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Managing Director for Advancement, Washington National Opera

John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
District of Columbia, United States
$200,000.00 - $230,000.00
Posted Date
Jun 14, 2024

ABOUT THE KENNEDY CENTER: Opened on September 8, 1971, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is the nation’s performing arts center and continues to fulfill President Kennedy’s vision by producing and presenting an unmatched variety of music, theatre, dance, international festivals, special events, and multimedia performances for audiences of all ages. The Center touches the lives of millions of people each year through thousands of performances by the greatest artists and ensembles from across America and around the world. The Center nurtures new work and emerging talent through commissioning and creating performances, broadcasts, and touring productions. And the Center serves the nation as a leader in arts education.

ABOUT WASHINGTON NATIONAL OPERA: Washington National Opera (WNO), a flagship of the Kennedy Center, is one of the leading opera companies in the United States. Under the world-renowned leadership team of General Director Timothy O’Leary and Artistic Director Francesca Zambello, the company presents a diverse repertory of grand operas and leading-edge productions across three main venues of the Kennedy Center, including the 2,200-seat Kennedy Center Opera House.

With a commitment to presenting dramatically compelling works executed at the highest levels of artistry, the company balances the standard repertory with new and infrequently performed works. Each season, WNO also seeks to shape the future of opera through commissioned American works and a variety of special concerts, youth operas, and events.

Founded in 1956 and an artistic affiliate of the Kennedy Center since 2011, WNO has a storied legacy of groundbreaking world premieres and new productions, international tours, live recordings, and radio broadcasts, digitally streamed content, as well as innovative education and community-engagement programs. In recent years, WNO has been known particularly for championing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging onstage, on the podium, and behind the scenes, by championing artists and creators who identify as BIPOC, women, and non-binary in artistic leadership positions such as conductors, directors, composers, librettists, and designers.

THE OPPORTUNITY: The Managing Director for Advancement, Washington National Opera (MDA) will create and lead a team and a comprehensive advancement strategy to build out the major gift philanthropy program to take it to new levels of success. He/she/they will lead both annual and campaigns and increase and diversify the donor base, focusing primarily on individual major donors.

The MDA reports to Leslie Miller, Kennedy Center Senior Vice President, Development, has a dotted-line relationship to Timothy O’Leary, General Director, of the WNO, and will also work closely with WNO Trustees and the Artistic Director, among others. The individual in this role will lead a team of eight.


  • Passion for the WNO/Kennedy Center mission; an understanding of the importance and reach of the institution.
  • Success driving growth in advancement, preferably in a major not-for-profit cultural institution.
  • Proven ability to plan and lead a comprehensive advancement program and team.
  • Experience working with a sophisticated donor base in a complex institutional setting.
  • Confidence and relationship management skills.
  • Familiar with the local and national philanthropic communities.
  • Major campaign leadership experience.
  • Success as a frontline cultivator and solicitor of major gifts.
  • Committed to the principles of equity and inclusion and a history of growing and leading diverse teams.
  • Able to work successfully with existing donors and tap into new, diverse pockets of major donors.
  • Experience working effectively with board members, artistic teams, and volunteer leadership.
  • A polished communicator.
  • Current with best practices in the field and on-trend approaches in philanthropy including digital/social media.
  • Diplomatic and ambassadorial; able to serve as an advocate and representative for the institution.
  • Ability and willingness to regularly attend evening and weekend events and to travel, as necessary.
  • Bachelor’s degree is required, an advanced degree is a plus.

The compensation range for this role is $200,000-$230,000 commensurate with experience and accomplishments.

Howe-Lewis International is pleased to assist the Kennedy Center with this exciting search. Please click here to apply online via the Howe-Lewis Talent Portal. You may also email your resume and letter of interest to


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