Chief Advancement Officer

  • Deadline / Program Start: 2020-11-28
  • Organization: Pennsylvania Ballet
  • Organization Type: Performance/Presenting Facility
  • Career Type: Development and Fundraising
  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Primary Discipline: Dance
  • Recurring: Array
  • URL: Link

Pennsylvania Ballet

Chief Advancement Officer

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

When Barbara Weisberger founded Pennsylvania Ballet in 1963, it was her dream, fostered and encouraged by the great George Balanchine, to not only bring the best in dance to Pennsylvania but to find local talent and develop those artists into world-class performers.

Her dream was not only realized, but fulfilled time and again over many decades as the Company thrived, first under her astute direction and later with a number of esteemed directors, including Benjamin Harkarvy, who had worked extensively throughout Europe, Robert Weiss and Christopher d’Amboise, both of whom danced under Mr. Balanchine at New York City Ballet, and Roy Kaiser, who had been a successful dancer with Pennsylvania Ballet before taking the reins as artistic director for nearly 20 years.

With Angel Corella’s appointment as the new artistic director in 2014, the Company moved into its next, exciting stage of development. Mr. Corella’s experience and accomplishments, both as a dancer and director of his own company in Spain, have helped Pennsylvania Ballet embody the increasingly diverse and broadening landscape of dance. This evolution is best reflected in the extraordinary breadth of works being performed by the Company as well as the increased interest from dancers around the world seeking to join Pennsylvania Ballet’s ranks

Pennsylvania Ballet has undergone an inspiring transformation during the past five years and is poised to become one of the world’s preeminent ballet companies. Under visionary Artistic Director Angel Corella, Pennsylvania Ballet has catapulted to international prominence, energizing audiences, driving increased ticket sales, drawing out-of-market patrons from New York City and elsewhere, and eliciting invitations for the Company to tour abroad. Today’s Pennsylvania Ballet is renowned for its athleticism and grace, for innovative programming, for a School that nurtures and inspires hundreds of students each year, and for community engagement programs that reach thousands of Greater Philadelphians.

Executive Director Shelly Power’s arrival in 2018 marked a new era for prudent and responsible Company management. Shelly has brought a bold determination to achieve unprecedented growth throughout the organization, and she has outlined a strong set of values and strategic priorities that will secure a more sustainable future. Pennsylvania Ballet has choreographed a strategy to ensure that generations of Philadelphians and audiences from around the world continue to be inspired by the Company’s extraordinary artistry. From beloved classics, to contemporary masterpieces, to cutting-edge world premieres, Pennsylvania Ballet aims to define the landscape and what it means to be a world-class ballet company.

Angel and Shelly have earned the confidence and enthusiastic partnership of the Board of Trustees and together, they are prepared to lead Pennsylvania Ballet to extraordinary new heights, empowering dancers, students, and the Philadelphia community through performance, education, and opportunity. To capitalize on the organization’s unprecedented opportunities, Pennsylvania Ballet has developed an ambitious strategic plan that features the following: building new state-of-the-art facilities for the Company’s world-class dancers, talented students, dedicated artistic and administrative staff, and the Greater Philadelphia community; investing in the artists and repertoire to build the Company’s international reputation; expanding School offerings to train and empower the next generation of dancers; engaging more people of all backgrounds through enhanced education and community engagement programs, dedicated community spaces, and a renewed commitment to diversity; serving as a catalyst and cornerstone of the economic and cultural revitalization of Philadelphia’s North Broad arts corridor; and establishing long-term financial wellness. These plans, which are essential to Pennsylvania Ballet’s future, are being advanced through a major fundraising campaign.

Pennsylvania Ballet is making significant investments in its development program to help ensure the organization’s finances are commensurate to its artistry and to engage the philanthropic support necessary to realize its vision for the future. Prior to COVID- 19 the development team had recently doubled in size, and a leading fundraising consultancy was engaged and has identified hundreds of new major gift prospects. In response to the pandemic, the team has thus been reduced during 2020, but is anticipated to be rebuilt over the coming year. Notably, the position of Chief Advancement Officer has been newly created, consistent with the critical strategic importance of philanthropy to the organization.

As the performing arts world has been presented with previously unthinkable challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the country’s reckoning with social and racial equity, Pennsylvania Ballet has leapt into action. Under Shelly’s leadership, the company has seized this moment as an opportunity to move away from the outdated operational models of the past and create news ways to preserve, present, and promote this beloved art form and this internationally renowned company. This involves a dramatic shift, not only in the core business model, but in every aspect of the Company’s culture. Fortunately, this transformation began well before 2020, and the Company has put significant building blocks in place – restructuring and optimizing the administrate organization; in 2018 Pennsylvania Ballet joined The Equity Project, a national cohort of professional ballet companies focused on addressing the broader issue of racial inequity within classical dance, and the underrepresentation of African Americans in particular. Pennsylvania Ballet brought forth this work through the establishment of a formal Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access (DEIA) Transformation Team – an internal project team comprised of staff, dancers, executive leadership and trustees focusing on advancing diversity within the Pennsylvania Ballet and expanding their community outreach to serve more diverse audiences. Other significant changes/initiatives include: adding to and enhancing the Board of Trustees; engaging with a third-party strategic finance, accounting, and payroll services provider (RADAR); developing and promoting a rebirth of the Pennsylvania Ballet brand through partnership with Karma Agency; completing a comprehensive sustainability-focused strategic plan through Boston Consulting Group that includes building new state-of-the-art facilities for the Company’s world-class dancers, talented students, dedicated artistic and administrative staff; and exploring new and safe methods of presenting to audiences in the future. These plans, which are essential to the Company’s future, are being advanced through a major fundraising campaign. Pennsylvania Ballet is dynamic and on the move at this unique time in history.

Amid an environment of visionary and dynamic new leadership, emerging preeminence, and organizational redesign and investment, Pennsylvania Ballet seeks candidates for the newly created role of Chief Advancement Officer (CAO). The positioning of this new role and its responsibilities are elevating and consolidating the prominence of the development and marketing functions within the organization. Reporting to the Executive Director, the CAO is the lead executive responsible for growing Pennsylvania Ballet’s base of individual and institutional support, while building an organization-wide, major-gifts-focused fundraising culture. The CAO oversees all aspects of a full-service fundraising enterprise including individual giving, corporate and foundation relations, events and stewardship, and development services. In addition, the CAO will oversee enterprise-wide marketing and communications in order to refine and streamline all external messaging related to fundraising, audience development, public relations, patron services, and digital presence. This move toward a fully integrated marketing and fundraising function will allow for a streamlined approach to all areas of external engagement and brand establishment. The CAO will work closely with the Executive Director to create an advancement plan reflecting the larger strategic goals of Pennsylvania Ballet, expanding reach into major donor communities and new audiences, while driving continuous growth and improvement. The CAO also serves as Pennsylvania Ballet’s chief campaign officer.

Pennsylvania Ballet seeks an innovator in advancement who has deep experience in major gifts fundraising, communications and marketing, and campaign strategy and execution. The CAO must be a student of modern philanthropy and able to effectively leverage complementary external relations functions through strategic, forward-thinking integration. The successful candidate will be a proven leader, manager, mentor, and collaborative colleague who is comfortable leading major initiatives and supporting the leadership of others, and who has a track record of effectively leading organizational change.

The Chief Advancement Officer will prioritize equity as a driver for Pennsylvania Ballet activities. This leader will embrace the organization’s governing principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion in hiring, mentorship, teambuilding, network activities, and stakeholder engagement. The CAO will actively focus on maintaining equity into structures, systems, and processes for employees, volunteers, and communities served. The Director will bring expertise, an innovative and open mindset, and a commitment to inclusive practice that values different backgrounds and life experiences.

Candidate profile

The ideal candidate will have the following personal and professional skills, qualities, and competencies:

Bachelor’s degree preferred.
Minimum of 10 years of experience in progressively responsible development and/or marketing leadership positions, including knowledge of all functional areas preferably within a major cultural institution or other environment of similar complexity. Strong candidates will have played a senior-level role in a high-impact fundraising campaign, strategic rebranding efforts, and constituency development initiatives from planning to implementation to management and successful conclusion.
Demonstrated ability to provide management oversight, leadership, and direction with at least five years of significant supervisory experience, including experience creating and managing a budget. A strong record of recruiting and developing exceptional people and fostering a transparent work environment where collegiality is a key to success.
Steeped in modern philanthropy and marketing and communications best practices and able to effectively integrate related external relations functions. Deep expertise in campaigns, technology management, online fundraising, email communications, list building, content development, and social networking.
An understanding of and commitment to diversity with the ability to work effectively with stakeholders from disparate backgrounds; cultural competency with respect to issues such as racial, cultural, religious, sexual and gender identity.
Demonstrated ability in planning and executing strategic communications across various mediums and channels to complement philanthropic initiatives. Experience identifying and coaching project spokespeople.
Experience identifying, nurturing, and motivating volunteers, particularly board members, and an appreciation for their role in building an effective fundraising network.
Skill at goal setting and measuring success, and agility in addressing alternate program directions to meet goals when necessary.
The ability to extract and analyze data to make effective, efficient decisions about donor strategy and process. A working knowledge of modern data management practices, including data modeling, analysis, information systems, and other tools that can streamline the development process. Familiarity with Tessitura arts enterprise software and how to optimize its application in fundraising, with a preference for a strong technology orientation and the ability to quickly acclimate to new technological tools.
Experience in high-level, Philadelphia-area philanthropy is preferred, including knowledge of region’s philanthropic players, strategies, and trends. Must have the ability to navigate the region’s philanthropic elite with aplomb.
Emotionally intelligent, with the ability to motivate teams, ask for and receive feedback, and foster a positive team culture.
A highly creative, tenacious, and resilient orientation. A trailblazer undaunted by the uncertainty, opaque outlook, and unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. A visionary with a track record of developing new methods of engagement and connectivity.
Unimpeachable integrity and trustworthiness; mature judgment in handling sensitive and confidential information.
An understanding of and commitment to diversity with the ability to work effectively with stakeholders from disparate backgrounds; cultural competency with respect to issues such as racial, cultural, religious, sexual, and gender identity.
Determined yet flexible, with the ability to continually experiment, learn, and revise strategies.
Positive energy and good humor that engenders enthusiasm and collaboration.

Pennsylvania Ballet is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

PA Ballet has retained the Diversified Search Group to assist in this confidential search process. Inquiries, nominations, and applications (current resumes and cover letters) should be directed electronically to:

Gerard F. Cattie, Jr.

Managing Director

Practice Leader – Development & Philanthropy

Diversified Search Group

The Chrysler Building, 405 Lexington Avenue, 49th Floor, New York, NY 10174

[email protected] | 212.542.2587