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Fund-Raising Staff Quits Laguna Art Museum : Galleries: All three members of the institution’s development department have resigned recently, citing different reasons.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

All three members of Laguna Art Museum’s fund-raising department, including its director, have resigned in recent weeks, each after working there less than a year.

The departing staffers, who cited different reasons for leaving, are: Marilyn (Mickey) Shaw, director of the development department; Karla Fields, membership coordinator; and Joy Sabado, special events coordinator.

Shaw, who begins a similar job on Sept. 1 with the March of Dimes Births Defects Foundation, Orange County Chapter, said Monday that she started looking for a new job shortly after the museum last spring fired former director Charles Desmarais, who had recruited her.

“It’s common for the director of development (at any museum) to have a strong working relationship with the (museum) director,” Shaw said, “and the new director will probably want to (hire) his or her own development director.”

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Sabado said she resigned in late July to accept her current job as publicity and promotions manager at Senior Highlights, a senior citizens’ newspaper published in Laguna Hills. Before joining the museum, Sabado worked with Shaw at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, where Shaw coordinated corporate and foundation relations.

Fields, who could not be reached, left in part to have a baby, museum board president Teri Kennady said, adding that she doesn’t expect that the resignations will make it more difficult to hire a new museum director.

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Fund-raising at any nonprofit organization “is an extremely tough” activity, Kennady said. The museum’s development department has “had a high turnover in the last four or five years,” she said, but that that “goes with the territory.”

The board hopes to combat the situation through greater cohesiveness between the historically isolated development department and the rest of the museum, she said, and by offering new development staffers such incentives as opportunities to attend more professional conventions and lectures.

“This turnover is not new,” Shaw said, “but it has to be stopped.”

The museum’s acting director, Susan M. Anderson, has been interviewing candidates for the membership and special-events coordinator jobs, Kennady said. A new development director will not be hired until Desmarais’ replacement is brought on “by the end of the year,” she said.

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Shaw said the lack of a museum director “made it extremely difficult” to raise funds for the museum, but that it is problem common to any nonprofit organization.

Potential supporters “are looking to the director for leadership and strength of management,” Shaw said.


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