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Executive Director

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Posted: 05/31/2017

Elmhurst Art Museum

About Elmhurst Art Museum Elmhurst Art Museum was founded in 1997 as a fine art and civic center dedicated to making and experiencing the “art of our time.” Located in the western suburb of Elmhurst, 30 minutes from downtown Chicago and accessible by train, the Museum’s award-winning architecture is matched by its high caliber, ambitious exhibitions of contemporary art, robust public programs and events, artist-led community-based projects, exciting roster of art classes and camps. The ED/CFO will be positioned to leverage the support of a strong Board of Directors, a dedicated staff and a reputation for adventurous undertakings to realize future goals. The museum presents critically acclaimed exhibitions of 20th and 21st century art, architecture and design. Elmhurst Art Museum is poised to expand its reach and its programming as it celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2017 with the ongoing restoration of Mies van der Rohe’s McCormick House (1952), a rare and important building by one of the most important architects of the 20th century, and the upcoming exhibition ‘Mies in Chicago’ funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and guest-curated by Barry Bergdoll (Museum of Modern Art, NYC). The museum works with an international roster of visiting curators and artists led by the Consulting Director of Exhibitions and Programs, to develop original programing around new ideas and new media in art, design and architecture and to present significant traveling exhibitions.

Executive Director
Professional Opportunity
Elmhurst, IL


Reports to: Board of Directors

Direct Reports: Consulting Director for Exhibitions and Programs, Administration and Advancement Manager, Visitor Services Manager, Education Programs Manager, Events Manager

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director (ED) has overall strategic and operational responsibility for staff, programs and execution of mission. The ED directs all fundraising and implements the mission and policies established by the Board of Directors. The ED is responsible for fiscal and operational integrity and for setting the standards for exhibition and education excellence. The ED represents the Museum in external affairs and develops the annual budget and strategies to meet EAMs financial requirements including development and earned-income goals.

With a multi-tasking staff of 2 full time and 6 part time plus 15-20 seasonal instructors and camp counselors, an operating budget which ranges from $700,000 to $1.2 million, and visitorship of 15,000 annually, the Museum is poised for growth.

The Board of Directors seeks a visionary leader with an excellent track record of sound budget management, fundraising, strategic planning and staff management to lead the organization to the next level. The mission of this role is to ensure the long-term sustainability of the museum by building and maintaining a strong brand identity, expanding revenue sources, and maintaining a high level of fiscal and people management practices.

The Executive Director (ED) collaborates with the Board to set the vision and strategic direction of the organization. S/he serves as the Museums public face and spokesperson and must be visible and proactive in the community. S/he is also the organizations primary fundraiser and works closely with the Board of Directors and staff to cultivate new and established donors and to continue to grow productive partnerships with business, cultural and academic entities. The ED establishes fundraising priorities and objectives; creates strategies to meet goals; develops and cultivates donors and prospects; and solicits and stewards major donors.

The ED will possess strong emotional intelligence and play an important role in a range of activities related to institutional planning and resource management. The position manages the annual budget and planning process and makes finance presentations to the board and its subcommittees. S/he is expected to be a thought leader, overseeing and directing procedures related to museum operations and leading efforts for continuous improvement throughout the organization, including exhibitions and education and public programs.

Finally, the ED has the authority and responsibility for the museums budget and its physical and human resources. The successful candidate will be an energetic leader who will embrace the opportunity to move the Museum to a new era of growth and recognition.



The ideal candidate will have at least 15 years of work experience in a senior leadership position with fundraising, financial management, and staff management responsibilities. Specifically, the following competencies will be essential to the EDs success:


The museum is dependent on individual, corporate, foundation and government donors who provide $700,000+ in contributed income which supplements the $300,000 million in revenue earned through museum admission fees, education programs, facility rentals and shop/cafe revenue. The existing donor base is heavily concentrated around Elmhurst. The ED must be a skilled fundraiser who can expand development efforts into and beyond the local area, build strong relationships with existing donors, and enlarge the donor base across all funding streams with the aim of eventually growing the organizations cash reserves and endowment funds.

Operating Leadership

The museum is a sophisticated facility that includes a priceless historic house; a museum center with permanent and changing exhibitions; an education center which offers classes for children and adults as well as a popular summer camp; a store with on-site and online sales; and a small cafe. The ED must have highly developed operating management, financial management, and leadership skills to ensure responsible and effective management of daily operations and the management, coaching, and development of its employees. The ED must also be able to maintain and support an atmosphere where events are executed successfully and profitably.

Marketing & Communication Skills

The ED, along with the Consulting Director for Exhibitions and Program, represents the museum with the community, the media, and the thousands of people who visit and explore it annually. S/he must have highly developed writing, interpersonal, and public speaking skills, and will be called upon to use them daily. The ED is the face and voice of the organization. S/he must have well-developed marketing skills in order to propel admissions, program attendance, store revenues and facility rentals. This role requires tact, judgment, gravitas, presence, persuasiveness, integrity, stamina and a high level of professionalism and comfort interacting with varied audiences.

Responsibilities include:

  • Direct the museum's budget and financial reporting; oversee finance committee activities, general accounting, audit, and HR administration
  • Ensure ongoing program excellence; consistent quality of finance and administration, fundraising, communications, and systems; and recommend timelines and resources needed to achieve the strategic program goals
  • Actively engage and energize volunteers, board members, event committees, partnering organizations and funders
  • Develop, maintain, and support a strong Board of Directors; serve as ex-officio of each committee
  • Ensure effective systems to track progress and regularly evaluate program components, to measure successes that can be effectively communicated to the board, funders, and other constituents.
  • Expand local revenue generating and fundraising activities to support existing program operations while simultaneously retiring building debt
  • Deepen and refine all channels of institutional communicationfrom web presence to external relations with the goal of creating a stronger brand.
  • Responsible for legal activities, compliance and contract review, and coordination with outside counsel
  • Oversee the planning and execution of all fundraising, cultivation and donor acknowledgement activities including: Major gifts, Annual fund, Donor and Member acquisition and retention, Matching and in-kind gifts, Business and individual sponsorships, Grant research, preparation, compliance, performance and reporting, Capital campaigns, Annual Gala (the Soiree)
  • Represent the museum in the media and at professional events.
  • Coordinate activities of subcommittees of the Board of Trustees


  • Advanced degree, ideally an MBA, MPA, or MA in a related discipline with 15+ years of senior management experience; track record of effectively leading an outcomes-based organization and staff
  • Proven ability in organizational management with the ability to coach staff, manage, and develop high-performance teams, set and achieve strategic objectives, and manage a budget
  • Demonstrated success in developing and overseeing long term organizational strategic planning with examples of having developed and operationalized strategies that have taken an organization to the next stage of growth
  • Past success working with a Board of Directors with the ability to cultivate existing board member relationships
  • Proven ability to serve as a strategic thought partner to executive leadership
  • Strong marketing, public relatio
OPen until
Until Filled

How to apply
To Apply Please email a letter of interest and a CV or resume to employment@elmhurstartmuseum.org. No phone calls, please. Due to the high volume of applications only finalists will be contacted. Thank you!
Jenny Gibbs
Phone: 630-834-0202
Elmhurst Art Museum
150 S. Cottage Hill Avenue
Elmhurst, IL 60126

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