Chief Operating Officer
The Newark Museum
Chief Operating Officer Meme Omogbai is the highest-ranking person of color in the 100-year history of the Newark Museum, New Jersey’s largest and one of North America’s most respected museums of art, science and education with collections representing all world cultures. Nigerian-born Omogbai touts a long list of unprecedented accomplishments. She was the youngest and first minority deputy assistant chancellor of New Jersey’s Department of Higher Education. “Competence trumps race, age and gender every time,” says Omogbai. “Expertise creates opportunities even in the face of inequality.”
During her 10-year tenure with the state, Omogbai was part of the team that developed the widely acclaimed New Jersey College Loan to Assist State Students Program while overseeing $6.5 billion in assets and crafting legislation as policy adviser in the state treasurer’s office. In a three-year stint at the Casino Control Commission, as the first minority senior financial analyst, Omogbai spearheaded the institution of minority recruitment and training that enabled the hiring of four minority professionals at the agency. “I can never be satisfied with being the ‘only’ anything,” she asserts. “I always work to leverage my opportunities for the benefit of others.”
Omogbai puts her expertise to community use as a director on the boards of such organizations as The New Jersey Historic Trust, American Association of Museums, the Advisory Board of Montclair State University, St. Vincent Academy, The Newark Regional Business Partnership. In 2000, she received the Woman of the Year Award from the American Biographic Institute, and she was a finalist for the inaugural 2009 NJBIZ’s CFO of the Year Award. Omogbai has also received gubernatorial honor for her work with NJCLASS and a Meritorious Service Award from the New Jersey Rehabilitation Association. She obtained both an M.B.A. in finance and management consultancy and a Bachelor of Science in accountancy from Rutgers University.