Long Island Children’s Museum announced that Erika Floreska has been named president of the museum following a rigorous national search.
Floreska has served as the museum’s director of development for three years, joining the leadership team there during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020. She will officially step into her new role on June 3, succeeding retiring Suzanne LeBlanc, who is retiring after 17 years in the role.
A Detroit native and longtime Baldwin resident, Floreska has been active with the museum for nearly two decades.
“We found a home at LICM; a place where we could always come and see smiling and supportive faces,” she said of her family’s involvement with the museum. “It was a place that we were excited to share with friends and family from out of town.”
Floreska noted that she’s focused on ensuring that the 40,000-square-foot museum in Garden City continues to be an inclusive and welcoming, educational and playful environment.
“LICM is a gathering space for people across the region to explore, play, wonder, and create,” she said. “No doubt during these turbulent times, we all need more of that, especially our children. I believe the Museum is poised to serve our community in deeper and broader ways.”
Museum Board Chair Scott Burman said Floreska stood out from an impressive list of candidates.
“She has the vision, enthusiasm and commitment to build on the museum’s 30-year history and identify new opportunities to support the children, schools and communities Long Island Children’s Museum serves,” he said.
A personal commitment
Floreska’s connection with the Children’s Museum started 18 years ago when her family became museum members, shortly after moving to Baldwin. She sought out places in her new community that were welcoming environments for her family.
Her decision to join the leadership staff at the museum three years ago was a career decision motivated by a desire to give back to the community where she and her husband raised a family.
Across her 30-year career, Floreska has contributed to moving the mission forward at some of New York’s most vibrant cultural institutions, including Bloomingdale School of Music, Tectonic Theater Project and Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Floreska’s first day on the job as doirector of development at the Children’s Museum coincided with the Children’s Museum’s forced closure due to the spreading COVID-19 virus.
She quickly assumed a strategic role in producing the museum’s first virtual fundraising benefit, raising $660,000. Furthermore, she has co-created and led a strategic effort to deepen long-standing relationships with foundations and corporations and establish new sponsorship opportunities, museum officials said.
Floreska has worked to develop new and expanded individual giving opportunities, which has resulted in more than a 20% increase in contributed income, helping return the museum to financial health through the COVID-19 pandemic, museum officials said.
Floreska traces her commitment to arts and education service to growing up in a family filled with musicians and educators. A professional musician, she holds two degrees in flute performance from the College of Wooster and the University of Michigan.