Executive Director- Oregon Ballet Theatre
Arts Consulting Group
Portland, OR 97239
Oregon Ballet Theatre (OBT) is the largest professional ballet company in Oregon, employing nearly 200 people and attracting artists from around the globe with its reputation for excellence. OBT’s mission is to share its passion for the expressive power of ballet, inspire an enduring appreciation of dance, and connect in meaningful ways to its community through excellence in performance, training, and educational programs. With a solid track record from the past, a strong current financial position, and a swiftly changing community committed to creativity and equity, OBT is looking to pursue a period of active transformation and advancement.
The company is rooted in the traditions of classical ballet, with a repertoire that ranges from the great classics to premieres from some of the most exciting choreographic voices in the field today. OBT seeks to inspire beauty and excellence in the hearts and minds of Oregonians through the creation and preservation of the highest quality classical and contemporary ballet performances. The upcoming 2022-2023 season includes Christopher Stowell’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Yuri Possokhov’s Firebird, Bournonville’s La Sylphide, Christopher Bruce’s Hush, and the OBT premiere of Stanton Welch’s Indigo.
In addition to its main stage season, OBT trains dancers from age four to 80 years old through the professional and recreational classes at the Oregon Ballet Theatre School. Many students have gone on to successful professional careers at companies including the Joffrey, the Dutch National Ballet, and within OBT itself. Students receive training from world-class faculty, with opportunities to perform in fully staged productions at the Keller Auditorium alongside the professional dancers of Oregon Ballet Theatre.
Connected to the School, the pre-professional ballet program, OBT2 provides rigorous training and performance experience, facilitating the transition from student to professional dancer in a select group working creatively with the support of OBT School’s expert faculty, guest teachers, stagers, and choreographers.
Looking outside the company, OBT’s Education and Community Engagement program is dedicated to sharing meaningful, high-quality dance experiences with students, families, and communities. In the 2020-2021 academic year, OBT’s education and community engagement programs reached 34,000 individuals and served over 550 classrooms, with more than 50 percent of programming offered to Title I Schools.
Oregon Ballet Theatre is dedicated to the vitality of, and access to, world-class ballet performance and training in the region. The staff, artists, and trustees have committed to the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion. That commitment includes becoming more representative of the entire community. It includes creating a positive workplace culture that respects differences, continued outreach programming that bridges gaps in access, and understanding and engaging diverse and marginalized populations. By considering everything through the lens of equity, OBT aims to be a leader in the field and to ensure the vibrancy and relevance of ballet for years to come.
Currently, Oregon Ballet Theater enjoys financial stability, and seeks to move past previous periods of scarcity and challenge, to reach towards significant and rapid advancement. Despite the setbacks from the pandemic, strong support in recent years have established a comfortable financial position. Now, the organization looks to not only sustain that position but to significantly grow the base of support, investing in advancement, transforming operations, innovating the artistic programs, and elevating OBT’s place both within the local cultural ecology of Portland and within the landscape of professional dance in the nation.
OBT is governed by a 28-member board of directors, led by Chair Allison Lane Lyneham. The organization is currently led by Interim Artistic Director Peter Franc and Interim Executive Director Thomas Bruner, who oversee a administrative and artistic team of 200, including 27 company dancers contracted through the American Guild of Musical Artists for 33 weeks per year. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, reported total revenue was $8.1 million, with approximately $2.2 million from contributions and grants and $5.4 million from program service revenue. Total expenses were approximately $8.1 million. The total budget for fiscal year 2022-23 is $8 million.
Officially incorporated in 1851, and a famed ending point for many travelers of the Oregon Trail, Portland is the largest and most populous city in the State of Oregon. Portland is located on the northern side of the state, at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers, just across the state border from Vancouver, Washington. Portland has a population of over 650,000 people, with almost half of the state’s population residing in the Portland metropolitan area. The Portland metro area rests on traditional village sites of the Multnomah, Wasco, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Bands of Chinook, Tualatin Kalapuyas, Molalla, and many other tribes.
Portland is best known for being a sustainable, bike-friendly city with easy access to nature and over 162 miles of bike lines and hiking trails. Portland’s “Bridgetown” layout is also unique, with 12 bridges entirely within city limits, six city quadrants, and more than 90 formally recognized neighborhoods. This diversity of community lends the region to develop unique styles and experiences throughout the area with freedom for individuals to find their own place within Portland’s quirky culture.
Technology is a major industry in Portland, with more than 1,200 technology companies based in the city, notably led by Intel, which is one of the largest employers. Other major industries include banking (anchored by U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo) and sportswear (with Adidas and Columbia based in Portland and Nike in nearby Beaverton). Even with the recession driven by the Covid-19 pandemic, Portland’s total income grew by over seven percent in 2021. This matches Portland’s population growth, growing faster than any other cities in Oregon in 2021.
Portland has the amenities of a major city, such as an international airport, an efficient public transit system, major league sports teams, and many museums and art galleries, in addition to the charms of a small city, such as plentiful arts and crafts fairs, independent bookstores, and local traditions like the annual Rose Festival Parade and the World Naked Bike Ride. Portland’s abundant rainfall has encouraged a culture that simultaneously values the joys of outdoor beauty and the investment in indoor activities throughout the year, making Portland an exciting community for arts organizations and cultural activity of all kinds. Portland’s culture of individuality, creativity, and experimentation fuels a calendar that is packed year-round with events, live music, and performances, as well as a culture of innovation in design and craft ranging from sneakers to doughnuts.
Every year, Portland hosts a never-ending flow of cultural festivals, ranging from the PDX Jazz Festival to the Northwest Black Comedy Festival and ValenTango, the continent’s largest and longest-running tango festival. Portland hosts an established and vibrant collective of arts organizations, including the Portland Art Museum, Oregon Symphony, Portland Opera, the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, and over 100 theater companies. Along with Oregon Ballet Theatre, Portland’s expansive dance scene includes White Bird, Northwest Dance Project, BodyVox, AWOL Dance Collective, New Expressive Works, and others.
Sources: travelportland.com; portlandoregon.gov; datausa.io; oregoneconomicanalysis.com
The Executive Director (ED) at OBT will work in a co-equal shared leadership model with the Artistic Director (AD) to direct and advance all elements of the organization’s mission, strategy, programming, and operations. Reporting to the Board of Trustees together, the AD and ED lead the entire team of employees and artists, serve as the public face of the organization, and marshal the voices and support of OBT’s internal and external stakeholders towards a shared vision for transformation. Together, the Directors will build an engine of strategic change for programming, management operations, fundraising, and community engagement that propels OBT into a period of vitality, sustainability, and lasting impact.
In strong collaboration with the AD, the ED shall be responsible for managing all business, fiscal, and operational systems, and functions of the ballet company and school. Together with the AD, the ED ensures a positive and diverse work environment with effective performance and collaboration within and across all departments. The ED will support and guide the people and teams responsible for monitoring finance, raising earned and contributed revenues, developing healthy operations and infrastructure, practicing transparent and accountable governance, ensuring contract and legal compliance, and maintaining information technology and human resources.
Direct reports to the ED include the Finance and Operations Director, Development Director, Marketing Director, and Human Resources Manager. The ED jointly with the AD supervises the OBT School Director and Director of Education and Community Engagement. The ED also supports the AD in their supervision of the remaining artistic staff leadership.
Roles and Responsibilities
Strategic Leadership, Financial Performance and Viability
- Partner with the AD to facilitate development of a widely shared vision and strategic plan for advancement of the mission, elevation of the base of support, and broadening of OBT’s presence in the community and sector.
- Oversee the fiscal integrity of OBT, supporting the monitoring and management of financial position, multi-year financial goals, annual budgets, cash-flow projections, and overall fiscal operations, ensuring maximum resource utilization, compliance, transparency, and adequate systems of accountability.
- Ensure recruitment and retention of a happy and high functioning team by cultivating an environment of positivity and trust, developing robust human resource policies and practices, and overseeing labor relations with integrity and care.
- Guide the design and engineering of novel strategies in fundraising and resource development and marketing and communications that significantly enhance revenues and build a wider base of support and stronger financial foundation for the organization.
Community Relations and Fundraising
- Act as a visible and inspiring spokesperson and advocate for OBT, engaging with a broad swath of the community, including funders, donors, sponsors, civic leaders, community partners, and subscribers as well as private organizations regionally, nationally, and internationally.
- Actively and strategically engage key stakeholders to form and deepen relationships, steward strategic alliances, and maintain strong partnerships with regional civic, business, and philanthropic leadership.
- Partner with the AD, Development Director, and development department to create and pursue contributed revenue goals, including capital campaigns, donor campaigns, major gifts, sponsorships, fundraising events, grants, and other development efforts that increase the number of supporters and depth of support.
- Partner with the Marketing Director and their department to develop and adopt creative goals and initiatives that study and expand the size, scale, and diversity of participation across audience, education, and community programs.
Board Governance and Organizational Management
- Partner with the Board to fulfill the organizational mission, guiding and supporting board members individually and collectively in their pursuit for better and more inclusive governance, strategy, ambassadorship, and accountability on the board and otherwise for OBT.
- Communicate effectively with the Board, providing in a timely and accurate manner, all information necessary for the Board to function properly and to make informed decisions related to individual areas of responsibility.
- Engage Board members in maximizing their participation in OBT and contribution towards OBT’s success and growth, ensuring members meet financial and participatory obligations, and providing administrative and staff support to ensure Board is highly functioning and exceeds governance requirements.
- Lead the effective administration of OBT’s day-to-day operations, hire and manage direct reports, and direct all administrative departments including Development, Finance, Human Resources, and Marketing.
- Serve as OBT’s primary negotiator and signatory, ensuring ethical and responsible practices in due diligence, acquisition, and management of all contracts, including grants, labor relations, real estate, professional services, consultants, and other vendors.
- Empower the management team to work effectively across departments towards shared goals and objectives that are clear, consistent, and measurable.
- With the AD, foster a positive organizational culture of inclusivity, diversity, equity, access, and belonging that purposefully welcomes underheard voices, creates safe new spaces, and enhances cooperation and authenticity.
Traits and Characteristics
The ED will be an innovative, inspiring, confident, and charismatic leader who will communicate with humility, empathy, and appreciation while serving as a representative and spokesperson for the organization. Experienced and successful working in a collaborative co-equal leadership model, this creative, kind, and passionate individual will strive for management excellence and organizational success with a commitment to nurturing a positive and transparent workplace environment consistent with OBT’s Code of Culture and Conduct throughout all parts of the organization and hold themselves to the high bar set by this document.
As an experienced advocate and leader for the arts, the Executive Director will work to champion a diversity of voices and perspectives from inside the organization and across the community, crafting an integrated framework for advancement. They will bring a familiarity and/or curiosity for the unique regional culture and communities of the Pacific Northwest, and they will have a passion and gift for the dogged pursuit of funding and other forms of partnership and support. The ideal leader will know how to partner effectively in a co-equal shared leadership model that involves working together seamlessly in tandem both internally and externally with the AD. The ED will champion and advance the values of equity, diversity, and inclusion in all management decisions.
Other key competencies of the role include:
- Diplomacy and Resiliency – The ability to handle difficult or sensitive issues effectively and tactfully while being answerable for personal actions, and the disposition to quickly recover from adversity.
- Leadership – The aptitude to organize and influence people to believe in a vision while creating a sense of purpose and direction.
- Teamwork and Project Management – The capacity to cooperate with others to meet objectives and while identifying and overseeing all resources, tasks, systems, and people to obtain results.
- Interpersonal Skills and Teamwork – The ability to effectively communicate, build rapport, and relate well to all kinds of people and the capacity to cooperate with others to meet objectives.
- Project Management Time and Priority Management – The ability to identify and oversee all resources, tasks, systems, and people to obtain results while prioritizing and completing tasks to deliver desired outcomes within allotted time frames.
- Flexibility and Negotiation – The dexterity to readily modify, respond, and adapt to change with minimal resistance while listening to many points of view and facilitating agreements between two or more parties.
A bachelor’s degree or equivalent educational credential is required. A master’s degree in arts administration, nonprofit management, business, or a related field is preferred. A minimum of 5 years of senior leadership experience is required, along with demonstrated experience with co-leadership models, community relations, team management, board relations, and fiscal accountability. Proven success in developing creative ideas and achieving results in fundraising is required, including both annual operating and capital campaigns. Current knowledge of trends in the arts world and arts management is expected. Strong business experience is required, coupled with a deep interest and background in the performing arts. Exceptional organization, collaboration, and management skills are expected, along with strong writing abilities and verbal presentation skills.
Compensation and Benefits
Oregon Ballet Theatre offers a competitive compensation package with a salary range between $140,000 to $170,000. The benefits package includes full benefits, including employer-paid health and life insurance, and 23 days of paid time off annually.