“Art," Gauguin said, "is either plagiarism or revolution.” Mary Ittelson favors revolution, helping arts organizations adapt to changing tastes and demands. For decades she led a consultancy that provided strategic planning and governance counsel to arts and cultural organizations. At Stanford Graduate School of Business she developed and taught a course on leadership in the arts and creative industries. In her class at Booth she exhorts future arts leaders to try radical strategies for impact and sustainability.
Spurred by the health, social, economic, and political upheavals of recent years, Mary is researching potential ventures at the intersection of artistic creativity and business entrepreneurship. Her new class, Art + Business Lab, enlists students alongside artists and business leaders to work towards fostering positive change in businesses, civic organizations and communities.
Mary knows a thing or two about art museums having been Chair of the Board and Associate Director at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago where she is a Life Trustee. She has pounded gavels and hammered nails. Mary has also worked at McKinsey, consulting to a variety of Fortune 100 companies. She serves on the Stanford Arts Advisory Council, the Board of Directors of Parliament, and was formerly a member of the Chicago Cultural Advisory Council. Mary earned an MBA at Stanford, a BA in Choreography from New York University, and studied dance at Juilliard.
Mary began her career as a professional choreographer, ran a modern dance company, and was an Assistant Professor in the Theater Department at Northwestern University where she was elected to the Faculty Honor Roll. She is writing a novel and can still touch her toes.