Born in Toronto, Sasha Suda studied at Princeton University, Williams College and earned her PhD at NYU. She worked in the Medieval Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, then joined the Art Gallery of Ontario as Curator of European Art and the Elliott Chair of Prints and Drawings. She led international exhibitions and innovative digital initiatives re-contextualizing historical art. She served as director and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada, transforming its mission to focus on external stakeholders, justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility. In 2023, she became Director and CEO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Have there been any recent strides for gender equity in your industry?
A recent New York Times article ran with the enticing headline “Increasingly, Women Are Running the World’s Great Museums”. While I was glad to be included in the article, I was thrilled that this recognition broadcasts something I’ve known for a while: that women bring unique perspectives, innovative ideas, and progressive leadership values to museums. This is more crucial than ever as museums nationally and internationally seek to create a more inclusive and diverse art historical narrative, broaden modern and contemporary collections, and open our doors widely.
What more do you think needs to be done to support women in Philadelphia?
There is no finite equation or finishing line for support of women in Philadelphia or elsewhere. Women bring powerful ideas, skills, leadership qualities, and more to all walks of life, both professionally and personally. We need to continue to support each other through dialogue, by creating opportunities for visibility and advancement, especially for women of color and those who have not enjoyed justice and equality, and by seeing each other and expressing our value of one another in daily life.
Which women have paved the way for you?
Barbara Boehm, my mentor and first boss at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; the renowned Canadian art historian Jean Sutherland Boggs, who was the first woman director of both the National Gallery of Canada and the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Anne d’Harnoncourt, the legendary director of the PMA; and my mother, Helena, who came to Canada from the former Czechoslovakia alone in 1968 to live a freer life.