The Chief Executive Program


Change the status quo.

At a time when our challenges and opportunities are more and more connected, many leaders of arts and culture organizations feel increasingly isolated and under-supported. New perspectives, tools and connections can create a radical shift.

The Chief Executive Program offers an extraordinary opportunity for you and a select group artistic and executive leaders to spend ten months exploring leadership and change while building skills and relationships that you will draw upon for the rest of your career.


You are…

the leader of an arts and culture organization who understands its vital role in the community. You are consumed with keeping your organization strong and connected as you deal with the radical change around you.

You’ll share…

your insights about your community, your organization’s approach and your vision for the future. Everyone will learn from the deep expertise and wisdom contained within this diverse cohort of individuals, coming from a wide range of perspectives.

You’ll gain…

tools and insights from experts in leadership and bias at Harvard and other top universities. The experience is tailored to support your efforts, using different approaches, a range of analytical frameworks and a network of allies and collaborators.

You’ll join…

an incredible, worldwide community of change-makers. Connect with over 200 leaders who have been through the program and are positioned to introduce radical change in their communities and the field.

Selection & Participation

The ideal participant is a change agent – a leader interested in making a real difference in a community and in the field. Leaders chosen to take part in this unique experience have the opportunity – and a responsibility – to share what they’ve learned and serve as influencers for the field. Participating leaders come from a broad and diverse mix of organizations that may include performing and visual arts, zoos, libraries, aquariums, botanical gardens, science centers, writer’s centers, historical societies, public media – any organizations that encourages creativity. This diversity is an essential part of the Chief Executive Program experience.


Tuition for all U.S. residents is pay what you can.

While we spend more than $20,000 per participant in the Chief Executive Program (this includes two convenings, coaching, online learning and support, all meals and lodging during the convenings), our aim has always been to ensure that our programs are affordable and US-based funders help us to our subsidize pricing. We ask participants to name their own price, contributing what they can toward their tuition and using the suggested tiers below as a benchmark. Participants will not be asked to name their price until after they are accepted into the program.

Suggested tuition rates for individual applicants in the US:

Budget under $1 million: $4,500 each

Budget between 1 and 4 million: $6,500 each

Budget between 4 and 10 million: $8,500 each

Budget between 10 and 20 million: $14,500 each

Budget over 20 million: $16,500 each

Tuition for participants based outside of the US is set at $19,500 each

Download our fundraising letter template


Meet some of the Chief Executive Program’s incredible faculty, who will guide your exploration through the most pressing issues cultural organizations face today. Address bias awareness, strategy, value creation in communities and adversity to expand your capabilities as a leader.

Mahzarin Banaji is Richard Clarke Cabot Professor of Social Ethics in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. She studies thinking and feeling as they unfold in social context, with a focus on mental systems that operate in implicit or unconscious mode. Her current research interests focus on the origins of social cognition and applications of implicit cognition to improve individual decisions and organizational policies.


Meet Professor Banaji

Mahzarin Banaji

Rohit Deshpandé is Sebastian S. Kresge Professor of Marketing at Harvard Business School. He is currently co-teaching a new MBA field/project-based course “Arts and Cultural Entrepreneurship” and has also taught global branding, international marketing, and first year marketing in the MBA program as well as a doctoral seminar in marketing management.


Meet Professor Deshpandé

Rohit Deshpande

Ramon Casadesus-Masanell is the Herman C. Krannert Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. His fields of specialization are management strategy, managerial economics, and industrial organization. Casadesus-Masanell studies strategic interaction between organizations that operate different business models. He is also interested in the limits to contracting and the role of trust for management strategy.


Meet Professor Casadesus-Masanell

Ramon Casadesus-Masanell

Case Stories

Discover the Chief Executive Program through our alumni. Read what these leaders hoped to gain when they applied and how learning powerful tools from our faculty and collaborating with fellow executives strengthened their organizations.

Shahina Johnson

“Being taken out of your comfort zone and looking at decisions that made your organization vulnerable was tough. But the Chief Executive Program’s lessons helped me build skills that create even more value for our community and the support of my incredible cohort helped me share a vision more effectively with both partners and my team.”


Read Shahina’s story

“Getting to meet leaders from my industry and having access to them when I have a question has had a huge impact on my work. However, one of my best friends from the program is a woman who runs an aquarium in North Carolina. We’ve learned so much from each other.”


Read Shirley’s story

Katy Clark

“I found it useful to talk to people who run organizations of different sizes. Leadership positions can be quite isolating. There was a trusting environment in the program which allowed you show up in ways you simply can’t in other places. It was liberating to talk leader-to-leader.”


Read Katy’s Story