Jackie Frady, president and executive director is retiring and her 38-year career with Harrah’s Automobile Collection and the National Automobile Museum, and 27 years as Executive Director, will conclude on November 7, 2019.
I have been blessed with a remarkable career, both highly rewarding and challenging, which made for a perfect combination. As I reflect over the years, it’s my relationship with special people that has made my journey especially meaningful, particularly our Board of Trustees, donors, members, staff and volunteers. I am extremely grateful to the many people who shared my passion for the Museum, supported our efforts through their generosity and dedication, and made this journey possible,” said Jackie Frady.
Jackie’s career legacy is notable as she led with integrity, set a standard of excellence and treasured each day. She established an organizational culture that values appreciation, respect, knowledge, professionalism, and warm, friendly encounters. She encouraged her team to continually improve, helped them along their path, and loved team meetings that were equal parts laughter and work. Over the years, she recognized the Museum’s wealth was not often counted in dollars and cents, but in people – the Board, donors, supporters, staff, volunteers and visitors.
The Museum’s nonprofit organization was formed in 1981 with the goal to save a portion of Harrah’s Automobile Collection and build a new museum in downtown Reno. That’s when Jackie joined the project and after a progression of management positions she became the seventh executive director in 1992. The Museum had $10 million in construction debt and the operation was faltering. She believed in the Museum’s potential when many predicted its demise. Trustees gave her one year to turn the operation around and if this was achieved, the Board would assume the role of fundraising. During the Board’s Capital Campaign to retire construction debt, Jackie became the spokesperson and was credited with creating public awareness that influenced public and private support. She was a frequent guest on radio and TV programs, spoke to community organizations and carried our message before City Council and Redevelopment Agency meetings, as well as at the state legislature.
Her business model recognizes the benefits of a nonprofit organization and the value of operating like a small business. The executive director, like a small business owner, touches every aspect of the operation and does not begin or end a day with eight hours in mind. Reporting isn’t about “what we are going to do,” but “what we are doing,” including achievements, awards, challenges, shortfalls and needs, all of which fosters transparency.
Most of all, Jackie is always first to thank and recognize others for their support, both big and small; and particularly the extraordinary financial contributions of the Chairman of the Museum’s Board of Trustees, Ranson Webster, and his wife Norma, and their tremendous impact on the Museum.
During her tenure and under her leadership, there have many accomplishments. Highlights include:
- The Museum is recognized for its successful and committed Board of Trustees, the consistent leadership and professional management of its executive director, and the ethical standards, business practices and passion that have driven its success.
- Jackie has been labeled many things, including a “car guy.” However, she is most proud of being recognized for moving the “automobile museum industry forward as a leader, a professional, a wife, a mother and as a woman who has helped pave the way for other ladies — in an industry once driven by men,” as reported by KRNV/NBC News.
- Frady’s 30-year career anniversary in the collector car field was celebrated in 2011 by Reno Magazine in a cover story, “Driven to Success” and in a “Captains of Industry” feature by the Reno Gazette-Journal.
- The Museum has received many awards, particularly in educational programming, and significant recognition, including a “top ten automobile museum” many times.
- Jackie’s research, writing and production skills brought many projects to fruition: the Museum’s first book, Against All Odds, about the 1908 New York to Paris Race; the Museum’s popular souvenir book; audio tour scripts; a short documentary, The Bill Harrah Story and the Legendary Journey to the Museum, in conjunction with KNPB that is shown daily in the Theatre; and transformation of Precious Metal newsletter into an award-winning magazine, in which she is primary contributing writer.
- In addition to implementing an array of programs, she curated many exhibits, and ensured the inclusion of human interest elements and stories about women. Most notable, 100th Anniversary of the 1908 New York to Paris Race; Bill Harrah Legendary Collector, WWI Gets Motorized, World War II Hits Home, and Alice Ramsey.
- Jackie created the Museum’s Adopt-A-Car membership program in 1988, which was a popular and successful program for nearly 30 years.
- The Museum was designed as a static experience. She carved out space to accommodate numerous changing exhibits. With significant support from the Board, a banquet area was added in Gallery 4 and the Theatre was converted from a single use visitor orientation theatre to multi-use program space.
- She served in capacities often filled by men, including Honorary Judge at Concours d’Elegance, such as Pebble Beach (24 years) and Hillsborough (20+ year); and Advisory Board member of Ironstone Concours.
- A founding Board member of the National Association of Automobile Museums in 1994, Jackie served on the Board continuously (except term breaks), was president for multiple terms, and is recipient of the Past President Award for outstanding dedication and leadership.
- She is a past president of the Nevada Museum’s Association.
- She is a 2015 Top Ten Business Woman of the American Business Women’s Association, the highest national honor awarded by ABWA, and 2013 Scot of the Year by the Nevada Society of Scottish Clans in recognition of her career. A competitor by nature, one of her favorite awards is The Dale Carnegie Course Highest Award for Achievement.
Frady’s leadership will be missed. We wish her an amazing retirement with years of enjoyment to come with husband Steve, son Michael and all her family and friends.