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Cooper Hewitt announces new board appointments and newly created role of Chief Experience Officer
Effective Dec. 1, Elizabeth Ainslie serves as chair.

NEW YORK, NY.- Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum announced two exciting leadership shifts on the board of trustees and the recruitment of its first-ever chief experience officer (CXO). Effective Dec. 1, Elizabeth Ainslie serves as chair, Scott Belsky as president and Todd Waterbury as a vice president of its board of trustees. The officer elections took place at the board of trustees meeting Sept. 26. Ainslie succeeds Barbara Mandel, who led the museum’s board for four years and will remain on the board as a trustee. Belsky assumes the role of president from Beth Comstock, who served for six years. The museum also welcomes Carolyn Royston to the newly created position of chief experience officer, effective Feb. 5.

“I want to express my profound gratitude to outgoing chair Barbara Mandel and president Beth Comstock, whose incredible leadership, dedication and support propelled Cooper Hewitt’s mammoth renovation and game changing reopening,” said Caroline Baumann, director of Cooper Hewitt. “I am delighted to welcome trustee Elizabeth Ainslie as chair, trustee Scott Belsky as president and trustee Todd Waterbury as a vice president. Enthusiastic champions of the museum, they will ensure Cooper Hewitt’s continued advancement as a dynamic hub that inspires and empowers people through design.”

Commenting on the appointment of Royston to CXO, Baumann added, “A leader in the digital field, Carolyn brings two decades of knowledge to this vital new position, which aims to seamlessly weave the digital and the physical experience at Cooper Hewitt. I’m thrilled to welcome her to the museum, where she will oversee both the Digital and Emerging Media and the Visitor Experience teams to push forth our pioneering interactive experience.”

Elizabeth Ainslie is the owner of Elizabeth Ainslie Interiors. She has been a Cooper Hewitt trustee since 2005 and served as chair of Cooper Hewitt’s Collections Committee from 2006 to 2016. Ainslie presently serves as a member of the Director Council of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, as a trustee for the Wildlife Conservation Society and as a board member for the North Country Garden Club. Ainslie was formerly on the board of overseers of Colby College, the North Shore Land Alliance and a trustee of the Dallas Boys and Girls Club. She is a graduate of Colby College.

Scott Belsky is chief product officer and executive vice president, Creative Cloud at Adobe. Belsky leads product management and engineering for Adobe Creative Cloud products and services, Adobe Spark and Behance. Previously, Belsky founded Behance, the leading online platform for the creative industry to showcase and discover creative work, and served as CEO until Adobe acquired Behance in 2012. Throughout his career, Belsky has served as an advisor and investor to several organizations that sit at the intersection of technology and design, including Pinterest, Uber and Periscope (now part of Twitter). Prior to Adobe, he was a venture investor at Benchmark. He serves on the advisory board of Cornell University’s Entrepreneurship Program and serves on the boards of Prefer, a referral network for independent professionals, and Cheddar, a next-generation live and on-demand video news network. He is the author of the international bestselling book “Making Ideas Happen.” Belsky attended Cornell University as an undergraduate and received his MBA from Harvard Business School.

Todd Waterbury is Target’s chief creative officer. In his role, Waterbury establishes the creative vision and direction of Target’s marketing efforts, leading an internal team of art directors, designers, developers, writers and producers, as well as its external agency and design partners. Together, they craft the creative content and experience for the Target brand from its owned brands to innovative partnerships with Vogue and The Grammys. Waterbury has extensive experience in creating strategic, highly-integrated marketing and design work for a broad roster of iconic brands. He joined Target in January 2013. Before that, the consulting company he established worked with clients on launching Uniqlo’s NY Flagship and designing the Twitter logo. Prior to that, Waterbury served as co-executive creative director at Wieden+Kennedy New York, where he oversaw campaigns for brands ranging from Nike, ESPN to Delta Airlines. His work has received numerous design and advertising awards, and is included in the permanent collections of the Guggenheim and the Museum of Modern Art.

Carolyn Royston brings 20 years of senior management and digital leadership experience in the U.S. and the U.K. to Cooper Hewitt. Most recently, she served as the inaugural director of digital and information services at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, where she oversaw the launch of a new award-winning website and led new initiatives to improve the visitor experience. Royston was previously head of digital at Imperial War Museums in London from 2009-2014, and project director of the National Museums Online Learning Project. She recently completed a one year term as president of MCN (Museum Computer Network) and served on the board for five years. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, she holds a master’s degree in social and political thought from the University of Sussex. Royston speaks regularly on digital strategy in the cultural sector and leads professional development workshops focusing on digital strategy, digital leadership and digital skills development.

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