Strathmore, a Montgomery County nonprofit multidisciplinary arts center, seeks a visionary, expansive, ethical, and collaborative Chief Executive Officer to partner with its board of directors to advance the organization’s overall success and sustainability. The CEO will be the organization’s chief spokesperson in clearly articulating Strathmore’s mission, vision, and values that guide the growth, public image, and increased brand awareness of the organization regionally and nationally.
The story of Strathmore as a destination for the arts began in 1979 when the newly created Strathmore Hall Foundation entered into an agreement with Montgomery County, Maryland, to develop the historic Corby Mansion and grounds as the County’s first center for the arts. Almost 40 years later, Strathmore has become the go-to place for the arts in Montgomery County and beyond, hosting more than 5,000 artists and hundreds of thousands of visitors at its signature exhibitions, concerts, educational events, and outdoor festivals.
Strathmore currently operates three venues—The Music Center at Strathmore (The Music Center), The Mansion at Strathmore, and AMP by Strathmore. The Music Center at Strathmore opened in 2005 and includes a 1,976-seat concert hall with world-class acoustics as well as numerous rehearsal, education, and administrative spaces. The Mansion at Strathmore, the renovated 1899 mansion, features the 100-seat Dorothy M. and Maurice C. Shapiro Music Room, Strathmore Tea Room, Shop at Strathmore, Gudelsky Concert Pavilion and Gazebo, and numerous smaller spaces used primarily for visual arts programming. AMP by Strathmore is a 250-seat venue that presents live music, comedy, and special events that opened in 2015 about two miles north of the main 16-acre campus. An $8 million extension of The Music Center is currently underway, which will enhance patron accessibility, hospitality, and catering options in the front-of-house areas by the summer of 2019.
Artistic offerings presented by Strathmore in The Music Center include 50 to 60 world-class performances annually by major international artists of folk, rock, blues, pop, R&B, jazz, world music, show tunes, dance, and classical music. Strathmore is honored to be a community resource for its six resident partners, including Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as its Founding Partner, National Philharmonic, Washington Performing Arts, Levine Music, CityDance, and The interPLAY Orchestra. Strathmore’s extensive work in education and community outreach is core to its mission. This includes the highly regarded Strathmore Artist in Residence program, Strathmore Children’s Chorus, Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras, the affiliated partnership with Young Artists of America, and dozens of other education and community initiatives such as art camps, tours, and field trips. With a Metro stop at its door and free parking for its on-campus patrons, Strathmore continues to be a major cultural destination. Additional offerings at Strathmore include rentals by outside organizations and promoters.
Through its partnership with Montgomery County Public Schools, Strathmore brings almost 200 hours per year of free master classes, school assemblies, and music clinics to students in grades Pre-K through 8. Bloom, its three-year-old East County initiative, aims to make the arts available to everyone, regardless of their socioeconomic circumstances, and to provide opportunities to create a growing sense of community across Montgomery County.
Strathmore is governed by a 30-member board of directors, of which two are representatives of Montgomery County Government. Its administrative staff consists of approximately 40 full-time and 80 part-time employees. Led by Chief Executive Officer and founder Eliot Pfanstiehl since 1981, Strathmore now has an annual operating budget of approximately $15 million, of which 40 percent is from earned revenue, 30 percent from contributions and government grants, 20 percent from rental income, and 10 percent from investment income and other revenues. Strathmore’s endowment stands at approximately $8 million.
Located just north of Washington, DC, Montgomery County is a thriving region bursting with newly imagined business and residential areas as well as traditional rural communities. It is the most populous county in Maryland, with approximately one million residents, and consists of three cities, 12 towns, four villages, 33 census-designated places, and five unincorporated communities. It is included as part of the Washington Metropolitan area and is the second most affluent county in the state of Maryland, with one of the highest per capita incomes in the country.
Montgomery County is an important business and research center. Many leading corporations, including Lockheed Martin, Marriott International, GEICO, and Honest Tea are headquartered there, as are several United States federal government agencies. It is the epicenter for biotechnology in the Mid-Atlantic region, housing the National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, and National Naval Medical Center. There are more than 410 parks in the County, including three national parks, with a total of 30,000 acres of recreational area. For golf lovers, there are more than a dozen country clubs, including the Congressional Country Club, which hosted the 2011 US Open. The County’s public and private schools are nationally recognized.
Montgomery County has a wide variety of cultural offerings and recreation to offer its residents and the seven million tourists who visit annually. A vibrant arts and culture scene offers live theater, art galleries, and numerous concert and club venues and includes over 450 cultural organizations and 1,500 artists and scholars. With the nation’s capital just a few miles away, free museums, cultural events, and professional sports teams are just some of the attractions found in the region. Three major airports, numerous public transportation options, including several Metro stations and bus routes, and convenient access to Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) and Amtrak trains make local and regional travel easy.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) will be uniquely responsible to and partner with the board of directors to advance the overall success and sustainability of Strathmore. This includes accountability for the vibrancy of its programs, quality of its resident partnerships, its financial sustainability, and its impact throughout Montgomery County. The CEO will be the organization’s chief spokesperson in clearly articulating Strathmore’s mission, vision, and values that guide the growth, public image, and increased brand awareness of the organization regionally and nationally. The CEO will identify key stakeholders, cultivate relationships, develop strategies, and define an organizational direction embedded in the cultural, social, community, and educational activities of Strathmore. The CEO will be an aspirational public leader at the forefront of statewide initiatives that strengthen the vibrancy of all communities. Rooted in a spirit of community service and collaboration, the CEO will establish strategic priorities with the board and staff that align with the needs of the diverse stakeholders that Strathmore serves.
Roles and Responsibilities
Strategic Collaboration and Community Engagement
- Spearhead the development and implementation of a new strategic plan and community engagement process that ensures a clear direction, supports Strathmore’s community-wide philosophy, focuses its mission, and guides its overarching vision.
- Investigate and envision the future of the region’s business climate, marketplace, and political landscape to map paths to future projects, programs, and development resources for long-term sustainability.
- Reach out to peer institutions and businesses at the local, state, and national level to learn about best practices, new technology, and innovative programming that can enhance Strathmore’s brand and impact.
- Initiate, develop, and ensure strong collaborative and effective relations with Strathmore’s resident partners and other arts organizations.
- Forge collaborative partnerships and alliances with external mission compatible enterprises to leverage additional resources for future expansion of services to diverse and inclusive audiences.
- Develop innovative and daring applications of arts services beyond the traditional presentation-driven models of arts and culture organizations.
- Bring the gifts of creative thinking, imagination, and inspiration to the widest possible public.
- Perform other strategic collaboration and community engagement responsibilities, as needed.
Fundraising, Public Visibility, and Advocacy
- Serve as the primary spokesperson for Strathmore regarding major statements to the media, government testimony, institutional vision, and collaborative agreement announcements.
- Formulate and direct all major fundraising initiatives and regularly interact with major gift prospects and existing donors.
- Develop and maintain productive relationships with local, state, and federal public and private agencies to financially support Strathmore’s growth and community impact.
- Initiate conversations about the world of tomorrow and the ways in which the arts increasingly can bring socially, economically, and culturally diverse communities together.
- Represent Strathmore in the community by participating on local and regional boards, committees, and commissions.
- Cultivate relationships by hosting stakeholders at Strathmore’s performances and at various evening and weekend events.
- Advocate and testify for arts policy and funding with elected county, state, and federal officials.
- Perform other public visibility, fundraising, and advocacy responsibilities as needed.
Governance and Financial Accountability
- Provide guidance and support to best utilize the talents and resources of the board, stimulate their involvement, recruit new members, and work closely with the board to ensure strong fiscal health and effective governance of the organization.
- Partner with the Board Chair to enable board members to effectively fulfill their governance functions and facilitate optimum interaction between the board and the community Strathmore serves.
- Strategize opportunities for board prospect identification, cultivation, and recruitment; orient, educate, and engage board members to maximize their effectiveness; and celebrate the successes of the board and its individual members in recognizing their contribution of time and resources.
- Advise board committees on the development and implementation of their goals, with an eye towards ongoing board leadership succession planning, and name appropriate staff liaisons to support board committees.
- Ensure effective short- and long-term financial sustainability, with accountability for overall operating and capital budget submissions for board approval.
- Deliver succinct, timely, and relevant information to the board so it can fulfill its responsibilities in setting policies and strategic decision-making.
- Perform other governance and financial accountability responsibilities as needed.
Managerial Oversight and Mentorship
- Supervise and collaborate with the President and Chief Operating Officer who is charged with the internal management of Strathmore’s senior staff, facilities, and operations.
- Maintain ex-officio status on all internal committees, project teams, and departmental groups within Strathmore and lead the weekly Executive Team meetings and biweekly all staff meetings.
- Mentor a diverse team of professionals who deliver a high-quality community experience at Strathmore.
- Facilitate employee development and maintain a culture where diversity and inclusion are celebrated in achieving common goals.
- Oversee management accountability measures and actively address questions and concerns to ensure a safe work environment.
- Perform other managerial oversight and mentorship responsibilities as needed.
Traits and Characteristics
The CEO will be a visionary, expansive, ethical, and collaborative leader who values frequent interaction with others in serving as the public face of Strathmore. An enthusiastic and resourceful entrepreneur, the CEO will be deeply instinctive and receptive to new ideas, opinions, and opportunities. A professional who values social interactions and relationships, the CEO will inspire a harmonious organizational culture while being sensitive to the best investment of time, talent, energy, and resources. The CEO will symbolize the intrinsic cultural, social, and educational impacts that the arts provide in creating dynamic and vibrant communities.
Key competencies of the role include the following:
- Customer and Collaborative Focus – Capacity to build rapport and effectively communicate and listen to a wide array of engaged stakeholders who sometimes have differing opinions and priorities.
- Leadership and Decision Making – Dexterity in prioritizing strategic initiatives while creating a sense of direction embedded in the active participation of a variety of internal and external stakeholders.
- Interpersonal Skills and Diplomacy – Agility in understanding and respecting others, treating them fairly, regardless of personal biases or beliefs, and maintaining positive and productive relationships to reach mutually beneficial outcomes.
- Priority Management and Accountability – Acuity in establishing relevant, realistic, and attainable goals and objectives while anticipating the effects, outcomes, and calculated risks of various options.
A bachelor’s degree is required and a master’s degree in arts administration, business, public administration, or a related field is strongly preferred. A minimum of seven to ten years of related executive management experience leading a broad-based nonprofit performing, community, or educational organization is needed. Qualified applicants will have experience as a visible leader embedded in community engagement and public advocacy, with a passion for the arts and a commitment to effective arts policy and legislation. A leader whose vision has inspired philanthropic and public support, maximized earned revenue opportunities, and achieved financial sustainability are required.
Compensation and Benefits
Strathmore offers a very competitive salary commensurate with experience. The benefits package includes vacation and holiday time as well as medical, short- and long-term disability, and life, vision, and dental insurances. Retirement benefits are provided through a special arrangement with the Montgomery County Retirement Plan, which enables an eight percent match if the employee elects a four percent withholding, beginning after six months of employment with vesting that occurs after three years of employment.
Application and Inquires
Please submit a cover letter, resume, and summary of community partnerships and demonstrable earned and contributed revenue accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred) to:
Dr. Bruce D. Thibodeau, President
Arts Consulting Group
292 Newbury Street, Suite 315
Boston, MA 02115-2801
Tel (888) 234.4236 Ext. 201