Executive Director

1 day left

Ellis Marsalis Center for Music
Louisiana, United States
Competitive Salary
May 18, 2021
Jun 16, 2021
Position Type
Employment Type
Full Time

The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music seeks a creative and dynamic Executive Director to lead the organization into a future of bold programming, transformative community development, an expanding national profile, a growing family of supporters, excellence in music instruction, and a deep commitment to nurturing and celebrating the unique music and culture of New Orleans. The candidate should have a passion for engaging the community, be an inspiring, experienced fundraiser, and have broad operational and managerial experiences. The candidate should possess the skills to use music culture to deliver a broad range of programs and services to a culturally rich, but historically underserved neighborhood long imprinted by economic inequality, natural disasters, and social injustice.

The Center’s next Executive Director will be an experienced leader who can steer the organization into a new era driven by an ambitious strategic plan. As the lead development officer, the Executive Director will convincingly communicate the organization’s unique value proposition to a diverse and expanding base of supporters locally, regionally, and nationally. The Executive Director shall be capable of steering the organization to greater visibility by leveraging interest in the Center’s distinctive culturally-infused approach to community engagement. Reporting to a committed Board of Directors, the Center’s Executive Director will oversee an annual operating budget of $2 million and will lead a team of full- and part-time educators, professional musicians, technical staff, and consultants.



Located in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music uses music as the focal point of a holistic strategy to build a healthy community and to deliver a broad range of services to underserved children, youth, and musicians from neighborhoods battling poverty and social injustice. The Center is a safe and supportive environment where children and youth develop musically, academically, and socially; where local musicians perform, record and develop professionally; and where the community gathers. The Center also serves as a community resource and a catalyst for cultural preservation.

The Center was founded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina by New Orleans natives Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick, Jr. It lies at the heart of Musician’s Village, an affordable housing development conceived both to create a community for displaced musicians and to preserve New Orleans music culture. The Center’s 17,000-square foot facility features a 170-seat performance space, a recording studio, a computer center, a listening library, a dance studio, office spaces, community gathering spaces, and a variety of classrooms and teaching facilities.

More information about the Center can be found at https://www.ellismarsaliscenter.org



As head of the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, the Executive Director will have the opportunity to generate transformative change in New Orleans and the Ninth Ward, working across a broad spectrum of competencies to advance the organization’s mission-driven work. Within several key areas of responsibility, the Executive Director will:

  • Board Governance and Development: Work closely with a committed Board of Directors to ensure that the strategic, operational, and financial direction of the Center remains strong and in alignment with the organization’s mission, values, and goals.
  • Programming: Provide leadership for all programming and services while creating and implementing innovative new initiatives in accordance with the Center’s strategic plan. 
  • Administration: Deliver operational excellence through the leadership, management, and mentoring of a talented and diverse staff; ensure that the organization’s financial standards, operating policies, programmatic commitments, and legal/statutory requirements are met.
  • Development: Lead all fundraising efforts, in conjunction with development consultants, including cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding major donors and national foundations in support of the Center. 
  • Marketing and Public Relations: Create and execute a comprehensive marketing strategy to publicize the Center’s mission-driven programs through all media outlets, in order to raise its profile among the general public, both locally and nationally.
  • Partnerships: Create and maintain relationships with community members, funders, and institutional partners to promote the expansion of the organization’s programs and services.



The ideal candidate for the Center’s Executive Director role will be an entrepreneurial leader and collaborative convener with the cultural competence and expertise to advance the organization’s mission; lead programming; spearhead fund development; manage a diverse team; and anchor the organization as an important cultural and community center in a historically significant neighborhood. The most competitive contenders for the role will embody a solid combination of the following traits and experiences:

  • Seven or more years of senior-level leadership of a complex organization, including experience in working with boards of directors.
  • Experience in launching, managing, and expanding programming in a nonprofit or social enterprise.
  • A working knowledge of arts education and/or music education, and the opportunities that come from new technologies.
  • A demonstrated ability to develop and manage diverse teams of creative professionals.
  • A strong history of strategic, analytical, and planning skills, coupled with strong team building and problem-solving skills.
  • Five or more years of demonstrated success in raising major gifts for a community-based nonprofit organization, preferably in the arts and culture sector.
  • An embrace of a culture of long-term planning, including multi-year evolution of programs, proactive marketing, communications, and fundraising strategies.
  • An ability to approach and lead the Center’s work through a social justice lens.
  • Excellent organizational, verbal, and written communication skills across a wide variety of constituency groups; experience in serving as the chief spokesperson for an organization is a plus.
  • Experience in fostering collaboration and bringing individuals and groups together in partnership around common goals and new endeavors.
  • An ability to represent the Center at a national level and serve as a thought-leader in running a nonprofit cultural organization.
  • An interest in, understanding of, and commitment to the mission of the Center.
  • A Bachelor’s degree is required.


The candidate search is being conducted by Yvette Jones of The Jones Group of New Orleans and Brinkley Serkedakis of Arabella Street Strategies. To apply, please email a resume, letter of interest, and three professional references to EMCMExecutiveDirector@ArabellaStreetStrategies.com

Candidate nominations are also welcomed.


The Ellis Marsalis Center for Music is an equal opportunity employer. There is no discrimination with regard to hiring, assignments, promotions or other conditions of staff employment because of race, creed, color, religion, veteran status, national origin, age, sex, marital status, sexual preference or a disability not pertinent to the assigned job.


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