Joanne Leese
Assistant Secretary for Advancement

Joanne Leese

Associate Director for Advancement


Joanne L. Leese is the associate director of advancement in the Smithsonian’s Office of Advancement. Leese serves as liaison to the Office of the Secretary for Institution-wide development-related matters and assists the Secretary and the Assistant Secretary for Advancement with the management of their respective donor and prospect portfolios.

Before joining the Office of Advancement, Leese served as cultural affairs specialist at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. Leese facilitated artistic collaborations, educational exchanges and administered grants for American and Chinese museums and cultural organizations, in addition to initiating and overseeing a national traveling exhibitions program.

Prior to her work overseas, Leese directed development operations for the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum. She has worked in the museum field and fundraising for more than two decades in a variety of history and art museums across the United States and Canada.

Leese received her Master of Arts in museum studies from the University of Leicester and a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in history from McMaster University.

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