See Chicago Dance grew out of The Chicago Community Trust’s Five-Year Dance Initiative which, among other outcomes, funded a multi-year market research study on how to build dance audiences. One of the resultant projects was SeeChicagoDance.com, an audience development website that launched in 2005 and drives ticket sales for dance in Chicago. The site quickly proved to be a success, and it was clear the service needed to continue beyond the CCT initiative. The non-profit Audience Architects was founded in 2006 and received 501(c)(3) status in 2008. Via a rigorous 2017 strategic planning process, the organization changed its publicized name to See Chicago Dance to more accurately reflect its core focus on the art form of dance. See Chicago Dance believes in the transformative power of dance, fosters the growth of a strong dance sector, and helps to cultivate Chicago’s role as an international dance capital. See Chicago Dance is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to inclusivity and equity in its staff and all practices.
The Executive Director (ED) is the Chief Executive Officer of See Chicago Dance, reports to the Board of Directors (BOD) and is responsible for the organization’s consistent achievement of its mission and financial objectives. The ED serves as the primary spokesperson for the organization, further advances and advocates for the art form of dance, and articulates the mission, vision and goals to the local and broader community. As senior leader, the ED has primary responsibility for the financial and operational health of SCD in all areas, and works with the BOD to ensure the organization’s sustainability and stature within the dance field.
The ED manages a staff of direct reports including (but not limited to) Marketing and Programs Manager, Grants Manager, Community Engagement Consultant, Part-time/Shared Director of Finance and Operations and External Affairs Coordinator. Additional seasonal/contract employees are hired and report to the ED as programs and goals require.
Primary Roles and Responsibilities
• Successfully elevate the dance field in Chicago through development of superlative strategies, cultivation of funder partnerships, and demonstration of tactical excellence
• Enhance all aspects of SCD’s communications and presence (both digitally and physically) for heightened visibility, broader reach, and stronger brand awareness among all constituents as well as new partners
• Implement SCD’s strategic plan, building a multi-year, sustainable business model that achieves financial goals and furthers the organization’s core values of diversity, equity and inclusivity
• Serve as board liaison in keeping the BOD informed of programmatic, financial and administrative organizational activity
• Prepare, present and implement an annual budget and financial reports in conjunction with the Finance Committee of the BOD
• Establish, develop, and maintain relationships with SCD partners and constituency
• Spearhead development operations and, along with staff and board of directors, obtain sponsorships, increase membership, develop individual and corporate giving targets and pursue grants
• Provide overall administration of SCD including financial controls and the recruitment, hiring and supervision of staff
• Work collaboratively with staff, board and volunteers in producing programs and events
1) Non-Profit/Business Leadership Experience: The successful candidate will have significant leadership experience in a similar non-profit/arts organization with an annual budget of at least $400,000.
2) Arts & Culture Experience: The successful candidate will have a strong appreciation for the arts and culture. While direct experience in dance is not required, it will be a strong differentiator.
3) Fundraising & Development: The successful candidate will have a strong track record of fundraising and development throughout his/her career. The ED works closely with the Board Development Committee on all fundraising initiatives and all aspects of donor relations.
4) Relationship Building: The successful candidate will demonstrate the ability to build relationships in both the private and public sectors. Strong networking skills and the ability to communicate with individuals from a variety of backgrounds and cultural communities is required.
5) Leadership & Team Building: The successful candidate will possess strong leadership skills and the ability to build teams. The ED is a leader in the community, therefore, the candidate should demonstrate the ability to positively influence donors and external stakeholders.
6) Communication & Presence: The successful candidate will possess strong communication skills and have a strong executive presence. He/She will be the face of See Chicago Dance and should lead by example.
7) Education Requirements: The successful candidate will have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited educational institution. Degree in arts or business is preferred, but not required.
• Mission-driven with a strong belief in SCD mission
• An impressive strategist able to view the big picture
• Eager and able to positively influence the future of dance in Chicago
• Team builder and team player, alliance builder
• Straightforward and shares information easily
• Professional yet fun-loving with a sense of humor and the ability to maintain balance and perspective
• Adept at prioritizing, organizing, and follow-through
• Dynamic and able to motivate others
• Open-minded and adventurous
• Able to navigate the nuances of leading an organization and complex needs and demands of key constituents
• Exceptional financial skills including but not limited to budgeting, cash flow management, long range forecasting, audit preparation, and mastery of financial statements
• Computer skills including email, Microsoft Word and Excel, QuickBooks, NEON (CRM), and open to exploring and adopting innovative technologies
• Resourceful and able to effectively utilize the Board, grantees, community leaders, donors, and staff
• Strong time management skills
• Thoughtful and active listening and processing skills
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