MANITOBA CHAMBER ORCHESTRA (MCO) seeking a forward-thinking, creative, innovative, and energetic leader to serve as its next Executive Director.
Nationally and internationally admired and respected for its creative programming and dynamic performances, MCO offers an exciting concert series, tours widely, commissions often, and collaborates regularly with the world’s leading soloists including some of the finest orchestral musicians in Canada. This professional freelance orchestra has been praised for its “satiny sound … dynamic subtlety, and impeccable sense of ensemble” (Ottawa Citizen) and called “Canada’s tiny, perfect chamber orchestra” (Toronto Star).
At the heart of its work is the annual concert series in its hometown of Winnipeg. An array of renowned soloists, conductors, and composers enhances the audience experience in performance of accessible, eclectic repertoire ranging from Baroque and Classical works to exciting premieres. Since the onset of the pandemic, online concerts capturing the essence of live performance have reached audiences throughout the province and around the world.
The Manitoba Chamber Orchestra has a long and distinguished history of recording, including for the CBC, BIS records, Orange Mountain Music, and its own MCO Records. It has earned several JUNO and Western Canadian Music Award nominations and in 2019 won a Western Canadian Music Award as Classical Artist/Ensemble of the Year.
The MCO tours regularly within and outside Canada with artists such as Isabel Bayrakdarian, Dame Evelyn Glennie, and most recently, with pianist Simone Dinnerstein in performances of Philip Glass’s third piano concerto, co-commissioned by the MCO.
It has a robust, well-established outreach program both within the city of Winnipeg and beyond, to remote, underserved communities in Manitoba.
The MCO operates on an annual budget of just over $1 million and has worked hard to remain deficit free while building an endowment for the future.
Reporting to the Board of Directors and partnering with the Music Director, the Executive Director will be responsible for achieving annual strategic, programming, fundraising, and operational objectives. Leading a dedicated and creative staff, the Executive Director will possess an entrepreneurial spirit and a strong vision to successfully create and execute strategic initiatives for artistic and organizational growth, which will include both live and digital programming opportunities. Ensuring the financial viability of the organization is critical to success in this role. This includes budgetary planning and management alongside the experience to raise funds for MCO’s programs and initiatives. As the primary external executive ambassador, the Executive Director will steward current relationships and partner to develop new opportunities with the goal of deepening donor engagement in MCO’s vision.
As a team builder who values collaboration, the Executive Director will have responsibility for all organizational aspects of MCO. The Executive Director will attract, retain, and inspire staff and board within an organizational culture that prioritizes inclusivity, kindness, respect, equity, communication, accountability, integrity, empathy, and mutual care.
This is an exciting and unique opportunity for a forward-thinking executive leader who can bring together vision, experience, and passion to support the realization of unique, innovative, diverse, and internationally recognized projects and programming. The ideal candidate will be a creative and energetic individual who will help lead MCO into the future.
Located in “the heart of the continent,” Winnipeg is a diverse multicultural city with a rich history. Winnipeg was quick to establish major cultural institutions such as the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the Winnipeg Art Gallery. The city hosts several popular festivals, including the wintertime Festival du Voyageur in historic St. Boniface, the Winnipeg Folk Festival, and Folklorama. In addition to a vibrant performing and visual arts community, Winnipeg is home to The Manitoba Museum and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
In 2021, Winnipeg was named the World’s Top Intelligent Community, the only Canadian city to receive this honour since 2016. With a metropolitan area population of close to 800,000, Winnipeg is Manitoba’s largest city with a young diverse population, the median age is the fifth youngest among major metropolitan areas in Canada.
The city celebrates its reputation as a winter city but is also one of the sunniest cities in Canada, with beautiful summers, boasting an affordable housing market, diverse residential neighbourhoods, vibrant public and private schools, and an average commuting time of 20 minutes. With the Lake Winnipeg beaches an hour to the north, the Whiteshell lakes in eastern Manitoba, and Lake of the Woods in north-western Ontario, there is easy access to family vacation and cottage country.
Executive Director Responsibilities
Reporting to MCO’S Board of Directors and working in partnership with the Music Director, the Executive Director will be responsible for:
- In collaboration with the Music Director, articulate and portray a clear vision that demonstrates MCO’s values of excellence, innovation, engagement, and integrity.
- With the Board, Music Director, and other key stakeholders develop the strategic plan, while managing tactical initiatives to realize strategic goals.
- With the Music Director, develop and implement a touring and performance strategy consistent with MCO’s strategic plan that supports MCO’s unique and varied programming.
- Manages and develops key external relationships with granting organizations, touring agents, government and agency officials, donors, and senior representatives in Manitoba’s cultural community, to foster MCO’s presence as a leading orchestra in Canada and internationally.
- Collaborates with the Music Director to ensure there is clear, open communication and coordination between the various administrative and operational functions.
- Monitors the external environment for changes that could affect MCO’s success, advise the Board of such changes, and in cooperation with artistic leadership develop and implement appropriate strategic responses.
Planning and Artistic Administration
- Develops and executes an annual business plan for MCO operations in support of the artistic, financial, and public relations objectives, including rehearsal schedules, stage management, local and run-out concerts, program themes and ideas, special events, broadcasts, and audience development.
- Secures concert venue contracts, equipment, instruments, licenses, and permits as required.
- Consults with the Music Director on the selection of guest artists, guest conductors,composers, collaborators, and programs to support the orchestra’s artistic objectives.
- Negotiates contracts for guest artists within budget parameters set by the Board.
- Negotiates commissioning fees and details with composers and monitors the progress of newwork, facilitating discussions as needed.
- In consultation with the Music Director and Contract Manager oversee contracts with freelancemusicians.
- In consultation with the Music Director, seek and obtain new opportunities for performancesby the orchestra, including recordings, tours, co-productions, collaborations, co-commissions.
- Prepares an annual plan and operating budget for MCO for approval by the Board, and ensures the annual plan meets both short term and long-term objectives, is consistent with the strategic plan and advances MCO’s strategic objectives.
- Collaborates with the Music Director to ensure that the artistic programming supports achieving the MCO’s financial goals and budget, as well as its key strategic objectives.
- Targets operating surpluses that can enhance the MCO’s financial position and allows for re- investment in different long term, strategic initiatives.
- Incorporates a contingency plan to allow the MCO to react in a timely and flexible manner to changing circumstances.
- Reviews and monitors the financial results on a frequent basis to allow for corrective measures where possible.
- Ensures the Music Director and Board are aware of funding criteria associated with major grants from provincial, federal, and civic agencies; and that grants are spent in accordance with grant guidelines and that reporting requirements are met.
- Prepares monthly financial statements and ensures accurate accounts and records of expenditures, payables, receivables, and disbursements are maintained.
- Directs the financial and business operations of the organization, including financial planning, control and reporting, annual operating budget, long-range plan and financial projections.
- Oversees and negotiates the terms for MCO’s leased facilities.
- Implements appropriate new and innovative technology and media platforms to support MCO’sgrowth and efficient use of resources.
- Identifies, leads preparation, and submits all municipal, provincial, federal government, as well as foundation and corporate grant applications while building close working relationships with key individuals in these organizations.
- Ensures effective communication with MCO’s constituencies: volunteer groups, other arts organizations, public agencies, government agencies, and the public, to achieve the objectives of the MCO.
- With the Director of Development and Board, actively lead MCO’s development strategy and key activities including donor development, donor engagement and fundraising events and activities.
- With the Director of Development and Board, manage the relationships with various funding bodies, including ongoing and proactive communications, receipting and stewardship; and maintain accurate and complete records of contacts, financial contributions, and other support in fundraising activities.
- With the Director of Development, Music Director, musicians, and the Board, envision increases to the fundraising capacity of MCO’s donor base including identifying and investigating new funding opportunities.
- Builds close relationships with key donors to increase their engagement with MCO.
- Oversees the organization, promotion, and media coverage of key fundraising events.
- Monitors the granting criteria of funding agencies and adapts MCO’s strategies as appropriate.
- Directs advocacy activities at local, provincial, and federal level, and monitors legislationaffecting the MCO and recommends appropriate action to the Board of Directors.
Marketing & Communications
- Oversees the marketing and communications functions, building on loyalty of MCO’s subscriber base; oversees ticket sales operations; monitors sales and tracks effectiveness of marketing efforts to ensure a positive customer experience.
- With the Director of Marketing and Communications, oversees pricing and marketing strategies to increase both subscriptions and single ticket sales.
- With input from the Music Director, oversees all communications, publicity, and media relations to ensure that the MCO is widely promoted and recognized locally, nationally, and internationally.
Education and Community Engagement
- With the Director of Education and Community Engagement and the Music Director, develop and grows MCO’s audiences to reflect the diversity of its Winnipeg base and work to ensure the wide reach of its educational and outreach initiatives.
- Builds MCO’s audience outside of Winnipeg by increasing its reach through touring, on-line media, and recording projects.
- With the Director of Education and Community Engagement and the Music Director, oversee the design, development, administration, promotion, and evaluation of all education and outreach programs.
- Establishes a strong and collaborative working relationship with the Chair and Board and participates as a non-voting ex-officio member of the Board and its committees as required.
- Meets regularly with the Chair and reports to the Board as required on strategic initiatives, finance, operations, audience development and fundraising and other areas as appropriate or required.
- Ensures that Board minutes are recorded, and all corporate returns are filed on a timely basis.
- With the Board, develop and implement governance policies, and ensures the Board is made aware immediately of any concerns which could affect the operations or reputation of the MCO.
Human Resource Management
- Recruits, selects, supervises, oversees both management and administrative staff as well as conducts regular performance reviews, including adherence to all relevant provincial workplace legislation and MCO policies, as well as identifies professional development opportunities to improve skills and provide career development.
- With the Concert/Tour Manager, maintain excellent rapport with the Canadian Federation of Musicians and the Winnipeg Local 190 to ensure satisfactory outcomes regarding engagement of freelance musicians on a fees per service basis and other issues having a bearing on the MCO’s ability to achieve its goals.
- With the Music Director, create a culture of engagement and teamwork in accordance with MCO’s values, between staff and musicians which encourages open, respectful, communications and collaborative working relationships, and also ensures service volunteer resources are used effectively to assist in meeting the MCO’s goals and to make the experience meaningful and rewarding for MCO volunteers.
- With the Board and Music Director, develop and implement equity, diversity, and inclusion polices and initiatives.
Traits and Characteristics
The successful candidate will have leadership experience and a demonstrated record of increasing success and in the field of music or arts related non-profit organizations and have a love of classical music.
With high emotional intelligence and diplomacy, the Executive Director of the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra will be a motivated ambassador and advocate for an organization in a dynamic multi-cultural environment. The ideal candidate will be comfortable engaging in conversations that build effective partnerships, raise levels of engagement, and advance innovative approaches to artistic, educational, and community needs.
Embodying integrity and authenticity, the Executive Director will embrace a healthy organizational culture based in collaboration and strategic partnerships. Insightful and resourceful in leveraging financial, human, and technological resources, the Executive Director will be a highly evolved communicator both internally and externally who is skilled at fundraising, advocacy, and government relations.
A highly influential individual who can fruitfully mobilize artistic and social resources, the Executive Director will be an inspirational leader, proven business manager, and skilled relationship builder – with a commitment to exceeding expectations.
Adept at budgeting and proficient with Microsoft 360 and other productivity tools, this individual will bring an affinity for MCO’s mission and vision and a passion to positively impact the organization’s long-term success.
Other key Traits and Characteristics of the role include:
- Leadership – Organizing and influencing people to believe in a vision while creating a sense of purpose and direction.
- Teamwork – Cooperating with others to meet objectives.
- Decision Making – Analyzing all aspects of a situation to make consistently sound and timely decisions.
- Project Management – Identifying and overseeing all resources, task, systems, and people to obtain results.
- Negotiation and Diplomacy– Listening to varying points of view and facilitating agreements between two or more parties while effectively and tactfully handling difficult or sensitive issues.
- Creativity & Innovation – Creating innovative approaches, programming, process, technologies and/or systems to achieve the desired result.
- Futuristic Thinking – Imagining, envisioning, projecting, and creating what has not yet been actualized.
- External Stakeholder Focus – Anticipating, meeting and or/exceeding stakeholder needs, wants and expectations.
- Integrity– Being accountable for any personal choices and actions which will affect the overall scope of MCO’s identity within the community.
MCO offers a competitive salary commensurate with experience, together with a benefit package, paid time off and holidays.
MCO’s Executive Director Search is led by Martin Bragg of Martin Bragg & Associates. To apply in confidence, please email your letter of interest and resume to Martin Bragg & Associates at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Qualified candidates are encouraged to apply, and all applicants will receive an acknowledgement of their application. The review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. No phone calls please. Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to review MCO’s website prior to submitting materials for consideration.
Manitoba Chamber Orchestra and Martin Bragg & Associates are committed to an open and transparent hiring process and encourage applications from diverse communities. We are committed to employment equity, diversity, and inclusion, and unwavering in our pursuit of excellence. We are committed to actively and intentionally operating as anti-bias, and anti-racist organizations. As such, we promote policies, practices, and programs that create a dialogue toward mutual understanding. We welcome all applications from women, persons of colour, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, persons of all sexual orientations and genders, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas. We will accommodate applicants with disabilities in accordance with The Accessibility for Manitobans Act. We will work with applicants requesting accommodation at any stage of the assessment and selection process.