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2009 News Releases

Graduate of Longwood MBA program is president of regional retail organization

August 6, 2009

Barbara Lenhardt Barbara Lenhardt (photo credit: Travis Fullerton, VMFA)

A 2008 graduate of Longwood University's MBA in retail management program, Barbara Lenhardt, is the new president of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Museum Store Association (MSA).

Lenhardt, manager of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) Shop, began her term as chapter president during the Museum Store Association's 2009 annual meeting May 2 in Phoenix. Her term will last until the 2010 meeting next April 17.

"It's a three-year commitment in which you have to first be nominated for, and elected, secretary, then you automatically became vice president and then president," said Lenhardt, who has managed the gift shop at the VMFA, where she also is co-chair of product development, since 2004. "After my term as president, I'll be eligible to run for office with the national association, which is an international organization."

The MSA's Mid-Atlantic Chapter has 203 members in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Washington, D.C. She succeeded Pat Toth, of Sheppard Pratt Health System in Maryland, as president. "The chapter is organized for educational purposes," said Lenhardt, who has been active in the chapter for five years. She is planning the fall chapter meeting, to be held Sept. 12-14 at American University in Washington, D.C.

Lenhardt, of Richmond, finished her MBA in 23 months, with all of her work done in Richmond at the Retail Merchants Association headquarters. "My adviser, Dr. Linda Wright (associate professor of marketing), knew I wanted to finish quickly, and she made sure my classes flowed to accommodate my getting through the program quickly," she said.

A native of Bergen County in northern New Jersey, Lenhardt moved to Richmond in 2003 from Sussex County, N.J. While living in New Jersey, she owned Victorian Treasures, a shop in Warwick, N.Y., that specialized in home décor, gifts and collectibles. She is a graduate of Montclair State University.

When the VMFA, which closed July 1 for a renovation and expansion that began four years ago, reopens May 1, 2010, Lenhardt will supervise a staff of about four full-time and nine part-time employees and about 150 volunteers. The gift shop, which will be in the addition, will have about 3,600 square feet, as compared to 2,200 square feet before.