The Phillips Collection Appoints Five New Trustees

By Editorial Team on February 23, 2021

The Phillips Collection has elected five new members to join its Board of Trustees. The new members bring a wealth of new perspectives to the Phillips and their range of expertise will provide the museum with additional tools to celebrate its centennial year in 2021 and continue its impact.

“We are thrilled to welcome Patty Alper, Barbara Brown, Jane Chu, Paul Killian, and Sala Elise Patterson to our Board of Trustees,” said Vradenburg Director & CEO Dorothy Kosinski. “These accomplished individuals bring insights, expertise, and diverse perspectives that will enhance all of our work at the Phillips—from education to communications and visitors experience—important capacities as we embark on our next 100 years.”

“It has been a top institutional priority to expand our Board of Trustees,” says Chief Diversity Officer Makeba Clay, “and Patty, Barbara, Jane, Paul, and Sala are joining us at a critical moment in our history. As we use our centennial year to take a deep examination of our history, sustained board leadership will help us become a cultural institution that is focused on values of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion.”

Patty Alper is president of the Alper Portfolio Group, a marketing and consulting company, and is a board member of both the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) and US2020, the White House initiative to build mentorship in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers. She is a prominent speaker and author of Teach to Work: How a Mentor, a Mentee, and a Project can Close the Skills Gap in America. Alper uses her 35-year career in business and two decades of hands-on experience working directly with youth to help connect employers seeking skilled workers and youth entering the new workforce, and bring together the business and education sectors.

Barbara Brown is the senior partner in the Employment Law practice in the Washington, DC, office of Paul Hastings. She represents employers in the entire range of employment law matters and is regularly called upon for advice on diversity and inclusion initiatives and on methods to audit for and promote pay equity. She also serves as a mediator and arbitrator in employment law cases.

Jane Chu served as the eleventh chairperson of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), completing her four-year term in June 2018. During her tenure at the NEA, Chu traveled to all 50 states and 200 communities, making more than 400 site visits to connect with visual artists, musicians, dancers, actors, writers, arts educators, and arts administrators. Under her leadership, the NEA was ranked the number one small agency in 2016 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government. A Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Indiana University, Chu has a background in arts administration and philanthropy, and is an accomplished visual artist and musician.

Paul Killian is a litigation attorney in Washington, DC, specializing in infrastructure projects. His practice involves alternative dispute resolution as well as litigation before US appellate and trial courts, federal boards of contract appeals, and US and international arbitration panels. He has served as lead counsel for numerous major projects including subways, locks, dams, power plants, resort and office developments, tunnels, museums and bridges. Killian has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America, the Who’s Who Legal 100, is a Fellow of CIArb, and funds scholarships for students to attend Culver Military Academy, his preparatory school in Indiana.

Sala Elise Patterson is a communications, content, and brand strategist, and writer. She began her career as an editor at Condé Nast Traveler Magazine and has since written about culture, current events, travel, and lifestyle for The Atlantic’s CiytLabThe New York Times Style MagazineHarvard Design MagazineKINFOLKFord Foundation ReportTRUE Africa, and others. A serial expatriate (eight countries on five continents) and linguist (five languages), Patterson brings a cross-cultural perspective to every story she writes. Patterson is also the founder of The Songhai Group, a communications advisory firm that serves international organizations, cultural institutions, and mission-driven companies.


The Phillips Collection, America’s first museum of modern art, was founded in 1921. The museum houses one of the world’s most celebrated Impressionist and American modern art collections, and continues to grow its collection with important contemporary voices. Its distinctive building combines extensive new galleries with the former home of its founder, Duncan Phillips. The Phillips’s impact spreads nationally and internationally through its diverse and experimental special exhibitions and events, including its award-winning education programs for educators, students, and adults; renowned Phillips Music series; and dynamic art and wellness and Phillips after 5 events. The museum contributes to global dialogues with events like Conversations with Artists and Artists of Conscience. The Phillips Collection values its community partnerships with the University of Maryland—the museum’s nexus for scholarly exchange and interdisciplinary collaborations—and THEARC—the museum’s satellite campus in Southeast DC. The Phillips Collection is a private, non-government museum, supported primarily by donations.