Traditional English and American country dance, music and song thrive in North America due in large part to the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS) and its many members, participants and affiliates. With its internationally-recognized camps and leadership conferences, its increasingly robust online resources, its support for callers, dancers, singers, musicians and organizations across the continent, CDSS builds and connects strong, sustainable communities and encourages their new expression.
The Opportunity and Organization
Headquartered in picturesque Easthampton, Massachusetts, CDSS is seeking an executive director to lead this national education and arts service nonprofit organization that engages recreational and professional dancers, singers, musicians, teachers, callers and dance historians in the enjoyment of traditional English and American country dance, music and song.
As the organization comes off its successful Centennial Celebration, which included a $1 million gift, CDSS must continue to find new ways to encourage and increase learning, leadership and sustainability; to foster innovation, talent and enthusiasm of musicians, singers and dancers; to energize the next generation; and to deepen and broaden participation wherever its communities seek to thrive.
CDSS is poised to use its wide-spread connections of people and communities to build an increasingly nimble organization to serve its dance, music and song constituents around North America and beyond. The Governing Board and staff of CDSS are excited to discover new ways to connect people both locally and across the continent—individual dancers, singers and musicians, groups, other nonprofit partners and volunteers—enabling the organization’s communities to grow and thrive.
Special opportunities and responsibilities:
- To develop the capacity of all individuals in this organization—including its governing board, members, committees and volunteers—to move the organization forward.
- To lead the organization’s planning for programs/activities funded by a transformative $1 million multi-year gift.
- To identify new outreach opportunities to meet evolving needs and interests of the next generation of dancers, singers, musicians, leaders and organizers.
- To build a sustainable business model and significantly expand the capacity of CDSS to raise funds and earn income for its programs.
- To translate the vision and mission of CDSS to align, motivate and organize staff and board to accomplish the organization’s valued work.
- To expand and enhance the relationship CDSS has with its group affiliates, ensuring efficacy, appropriate organizational structure and legal compliance.
- To bring the organization’s voice to the national conversation advocating for community-based arts organizations.
Throughout the United States and Canada, CDSS has approximately 300 affiliated groups, one third of which are covered by its federal group tax exemption status, and 3,000 individual and family members. With an annual budget of $1.4 million, CDSS has 10 dedicated full- and part-time staff (total eight FTE), many having worked for CDSS for more than 20 years, and approximately 80 part-time camp staff. The active governing board is comprised of 23 individuals from around North America, most of whom are practicing dancers, singers and musicians as a vocation or avocation.
The Ideal Candidate
The successful candidate must be a creative leader with strong communication, consensus- building, financial management, fundraising and interpersonal skills. Specifically, CDSS is looking for a candidate who has a breadth of experience and confidence to lead a national organization and who possesses the following experience, skills and attributes:
- Strength in strategic thinking and the ability to execute plans effectively;
- Ability to organize and capitalize on all the creative talent that currently exists within the organization;
- Experience developing staff and volunteers and the ability to motivate others and build teams;
- Communication skills including listening, speaking and writing;
- Ability to build a culture of valuing leaders and leadership—staff, board and community;
- Collaborative leadership skills, focused on promoting positive group dynamics, sharing success and engaging staff, volunteers, community and partners;
- Experience in applied nonprofit management;
- Achievements in fundraising and experience in fundraising program development;
- Well-developed emotional intelligence and ability to nurture and increase EQ in others.
- Understanding of a wide range of technology and social media for building community, information sharing, publications, marketing, visibility and fund-raising;
- Interest in becoming part of the organization’s extended community; knowledge of and personal experience with English and American country dance, music and song, or parallels, is valuable but not required;
- Ability and willingness to travel periodically.
Application Process and Additional Information
This search is being conducted by Third Sector New England's Executive Transitions Program with Transition Consultant Marie Dalton Meyer. All submissions are confidential.
Salary is commensurate with experience, within the framework of the organization’s annual operating budget.
Country Dance and Song Society is an equal opportunity employer. People from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.