The Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum is pleased to announce the appointment of Barbara A. Mandel as chair of its board of trustees. Mandel assumes the position from trustee Paul Herzan who will become chairman emeritus. The Smithsonian’s board of regents also voted Oct. 21 to appoint Scott Belsky to the board of Cooper-Hewitt. Led by president Beth Comstock, Cooper-Hewitt’s board includes 33 distinguished civic and business leaders dedicated to the continued growth of the museum.
“Our new board leadership and expanded roster of trustees reflects their enthusiasm, passion and belief in the re-imagined Cooper-Hewitt,” said Caroline Baumann, director. “Having benefited from Barbara’s counsel over the years, I look forward to working with her and Scott in their new roles. We are grateful for Paul Herzan’s chairmanship for the past seven years, and wouldn’t be where we are today without his leadership and this one-of-a-kind board, all of whom bring a wealth of experience in his or her respective field and great ambitions for the museum.”
“I am excited to join Beth and Caroline at this critical juncture, just twelve months away from opening the new Cooper-Hewitt,” stated Mandel. “Having been part of the Cooper-Hewitt family for 16 years, it is invigorating to become more involved at this wonderful institution, which continues to grow in leaps and bounds.”
Mandel joined Cooper-Hewitt’s board in 1997 and has been a member of the museum’s executive committee since 1998. She has played an active role at Cooper-Hewitt, supporting numerous exhibitions, education programming, digital initiatives and the renovation. Most recently, she served on the executive search committee, which resulted in the appointment of Baumann as the museum’s fifth director.
Born in Cleveland, Mandel’s major Cleveland activities include: President of Cleveland Section, National Council of Jewish Women; Chairman of Leadership Development, Project Renewal and Co-Chairman of the Campaign for the Jewish Community Federation. Major North American activities include: National President, National Council of Jewish Women; National Vice President, National Women’s Division, United Jewish Appeal; National President, American Friends of Hebrew University; Trustee and Executive Committee member and Co-Chairman of the Capital Campaign, Brandeis University; West Palm Beach Library Foundation Board member; and Trustee and Vice Chairman, Mandel Foundation. Overseas, Mandel’s philanthropic activities include: Deputy Chairman of Executive Committee and Board of Governors and Chairman of the International Campaign at Hebrew University.
Mandel was awarded an honorary degree from Hebrew University. Additional awards include: Hannah G. Soloman Award, National Council of Jewish Women; election to Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame; and Life Trustee, Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland. Mandel attended Radcliffe College of Harvard University and Flora Stone Mather College of Case Western Reserve University from which she received a bachelor’s degree.
Belsky is vice president of Products & Community and Head of Behance at Adobe. Co-founded in 2006 by Belsky, Behance is a leading online platform to showcase and discover creative work. He served as CEO of Behance until Adobe acquired the company in 2012. Prior to founding Behance, he helped grow the Pine Street Leadership Development Initiative at Goldman, Sachs & Co. He serves on the Advisory Board of Cornell University’s Entrepreneurship Program and is a member of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. Belsky is also the author of the international bestselling book, “Making Ideas Happen” and has been named one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business” by Fast Company. He attended Cornell University as an undergraduate and received his MBA from Harvard Business School.
Belsky’s expertise will be instrumental with Cooper-Hewitt’s goal of integrating digital technology into the visitor experience, as well as communicating the museum’s programs and resources to an expanded audience. Belsky serves on the museum’s marketing and media committee, and has been supportive of the museum’s educational initiatives, most notably through the launch of the National Design Awards winners’ gallery on Behance.
Cooper-Hewitt’s main facility, housed in the Carnegie Mansion, is undergoing renovation as part of an $89 million capital campaign launched in 2006, which includes a $79 million renovation and a $10 million endowment. The expansion includes enlarged and enhanced facilities for exhibitions, collections display, education programming and the National Design Library, and an increased endowment.
About the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
As the only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design, Cooper-Hewitt educates, inspires, and empowers people through design. The museum is undergoing a transformative renovation resulting in 60 percent more gallery space and will open in fall 2014 with an entirely new visitor experience. During the renovation, Cooper-Hewitt’s events and education programs are popping up locally at the Cooper-Hewitt Design Center in Harlem, nationally with the Design in the Classroom program in New Orleans, New York City, San Antonio, and Washington, D.C., and globally with exhibitions in Europe and Asia.