The Corning Museum of Glass is delighted to announce that its Board of Trustees voted unanimously in December 2021 to appoint Alexia Hudson-Ward and Preston Singletary as its newest members.
Alexia Hudson-Ward is the Associate Director of Research and Learning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Libraries, and Preston Singletary is a Seattle-based, Native American glass artist of the Tlingit tribe.
The recruitment and selection of new trustees is an ongoing effort of the Board to identify and fill gaps in areas of expertise or background. In 2021, a committee identified perceived gaps in board composition including people of color, artists, experts in academics or research libraries, museum/cultural experts, and those with philanthropic backgrounds and interests. Trustees and members of the Museum’s Leadership Team discussed candidates that would help address these gaps. After a series of interviews and deliberations, Alexia and Preston were recommended and approved.
Alexia and Preston join Alan T. Eusden, Jeffrey W. Evenson, James B. Flaws, Randi L. Hewit, James D. Houghton, David L. Morse, Mark S. Rogus, Edward Schlesinger, Wendell P. Weeks, Karol Wight, and Marianne W. Young on the Board of Trustees. Additional individuals are currently being considered by the committee, and this process will continue until the Board feels it has achieved the desired number and composition of Trustees.
Ahead of their first board meeting in March, we interviewed Alexia and Preston to learn a little more about them and discover what insights they hope to bring to the Museum’s Board of Trustees.
This week we learn about Alexia Hudson-Ward. Look out for next week’s blog post to hear from Preston Singletary.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Alexia Hudson-Ward absorbed the wide array of museums, libraries, and archives that the City of Brotherly Love had to offer growing up. “I fell in love with cultural heritage organizations so much that I saw myself at an early age becoming a librarian,” Alexia says. But it would be a circuitous route before she would eventually align her career path with the life passions she developed as a child. As a first-generation college graduate, Alexia was encouraged to pursue a lucrative career as a lawyer, although practicing law soon lost its appeal. Alexia switched to journalism and communications and worked as a customer marketing manager with The Coca-Cola Company for several years.
Alexia attributes 9/11 as the catalyst for shifting away from selling consumer goods and towards librarianship. “Like many people, I was extraordinarily impacted by the events of 9/11. I began to do a lot of soul-searching,” she says. “Remarkably, but not surprisingly, my personal pro/con analysis led me back to pursuing librarianship.” Alexia was accepted into the online Master of Library and Information Science program at the University of Pittsburgh. “The rest, as they say, is history.”
As the Associate Director of Research and Learning at the MIT Libraries, Alexia now lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with her husband Linton and their two cats. In addition to her day job, she is also a Ph.D. doctoral candidate in Library and Information Science with a concentration in Managerial Leadership at nearby Simmons University, serves as editor-in-chief for Toward Inclusive Excellence, and is writing a book exploring various dimensions of library leadership.
Alexia has admired The Corning Museum of Glass from afar for many years and considers the Museum’s digital experience among the best in the world. “The Museum and the Rakow (have) strengthened my appreciation of glass and the unique role it plays in all of our lives,” she says. But her knowledge of glass didn’t start with us. Alexia recalls her mother’s fondness for Pennsylvania Dutch and German-inspired glass ‘folk art’ ornaments and stained glass and the huge collection of Swarovski crystal figurines that made her childhood home sparkle.
Like her mother, Alexia has started her own collection of glass objects and is guided by the shapes, forms, and colors that intrigue her. “I amassed a sizeable stemware collection when I was younger,” she reveals, “because I loved hosting Sex and the City watch parties with my friends.” More recently, Alexia has focused on collecting pumpkins and will be in good company in that regard at The Corning Museum of Glass.
Alexia and CMoG’s Director at the Rakow Research Library, Kevin Reynolds, have been professional peers for many years, both having served in volunteer leadership roles within the American Library Association. Alexia looks forward to visiting The Corning Museum of Glass for the first time and partnering with Kevin and the rest of the Museum’s staff to support and enrich the “user experience and pedagogical engagements for scholars and the larger community.”
Alexia is thrilled to join the Museum’s Board of Trustees at this critical time in history. “I look forward to supporting CMoG with strategy and vision alignments that foster inclusive excellence,” she says, bringing her lived experience, professional knowledge, and deep commitment to supporting diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) to the table. Alexia has a proven track record of guiding organizations and their leaders on how to move beyond noble rhetoric and passionate beliefs to actual metrics-driven implementation processes that put DEIA work at the forefront.
The Museum is excited to finally welcome Alexia Hudson-Ward to Corning, to enjoy our collections, exhibitions, and archives, to meet staff, and maybe add a locally made pumpkin to her collection.
“Along with Board Chair Jeffrey Evenson, I am delighted to welcome Alexia to our Board of Trustees,” said Karol Wight, President and Executive Director. “As a librarian and because of her work to further diversity, equity, and inclusion in academia and libraries, I look forward to hearing her perspective about furthering the important work of our own Rakow Research Library and in joining our efforts to become a more diverse and inclusive institution.”