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Toledo Museum of Art selects Gary Gonya as first director of brand strategy

Gary Gonya
Gary Gonya

Gary Gonya has been selected as the Toledo Museum of Art’s first director of brand Strategy, in a role that will report to the Museum’s director. His appointment began on Monday, Nov. 29. TMA’s strategic plan aims to make the Toledo Museum of Art the model art museum in the United States for its commitment to quality and its culture of belonging. One crucial dimension of implementing the strategic plan is the Museum’s new focus on shaping and managing a memorable and inclusive brand experience. An integrated brand experience requires seeing the world from the view of a diverse community of visitors – anticipating their needs and delivering an encounter that makes people feel invited and fulfilled and that inspires repeat visitation. To accomplish this, the new TMA brand strategy department will integrate internal and external communications, retail, visitor services and design.

“Gary brings a wealth of strategic leadership experience to this new role,” said Adam Levine, the Museum’s Edward Drummond and Florence Scott Libbey director and CEO. “He has successfully led a number of engagements that redefined and redesigned the organizational purpose, vision and values for major companies. We are eager and excited to have him share his expertise with us as we expand our mission to become the model art museum.”

In his new role, Gonya will oversee marketing and public relations, special events, café, retail and visitor experience departments. The director of brand strategy will help TMA engage both local and national audiences, elevate the Museum’s visibility and raise public awareness of the organization’s mission, values, strategy and programming.

Gonya arrives at TMA with more than 20 years of experience in brand strategy, advertising, design and organizational culture leadership. He most recently served as the chief strategy officer for Common Good (aka LRXD), a purpose-driven advertising and design agency in Colorado that focuses on health and wellbeing brands. Throughout his career he has provided strategic guidance on award-winning advertising campaigns and design projects for brands such as Volkswagen, Sony PlayStation, TRUTH (anti-tobacco), Fiat, Coca-Cola, The North Face and Method home cleaning, while serving in leadership roles at agencies such as Sid Lee Toronto, Deutsch LA, CP+B Boulder and Doner Detroit.

Gary spent part of his youth as a Toledo resident, interacting frequently with the Museum, which he found to be a creative refuge and a place of scholarship. He also served as an intern at TMA while an undergraduate. Gonya holds a bachelor’s degree in art history from Amherst College and studied architecture and design theory at the Yale School of Architecture. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to integrate my personal history with TMA, my academic interests in art and architecture and my professional experience – all in service of making the power of art more accessible to our community,” said Gonya. “I believe the Toledo Museum of Art is the pride of Toledo; it’s our heart and soul. We will develop an inclusive brand voice and experience that inspires all people and awakens their connection to the deep human story we all share.”