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President & CEO, The Phoenix Symphony


The Phoenix Symphony (TPS) is Arizona's largest performing arts organization and considered a cultural icon. Founded in 1947 as a part-time orchestra, TPS has grown to become Arizona's only full-time symphony orchestra with a 38-week season and 66 musicians. Its vision is to be the arts leader in the revitalization of a thriving Arizona and its mission is to provide the joy of music as a catalyst in helping Arizona become the best place in America to live, work, and raise a family. TPS creates high quality music experiences to feed the souls of its residents, bolster the cultural economy, and educate and strengthen its next generation, resulting in a creative workforce.

Internationally recognized as one of the most gifted conductors on the podium today, Tito Muñoz serves as the Virginia G. Piper Music Director. He is praised for his versatility, technical clarity, and keen musical insight. TPS presents dozens of exciting and inspiring Classics and Pops concerts as well as special performance concerts each year at Symphony Hall in downtown Phoenix and throughout Arizona. Founded in 2001, The Phoenix Symphony Chorus serves as a professional level performing partner and is comprised of more than 140 volunteers who collectively donate over 12,000 hours each year. The 2019-20 season kicks off on September 20, 2019, celebrating the life and works of Ludwig van Beethoven in honor of his 250th birthday.

TPS also offers unique and highly anticipated annual fundraising events. Savor the Symphony, an annual Women's Luncheon at Symphony Hall, offers guests a sneak peek as TPS musicians rehearse with a special guest artist followed by a luncheon prepared by one of the Valley’s celebrity chefs. New Year's Eve Gala at The Biltmore Resort includes a one-of-a-kind opportunity to ring in the new year dancing to the full orchestra after enjoying a three-course dinner and champagne toast.

TPS provides unparalleled civic value to its community and is a critical resource in educating the next generation on music, education, health, and wellness. TPS has a proven track record for providing cutting-edge music education and wellness programs of great breadth and depth. Most importantly, TPS has reconceived the basic mission and vision of an American orchestra: not to foster aesthetic achievement in a bubble but rather align itself with the needs of the greater community. Each year, TPS education and community outreach programs impact more than 90,000 youth in 288 schools and 36 cities statewide through its K-12 school program. Its health and wellness programs reach over 34,000 senior and homeless citizens. Core education and community outreach programs include:

  • Symphony for the Schools
  • Classroom Concerts
  • Mind Over Music™
  • Symphony Connections
  • One Nation
  • B-Sharp Music Wellness, a W.O.N.D.E.R. Project
  • B-Sharp Music Wellness, a W.O.N.D.E.R. Project: Homeless Initiative
  • B-Sharp Music Wellness, a W.O.N.D.E.R. Project: Hospitals Initiative
  • B-Sharp Music Wellness, a W.O.N.D.E.R. Project: Music & Alzheimer’s Research Initiative

The management team is currently led by President & CEO Jim Ward who will retire from the role in 2020. TPS is governed by a 32-member board of directors led by Chairman Dr. Oliver Harper. Members include C-Suite level executives, community leaders, and Maestro Muñoz. Additionally, two TPS musicians serve as board members and attend meetings, present reports, and regularly interact with the board—a rare and unique partnership in the orchestra world that works extremely well at TPS. All board members are engaged advocates for TPS. In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, total reported revenues were $14 million, with $7.2 million from contributions and grants and $6.7 million from program service revenue. Total expenses were $13.4 million.



Nicknamed the “Valley of the Sun,” the Greater Phoenix area boasts an average temperature of 72 degrees and more than 300 days of sunshine annually. With a population of 4.7 million, Phoenix is the fifth largest and fastest growing city in the nation according to the United States Census Bureau. The median age is 36, making Phoenix the sixth youngest metropolitan city in the country. Residents in their 30s and 40s are the fastest growing segment of the population. More than 23 distinct urban and suburban communities encompass Greater Phoenix, including Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Phoenix, Tempe, and Fountain Hills, each with its own identity and warm, welcoming sense of inclusivity.

Phoenix is a region with global reach and represents incredible opportunities for international companies looking to relocate or expand to the United States. There are 802 foreign-owned firms in Greater Phoenix, more than 55,000 people employed by foreign-owned companies, and dozens of international locations reached daily through nonstop flights from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which sees over 45 million passengers each year.

As an innovative and forward-looking city, Phoenix is home to more than 40 universities, training institutions, and internationally renowned business organizations—all geared toward preparing a talented workforce across a variety of industries. Arizona State University is the largest university in the United States and has been named by U.S. News & World Report as the most innovative university four years in a row. This spirit of innovation spills over into all sectors of the community, including the arts. Other globally recognized institutions and business organizations based in Phoenix include Thunderbird School of Global Management, Arizona Culinary Institute, Luke Forward (F-35) at Luke Air Force Base, The School of Architecture at Taliesin, Intel, Canadian Arizona Business Consulate, Greater Phoenix Economic Council, Greater Phoenix Leadership, McCain Institute for International Leadership, and the Sandra Day O’Connor Institute. The prestigious, top ranked Mayo Clinic and Translational Genomics Research Institute are located in the Valley as well as other excellent hospitals and health care providers.

Phoenix has a vibrant, nationally recognized arts and culture community, including TPS, Ballet Arizona, Arizona Opera, Phoenix Art Museum, Heard Museum, Desert Botanical Garden, Musical Instrument Museum, and Phoenix Zoo. In addition, Arizona’s professional sports teams are all located in the Phoenix area. These include the MLB Arizona Diamondbacks, NFL Arizona Cardinals, NBA Phoenix Suns, NHL Arizona Coyotes, and WNBA Phoenix Mercury. The Cactus League’s annual spring training games are iconic and draw millions of visitors each year to the Valley, as does the PGA Phoenix Open. Phoenix will host the Super Bowl in 2023 and the Final Four in 2024. Downtown Phoenix and surrounding communities also offer a collection of major concert venues, high-end shopping, world class restaurants, and exciting nightlife.

Living in Phoenix provides ample opportunity to enjoy a healthy lifestyle year-round with access to not only the Grand Canyon but also some of the best golf courses and hiking and biking trails in the country. Gorgeous mountain views are a part of everyday life. The unique combination of Greater Phoenix’s economic vibrancy, global reach, arts and culture institutions, thriving job market, affordable housing, major sports teams and events, an inclusive mentality, and opportunity for innovation makes living in Phoenix extremely desirable.

Source: usnews.com


Position Summary

Reporting to the board of directors and partnering with the Virginia G. Piper Music Director, the President & CEO will be a consensus builder who strengthens TPS’s leadership team and collaborates with a variety of constituents to define and achieve artistic, audience, and financial goals. The President & CEO will create a culture of learning and growth while providing the organizational leadership and mentorship needed to develop strategic initiatives and community engagement opportunities that are both significant and sustainable. Demonstrating a deep knowledge of and ability to implement best business practices, the President & CEO will exemplify a forward-thinking vision that integrates innovative programming with positive artistic, educational, medical, and social impacts. The President & CEO will have a highly visible public presence throughout the community and will develop meaningful and authentic relationships with subscribers, individual and corporate donors, foundations, educational institutions, government agencies, convention and visitor bureaus, and civic organizations. A genuine partnership with these people and organizations will be critical to the success of TPS.


Roles and Responsibilities

Business Model and Fiscal Vitality

  • Generate and lead the implementation of a short- and long-term strategic and business plan that advances the organization’s mission, vision, values, and financial sustainability.
  • Establish realistic timelines and performance measures that advance strategic initiatives and regularly advise and report to the board and other important stakeholders on the status of key performance indicators.
  • Develop realistic contributed and earned revenue goals, a critically important and durable indicator of financial sustainability, (to include annual fund, events, operating, ticket sales, capital, and endowment) with the Chief Development Officer, Chief Financial Officer, board, and staff to ensure they meet organizational objectives.
  • Collaborate with the Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Development Officer, and board to generate greater brand awareness and increase ticket and fundraising event sales in support of all programs.
  • Oversee the budget and cash flow preparation, reporting, and monitoring, in collaboration with the Chief Financial Officer, Board Vice Chair of Finance, and Board Chairman, and be accountable for the organization’s fiscal resilience and growth.
  • Broaden TPS’s public image and increase brand awareness by utilizing outside sources within the media and public relations world, collaborating with the board, Music Director, musicians, and guest artists when applicable to ensure TPS’s voice is consistent and part of the conversation within all aspects of the community.
  • Adapt to evolving market and demographic shifts, effectively responding to the dynamic community TPS serves.
  • Stay abreast of orchestra industry trends and integrate best business practices to advance TPS’s objectives.
  • Welcome other business model and fiscal vitality responsibilities as needed.


Organizational Growth and Team Resiliency

  • Recruit, engage, mentor, and build a dedicated and experienced management team with the Vice President of Human Resources and Board Chairman.
  • Develop employee goals, establish appropriate performance metrics, and devise competitive compensation structures and benefit programs.
  • Engage with the Board Chairman and Governance Committee Chair in effective board member prospect identification, cultivation, and recruitment.
  • Advise the board on effective policy setting, community ambassadorship, and general governance practices.
  • Collaborate with the Board Chairman to leverage the experience of board committees that focus on board orientation, education, and succession planning, with an eye towards future board members and leaders.
  • Design equity and diversity plans with senior board and staff leadership that reflect workforce needs and volunteer support for inclusive and accessible programs for audiences, students, and artists.
  • Create a culture of positivity via open and honest communication with board, staff, and musicians, embedded in a team building philosophy rooted in trust and cohesion.
  • Engage with various standing orchestra committees on a daily basis.
  • Welcome other organizational growth and team resiliency responsibilities as needed.


Artistic Partnerships and Dynamic Programs

  • Empower the Music Director and collaborate with the Artistic Advisory committee to design artistic programs that support symphony musicians, guest conductors, and guest artists in an environment where they can achieve the highest quality programs and performances.
  • Support the development and implementation of TPS’s artistic, educational, and programmatic objectives consistent with financial capacity, program concepts, special events, and audience engagement.
  • Maintain ongoing excellence in relations between TPS and its valued and committed musicians and ensure that the collective bargaining agreement with the American Federation of Musicians is fair and equitable.
  • Seek out new performance and community engagement opportunities for TPS in consultation with the Music Director, General Manager, and Artistic Advisory committee.
  • Embrace other artistic partnerships and dynamic program responsibilities as needed.


Strategic Collaborations and Community Engagement

  • Identify and explore mutually beneficial strategic partnerships that diversify and expand opportunities for growth and community engagement.
  • Explore deeper relationships with and broader financial support for TPS’s unique educational and community engagement programs.
  • Embrace other strategic collaborations and community engagement responsibilities as needed.


Traits and Characteristics

The President & CEO will be emotionally intelligent, mission driven, action orientated, and naturally collaborative in their desire to support organizational, artistic, and team goals in a community that applauds innovation. A natural leader driven by an innate passion and ability to manage, succeed, and deliver dynamic results, this individual will be people-oriented and thrive on being part of a team. They will appreciate and recognize those who support them internally and publicly.

Other key competencies include:

  • Leadership and TeamworkThe vitality to organize and motivate other people to accomplish goals, create a sense of order and direction, develop a deeply rooted organizational culture, and gain active participation from board, staff, musicians, and strategic partners.
  • Interpersonal Skills and Flexibility The capacity to interact with others in a positive manner, listen carefully, and communicate in an open and honest manner.
  • Customer Service and Diplomacy The resiliency to embrace diverse stakeholder perspectives and set a course that respects others, treats them fairly regardless of personal biases or beliefs, and maintains positive and productive relationships.
  • Personal and Professional Accountability The integrity to meet the highest ethical standards in establishing relevant, realistic, and attainable goals and objectives while anticipating the effects, outcomes, and calculated risks of various options.



A bachelor’s degree is required and a master’s degree in business, arts administration, nonprofit management, or a related field is preferred. A minimum of 10 years of relevant senior leadership experience in maximizing philanthropic support, developing strategic partnerships, increasing earned revenues, and demonstrating financial accountability is necessary. A commitment to orchestral music and the performing arts, active participation in the community, and entrepreneurial experience are welcomed. Bilingual candidates (English/Spanish) will be greatly appreciated by TPS and the diverse community it serves. Candidates must also have exceptional writing and verbal communication skills.


Compensation and Benefits

TPS pays for employee premiums on medical, dental, and short- and long-term disability. TPS also provides basic life insurance and free parking. Optional coverages offered include vision and additional life insurance for employees, spouses, and children. Employees are eligible to participate in the 401(k) plan after one year of employment, with a 3 percent of salary contribution in each pay period. The quality of life, cost of living, and amenities in the Phoenix metropolitan area are exemplary.


Applications and Inquiries

Please submit a letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable revenue and strategic partnership accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred) to:

Dr. Bruce D. Thibodeau, President

Arts Consulting Group

292 Newbury Street, Suite 315

Boston, MA 02115-2801

Tel        (888) 234.4236 Ext. 201

Email    PhoenixSymphony@ArtsConsulting.com


The Phoenix Symphony is an equal opportunity employer that welcomes all qualified applicants and values diversity of all kinds.

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