“Every time I see my students, I remind myself that this is the most important thing I could be doing.”

Kobi Libii | Former Teaching Artist & Current Artistic Advisory Board Member


    Executive Director

    OPENING ACT | Brooklyn, NY

    Organizational Background

    Opening Act was founded in 2000 to address a clear need for teens attending the most under-served public high schools in New York City to feel a greater sense of empowerment and purpose in life.

    Opening Act targets the city’s highest need schools with disproportionately less access to resources than other schools in the system. These schools are often flagged by the DOE as “under-performing” and are at risk of closure. Since inception, we have grown to reach over 3,500 teens. Today, our free, year-long, after school theater program serves 56 schools throughout New York City, including our partnership with the city’s alternative school district, where we are working with young people who are formerly incarcerated, homeless, and/or teen parents.

    Growth & Strategic Plans

    Opening Act is in the midst of a period of incredible growth, in which the expansion of our programs and impact has been matched by increased organizational and financial capacity. This growth has been marked by a more than doubling of our revenue in the past two years to $2 million, increased partnerships to 56 high schools, and an increase in the size of our team from 5 to 11 full-time staff members.

    We are also nearing the end of a 3-year Strategic Plan in which Opening Act has deepened its work in the city’s alternative school district, launched a new program – Act 2 – to support our students in successfully navigating the transition to college and work, and piloted our first-ever middle school program.

    Job Summary

    Opening Act is at a pivotal and compelling moment as an organization and we are excited to welcome a strategic and visionary thinker who will lead the organization to even greater levels of impact. The Executive Director will be charged with stewarding the organization’s mission and philosophy while helping to craft the next phase of organizational growth and managing the transition from the 16-year tenure of its current leader.

    Working closely with the Board and the Leadership Team, the Executive Director will work to deepen Opening Act’s organizational capacity to attract resources, continue to make its work more visible to a broader audience, and ensure its ongoing relevance and sustainability.  This person will ensure that the organization is prepared to meet new and expected needs and challenges, while supporting the organization’s core values of Respecting, Listening, Showing up, Yes And-ing, Empowering, and Including in all aspects of our work.

    Candidate Profile

    The ideal candidate will have some combination of the following:

    – Demonstrated commitment to social justice, diversity, and equity

    – Passion and appreciation for the arts, and a deep understanding of the role of the arts in a comprehensive education and in the healthy development of young people

    – A positive attitude, commitment to growth mindset, and the ability to establish and sustain positive energy in the work space

    – A collaborative and influential leadership style

    – An engaging, positive, and dynamic personality with the ability to motivate and ignite passion in diverse stakeholders

    – A strong presence and high level of comfort in interactions with industry leaders in business, government, philanthropy, and entertainment

    – A history of translating bold vision into action through collaboration and creative problem-solving with a diverse team

    – The ability to negotiate and navigate organizational change while maintaining clear, decisive, proactive, and fair treatment of others

    – The ability to be outcomes-oriented while exercising both strategic and tactical skills at all times


    To position the organization for the future, the Executive Director will be expected to:

    Strategic Vision and Leadership

    – Articulate a vision for the organization’s continued growth and impact

    – Work with Opening Act’s staff, board, and teaching artists to craft the strategic work plan for the next 3-5 years, keeping in mind the goals of pursuing organizational health and sustainability and deepening programmatic impact

    – Actively work with the Board of Directors to diversify and expand its members, to ensure its active involvement and support for a comprehensive program, and to develop financial and marketing plans for continued organizational growth

    – Align Opening Act’s resources with the organization’s vision and mission in order to maximize productivity, maintain program quality, and promote the financial health of the organization

    Management and Team Building

    – Build relationships of trust, responsibility, and accountability with Opening Act’s team in order to lead, motivate, and inspire them to achieve the organization’s mission

    – Attract, retain, and actively develop an energetic, talented, and diverse staff committed to the values and practices at the organization’s core

    – Collaborate with HR to support the culture, navigate HR, and determine benefits as the organization continues to grow

    – Balance a big-picture understanding of the organization’s programs and operations with the provision of on-the-ground tactical support to staff

    External Relations & Relationship Building

    – Continue to raise and maintain Opening Act’s visibility as a sector leader, and actively cultivate the organization’s thought leadership in our areas of expertise and influence

    – Identify and cultivate relationships with institutions that complement Opening Act’s programming

    – Identify and cultivate relationships with talent and industry contacts that continue to build Opening Act’s influence in the sector

    – Represent Opening Act and develop strategic relationships with diverse stakeholders including government, community institutions, corporations, funders, and media

    Fundraising and Communications

    – Identify, cultivate, and maintain relationships with major donors and key institutional funders

    – Work with the Development team and Board of Directors to support development and fundraising efforts with an eye towards identifying and maximizing Opening Act’s fundraising strengths

    – Work with the Development team to manage the strategy for, and execution of, annual benefits, fundraisers, and other events

    – Steer the organization’s communications strategy, including print media, social media, and newsletters

    Program Management

    – Ensure that programs are in alignment with Opening Act’s values, vision, and mission

    – Ensure the quality of Opening Act’s programs and the organization’s ability to effectively respond to changing environments

    – Lead and mentor staff in the development of new initiatives that address emerging needs and partnership opportunities

    Experience and Background

    – Presence and high comfort level in interactions with leaders in business, government, and philanthropy, as well as with talent and arts industry leaders

    – At least 5 years of management experience, particularly experience working with, leading, and/or growing a $2+ million organization

    – Experience managing teams of various backgrounds including full-time and part-time staff, as well as both entry-level and professional-level employees

    – The ability to manage multiple and highly complex donor and prospect relationships, and proven success in asking for and closing gifts, and building and maintaining long-term relationships with major donors

    – Experience developing and implementing clear budget goals and effectively executing against an annual budget

    – Excellent written and verbal communication skills

    – Experience conceptualizing, managing execution of, and evaluating strategic initiatives

    – Ability to often commit evenings and weekends to organizational work

    Classification: Full time

    Reports To: Opening Act Board of Directors


    Full-time salary range is $120K – $150K, and will be commensurate with skills and experience. Benefits include paid time off, health and dental insurance, 403b plan, professional development and wellness stipends, self-care/we care plans, and paid parental leave.

    Opening Act values and welcomes diversity in the workplace and strongly encourages all qualified persons to apply. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status. 

    To Apply

    Please complete the following application form and include a resume and cover letter that addresses why you would like to work with Opening Act and how one of Opening Act’s core values (Respecting, Listening, Showing up, Yes And-ing, Empowering, and Including) aligns with your personal leadership style. Please also articulate your understanding of the role of the arts in a comprehensive education and in the healthy development of young people.

    Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. No phone calls please. We will contact only those applicants with whom we plan to set up an interview.

    Application Deadline:  November 15, 2019
    Start Date: February 1, 2020

    Photo by Sherrie Nickols