The Children's Discovery Museum in Normal has a new head who wants to lead the organization onward, and, perhaps, upward.
When considering the job to head the CDM, Shelleigh Birlingmair admitted the energy of Uptown Normal really attracted her to the position. "The Museum is a great organization," said Birlingmair. "And it's definitely the center of the Town of Normal."
Birlingmair came on board the museum late in the fall as executive director, leaving her job as vice president and wealth management consultant at Commerce Bank. With years of experience volunteering for not-for-profits, such as The Boys and Girls Club, Birlingmair felt she was in a good position to help boost the future of the CDM. "The Museum does a lot of outreach into high risk/low income areas, and there's an opportunity to some partnerships with the Boys and Girls Club. I've been encouraging the staff to think outside the box. What can we do to help the community? How can we get our name out there more than it is? But the main thing is: what is our mission, how can we fulfill our mission, and working with kids and educating through play. So any kids that we can have an impact on is definitely something we'll be looking at."
When she first arrived at the Museum, Birlingmair said she was raring to go. "My initial thought when I walked in was that I was going to change the world. Any new job, you're going to change the world. But my experience tells me that you need to sit back and listen and see what's going on. So, as far as big ideas, absolutely! One joke I keep telling people is in ten years we're going to have two more floors on this building. Because why wouldn't you? It's a great place! We're just going to make it bigger and better."