Washington Performing Arts, one of the nation’s premier performing arts presenters, seeks a strong financial manager and strategic thinker to serve as Director of Finance and Chief Operating Officer and take a leadership role in achieving the goals of WPA’s current $8 million operating budget and plans for future growth.
For more than 50 years, Washington Performing Arts (WPA) has been a leader in connecting the community to artists through live performances and education programs in venues throughout the greater D.C. metropolitan area. WPA strives to provide both artists and audiences with life-long opportunities to deepen their cultural knowledge, enrich their lives, and expand their understanding and compassion for the world through the universal language of the arts. WPA has guided the careers of emerging artists and maintained ties with established artists, both introducing artists to local audiences and building long-term relationships with artists through return engagements.
Washington Performing Arts is one of the leading presenters in the Nation’s Capital and many of WPA’s programs are achieving nation-wide impact. The organization offers performances of the highest quality, including classical music, jazz, gospel, contemporary dance, international music and art forms, and programs that fuse genres in imaginative ways. Commissioning work is central to the mission of Washington Performing Arts.
WPA’s signature education and community programs include the Capital Arts Initiative, Embassy Adoption Program, Mars Urban Arts Initiative, Enriching Experiences for Seniors, and the Feder String Competition. Partnerships with the DC Public Schools, Embassies, and many other area institutions support the growing role of Washington Performing Arts as a collaborator and convener. In addition, the organization has a unique producing role in having two resident gospel choirs, The Men and Women of the Gospel and Children of the Gospel.
Washington Performing Arts has been honored for its work at the intersection of arts presenting and education with the Mayor's Arts Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education (2015) and Excellence in Service to the Arts (2012), and was honored by President Barack Obama with a 2012 National Medal of Arts, becoming only the fourth D.C.-based arts group and the first arts presenter of its kind to be so honored.
Washington Performing Arts is governed by a board of 43, has an operating budget of $8 million, and a staff of 33. Jenny Bilfield is President and CEO.
Reporting to the CEO, the Director of Finance and Chief Operating Officer is responsible and accountable for the business and financial operations of Washington Performing Arts. S/he provides impetus, implementation, and operational support for strategic planning throughout the organization. S/he encourages entrepreneurial thinking, interdepartmental collaboration, creative problem-solving, and development of new business models that advance the mission and ensure the sustainability of WPA and its programs. S/he serves as a thought partner to the CEO and converts ideas into operating plans. S/he provides guidance and support to the staff and departments responsible for executing plans as WPA metrics, systems, and procedures are in place to evaluate results on an ongoing basis.
The Director oversees the budgeting and accounting functions, information technology, and human resources. S/he ensures that sound policies, metrics, procedures, and internal controls are in place to provide timely and accurate information to all users. S/he monitors performance against budget, provides forecasts, and recommends adjustments and corrections as needed. S/he is WPA’s liaison with banks and contracted services including accountants, investment advisors, legal counsel, and executive recruiting.
The Director ensures the implementation of best practices in human resource management. S/he seeks to align the core value of inclusivity reflected in WPA’s programs with the diverse voices of WPA’s board, staff, and audiences. S/he takes a leadership role in developing a diverse workforce. S/he ensures that WPA’s policies, compensation, benefits, and the growth opportunities offered to staff are equitably implemented and competitive in the Washington, DC, market.
The Director provides staff support to committees of the Board, including finance, pension, and audit. S/he ensures that Board members have timely and accurate information for decision-making. The Director works closely with the President/CEO, President Emeritus, Board of Directors, and a Senior Leadership Team that includes the Directors of Development, Programming, Education & Community Engagement, and External Relations. S/he fosters optimal transparency among senior staff and between Board and staff. S/he assists the CEO in developing external collaborations, strategic alliances, and partnerships that expand and diversify WPA’s audience and revenue streams. The Director attends WPA performances and special events. S/he interacts with patrons and audience members to help build loyalty, appreciation, and support for WPA’s programs.
The ideal candidate will be a dynamic and innovative leader with successful experience managing the human and financial resources of not-for-profit organizations, preferably in the performing arts. S/he will have a track record of successful management of the finance and accounting, IT, and human resources functions within organizations comparably sized to WPA. S/he will also have experience managing outside professional services, such as audit, investment, and legal. The successful candidate will have experience implementing new business models, managing cross-departmental teams, and implementing organization-wide best practices in administration and financial management. S/he will have a track record of helping shape and implement strategic institutional plans.
The successful candidate will have a strong background in finance and operations. An MBA, though not required, is preferred. S/he will have experience and excellent skills in budgeting, forecasting, and setting revenue and expense targets for multiple programs in multiple venues. S/he will have a thorough working knowledge of the technology available to support finance and operations and a commitment to utilizing that technology to the benefit of WPA.
The successful candidate will have a mindset of sustainable growth and will work with the CEO to pursue new strategic alliances, collaborative ventures, and other avenues that will broaden and diversify WPA’s audience, donor base, and revenue streams.
The successful candidate will have a track record of success in human resource management. S/he will demonstrate a commitment to creating, maintaining, and celebrating a diverse work force. S/he will be skilled and experienced in all aspects of HR.
The successful candidate will have a deep interest in the performing arts. S/he will bring knowledge and understanding of the arts sufficient to inform decision-making about program development, especially in the areas of community engagement and education. S/he will welcome the opportunity to attend evening and weekend performances on a regular basis and engage with donors, audience members, and artists.
The successful candidate will be a leader with a management style that encourages creativity, open exchange of ideas, risk taking, and teamwork. S/he will have excellent supervisory skills and a track record for mentoring and developing staff. S/he will be able to manage multiple deadlines and competing priorities. S/he will be curious, nimble, and imaginative. S/he will welcome the opportunity to become an important part of the senior management of Washington Performing Arts.
Please prepare a cover letter that describes your specific interest in WPA and experience in operational and financial management of not-for-profit organizations. Send with a resume, salary history or requirements, and contact information for at least three professional references. Electronic submissions are requested. All applications will be treated as confidential and references will not be called without the candidate’s knowledge and agreement.
Formed in 1998, the Catherine French Group works with symphony orchestras, opera companies, presenting organizations, performing arts centers, music festivals, schools of music, and other music and arts organizations as they recruit chief executives as well as senior management and artistic personnel. The Catherine French Group is based in Washington, DC. Catherine French is founder and principal.... Christopher Wingert joined CFG in 2005 and is Managing Director. Henry Fogel, former CEO of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and now Dean of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, joined CFG to collaborate on projects that have a special focus on music directors and artistic directors.