Bortoli Recommendation

November 8, 2011

Dear Sir or Madam:

This letter is a general recommendation for Liza Sullivan. I had the privilege of working with Liza at Chicago Children’s Museum (CCM) from 2006-2008 as a direct report while she served as Associate Vice President of Education, and upon her leaving, took on many of her former duties. Liza’s superb guidance, mentorship, and support directly prepared me to take on my current position as the Vice President of Education and Community Connections at CCM.

Liza’s vision, dedication, intelligence, and sensitivity are qualities that make her the sort of leader with whom anyone would want to work. I felt personally grateful each day to collaborate with Liza as both my supervisor and colleague. Her high standards combined with an innate ability to guide and motivate pushed all of us to think deeply and to strive further. She was a phenomenal leader of our Education department, and I am fully confident that she would bring this same direction and strength to any position she would take on.

Liza’s daily work at CCM required her to wear many hats – and to change those hats multiple times in the course of a day. A typical day at the museum saw Liza talking with our visiting families to address concerns and to make sure that their experience was the best one possible. It saw her interacting directly with the children who were playing and learning in our environment, and designing new and innovative education projects – ranging from programs for children to professional development for educators. It saw her participating in developing grant proposals, and providing leadership of board committees. Multi-tasking and changing gears quickly are par for the course at Chicago Children’s Museum, and Liza did this with facility and aplomb.

Liza merges a strong academic background and knowledge of current research and best practices with her daily work. She maintains connections to colleagues in the field who are performing groundbreaking research in early childhood education and child development and constantly builds bridges between these resources and the everyday practice of her institution. Connections made by Liza with notable leaders in the field continue to impact our work at Chicago Children’s Museum, and she would bring this same benefit to any institution of which she was a part.

Liza combines her academic knowledge with significant hands-on experience in both the formal classroom environment and more informal settings such as CCM. She is at once a teacher, parent, researcher, and administrator. This makes her the type of leader who can identify with all levels of visitors, staff, board members, and external colleagues.

Liza is one of the most respected professionals I know. Her legacy within CCM and beyond its walls continues to shape our institution. She is an excellent and visionary leader, but perhaps more importantly, she is one of the most sensitive, responsive, kind and graceful human beings anyone could know. These are the characteristics that win the respect and admiration of everyone whom Liza encounters, and particularly those who work with and for her.

I strongly support Liza Sullivan as a candidate for any leadership position. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any further questions, or to discuss this letter in greater detail. Thank you.


Natalie Bortoli

Vice President of Education & Community Connections

Chicago Children’s Museum