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Job Opening at SE CT Cultural Coalition

There is now an opening for Executive Director at the SE CT Cultural Coalition.

The Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition is a new, independent nonprofit organization that serves as a Designated Regional Service Organization (DRSO) and works with the CT Department of Economic and Community Development’s Office of the Arts. Its mission is to foster region-wide economic growth in New London County by optimizing existing and new cultural/heritage activities, ensuring that these assets are central to regional revitalization.

As the voice of the cultural/heritage sector and the liaison between it and other leadership entities invested in regional revitalization—municipal, community, business, education, tribal, military, and tourism sectors—the independent nonprofit coalition will provide services to connect, strengthen and advocate for the creative community. Supporting the belief that culture is a catalyst for place making, the coalition seeks to play an innovative role in fostering partnerships among cultural sector assets and other regional initiatives that attract and retain businesses, residents and visitors.

Reflecting the connection between strong regional economies and a strong cultural sector, the state is organized into nine regional organizations that provide leadership to advance the creative economy statewide. The Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition, the newest of the nine, received funding from the Office of the Arts when it was recognized as a DRSO by the Department of Economic and Community Development.

The Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition was created in 2013 to represent, connect and advocate for the New London and Norwich region’s cultural and creative sectors. A group of about 40 business, arts, tourism, government and education leaders in the New London area spent 2012 working with a nationally known consultant to conduct a cultural assessment that identified the region’s assets and needs. The surveys and interviews that were conducted as part of this process determined there was a need for the new organization and helped set its goals. The coalition is a 501(c)(3) organization in formation, headquartered in New London and governed by a board of directors comprising cultural, community and business leadership.

Position Summary

The organization is searching for an entrepreneurial, business-focused Executive Director who has experience with start-up regional coalitions. The candidate should have broad knowledge of cultural/heritage organization management and a deep understanding of the sector’s role as an economic driver. The Executive Director reports to the board of directors and is responsible for the leadership, strategic direction and day-to-day management of the Coalition. The Executive Director develops the Coalition’s programs with Board approval and implements them, directs its operations and finance, supports the Board in fundraising, and manages marketing and administration, including facilities, human resources and asset protection, in accordance with the organization’s mission and the board’s strategic plan. The Executive Director is also the organization’s chief spokesperson, responsible for corporate and public relations, arts advocacy, strategic partnerships and community engagement.

Personal Qualifications

The successful candidate should be a high-energy, goal-oriented leader, able to implement the Coalition’s strategic vision. The ideal individual will be an inspiring and influential member of the community, sought out as an opinion leader alongside civic and business leaders. He/she will have a deep understanding of the importance of cultural/heritage organizations as economic drivers.

He/she should be persuasive, instill trust and be an excellent listener, sensitive to and able to work with diverse constituents. The successful candidate should be a clear and effective communicator who is able to build relationships as a facilitator, collaborator and convener. He/she must be a good negotiator, able to connect with diverse audiences and organizational cultures. Comfort speaking in public settings and strong presentation skills are essential.

Strong candidates will have a broad knowledge of cultural/heritage organizations and a deep understanding of nonprofit management. He/she should possess a track record of prior successful leadership experience and extensive fundraising experience as a nonprofit executive or active volunteer. It will be helpful if the individual also possesses in depth knowledge of the region’s cultural and heritage organizations.

One of the most important attributes is solid business acumen. The ability to speak credibly about the creative sector as an economic driver, to leaders in the corporate, political, community and public sectors, is critical. The ability to build and lead effective teams internally and externally is important. The ability to initiate and participate in public/private partnerships is essential. The ideal candidate will also have experience and high degree of comfort with entrepreneurial or start-up organizations.

Strong development and fundraising abilities are required in this role. The successful candidate should have experience as and/or great comfort with senior corporate executives and high-net-worth individuals, being able to articulate the value proposition that best meets their unique needs and ask for their support.

Professional Qualifications

• a minimum of 10 years of business experience in positions requiring innovative leadership

• significant leadership experience in the arts/culture/heritage sector

• significant experience leading within an entrepreneurial setting, preferably with a start-up nonprofit organization

• solid experience with regional, cross-sector coalition building, advocating for the creative sector as an economic driver

• those coming from a for-profit background should possess a demonstrated track record of volunteer leadership with nonprofit organizations, preferably within arts/culture/heritage

• solid organizational development and volunteer management experience

• proven ability to create and implement fundraising initiatives, with a track record of active fundraising success as a professional or volunteer

• administrative management experience and excellent organizational skills

• understanding of institutional image/brand building, marketing and external relations

• excellent knowledge of fiscal management

• excellent written and oral communication skills

• strong computer skills in word processing, spreadsheets, databases and accounting software

• a degree from an accredited four-year college or university and, ideally, an advanced degree in business, management, arts administration, public administration or a similar field

Essential Responsibilities:

1. Develop policies for Board approval that establish the Coalition as the leader of the region’s arts/heritage community in order to strengthen the region’s economic vitality and utilize the region’s cultural assets to achieve program priorities, thus enabling their growth and facilitating their integration into the broader community.

2. Support the Board in its fundraising efforts and assist in identifying and pursuing grant opportunities, ensuring the organization has a broad-based resource-development strategy to meet growth targets and weather political or economic changes.

3. Sustain a committed and energized Board by developing meaningful relationships with diverse Board members and other volunteers who have the capacity and willingness to advise, direct and contribute to the organization in various ways, and to serve as advocates.

Operations and Administrative Management

• With Board approval, manage administrative and financial policies, procedures and controls.

• Manage and support staff and volunteers in areas of program, membership, development, marketing, and administrative planning and execution.

• Research and recommend appropriate insurance coverage, manage legal and tax filing processes in a timely manner, implement necessary human resources procedures and otherwise ensure the administrative sustainability of the organization.

• Plan and participate in board meetings, providing administration support and orientation packages for new board members.

Fiscal Management

• Ensure proper administrative and financial controls are operating.

• With Board approval, ensure annual operational budget and program priorities reflect the organization’s mission and the board’s policies, decisions and strategic vision.

• Monitor expenditures of grant monies and manage all required reporting.

• Create budgets and financial reports to monitor income and expenses.

• Make budget and fundraising recommendations to the board.

Fundraising

• With Board approval, coordinate all private and public sector fundraising activities, including cultivation of major donors and solicitations.

• Maintain strong relationships with past major donors, patrons and sponsors.

• Work with the Board to establish and monitor an annual development plan with benchmarks.

• Establish and monitor an annual membership development plan.

• Research grant opportunities and prepare grant requests.

External Relations and Marketing

• Assist the Board in positioning the organization to provide economic leadership and arts advocacy throughout the region, representing the organization at meetings and events.

• Work with the Board to forge partnerships with business and community groups including arts centers, economic development offices, corporations, museums, libraries, Chambers of Commerce, school systems and universities.

• Establish, implement and monitor annual marketing plans, including public relations, branding, market research, communications, advertising, print/collateral materials, social media, and web site links to existing regional tourism or economic development web sites.



Services to Arts Organizations, Artists and the Public

• With Board approval, develop programs and services for arts organizations, artists, educators, residents and visitors that reflect the goals set forth in the Cultural Assessment reports and the state grant.

• Create services, programs and events that meet the economic development needs of arts organizations, artists, local corporations and the region.

• Research best practices, convene arts/culture organizations and meet with artists and community leaders to identify programs that will further the organization’s mission.

• Develop and maintain a cultural and creative sector database.

• Consult to cultural organizations, artists, community members and corporate executives needing assistance in connecting to resources.

Compensation and Benefits: Salary, benefits and work schedule are negotiable, commensurate with experience.

Nondiscrimination: The SE CT Cultural Coalition is an equal opportunity employer.

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