Who are we?

Established in 2006, Chora provides a team of highly motivated and creative professionals. Our hallmark is a collegial approach to clients and a thorough, fact-based understanding of the challenges they face. Our knowledge of the museum industry is deep and broad. Our recommendations are actionable and realistic. And our commitment to strengthen the missions and roles of museums in their communities is absolute.

Expertise in business consulting complements our extensive experience in museum management and leadership. Most importantly, Chora’s methodology and practice reflects a deeply held belief that museums are critical elements of civic culture and meet important social and educational needs that no other institution can fulfill.

Chora’s unique commitment to DIEA

Chora’s commitment to inclusion pervades its organization. Founded by Maria Elena Gutierrez, a Mexican with a commitment to cultural equity and financial sustainability, Chora employs a cadre of professionals with highly diverse skills and ethnic, racial, and cultural backgrounds.


Maria Elena Gutierrez, Principal
MBA, Yale University

Robert Sullivan, Principal
BA and MA, University of Rochester

Heather Rostker, Associate
BA, Eckerd College
MA, The George Washington University

Gianna Donati, Associate
MBA and MPIA, University of Pittsburgh

Brad Cartwright, Associate
BA, Florida State University
MFA, University of Baltimore

Lindsey Dona, Graphic Designer
BS, Mansfield University

Jinglin Bian, Data Analyst
MS, Georgetown University

Bryan Buckner, Network and
Systems Administrator
BA, University of Maryland

Shuda Li, Data Consultant
MBA and MSF, Indiana University

Carmel Mills, Accounting
BBA, Averett University

Maria Elena Gutierrez  With a background in management and finance, Maria Elena brings to the non-profit sector a business perspective acquired from years of experience in the private sector. Maria Elena worked for McKinsey and Company, Lehman Brothers’ Investment Banking Division, and headed the Investor Relations Department of one of Latin America’s largest publicly traded companies, before becoming involved in cultural planning in 2002. Since then, Maria Elena has advised dozens of museum clients, closed negotiations for multi-million-dollar business and philanthropic ventures, tapping her large network of corporate, individual, and foundation relationships. Maria Elena holds a BA from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Yale University.

Robert (Sully) Sullivan  Sully has over 50 years of museum program, management, education, and fundraising experience. From 1990 to 2006, he served as the Associate Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, where he managed all aspects of exhibition, education, public programs and development of national educational programs. Sully holds a graduate degree in management of non-profit organizations from the University of Rochester and has taught graduate seminars in museum studies at The George Washington University and Johns Hopkins University. His eclectic academic interests, managerial knowhow, extensive museum experience, and visionary leadership have made him a highly-regarded authority in the field.