Friday, October 15, 2021

ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas

Senior Leadership Opportunity – Ravinia Festival Chief Brand, Marketing & Communications Officer

Senior Leadership Opportunity – Ravinia Festival

Chief Brand, Marketing & Communications Officer

Ravinia®, North America’s oldest and most musically diverse music festival, presents over 140 different events throughout the summer. These concerts range from Yo-Yo Ma to John Legend to the annual summer residency of the nation’s finest orchestra, The Chicago Symphony. Ravinia’s Reach Teach Play programs serve over 75,000 adults and children throughout Chicagoland and are designed to educate, foster diverse audience involvement, and provide the population with equitable access to live music experiences in their communities and at Ravinia.  Since 1988, the Ravinia Steans Music Institute trains the next generation of strings, piano, vocal and jazz musicians to successful professional careers. 

Located north of Chicago in Highland Park, the 36-acre park is nestled in a gently wooded area that makes it an enchanting place to experience music. The family atmosphere encourages guests to bring their own picnics or eat at one of the park restaurants.  Ravinia employs approximately 60 full time people year-round and approximately 400 seasonal staff.  The seasonal staff includes box office, ushers, gatekeepers, housekeeping and grounds, production and security.  The culture at the Ravinia Festival emphasizes collaboration, community and a sense of family that includes board, staff, volunteer organizations and attendees. Ravinia’s annual budget is $50 million. 

Ravinia Festival’s Vision 

We believe in the power of shared, live music experiences to inspire ourselves and the world. 

Ravinia’s principal goals are: 

  • To present performances of a full range of classical music in its open-air Pavilion and enclosed recital halls, by the world’s greatest composers and musicians, along with a variety of other kinds of light classical, jazz and popular music; 
  • To maintain a beautiful park that is welcoming to all and attractive to families in which the music experience is enhanced by a beautiful environment and excellent dining opportunities; 
  • To enable gifted young performers to study under great teachers and perform in concert settings; and   
  • To develop broader and more diverse audiences for classical music through education and community engagement programs and by maintaining affordable ticket prices. 

POSITION SUMMARY – Chief Brand, Marketing & Communications Officer

The Chief Brand, Marketing & Communications Officer (CBMCO) is a senior leadership position reporting to the President & CEO of Ravinia.  The selected candidate will be responsible for developing all strategies for marketing and communications at Ravinia including public media relations, marketing, branding, advertising, graphic content, website, digital and social media and sales.   The CBMCO will support all departments with written and visual communications that present a compelling and consistent strategic vision of Ravinia. This includes strengthening the Ravinia brand and supporting all departments.   The selected candidate will coordinate messaging and collaborate with the development and ticketing departments in support of all revenue streams both earned and philanthropic.  



  • Serves as the brand strategist with a holistic approach to the entire Ravinia customer (or guest) experience from the first contact through engaging with the Ravinia family and programs.
  • Amplifies the Ravinia brand by promoting Reach, Teach, Play and Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute and the exceptional alumni from both programs.
  • Develop and grow the strategy and positioning of the brand to all stakeholders.


  • Creates and executes a strategic and integrated marketing and public relations plan that is comprehensive, supports the mission and includes all print materials, website, social and traditional media opportunities, and promotional events.
  • Develops, manages and executes single ticket and subscription campaigns as well as group sales efforts.
  • Monitors and reports on sales and promotions in a timely manner.
  • Builds and deploys best practices for digital marketing and content marketing while evaluating and assessing emerging trends.


  • Employs innovative and forward-thinking public relations strategies while actively anticipating changing trends and analyzing implications and consequences of changing needs and circumstances.
  • Works closely with the development department to actively manage relationships with patrons at all levels from first time ticket buyers to long time donors and supporters.  
  • Generates content that assists others throughout the organization with a consistent representation of Ravinia’s programs and events to all constituents including staff, volunteers, audiences and the general public.  
  • Supports and participates in DEI initiatives and strengthens the DEI messaging.
  • Identifies and develops press and social media relationships that provide exposure for Ravinia locally, nationally and internationally.
  • Supports the Facilities department with local community relations.
  • Represents Ravinia internally and externally with a broad range of stakeholders locally and nationally.


  • Provides leadership to a diverse and talented staff of thirteen including Associate Director of Editorial Content and Program Book, Associate Director of Retail Operations, Lead Graphic Designer, Manager of Photography & Video, Marketing Manager, Manager of Interactive Media, Media Manager and an external Public Relations Consultant. 
  • Manages an expense budget of $2.5 million with annual revenue goals of $20 million.  This includes forecasting and planning for each season.
  • Furthers the work of Women’s Board volunteers and the staff of the Festival Shop to make the most of the shop’s brand and revenue potential.
  • Retains and manages outside agencies and consultants as needed.


  • Minimum ten years of successful branding, marketing and public relations experience including at least five years in a leadership position.  
  • Proven ability to create high-level marketing strategies that maximize earned income streams while supporting customer service initiatives.  
  • Demonstrated record of understanding diverse audiences and cross-cultural marketing and digital engagement that results in the broadening of Ravinia’s audiences.
  • Outstanding verbal, writing, editing and presentation skills with demonstrated proficiency in writing for senior executives and the media.
  • Poise and gravitas necessary for constituent and press communications.
  • Active supporter and participant in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.
  • Proven history of leading and championing effective and energetic teams, encouraging innovation and ideas in a fast paced, pressured environment.
  • In-depth knowledge of current trends in marketing with an understanding of music and social media platforms.
  • Accomplished storyteller with experience elevating and disseminating content to current and new audiences.  
  • Demonstrated understanding of the impact of design and visuals in order to effectively lead specialists in graphic design, film, video and audio technologies.
  • Support and experience using research methodologies including A-B testing.
  • History of using social media effectively in both marketing and public relations strategies.
  • A true collaborator who can be a thought leader and advisor to the CEO, supporter of the senior management team, and leader of a department of diverse talent.
  • Experience with the performing arts is preferred with a knowledge of a wide range of musical genres.
  • Knowledge of website, app design and user experience are helpful.
  • Personal commitment to integrity, respect and Ravinia’s vision and culture.
  • Minimum of BA with an emphasis in marketing, journalism, communications, social media or related subjects.

As an equal opportunity employer, Ravinia strongly believes that diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives is essential to our success and we strive to create and sustain an equitable and inclusive environment for all our employees. Ravinia does not discriminate on the basis of any protected status under federal, state, or local law. We encourage individuals of all identities and abilities to apply. 

The Ravinia Festival has retained HC Smith Ltd to conduct this search. All interested candidates are asked to contact Rebecca R. Smith, Principal at the following email address: 

All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential. 

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