December 11, 2019 – Aspen Leadership Group, an executive search firm that specializes in recruiting top talent for philanthropic organizations, is seeking a new president and chief executive officer for the League of American Orchestras.
“The CEO will further the fulfillment of the mission of the League of American Orchestras: to advance the experience of orchestral music, support the people and organizations that create it, and champion the contributions they make to the health and vibrancy of communities,” said the Aspen, CO-based search firm.
The CEO will be expected to be a leading voice for member organizations and individuals, empowering them with knowledge and perspective to navigate a rapidly changing environment, said Aspen Leadership Group. The CEO will be charged with leading an exceptional team, engaging and supporting a devoted board, ensuring the financial stability of the organization, and serving as its chief strategy and fundraising officer.
“In recent years the league has been a vocal and assertive advocate for orchestras to address the imperatives of equity, diversity, and inclusion, using its capacities to convene, connect, inform, and communicate,” said Douglas Hagerman, the League of American Orchestras board chair. “The urgency of this work is set to accelerate as the need for change grows in light of evolving social, cultural, and economic forces.”
Pointing the Way
“Our next CEO will build on this momentum and help point the way toward a future of even greater community relevance, with expanded access to orchestras for all Americans and with vibrant and inclusive musical organizations that communities cherish,” he said.
The president and CEO leads member and stakeholder relations, investing considerable personal time in relationships with the group’s stakeholders, and ensuring that the league staff is sensitive and responsive to member orchestras’ needs, said Aspen Leadership Group. Informed by these relationships, the CEO serves as a knowledgeable, passionate spokesperson and advocate for the field of orchestral music, representing members in a wide variety of public, private and governmental venues. The CEO provides managerial oversight to a dedicated and high-performing staff of 30 and works in close partnership with an active board of 45 members.
Organization mission and strategy, board governance, financial performance and sustainability, and organization operations will all be essential aspects of the position.
The League of American Orchestras wants a leader with intellectual curiosity and an openness to new ideas and change, said the search firm. The individual should also show proactivity in challenging the status quo, the ability to bring to light and effectively frame issues that may be unpopular or difficult but are important to the field, and the ability to inspire the energy of others in a common course of action.
The next president and CEO must also have: a deep appreciation for and capacity to lead efforts to strengthen equity, diversity and inclusion within the organization’s staff and board and across the league’s membership; superb active listening skills and an ability to interpret member wants and needs, including a desire to hear diverse stakeholder viewpoints and perspectives from outside the field; and strong diplomatic skills, sensitivity to the challenges and diversity of the field, a capacity to solve complex problems, and an ability to hold and respect opposing relationships and perspectives.
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Also essential are proven fundraising skills, with a demonstrated ability to establish lasting relationships with major institutional and individual donors, said Aspen Leadership Group.
The League of American Orchestras leads, supports, and champions America’s orchestras and the vitality of the music they perform. It has a diverse membership of more than 2,000 organizations and individuals across North America. The only national organization dedicated solely to the orchestral experience, the league is a nexus of knowledge and innovation, advocacy and leadership advancement. Its conferences and events, award-winning Symphony magazine, website and other publications inform people around the world about orchestral activity and developments. Founded in 1942 and chartered by Congress in 1962, the league links a national network of thousands of instrumentalists, conductors, managers and administrators, board members, volunteers and business partners.
Aspen Leadership Group, established in 2013, conducts searches for board members, presidents, executive directors, chief development and advancement officers, and development and advancement professionals. It clients include Brown University, PBS, the Humane Society of the United States, the Leakey Foundation, and the Denver Zoological Foundation, among others.
Ms. Johnson most recently served as chief development officer for the San Francisco Symphony, where she played a senior management role, working closely with the board of governors and leading the symphony’s contributed revenue division. Previously she served as San José State University’s associate vice president of development and campaign director. Prior to her work in the Bay Area she held fundraising positions at the University of Kansas and Boston University.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media