Poetry Project Seeks New Executive Director – DEADLINE EXTENDED 1/19/18

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Dear Friends of the Poetry Project,

We have big news: Come June, we’ll be wishing a bittersweet goodbye to our executive director Stacy Szymaszek, who will retire from her position at the end of this season (June 2018). Stacy has been an incredible ambassador for the Project over the past thirteen years—eleven as director—and we remain grateful for her vision, dedication, and tireless service to poetry.

Over the next few months we’ll be seeking out the Project’s next leader, and we’re pleased to share the job description with you. Please help us reach a wide national audience by sharing this opportunity with your personal and professional networks. Thank you!


Camille Rankine
Board President



Job Description

Title: Executive Director
Responsible to: The Board of Directors
Classification/Type: Exempt
Salary Range: From $70,000 to $80,000 commensurate with Experience
Start Date: June 18, 2018
Deadline for Applications: January 19, 2018

The Poetry Project’s Mission
Through its live programming, workshops, publications, website and special events, The Poetry Project promotes, fosters and inspires the reading and writing of contemporary poetry by (a) presenting contemporary poetry to diverse audiences, (b) increasing public recognition, awareness and appreciation of poetry and other arts, (c) providing a community setting in which poets and artists can exchange ideas and information, and (d) encouraging the participation and development of new poets from a broad range of styles

Key Objectives:
• Expand and deepen the organization’s artistic and community impact.
• Maintain, advance and diversify the organization’s funding base and implement sustainability measures within the organization.
• Ensure an enduring record of excellence in programming and reputation.
• Collaborate with stakeholders, allies, and partners to expand organization’s reach and cultivate an inclusive environment.

The Executive Director fosters the development of the artistic and strategic vision of The Poetry Project, oversees its administration and the implementation of its programs, acts as the Poetry Project’s primary ambassador, and is responsible for its overall fiscal health. They ensure that (a) the quality and diversity of programming is consistent with the Poetry Project’s history and mission; and (b) that the organization is effective and responsive to our stakeholders and mission. Areas of responsibility include, but are not limited to:

  • Programming: oversee planning and development of programs;
  • Personnel: hire and manage staff;
  • Budget and Finance: prepare budgets, oversee audit and negotiate with partners;
  • Governance: cultivate strong and active board;
  • Fundraising: lead fundraising efforts with board and diversify funding base;
  • Public relations: develop and oversee marketing plan and communications.

The Executive Director will be expected to attend some Poetry Project events, which will require some evening work.

• Demonstrated senior management experience, preferably in a non-profit arts organization, or comparable experience;
• Thorough knowledge of poetry and the literary arts community, preferably with experience curating a reading series;
• Strong leadership, focus and self-direction, as well as strong presentation/facilitation skills;
• Excellent written and oral communication and outstanding interpersonal skills;
• Proven ability to raise funds from public and private sources;
• Facility for interacting with and building rapport amongst a culturally diverse community of audiences and artists;
• History of building and sustaining collaborative partnerships/relationships among stakeholders and supporters.

• Salary commensurate with skills and experience;
• Generous vacation time and health insurance.

Other Information:
• Appointed by the Poetry Project’s Board of Directors, the Executive Director should plan to serve for a minimum of three years subject to annual performance reviews by the Poetry Project’s Board of Directors.

How to Apply: Email cover letter, resume, and 3 references to executivedirectorsearch@poetryproject.org by 6pm on December 15, 2017. In subject line please put “Poetry Project Executive Director – [Your first name and last name]”.

The Poetry Project is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants from populations underrepresented in the arts are strongly encouraged to apply. All qualified applications will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, ability, age, or veteran status.