Leadership in the Arts: Emily Kernan Rafferty


Wednesday, February 27, 2019, 12:00pm to 1:00pm


Wexner 434AB, Harvard Kennedy School

Emily Rafferty

Join us for a conversation on leadership in the arts with Emily Kernan Rafferty, President Emerita of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Throughout her 40 years at the largest museum in the United States, during both prosperous and tumultuous times, Ms. Rafferty led efforts to elevate and fund all aspects of museum life—from large scale exhibitions to conservation, education, publication and community outreach—all while working on the international stage to build global audiences. Along with moderator CPL Hauser Visiting Leader Henry Timms, President and CEO of the celebrated 92nd Street Y, Ms. afferty will take questions from the audience and impart her hard-won leadership lessons.


This event is co-sponsored by the HKS Arts & Culture Caucus, and is free and open to the public. Questions? Email cpl_events@hks.harvard.edu.

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Emily Kernan Rafferty, President Emerita of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, served for 40 years at the Museum: as chief of institutional advancement, Senior Vice President of External Affairs, and as President from 2005 to 2015. As President of the Met, she was the Museum’s chief administrative officer, supervising a staff of 2,000 full- and part-time employees and volunteers. Ms. Rafferty’s global experience took her to some 50 countries on behalf of the Museum as she worked with government and private sector officials on initiatives involving funding, marketing, international art loans, legislative affairs, and cultural issues.

Ms. Rafferty served also as a Board member of the New York Federal Reserve Bank (2011-2017; Chair, 2012-2016), and as a UNESCO Senior Adviser for Heritage Protection and Conservation (2015-2017). Since 2008, Ms. Rafferty has been Chair of NYC & Company (the city’s official tourism and marketing organization), while continuing to serve as a board member of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, PJT Partners, and Koç Holdings, Istanbul. Formerly an Advisory Board member of the Bipartisan Congressional Commission for The American Museum of Women’s History in Washington, D.C. (May 2015-December 2016), she continues to serve as an advisor to the Smithsonian for the advancement of that project.

As principal of Emily K. Rafferty & Associates, she currently consults for several organizations, including Russell Reynolds Associates in that firm’s nonprofit practice and for The Shed, a performing arts center under construction at Manhattan’s Hudson Yards. She is also an Advisory Director to Carnegie Hall, a member of the Advisory Council of the American University of Beirut, a Board member of Global Hope Coalitions, a member of the Advisory Board of The European Fine Arts Fair (TEFAF), and is a member of the Economic Club and the Council on Foreign Relations. She also lectures widely on topics relating to non-profit and board management, fundraising, and cultural heritage.

The recipient of many awards and honors, Ms. Rafferty was named by Crain’s New York Business one of New York City’s 100 most influential women from 2009 through 2013, and in Fall 2015 she was elected to its Hall of Fame. In 2012, she received New York University’s Lewis Rudin Award for Exemplary Service to New York City, and in 2018, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.


Henry Timms is President and CEO of 92nd Street Y, a cultural and community center that creates programs and movements that foster learning and civic engagement. Under his leadership, the 144-year-old institution was named to Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies” list. He is the co-founder of #GivingTuesday, a global philanthropic movement that engages people in close to 100 countries that has generated hundreds of millions of dollars for good causes. Henry co-authored the bestselling book New Power, described by David Brooks in the New York Times as “the best window I’ve seen into this new world”.