Executive Director, Northwest African American Museum (NAAM)
LaNesha DeBardelaben is Executive Director of the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) in Seattle, Washington. Under her leadership, NAAM is repositioning itself for accelerated growth. Prior, she was Senior Vice President of Education & Exhibitions at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan. Her 15+ year career in museums began at the National Museum of Kenya in Africa in 2001, and she has studied museums and libraries internationally in Ghana, South Africa, England, Germany, and Israel.
As a historian and museum director, LaNesha has contributed scholarly writings to national publications. She is currently on the Board of Directors of both the Association of African American Museums (AAAM) and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.
LaNesha has received numerous awards for her community and professional service, including the 2019 WNBA Inspiring Women Award, 2017 Michigan Chronicle’s 40 Under 40, 2015 Michigan Chronicle’s Women of Excellence, and 2014 Crain’s Detroit’s Business 40 Under 40 awards. She is a graduate of the SEMC Jekyll Island Management Institute for museum managers in Georgia, Leadership Detroit for civic leaders, and American Express Executive Leadership Program in New York City. She is an active member of both The Links, Incorporated and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
She has a Bachelor of Arts in history and secondary education from Kalamazoo College; a Master of Arts in history and museum studies from the University of Missouri in St. Louis; a Master of Library Science in archives management from Indiana University-Bloomington; Master of Arts in Comparative Black History from Michigan State University; and is currently pursuing a PhD.