Associate Director, Administration
As she was growing up in Los Angeles, Rona Sebastian assumed that one day she would have a career in music. Like her sister before her, she studied piano. She briefly attended the California Institute of the Arts but wanted exposure to more disciplines and so transferred to California State University, Northridge, graduating with a degree in social psychology. Her love of music remained, however, and throughout college and afterward she taught piano, first to children through the Yamaha Music Schools and later to adults privately. The experience of teaching, she believes, helped her learn how to communicate more effectively with a variety of people.
In the early 1980s, while maintaining her teaching, she attended UCLA's Graduate School of Management, earning an MBA in arts management and finance. In addition to teaching, she also worked as a consultant for the next few years and in 1985 became the administrator at the J. Paul Getty Trust for several Getty programs, among them the Grant Program, the Museum Management Institute, and Public Affairs. Two years later she was asked also to temporarily help out at the GCI when its administrator left. Shortly thereafter she became the GCI's full-time administrator.
In 1990 Ms. Sebastian became Associate Director for Administration at the Institute. During the same year she was named acting codirector of the GCI following the director's departure. In this role she had the opportunity to help the Institute during a transitional period by providing a sense of continuity and support for the staff and for the new director, Miguel Angel Corzo.
Today her responsibilities range from policy and planning—and the oversight of all areas of administration—to directing the GCI's move to the Getty Center, and include serving as the Institute's representative to ICCROM and to the Advisory Council of AIC. She also recently managed an Institute project that brought together an independent multidisciplinary advisory committee to study the deterioration of the carved marble lintels from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. She enjoys the challenge of dealing with planning for the GCI's future, as well as the day-to-day issues of its operation. One thing she is planning for her personal future is restoring her piano.