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Petra Schürmann

Petra Schürmann – Director

Personal & Mission Statement

After being introduced to the GAHF through Rüdiger Lentz, I attended the museum’s opening in 2010 and served on the Board 2011-2013. When I was offered the position as Executive Director in 2013, I gladly accepted. It would be my pleasure and honor to rejoin the Board. Not only would I use my German World network of 30,000+ contacts to support GAHF’s outreach efforts, but I would also focus on fundraising and building new partnerships.

Born and raised in Bielefeld, Germany, I hold a degree in Business Administration and a degree as a Certified Translator for English and French from the English Institute in Heidelberg. Before moving to the U.S., I worked several years for the Bertelsmann AG in Germany and later for the Bertelsmann subsidiary Arvato Services in California. In 2000, I founded, Inc. in Los Angeles, a publishing company with a focus on German-American relations and culture.

While building up my own business and launching a bi-lingual magazine in Los Angeles, I also worked as a representative for Deutsche Welle reporting to Rüdiger Lentz. When Mr. Lentz became the first Executive Director of the German-American Heritage Museum and GAHF, I kept in touch, attended the official opening of the Museum in March 2010, and was immediately intrigued by GAHF’s mission and goals.

Therefore, I felt very honored when the GAHF Executive Committee asked me in 2013 if I was interested in serving on the Board. As a Board Member, I focused on outreach, fundraising, and PR. I managed to organize a successful fundraising event in Los Angeles for the GAHF and when I was offered the position as Executive Director, I gladly accepted.

One of my personal highlights during my tenure was hosting the exhibit Utopia and producing the traveling exhibit 100 Years of Hollywood – The Laemmle Effect. Certain circumstances forced me, however, to move back to California where I continued publishing German World Magazine until I sold it to HeimatAbroad in November 2017.

Since then, I have been working for the luxury river cruise company AmaWaterways, one of my longtime advertisers and partners. However, I never stopped caring about the GAHF and its Museum in DC, and it would be my pleasure and great honor to rejoin the Board. Not only would I use my German World network (20,000 Facebook fans, 10,000+ emails, 4,500 Instagram followers) to support the Board’s outreach efforts, but I would also assist the Foundation with fundraising, growing the membership and building up new partnerships.

As a start, I was able to secure a river cruise voucher (Retail Value: approx.. $12,000) from AmaWaterways for the live auction at this year’s gala honoring Hans Königsmann. After all, German-Americans form the largest minority in the U.S. but call the smallest museum in DC their own.

A successful Gala, which we certainly had, is the first step towards creating a more noticeable presence for German-American culture in the nation’s capital.

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