I’ve always had a serious love for books and education. In elementary school I was up before the sun, catching the bus to school so I could work on extracurricular projects and spending afternoons at the local library, where everyone knew me by name.

I devoured all kinds of literature each week, from "The Babysitters Club" to medical textbooks about giving birth. Terry McMillan to Countee Cullen. Lewis Carroll to Ayn Rand. If it could be checked out of the library, I was going to read it. I also watched documentaries on PBS and The History Channel in between Disney movies and took formal art classes at the Carnegie Museum of Art for years in the same program Andy Warhol once studied in. I also began playing clarinet at the age of 7 – a talent I nurtured for 21 years before officially retiring.

A Humanities Honey from the Beginning

Even though I considered careers in corporate law and media, it was while I was working in banking that a coworker who was in grad school inspired me to pursue arts management. That's when I realized that my lifelong love for museums and history could turn into a successful career.

I went to night school at George Mason University to earn my first graduate degree while working and interning at the Smithsonian (at the same time). I had plenty of people in “real jobs” tell me that a career in the arts was a dead end, but here I am, a museum president with more than two decades of experience working in the arts and humanities!

A Life-Changing Moment

No matter how successful I become, I will always remember where I came from and how my life experiences have shaped me. I am proudly from the Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – the community home to the training grounds of some of America’s most prolific musicians, business owners, artists, educators, doctors, and writers of all time. If it happened in America, the Hill played a part in it.

Because of this, I feel a duty to represent my community positively instead of perpetuating harmful stereotypes that others place on historical black communities. I stand on the shoulders of those who came before me and want to make a difference for those who come after me.

Representing My Community with Pride

Life Journey

Early love for books and education, known for taking the public bus to school early and frequenting local libraries

Grew up in a historic,
but declining,
African American community 

Pursued interests in art and cooking by taking classes at Carnegie Museums and watching shows on PBS

Guided by intuition and stubbornness, won an award in third grade by following a dream and felt confident in attending Howard University

Career in arts management sparked by a coworker in grad school

Pursued the program at George Mason University while working and interning at the Smithsonian

Successful career in arts management, standing on the shoulders of those who came before and representing the community positively

Probably the only person you’ll meet not afraid of public speaking or giving presentations

Terri’s Fun Facts

From the Hill District, birthplace of August Wilson and other successful individuals in various fields

Proud member of Janet Jackson fanbase aka #janfam, seen her perform live six times and counting and also admire Queen Latifah

Never with less than four lip products, Lip Bar customer for eight years, loves Bawse Lady, Playmate, and Tiramisu shades

Extroverted introvert, loves going out but takes recharging seriously, Sundays are for rest

Loves luxury and glamour, grew up watching 80s and 90s styles and vintage fashion, still dresses up whenever possible

Played clarinet for 21 years, therapeutic and loved performing