The Board of Directors of the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum announced that they have hired Chris Slaughter as executive director, after a thorough search process.
Slaughter has served as interim director since October 2013 and is a longtime volunteer for the organization. She has led the revitalization effort of the museum over the past year, together with president Diane Adam, vice president Kim Davis, also executive director of CASA of Santa Barbara County, CPA Annajane Lowe and a newly formed Board of Directors.
“I have come full circle with the Discovery Museum,” Slaughter said. “I began as a board member when my children where in preschool. They grew up here as I worked together with Diane Adam to build the facility 10 years ago. And now, as my girls head off to college, I am honored to share my passion for education and the arts to lead the museum into the next decade.”
Slaughter brings 25 years of marketing, public relations, special events and nonprofit experience to the position. She was previously executive director of the Santa Maria Valley Wine Country Association and public relations director for visual effects studio CafeFX.
In Los Angeles, she was marketing director of Stephen Spielberg’s DIVE! restaurant and worked in television production for Entertainment Tonight and as associate producer of the nationally syndicated daily news show Personalities. She is currently a creative partner in the Santa Maria-based multimedia marketing company Mind Control Agency.
Slaughter was appointed as a trustee of the Santa Barbara Foundation last year and has a long history of public service. In addition to her work over the past 15 years with the Discovery Museum, she was a founding board member and five-year president of the Orcutt Children’s Arts Foundation. She worked closely with the Orcutt Union School District administration in many capacities, including PTA president and fundraising chair roles.
Slaughter and her husband, Dr. Joe Slaughter, were honored by the Santa Maria Arts Council in 2010 for their commitment to the community. Both are graduates of UCLA and have lived in the Santa Maria area for the past 18 years.
“Chris was selected from a great group of passionate applicants. She has the know-how and skill set that we need now to move us forward with new programming, exhibits and partnerships in the community,” Adam said. “Chris and I have been working hand in hand to put the museum on the launch pad for a successful and sustainable future, as a complement to other education and arts organizations throughout the county.”
Slaughter and Adam both served as capital campaign co-chairs to develop the Discovery Museum’s 13,000-square-foot educational facility in 2004.
“In addition to adding Chris at the lead, we have also recruited a terrific group of men and women to the Board of Directors,” Adam said.
Recent board appointments include Allan Hancock College STEM internship specialist Emily Smith; retired executive Roy Reed; Coca-Cola supervisor Michael Buhring; Rick Gracia of Tozer Seeds; and Jose Huitron, founder of Hub 81. Other directors include Colette Hadley, Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara executive director; Todd Edwards, president of Vernon Edwards Constructors; Sara Edwards, retail and online advertising manager for the Santa Maria Times; Mark Huerth, retired federal law enforcement; and community volunteer Lori Bormes.
“With a renewed sense of place and purpose, along with this wonderful mix of talent and profession, we can really make a difference,” Adam said.