimizing the on-site visitor experience, and creating synergies between On-site Services, Membership, and Development. Her team consistently achieves a $12 million revenue goal for visitor attendance and membership. In 2014 she fielded an extensive audience research study to drive her team’s strategy for community outreach, engagement, and support. The first initiative resulting from that work is the innovative LACMA Local membership program, which launched in February 2016.
Ms. Shepherd is a frequent public speaker in both professional and public forums, and has been interviewed by numerous publications including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Recent speaking engagements include presentations at the annual conferences of the American Alliance of Museums, Americans for the Arts, the National Arts Marketing Project, the American Museum Membership Conference, and the International Museum Membership Conference in London, where she presented the business process and applied marketing strategy behind the new LACMA Local membership program.
She holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in History of Art from The George Washington University, and was selected as a Marshall Memorial Fellow by the German Marshall Fund in 2010. She was selected for the Arts Leadership Institute in New York in 2012. She resides in Los Angeles with her partner, Todd, and has two rambunctious sons, Arthur and Henry.