Founded in 1961, Palm Beach Opera (PBO) is dedicated to producing opera at an international standard of excellence; to enriching the life of the communities it serves with a diverse offering of programs; and to training the next generation of opera stars. PBO seasons are comprised of both well-known audience favorites and lesser-known works designed to satisfy both the opera aficionado and new audiences. During an intensive opera season from November to April with year-round community engagement and education programs throughout Palm Beach and surrounding counties, Palm Beach Opera now produces over 250 programs and events per year, reaching over 19,000 individuals per season.
Mainstage performances take place at the 2,200-seat Alexander W. Dreyfoos Hall, part of the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, and feature internationally acclaimed singers, conductors, directors, and designers. The Palm Beach Opera Chorus is comprised of up to 50 local singers who are committed to the highest musical values. The Palm Beach Opera Orchestra is made up of approximately 75 professional musicians who are members of major orchestras both nationally and internationally and travel to Palm Beach specifically for PBO productions. PBO’s 2019/2020 Season features Puccini’s Turandot, Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, and Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel.
Additional annual programs include a Children’s Performance Matinée adapting one of the mainstage operas (The Barber of Seville in February 2019), and a Gala Recital and Dinner (Christian van Horn in February 2020), which features opera stars such as Renée Fleming, Joyce DiDonato, Michael Fabiano, Matthew Polenzani, and Sondra Radvanovsky. Past programs have also include outdoor opera concerts, symphonic-choral concerts, and the PBO Vocal Competition.
PBO maintains a strong focus on training the next generation of singers, and has been widely recognized for the success of its rigorous three-tiered artist training model. 18 Participants in the Benenson Young Artist Program and the Bailey Apprentice Artist Program, selected from national auditions, receive extensive training and performance opportunities. Alumni have gone on to sing at major international companies including the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, Berlin State Opera, Vienna, etc. Up to 12 local high school students participate, for free, in the PBO Studio to prepare them to successfully pursue their college and conservatory of music education.
PBO has an annual operating budget which has grown to between $6.0 – $6.5M. The company maintains an endowment of $1.2M, and a Board Restricted Reserve Fund of $835K. It has posted surpluses over the past few seasons, and has future funding secured. PBO is governed by a 26-member Board of Directors. David Walker is General Director and leads a staff of 16, which expands to a larger team during the season when each production employs up to 300 people. The PBO receives additional support from the Palm Beach Opera Guild.
The next Senior Director of Advancement will join Palm Beach Opera at an exciting moment of transition as David Walker, who has served as PBO’s Managing Director since 2016, assumes the role of General Director. The Senior Director of Advancement will have oversight and responsibility for all external relationships and both earned and contributed income at a dynamic, fiscally healthy, and well-respected Company. Palm Beach Opera offers significant opportunities for growth, not only in the area of philanthropy, but in all aspects of patron and revenue development.
Palm Beach is a welcoming and vibrant community that values music, art, dance, and other cultural offerings. The Senior Director of Advancement will join an experienced staff and partner closely with the General Director and a dedicated and supportive Board of Directors whose reach extends nationally.
While working closely with the General Director, the Senior Director of Advancement is responsible and accountable for the planning and execution of a comprehensive program to achieve and exceed the Company’s income goals from all sources. This includes continuing to execute and build upon existing proven fundraising programs for individual donors, revising, designing and implementing effective fundraising programs for institutional donors; designing and implementing an effective planned giving program; designing and implementing marketing plans to increase the Company’s audience and patron base; and producing fundraising and marketing messaging and material to reach multiple stakeholders through print, electronic, and digital media as well the Company’s website.
The Senior Director builds and maintains relationships with individuals and corporations that deepen the commitment of the Palm Beach philanthropic and business communities to the Palm Beach Opera and its mission. Along with the General Director, the Senior Director of Advancement serves as an external face of the Company as s/he represents Palm Beach Opera throughout the community. Since many supporters are seasonal residents of Palm Beach, the Senior Director of Advancement will also build relationships that extend beyond Palm Beach and Florida.
In close collaboration with the General Director, the Senior Director provides leadership and direction in order to inspire, guide, and support the fundraising efforts of the Board of Directors, and volunteers. S/he provides staff support to the Development Committee of the Board, and ensures that members have the information and material they need in order to be effective in their work on behalf of Palm Beach Opera.
The Senior Director of Advancement also works closely with the General Director, and is responsible and accountable for, continuing to execute and build upon existing designs and effective marketing strategies for Palm Beach Opera, including subscription and single ticket sales campaigns, data collection and analysis, and content development for all marketing materials. S/he manages, promotes, and protects the Company’s brand. S/he develops strategies that enhance the patron experience as both audience member and donor and ensures patron loyalty through excellent customer service. S/he secures and fulfills sponsorships and underwriting for productions, performances, and special events. The Senior Director expands the audience for Palm Beach Opera to achieve and exceed earned income goals.
The Senior Director of Advancement is a key member of the senior management team and reports to the General Director. S/he manages a growing full-time team of 9, including development, marketing, public relations, and patron services staff.
The ideal candidate will be an experienced executive with a track record of success generating at least $3 million in annual income from all sources, including individual and corporate philanthropy, ticket sales, sponsorships, and special events. The successful candidate will combine a personal passion for opera with the ability to engage with the experienced opera aficionado as well as the first-time opera ticket buyer. Experience working in a not-for-profit arts or cultural organization is preferred.
The successful candidate will have significant experience in the design, implementation, and evaluation of a comprehensive program to achieve and exceed both development and marketing goals, including annual fund and major gifts campaigns, corporate giving, subscription and single ticket campaigns, and special project fundraising efforts. S/he will have successful experience in securing and managing sponsorships and government grants. S/he will have the proven ability to lead endowment campaigns and planned giving programs.
The successful candidate will be a leader with excellent communication and interpersonal skills, and will be able to work effectively with Board, staff, community leaders, and volunteers. S/he will be able to speak and write persuasively about the mission, programs, and financial priorities of Palm Beach Opera. S/he will have superb planning and organizational skills. S/he will have the demonstrated ability to build, inspire, supervise, and evaluate a high caliber staff.
The successful candidate will have strong ethical standards, personal integrity, and a healthy sense of humor. S/he will be flexible, adaptable, and energetic. S/he will be able to accept a work schedule that includes evening and weekend commitments. S/he will welcome the opportunity to be an active participant in the greater Palm Beach community.
Compensation, including benefits, is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience.
Palm Beach Opera is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all facets of the organization. Palm Beach Opera seeks to develop a diverse candidate pool and welcomes nominations and applications from all qualified candidates.
Please send a cover letter outlining interest and qualifications with resume, salary history or requirements, and contact information for at least three references. Electronic submissions are preferred. All applications will be treated as confidential and references will not be called without the candidate’s knowledge and agreement.
Please send materials to:
Palm Beach Opera – Sr. Director of Advancement
c/o Catherine French Group
2500 Q Street NW, Suite 623
Washington, DC 20007
MS Word or Adobe Acrobat attachments only
Additional Salary Information: Compensation, including benefits, is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience.
About Palm Beach Opera
Catherine French Group works with not-for-profit performing arts organizations in recruitment of executive and senior leadership. For more information, please contact Christopher Wingert at email@example.com.
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