Hi, I’m Dana Allen-Greil. I am currently serving as Director of Digital Strategy at the Monterey Bay Aquarium where I oversee web, social media, and email marketing. For the past 20 years I’ve had the privilege of serving some amazing museums, government organizations, universities, and nonprofits.
My expertise lies in crafting, implementing, and measuring digital initiatives that help organizations engage their constituents, demonstrate their value, and stay relevant in an ever-evolving communications environment. I know how to tell a great story across platforms, harness the power of technology for good, and sustain online conversations that motivate people to take action.
My work experience centers around museums and technology, education, and public health. I’ve worked on outreach and engagement initiatives for a diverse array of subject matter, including American history, art history, archives, and marine science and conservation.
Museums and Technology
As Chief of Web & Social Media (2015-2018) at the U. S. National Archives and Records Administration, I oversaw the operations of several dozen websites and more than 130 (!!!) social media accounts. Situated within the Office of Innovation, my team created a Facebook chatbot to crowdsource image identification, redesigned a mobile-first National Archives Museum website, launched the Barack Obama Presidential Library website and ensured continued access to the first social media president’s records. We advanced the development and sharing of open source code, increased the transparency of the U.S. government, and formed a UX-led practice to improve services to the public.
On the National Mall
For several years I managed digital outreach initiatives at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. (2012-2015). I took on a newly created educational technology position and was thrilled at the opportunities to bring the nation’s cultural treasures to the people through the power of new media. For 8 seriously amazing years (2003-2011), I brought digital projects to life at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. I worked with curators, educators, partners, board members, and a host of other experts and stakeholders to shape an online presence that brought the organization into the 21st century. While there, I initiated projects and led the strategic direction for many new media technologies including email newsletters, online fundraising platforms, websites, blogs, social media, and mobile platforms.
Working in museums means there is always something inspiring, challenging, or just plain weird to learn about.
I never thought I’d know so much about rare coins, voting machinery, our painful history of segregation, polio, Celia Cruz, or Phyllis Diller’s gag file. Or that I’d get to work in the same building as a 920-pound Calder mobile, Judith Leyster’s self-portrait, Kerry James Marshall’s haunting Great America, and the only Leonardo da Vinci portrait in the Americas. It’s all in a day’s work when you’re employed by cultural institutions and I feel very fortunate to have been a part of it.
Teaching Museums Studies
After graduating with a master’s degree in museum studies from The George Washington University in 2007, I was thrilled to return a few years later to teach the only technology-centered course in the program, Museums and Technology (2010-2012). I later developed the Museums and New Media course for Georgetown University’s M.A. in Art and Museum Studies, which I taught for three semesters (2016-2018). Since 2011 I have taught graduate classes in digital subjects including web development and social media for Johns Hopkins University’s museum studies program. I also recently (2019) began teaching the graduate Museums and Digital Media course for the Tufts University museum studies program. The best thing about teaching, for me, is not only being able to share my expertise with the next generation of museum workers but also to learn from, be challenged by, and ultimately be inspired by today’s students.
Volunteer Board Service
From 2013-2016, I served on the Museum Computer Network Board of Directors, as Secretary on the Executive Committee and also Chair of the Marketing Committee. (Check out this board member recruitment video I am featured in, talking about my service and inviting others to join.) I previously served (2013-2015) on the Editorial Advisory Board for the Exhibitionist journal (part of the National Association for Museum Exhibition). I also served on the board of directors for a regional museum association, the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums (2008-2011).
Online Public Health Communications
While I’ve worked with cultural institutions for the majority of my career, I also have spent significant time working with online technologies to improve public health. From 2000-2003, I was part of a team of innovators responsible for kaisernetwork.org (now Kaiser Health News), the Kaiser Family Foundation’s foray into cutting-edge health policy news. It was an exciting time to be leading the way on the web, balancing exploration of new technologies—like syndication (before the heyday of RSS) and live webcasting the International AIDS Conferences—with the need to tell a compelling and accurate story. My role at the foundation was to manage content and technical tasks for kaisernetwork.org and kff.org (the organization’s main website) as well as related products such as the popular Kaiser Daily Reports emails.
In all of my work, I endeavor to harness the power of digital technologies for social good.
I joined the social marketing practice at Ogilvy Public Relations for a short time (2011-2012), where I had the opportunity to learn from some of the most creative minds in the communications field. I developed social media strategies for major national education campaigns, including The Heart Truth®, which continues to break new ground in the fight against heart disease in women, as well as new initiatives such as the CDC’s Million Hearts™ initiative to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes. I was proud to work for the “Social Squared” team, renowned as the best at applying social media for social good.
From 2010-2015, I volunteered for a small nonprofit, Education Fights AIDS International, whose work empowered youth affected by HIV and AIDS in Cameroon. I served EFA as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors and headed up Communications efforts.
As someone living with Type 1 diabetes, I’m also deeply interested in the quantified self movement and the ways self-tracking and other technology advances can empower patients to take their health into their own hands.
Life isn’t all about work, though, right? (Right?!?) I recently relocated to California and like to spend my play time exploring the wild coastline and natural beauty of Monterey County. I have Type 1 diabetes which is challenging* but also manageable thanks to modern medicine; I spend a fair amount of time and energy fiddling with my latest robot parts. And last but not least I am the mom to kiddos Eleanor and Lincoln, which is more awesome (and more exhausting!) than I ever imagined it could be.
* vast understatement