"The Art of Networking" Panel

Wednesday, February 17, 2021
2 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
Contact Brandy Ernzen (bernzen@ku.edu) for the Zoom login information

Why a panel about networking? Getting into the museum field isn’t just about grades. It takes other skills such as networking. There’s definitely an art to it, and many of us feel awkward trying to meet new people. Our panelists, Ryan Bourke, director of member services for the Alliance of American Museums (AAM); Dr. Matthew Naylor, president and CEO of the National WWI Museum and Memorial; Steve Nowak, executive director of the Watkins Museum of History; and Lynnette Werning, founder and president of Blue Water Communications, will share their best networking practices and advice for emerging museum professionals. Please join us, and bring your questions!

Ryan Bourke, director of member services for the Alliance of American Museums.Ryan Bourke
Director of Member Services
American Alliance of Museums (Arlington, Virginia)

Ryan Bourke is director of member services at AAM. In his role, he provides leadership and support to achieve the Alliance’s membership goals, including delivering high-value benefits to AAM’s members and ensuring an outstanding member experience. Prior to joining AAM in 2020, Ryan directed membership growth, benefits communication and experience strategies for AARP, after supporting membership and marketing programs in both the education and golf industries earlier in his career. Ryan earned his MBA from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, and his B.A. in Government from the University of Virginia. Outside of work, when he isn’t attending to his adorable daughters or dogs (2 of each!), you might find him on his road bike or at a local venue enjoying live music.

Dr. Matthew Naylor, president and CEO of the WWI Museum and Memorial, giving a speech.Dr. Matthew Naylor
President and CEO
National WWI Museum and Memorial (Kansas City, Missouri)

Dr. Matthew Naylor is the president and CEO of the National WWI Museum and Memorial. A native of Australia, Naylor began his tenure at the Museum and Memorial in June 2013 and possesses more than 30 years of leadership in the nonprofit arena.

Under Naylor’s leadership, the Museum and Memorial has achieved unprecedented success, breaking and resetting records for attendance, educational and community event participants, website traffic, media and social media impressions, and digital learning. In 2018, he was named Nonprofit PRO “Executive of the Year” and in 2019, Ingram’s Magazine included him on its “50 Missourians You Should Know” list.

Naylor earned a Ph.D. from Curtin University in Perth, Australia. He serves on boards and committees for several civic and educational initiatives, including the advisory council for the Kansas City Economic Development Corporation, the advisory board for the National Stars and Stripes Museum and the board of the Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy.


Steve Nowak, executive director of the Watkins Museum of History.Steve Nowak
Executive Director
Watkins Museum of History (Lawrence, Kansas)

Steve is enthusiastic about telling stories through artifacts and helping people make a personal connection with history: "I love the way ordinary things can make powerful connections to the past and the people that used them. That is what makes my job so exciting." As director, he is involved with nearly everything that happens at the Watkins, from finance and building preservation to exhibits and programs, so every day is interesting. But the part of his job he likes most is community outreach — giving behind-the-scenes tours, talking with community groups, working with students, and establishing partnerships with the great people and organizations in our community.

Steve has over 30 years’ experience in museum work and a background in art, history, and material culture. He is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis.

Lynettee Werning, founder and president of Blue Water Communications.Lynette Werning, APR and SSP
Founder and President
Blue Water Communications (Bradenton, Florida)

Blue Water is anchored by founder and president Lynnette Werning, APR, SPP, who has more than two decades of public relations experience.

Lynnette has been selected to host media relations workshops for over 500 professionals in the museum, architecture and destination fields. She also has a rare dual professional certification; she's received accreditation from the Public Relations Society of America, an achievement earned by only 5% of public relations practitioners, and she earned a Strategic Planning Professional designation from the Association for Strategic Planning.

Lynnette is currently the president of PR Boutiques International, serves on the board of trustees for the University of Toledo Alumni Association and is co-chair of their communications committee. She has served as president of the Northwest Ohio chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and is a member of PRSA’s Counselor’s Academy. She was named Outstanding Alumna by the University of Toledo Department of Communications.

Prior to launching Blue Water Communications in 2006, Lynnette worked as vice president and account supervisor for two Toledo-based PR and marketing firms. She served as communications manager for the Toledo Museum of Art, division director for the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, managing director for the Toledo Ballet Association and assistant director at WTOL-TV.

An avid runner and hiker, Lynnette also plays clarinet and enjoys motorcycle trips, cruises and adventures with her husband, Dave.

Read the latest MUSE News!

Find out what KU's Museum Studies Program and our alumni are up to:

June 2020 Newsletter
January 2019 Newsletter
September 2017 Newsletter
January 2017 Newsletter