Press Releases

Press Release: The Morton Arboretum announces new VP of people and culture, and chief of staff

The Morton Arboretum is expanding its leadership team with the appointment of two executives in newly created positions.

Content Detail

LISLE, Ill. (Jan. 16, 2024) – The Morton Arboretum is expanding its leadership team with the appointment of two executives in newly created positions. Norissa Bailey, SPHR, joined the Arboretum on Jan. 16 as vice president of people and culture. Karen Magid, Ph.D., will take on the chief of staff role beginning Feb. 20.

Both positions will report to President and CEO Jill Koski. “I am thrilled Norissa and Karen will be joining the Arboretum team in these two key leadership roles, forwarding our vision of a greener, healthier, more beautiful world where people and trees thrive together,” said Koski. “These new positions were established through the Arboretum’s recent strategic planning process and will provide essential leadership to advance our mission.”

Norissa Bailey, SPHR

Bailey oversees the Arboretum’s strategic people leadership and organization development while building a talent pipeline through new integrated mentorship opportunities. She is dedicated to creating collaborative, equitable and innovative work environments that attract and develop top talent in the industry.

Koski said, “In her past roles, Norissa has demonstrated an ability to continuously improve the employee experience, advance equity and diversity efforts and foster a supportive workplace culture — all of which map directly to this new role.”

Bailey comes to the Arboretum from the Art Institute of Chicago, where she led the museum’s efforts on inclusion, staff engagement and performance management since 2021 as senior vice president for people and culture. Crain’s Chicago Business recognized Bailey in 2022 as one of its Notable Executives in HR and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

She is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Emory University in Atlanta.

Karen Magid, Ph.D.

As Chief of Staff, Magid will be responsible for expanding government relations, the institution’s civic presence and profile, Board of Trustees engagement, and institutional planning and project management.

“Karen’s scientific and educational background, environmental justice work, previous role as director of sustainability and organizational leadership experience will increase Arboretum staff capacity and communication in advancing the priorities outlined in our new strategic plan,” Koski noted.

Magid will join the Arboretum from Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas, where she currently serves as the chief of staff and clerk of the board. Magid holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in materials science from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as a Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University.