Executive Director- National Independent Venue Association
Arts Consulting Group
New York City, NY 10001
The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) represents thousands of independent venues, which includes promoters and festivals, representing all 50 states, Washington D.C., and the United States territories. Its mission is to preserve and nurture the ecosystem of independent venues and promoters throughout the United States. As a trade association, NIVA continues to serve its members and generate funding for its mission.
As a new organization, NIVA has quickly established itself as the voice of its industry. It was the architect of the #SaveOurStages campaign and successfully lobbied for targeted legislation, including the Shuttered Venue Operator Grants (SVOG), that helped independent venues and promoters survive the pandemic. NIVA is focused on advocacy, member services, and its new annual conference.
In the months between NIVA’s launch and the successful passage of federal aid, the organization launched a three-day virtual music festival and fundraiser with YouTube Music called #SOSFEST, establishing the NIVA Emergency Relief Fund to provide critical short-term assistance to those independent venues and promoters in the U.S. on the precipice of closing forever as they awaited federal relief.
The organization has been recognized and awarded for its work in 2021: Webby Awards Winner for People’s Voice Award for Best Festival or Conference - Virtual & Remote; Clio Music Impact Award Winner; Association of Performing Arts Professional Awards Winners - The Sidney R. Yates Award for Outstanding Advocacy on Behalf of The Performing Arts: Dayna Frank & Rev. Moose.
NIVA has an 11-member board of directors led by Chair Danya Frank. There is a 21-member advisory board led by Boris Patronoff.
Reporting to the board, the Executive Director (ED) will be a deeply passionate, engaged, and proactive executive leader who will guide NIVA at this critical inflection point into sustained growth and relevancy. The ED will be committed to supporting independent and community-focused businesses, ethical values, transparency, and equitable practices. With a deep knowledge of the independent music ecosystem and its challenges, the ED will have a keen awareness of emerging trends and new opportunities for the ultimate benefit of NIVA members. They will have a strategic mindset with results-oriented ethos and will lead by example, leveraging their people and relationship management skills and experiences in meaningful and impactful ways. The ED must act with urgency and creativity, while having an exceptional ability to execute and collaborate.
Roles and Responsibilities
Fiscal Management and Operations
- Guide the preparation, monitoring, and monthly reporting of the annual budget, financial policies, and cash management.
- Lead NIVA’s day-to-day operations to meet fiscal and operational goals and ensure an inclusive, productive, and collaborative work environment.
- Provide oversight to all fundraising and resource development activities, including accurate and timely reports to funders.
- Evaluate fundraising efforts, develop, and lead a comprehensive contributed revenue strategy that expands sources of support.
- Together with the board, provide overall leadership, direction, coordination, and oversight of the organization and serve as the face of NIVA.
- Execute the mission, provide strategic and operational leadership, and establish long-range goals, plans, and policies.
- Demonstrate a collaborative leadership and communication style with NIVA’s staff, board members, and community.
- Recruit, support, evaluate, and mentor a diverse staff and set of contractors to support NIVA’s short- and long-term goals and programs.
- Ensure that NIVA’s personnel policies, procedures, and performance standards are equitable and support employee empowerment and retention.
- Determine organizational resources that are needed to ensure short-term effectiveness and long-term sustainability.
- Oversee all corporate and legal matters.
- Oversee the management of the consulting public relations firm.
- Embrace other fiscal and organizational oversight roles and responsibilities as needed.
- In collaboration with the Membership Coordinator, support, strengthen, and expand association membership.
- Achieve annual benchmarks for growth by initiating member recruitment programs, focusing on innovation and new revenue opportunities.
- Establish regular communication with members by maintaining trust and authenticity, ensuring a positive and valued membership engagement experience.
- Implement programs and organizational initiatives.
- Establish and maintain committees for relevant short- and long-term initiatives sufficient leadership, staffing, and resources.
- Enhance the Chapter system and communication to ensure members benefit from the local coordination structure.
- Build out member benefits program, such as group purchasing opportunities, insurance, and education programming.
- Communicate with committee and task force leads to ensure activities are consistent with NIVA’s mission and members gain access to valuable contributions of each committee and task force.
- Identify and assist in the implementation of community activities and programs.
- Foster positive relationships with external organizations—such as the NIVA Political Action Committee (PAC), the National Independent Venue Foundation, and the NIVA Advisory Board.
- Provide growth for NIVA while maintaining and expanding its image as a national leader of the independent live music community and deepening its impact.
- Represent NIVA in an official capacity when interfacing with members of Congress, local leaders, other trade associations, media, stakeholders, and strategic allies.
- Communicate information effectively to assist others in doing NIVA’s work, while building strong relationships with staff, board members, and allied organizations.
- Attend industry events and maintain relationships with key music industry executives, artists, and advocacy associations.
- Provide oversight and coordination with outside lobbying firm in tandem with advocacy chairs.
- Enhance NIVA sponsorship and partnership opportunities.
- Welcome and engage culturally diverse perspectives and communities.
- Stay abreast of public policy issues and trends affecting the field and best practices.
- Embrace other industry relations roles and responsibilities as needed.
Event Planning and Marketing
- Assist in the execution of annual events such as NIVA’s signature conference and Independent Awards Formal gala.
- Oversee the annual NIVA Conference, including city selection, working with members for programming, and securing high profile and relevant keynote speakers.
- Plan events at industry gatherings, advocacy events, as well as virtual and in-person member events, programming, and town halls.
- Ensure that the conference, special projects, and other programs continue to serve members’ needs while also staying within the organization’s budget.
- Promote events, oversee the creation of marketing materials, and track and report attendance.
- Oversee third party public relations vendor.
- Manage website updates and grow social media presence.
- Communicate with membership and committees.
Board Administration and Governance
- Optimize and inspire board member engagement, staff efficiency, committee structures, and chapter systems.
- Ensure organizational and financial strength, operating efficiency, proper reporting procedures, and people systems, all while establishing and protecting NIVA’s legacy.
- Administer board meetings, track attendance, set schedule and agenda, track minutes, and prepare updated Executive Directors report at each meeting on board initiatives.
- Prepare the annual report to update progress and key benchmarks.
- Deliver monthly financial reports to board members (quarterly to Advisory Board).
- Coordinate with NIVA’s Chair of the Advisory Board on the engagement of the Advisory Board & its members on key topics raised by NIVA’s board.
- Oversee NIVA’s PAC.
- Support board members in carrying out their duties.
Traits and Characteristics
The ED must lead in a visionary and inclusive style skilled in relationship management across a range of stakeholders and professional constituents. This individual will be a strategic thinker who can communicate and execute a clear vision that is compelling, accessible, and achievable. The ED who will lead as proficiently from a strategic standpoint as they do from an administrative and community standpoint— will maintain strong relationships on the national level as well as with local leadership. Focused on people-centered decision-making processes, the ED must truly understand pressing issues facing members and our ecosystem including employees, artists, and communities, and can think creatively, find solutions, and execute.
Other key competencies include:
- Leadership and Personal Accountability – The ability to organize and motivate others with a sense of purpose and direction while being accountable for personal and professional actions.
- Planning and Organizing – The capacity to set and prioritize relevant, realistic, and attainable goals and objectives while anticipating the effects, outcomes, and risks of managing resources.
- Time and Priority Management – The aptitude to effectively manage challenges and delays, balance timelines and priorities to stay on schedule while creating an environment of effectiveness.
- Resiliency – The tenacity to quickly recover from adversity and take initiative to regularly learn new concepts, technologies, or methods.
- Goal Orientation and Self Starting – The initiative to develop and test ideas, processes, and systems that raise public awareness and appreciation for NIVA and drive new revenue.
Qualified applicants should have evidence of increasing responsibility leading and growing a trade association or similar applicable experience, with demonstrated leadership, business acumen, and an extensive understanding and experience in live entertainment, music industry, hospitality, and independent small businesses. Candidates should demonstrate a track record of successful fundraising, event planning from conception to execution, and the development and successful management of membership programs or comparable experience. Knowledge and passion for innovative live music, events, and industry technologies are necessary. Experience in federal or local government from association or government and leading grassroots and grass-top marketing campaigns is highly desirable. A demonstrable commitment to racial equity, diversity, and inclusion is essential.
Compensation and Benefits
NIVA offers competitive compensation, with an annual salary range between $140,000 and $165,000 and potential for bonus opportunities commensurate with performance. There is a benefits package that includes a medical allowance, Teledoc, and Employee Assistance Program, as well as voluntary benefits for a 401k plan, dental, vision, life, and pet insurance. This is currently a fully remote position with in-person staff meetings several times a year.