Lori Davison to join ROM as new CMO

SickKids' marketing lead will help the museum implement a plan to become one of the world's foremost cultural institutions.

The Royal Ontario Museum has set itself ambitious goals for the next 10 years, and it has brought on new marketing leadership to help guide it on that path, hiring longtime SickKids marketer Lori Davison as its new chief marketing and communications officer.

In her new role, Davison will lead marketing, communications and promotions for the ROM, as well as its visitor experience, membership, French-language and research teams.

Looking longer-term, Davison said in a press release that there is an opportunity for marketing and communications to play a vital role in the ROM’s new strategic plan. Though details of the 10-year plan have not been released, Josh Basseches, director and CEO of the ROM, said that part of the museum’s mission – and Davison’s mandate – is to build the ROM brand, deepen audience engagement and expand its “global presence as one of the world’s leading cultural institutions.”

The Royal Ontario Museum, based in Toronto, showcases natural history, art and world culture. First opened in 1914, it is one of the oldest museums in North America.

The new role is effective Aug. 24. Davison will be filling a role currently held by Sandy Bourne, who has announced her retirement. Bourne first joined the ROM in 2014 after 16 years at BMO, and was named CMO the following year.

Davison has spent the last six years leading brand strategy and communications for the SickKids Foundation. She led a number of successful annual fundraising campaigns during her time with SickKids, including the award-winning and record-breaking “VS.” platform, which has seen several new iterations and evolutions in the years since it launched in 2016. To date, “VS.” has helped raise $1.1 billion for SickKids.

The SickKids Foundation has appointed Kate Torrance as interim VP of brand strategy and communications, ahead of an “extensive search” for a permanent replacement that will begin in September. Torrance was previously director of integrated brand marketing at SickKids, and has worked with Davison on the “VS.” campaigns and in leading the relationship with agency partner Cossette.

Davison is the latest in a number of new leadership appointments at the ROM over the last year, including CFO Dan Wright, chief innovation officer Lynda Roscoe Hartigan and COO Susan Fruchter. Many of the new appointments have been tasked with helping to implement its new strategic plan, set late last year.