With a rich history dating to 1946, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras (CYSO) provides one of the finest and most comprehensive classical music training and education programs in the country for children ages six to 18. Its mission is to inspire and cultivate personal excellence through music. Now in its 70th season, CYSO serves nearly 600 children from approximately 170 zip codes in Illinois and northwest Indiana, works with leading artists like Ben Folds and Yo-Yo Ma, and regularly engages in unique artistic collaborations which have included joint performances with My Morning Jacket at Lollapalooza and with Blue Man Group at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.
CYSO is comprised of four full orchestras (Symphony, Philharmonic, Concert, and Debut), three string orchestras (Accelerando, Preparatory, and Overture), multiple steel orchestras, the recently established Jazz Orchestra, and various supplemental programs, including chamber music ensembles and a composition seminar. The CYSO student profile reflects the economic, social, and ethnic diversity of Chicago, with more than 53 percent of its musicians being of multicultural descent and 25 percent receiving financial assistance. Collectively, CYSO students receive nearly 45,000 hours of instruction annually from Chicago’s most respected professional musicians, tour internationally to Europe, Asia, and South America, and share their passion for music through the CYSO’s community engagement program, which includes the brand new neighborhood Steel Band program beginning in fall 2016.
Governed by a 17-member board of directors, chaired by Henry E. Turner, Jr., CYSO is run by a dedicated team of 10 administrative staff members and 21 artistic staff and faculty members, including eight conductors. The operating budget in the fiscal year ending June 2015 was approximately $1.6 million, of which roughly 50 percent was contributed income. CYSO has been based in Chicago’s historic Fine Arts Building since 1960 and is mid-way through its current seven-year rental agreement.
One hundred percent of CYSO’s graduating seniors in 2015 were accepted to college. Of these graduates, 53 percent went on to pursue non-music degrees at some of the nation’s most prestigious institutions, such as Harvard University, Northwestern University, and Carnegie Mellon University. They join the growing network of successful CYSO alumni whose careers include doctors, lawyers, teachers, bankers, entrepreneurs, and community leaders. This is a testament to CYSO’s efforts to both nurture the extraordinary musical talent of young people and, through the process of music making and performing, develop life skills such as self-confidence, teamwork, creativity, resilience, curiosity, and compassion. These skills will stay with CYSO’s alumni for a lifetime, staying true to CYSO’s mission of inspiring and cultivating personal excellence through music.
The executive director (ED) will be responsible for all areas of organizational management, strategic business planning, and development in support of CYSO’s mission. The ED will be a collaborative and forward-looking individual who will work in tandem with CYSO’s music director to identify new partnerships and training opportunities to further develop the talent and enhance the educational experience of CYSO musicians. Reporting directly to the board of directors, the ED will be CYSO’s chief advocate, networker, and ambassador, cultivating new donor relationships and enhancing the organization’s profile and visibility throughout the community.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Fundraising, Marketing, and Public Relations
Cultivate and steward relationships with existing and new donors.
Identify new funding opportunities and develop and execute effective fundraising strategies to increase contributed income from individuals and corporations.
Encourage and coordinate board participation in fundraising.
Act as the public face of CYSO and enhance the company image and visibility.
Oversee promotional activity to ensure the quality, consistency, and effectiveness of telling the CYSO story.
Collaborate with internal stakeholders to identify potential new sources of earned income and explore innovative approaches to audience development.
Develop and cultivate key media relationships.
Strategic Planning and Organizational Development
Collaborate with the board and internal stakeholders to refine and implement the strategic plan.
Maintain and cultivate relationships with key CYSO community partners, including the City of Chicago, WFMT, Grant Park Music Festival, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and local universities.
Follow external trends and developments, identify and explore the viability of new business initiatives, and actively seek new partnership opportunities to support CYSO’s mission.
Partner with the music director to develop new ideas for artistic projects and collaborations to enhance the educational experience and training of CYSO musicians.
Maintain and cultivate relationships with guest artists, agents, and promoters.
Act as the communication conduit between the board and staff.
Partner with the board chair and executive committee to maximize board engagement.
Play an active role in identifying, cultivating, recruiting and orienting new board members.
Provide leadership to board committees, preparing written and oral reports for presentation.
Executive Administration and Management – Finance, Operations, and Human Resources
Assume overall fiscal responsibility for CYSO budget and ensure effective use of resources.
Manage annual budgets and cash flow projections, analyze revenues and expenditures, plan budgetary allocations for the next three to five years, and make recommendations to the board.
Hire, train, and supervise administrative staff in accordance with CYSO policies and all applicable laws, plan and oversee work, appraise performances, and address complaints and problems.
Ensure compliance with relevant regulatory requirements and safety and quality procedures in respect of all CYSO equipment, technology, and rehearsal and performance facilities.
Ensure the delivery of programs, concerts, and tours at the highest professional level.
Leadership and People Development
Promote a positive work environment and build rapport with the staff, faculty, students, parents, and alumni.
Nurture the environment of goodwill, inclusion, and empowerment through consistent displays of professionalism, courtesy, integrity, respect, and proactive listening.
Encourage achievement and professional development of CYSO staff and provide ongoing feedback, coaching, mentoring, and training as appropriate.
TRAITS AND CHARACTERISTICS
The ED must be a collaborative leader committed to the highest level of customer service, possessing exceptional interpersonal skills and an unsurpassed ability to attend to a wide range of constituency needs. The selected individual will be a person of high energy, enthusiasm, integrity, and ethical standards with a deep commitment to music education and developing young people. The ED must be forward-looking and goal oriented with keen financial acumen, strategic planning capacity, and people management and relationship building skills to deliver results through patience, perseverance, and consensus.
The selected individual will have a well-rounded set of competencies, including:
Customer Focus – The ability to consistently place a high value on CYSO musicians, parents, donors, guest artists, community partners, board members, and staff. Objectively listens to and understands stakeholder feedback, anticipating their needs and developing solutions.
Persuasion – The ability to develop rational arguments and challenge current assumptions, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Identifies the social, emotional, and practical barriers to agreement and adapts approaches and communication styles to the needs and expectations of different stakeholders.
Interpersonal Skills – The capacity to build rapport with different constituents, constructively resolve different points of view, and bring cohesion to an array of stakeholders while interacting with them in a positive manner, treating them fairly, and listening carefully to what they have to say.
Leadership – The ability to organize and motivate others to achieve results through people while creating a sense of order, direction, and active participation among a variety of stakeholders
Qualified applicants will have a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree preferred, and a minimum of seven to ten years of progressively responsible senior management experience in a nonprofit music, performing arts, or arts education organization. The successful candidate will have a proven track record of securing major gifts from individual donors and corporate sponsors and will be creative and entrepreneurial with strong strategic planning skills. This individual will demonstrate excellent budgeting, people management, and organizational skills. A strong working knowledge of music, experience with concert production, electronic media, touring, mentoring young musicians, and recruiting and cultivating volunteer leadership is highly desirable.
APPLICATIONS AND INQUIRIES
Please submit cover letter and resume (electronic submissions preferred) with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments to:
Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras is an equal opportunity employer.
Additional Salary Information: A competitive compensation package commensurate with experience includes health, dental, and life insurance, vacation, holiday, and sick pay, and an employee retirement plan with an employer contribution after one year of full-time employment.
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