Student Perspectives

Student Perspective

Jessica Woznak

Jessica Woznak


Co-Director of Exhibitions
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
San Francisco, California

"I believe in SFMOMA's mission to make art accessible to the public and the transformative power of art, and I wanted to support this on a larger scale. An MBA prepares me to understand the museum operations at a higher level."

Broadening knowledge towards building effective organizations

As co-director of exhibitions at SFMOMA, I am responsible for the planning, implementation, and execution of the museum’s exhibition program. I've been there for almost 14 years.

After the museum completed its recent expansion, tripling in gallery size, I decided to get an MBA to learn how other organizations and for-profit companies operate and grow, and by doing so, help the museum thrive in its new life as a larger entity.

I believe in SFMOMA's mission to make art accessible to the public and the transformative power of art, and I wanted to support this on a larger scale. I am seeking to deepen my financial skills and broaden my knowledge towards building effective organizations. An MBA prepares me with skills in administration, project management, and leadership to understand the museum operations at a higher level.

Flexible schedule allows me to balance my priorities

Haas’ Defining Leadership Principles spoke clearly to me, and I could relate to all of them. I thought, ‘That's the kind of leader I want to be.’ The collaborative environment at Haas mirrors the work that I do.

As a working professional and mom of three, the 19-month program length and schedule were ideal—allowing me to balance my priorities. The residency component was also appealing. Not only am I immersed in the academics, but I'm also building strong bonds with my cohort—they're my Haas family.

My cohort consists of 69 amazing people with strong values and from a variety of industries and fields, many of which are new to me. They've encouraged me try new experiences and learn about a world outside of mine. I am moved and inspired by every single one of them.

Authenticity in leadership

Since joining Haas, I'm much more self-aware of my leadership and how I interact with my team. Whether in a meeting or in a conversation, , I'll find myself drawing on the skills I am learning.

Our Leadership Communications immersion brought perspective on the importance of authenticity in leadership roles. I'm able to use material from class to be more confident in my work environment, and it helps drive more informed and valid questions.

Haas has also instilled in me a heightened level of curiosity about other departments at SFMOMA. I want to understand how our organization can function better, and I've been inspired to reach out to different colleagues at the museum to learn the specifics of their projects and their approaches.

My daily exchanges with my colleagues are more purposeful. I want to empower others and motivate and mentor them. I now ask myself, "How am I leading?" and "What is my goal?" And when I reflect on these questions it's not only about what I want to achieve but also about how this impacts the people I work with.

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