Tom Shapiro founded Cultural Strategy Partners (CuSP) in 2007 to leverage his 20-years of corporate leadership and to pursue his commitment to increasing cultural organizations’ impact on people and communities. CuSP helps museums and cultural organizations thrive by guiding them through rigorous assessment, strategy development, and structural alignment.
Shapiro built his career on parallel tracks of for-profit corporate leadership and non-profit strategic planning and board leadership. From 1983 to 2007 he worked with industry-leading consumer companies to increase their top-line performance, membership rolls, and new product offerings.
Since 2007 Shapiro has partnered with non-profit leaders across the nation to craft strategic visions and plans, tactics, abiding operating principles, and success metrics, among other efforts. He has engaged with over 30 collecting institutions and served on various local and national boards and committees. He is currently partnered in planning efforts with the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College and the Neuberger Museum of Art at SUNY Purchase. He recently led the development of foundational strategic documents for the University of California Irvine’s emerging Institute and Museum of California Art and strategic planning with the Chicago Children’s Museum and the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College.
In other recent projects, Shapiro guided the inaugural strategic planning for the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami and led strategic planning for Louisville’s Speed Museum of Art after its three-year expansion project. In longer-term projects, Shapiro manages an ongoing statistical data survey for an alliance of 15 campus-based museums in the Northeast (including those at Colby, Bowdoin, and Williams, among others) and was a multi-year advisor to the Terra Foundation for American Art’s “Art Design Chicago.”
As a former board member and long-time advisor to the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries, Shapiro led this national body of campus museums in their first-ever strategic planning; rigorous financial modeling; and the engagement of professional management services. Shapiro co-authored “Campus Art Museums in the 21st Century: A Conversation” with Peter Linett and the Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago. This benchmark study considered the evolving opportunities and obligations in this dynamic field.
Previously, Shapiro led the $220 million membership efforts for the California State Automobile Association (AAA); was a product director with GNC (General Nutrition Centers); and consulted on new product development with Kuczmarski & Associates.
Shapiro earned an MBA with a concentration in Marketing from the University of Chicago Booth Graduate School of Business and a BA from Stanford University. He serves on the national Directors Circle for The Wooster Group; is a former board vice-chair of Marwen Foundation; and a past president of the SF Arts Education Project. He and his wife Madeleine Grynsztejn live in Chicago.