K. Johnson Bowles

Fundraiser, Consultant, and Strategic Planner in Geneseo, NY

Academic, Advancement and Strategic Planning Consultant





The common threads that create a foundation for my life's work are an unyielding focus on student success, the belief in the power of education and the ability to galvanize people to focus on a shared vision. I am a resilient, steadfast, principles-driven higher education leader, social justice advocate, and artist focused on realizing a greater good for all.


• Thirty years in higher education with experience as a senior administrator and faculty member specializing in fundraising, strategic planning, community engagement, and management.
• Service to national, state, and regional boards including appointment by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to The Library of Virginia Board, appointment by the City Council of Asheville, NC to the Public Art and Cultural Commission, and election to WCQS, National Public Radio of Western NC.
• American Council on Education Fellow, Harvard Management Institute Fellow, and the Grace B. Harris Leadership Institute Fellow (Virginia Commonwealth University).
• As a senior administrator, guided institutions in the creation, approval, and implementation of strategic plans, emergency plans, policies, university-wide policies and procedures, acquisitions (intellectual and physical property), and operational articulation agreements.
• As a scholar, curated more than 125 exhibitions of national and international significance (American, African, and Chinese art); published more than sixty catalogues, critical essays, and articles. Exhibitions, scholarship, and supporting materials received recognition from the AAM, IMLS, CASE, and NEA, among others.
• As a visual artist, exhibited artwork in more than seventy solo and group juried shows throughout the US; winner of NEA individual fellowship, and Houston Center for Photography fellowship.

• Secured numerous seven-figure and six-figure gifts. Expertise in individual, corporate, and foundation giving, including donor cultivation, proposal development, solicitation, negotiation, and binding gift agreements.

• Seasoned communicator with internal and external audiences, including trustees, senior administrators, donors, corporate executives, scholars, civic leaders, and public officials.

  • Work
    • CEO, Gordion Knot Consulting
  • Education
    • Boston University, BFA, Arts
    • Ohio University, MFA, Photography
Johnson is an effective strategic planner and thinker; passionate about her work; dedicated to the institutions she serves; role model for her team and others; holds herself and others to high standards; sets goals for herself and team; supports and facilitates her team’s achievement of their stated goals; has strong interpersonal skills; enjoys working with others; is collaborative and distributes her leadership.
Madeleine Wing Adler, PhD President Emerita, West Chester University of PA
Johnson is one of the most talented academic executives I worked with during many years as a Trustee at Longwood University - an absolute professional when it came to higher ed strategy, advancement and operations. We were extremely lucky to have her as a museum director and an AVP of Strategy, and her strengths after her ACE fellowship grew significantly. She is an absolute asset in nearly any management capacity. Recruiters, please reach out to me directly for additional information.
Stephen Mobley, Former Trustee, Board of Visitors, Longwood University, VA
After knowing Johnson Bowles for 20 years (as her student, employee, and colleague), I have the utmost respect for her. She has the rare ability to mentor and lead without micromanaging. She regularly creates situations that challenge and push people but provides the support and guidance they need to succeed. She openly shares credit for successes and truly values a team atmosphere. Her strong ethics and high standards, for herself and others, create an atmosphere of professionalism.
Sarah Martin, Curator of Education, Snite Museum, Univ. Notre Dame