East West Players Seeks Managing Director to Complement Artistic Director
East West Players (EWP) seeks a Managing Director (MD) to join the celebrated Los Angeles company at a transformative moment in its history. Under Board leadership, the company is building a new organizational structure designed to support an expansive company future through a co-leadership model. The next MD will be joined by a new Artistic Director (searches are concurrent), both reporting to the Board. With this model, new to East West Players, the MD and Artistic Director will share responsibility for and rely on their partnership for the company’s success, while bringing complementary skills and experiences that will allow each to focus more fully on their unique areas of operations.
East West Players is recognized nationally not only as a leader in centering Asian American artists and stories, but also for, as American Theatre magazine noted, “the theatre’s simultaneous dedication to social justice and to the highest level of artistry.”
The ideal new Managing Director will be an experienced, collaborative, and strategically oriented leader to manage their growing budget and operational teams including Finance, Development, IT, Human Resources, and Marketing.
About The Company
Mission & Values
As the nation’s longest-running theatre of color, founded in 1965, East West Players (EWP), is the nation’s premier Asian American theatre. EWP’s mission is to raise the visibility of the Asian American experience by presenting inventive world-class theatrical productions, developing artists of color, and providing impactful youth education programs. EWP’s vision is to inspire and advocate for a world free of racism and discrimination through transformative artistic works. The organization’s objectives are to promote positive images of Asian Americans, increase access, inclusion, and representation for Asian American artists in Los Angeles’ creative economy, and lead the Asian American theater movement toward greater cultural diversity and artistic expansion. EWP is guided by the following values:
- • Artistic Excellence -To aspire to the highest level of artistry.
- • Social Consciousness – To raise visibility and dialogue around the issues that affect our times.
- • Community- To create an open and inclusive space for diverse constituencies.
- • Visionary Leadership – To lead the Asian American and theatrical communities with ground-breaking artistic works.
Activities & Programs
EWP’s activities include producing three to five theatrical works each season, with at least one premiere, on their mainstage at the David Henry Hwang Theater in Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles. They also offer an artistic development program called Counter-Culture, consisting of community conversations, readings, and workshops of new works that explore current societal issues. In addition to their mainstage productions and artistic development initiatives, EWP provides educational programs that supplement arts education in schools. EWP provides services annually to over 11,000 youth through two signature programs:
- • Theatre for Youth is a touring production that travels to schools and community centers in Los Angeles each year, and
- • Partners in Education and Arts Collaboration is a free afterschool education program for upper-elementary and middle school students hosted at Title I schools.
- • Partners with other arts organizations in Los Angeles County, including Pasadena Playhouse, Robey Theatre, Fountain Theatre, and Center Theatre Group, to expand its audience base and collaborate on shared artistic programming.
- • Serves the community with classes and opportunities for artists’ professional development through professional enrichment programs.
EWP has received national acclaim, including such awards and honors as:
- • The distinguished Ford Foundation America’s Cultural Treasures grant (20 grant recipients in the Nation).
- • The America’s Cultural Treasures initiative, funded by a network of 16 donors and foundations, provides multiyear, operational, and general support grants to Black, Latino, Asian and Indigenous organizations as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the arts.
- • Nominee in the 64th Grammy Awards for Best Global Music Album East West Players Presents: Daniel Ho and Friends LIVE.
The Union Center for the Arts
East West Players’ current home is in the upper three levels of the Union Center for the Arts in the northwestern end of the Little Tokyo Historic District. The company has had several homes in the 57 years since its founding, including most recently in a 99-seat theatre in Silver Lake, before moving to the new David Henry Hwang Theater in the Union Center for the Arts in 1998.
The building located on Judge John Aiso Street was damaged during the 1994 Northridge earthquake, leaving it unusable. The Little Tokyo Service Center Community Development Corporation completed a multi-million dollar renovation of the building in 1998 to house three arts organizations – the East West Players, Visual Communications and LAArtcore.
Learn more about EWP on the East West Players website.
The Position and Key Priorities
EWP is seeking an experienced, collaborative nonprofit leader with a successful track record of financial and organizational management and fund development. After receiving several large grants and one-time gifts, EWP is in a unique position to build its capacity and community impact. The new Managing Director will need to focus on providing financial leadership and creating a more efficient organizational structure to support its recent growth. Alongside the Artistic Director, both Directors report to the Board of Directors and will be responsible for continuing the mission of East West Players, and managing the changes necessary to position it for dynamic growth and community impact. The Managing Director is responsible for overseeing the business functions of the theater, with 4 employees plus several consultants in Administration, Finance, Development, IT, Human Resources, and Marketing.
The new Director will be instrumental in EWP’s efforts to raise the visibility of the Asian American experience by presenting world-class theatrical productions, developing artists of color, and providing impactful youth education programs. To achieve these goals, the MD will be responsible for diversifying its revenue streams, and laying groundwork to eventually ramp up its capacity to add performances. The top priorities for the position in the first 18-24 months include:
- • Lead and solidify the financial operations by developing systems, processes, and internal controls to effectively fiscally manage the organization. Provide financial leadership in developing and reaching budget goals and key strategic initiatives and producing the key metrics, analysis, and reporting ability needed to reach the organization’s goals.
- • Build a sustainable organizational structure and cohesive team by creating an organizational structure that aligns with EWP’s budget and future goals. Oversee the placement, training, goal-setting, and accountability metrics for staff to succeed. Communicate expectations clearly and effectively manage the change process as the organization continues to grow.
- • Diversify and increase revenue streams. Play a leadership role in building the fundraising capacity of the organization including but not limited to capacity to cultivate, solicit and close individual major gifts. Lead development team including development staff, board members and other volunteers. Collaborate with Artistic Director to analyze new growth opportunities and ways to diversify earned revenue for the organization.
- • Develop and begin execution of a strategic business plan. In collaboration with the Artistic Director, Board of Directors, and Staff, play a leadership role in the development of a long-term strategic plan and realistic multi-year budget that accounts for increased fundraising, a sustainable staffing structure, improved communication, facility planning, and long-term sustainability. Strategically plan for a sustainable annual budget in the $2M – $2.5M range.
- • Facility Management planning. Work with leadership to develop a plan for a new and/or renovated facility that would allow for EWP’s continued growth and impact.
- • Provide effective leadership, supervision, professional development and operational support to organization staff. Responsible for ensuring key performance indicators for staff and establishing a protocol for monitoring and accountability. Put the necessary work into making the co-director relationship and model with the AD a success.
The ideal candidate will be a strategic financial and operational leader with a passion for social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion. The new leader will have experience as a collaborative nonprofit manager with a track record of leading organizational change, fundraising success and experience developing a solid financial infrastructure.
Essential qualifications include:
- • Proven financial leader with experience in managing nonprofit budgets of at least $2-3M.
- • A minimum of three years’ experience managing HR, IT, facilities and contracts, and experience leading nonprofit finance and/or operations teams through growth or change.
- • Empathetic listener who can resolve conflict, improve morale, and build effective teams.
- • Successful track record leading and managing major organization-wide change processes within collaborative, mission driven organizations.
- • Excellent communicator who can manage diverse teams and priorities beyond finance and accounting, while providing even-keeled leadership and maintaining effective relationships.
- • Successful track record of fundraising, especially individual major gifts. Experience managing a development team a plus, including differentiation between institutional and individual giving processes.
- • Experience leading or facilitating collaborative strategic planning processes with professional staff and volunteers with a wide variety of interests and perspectives.
- • A passion for, and ability to champion social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion within and among EWP’s people, programs and policies.
- • Familiarity with the following are a a plus: o Experience with theater operations and productions.
- o Union contracts and rules.
- o The differences between the entertainment industry and operations of a mission-driven nonprofit theater in Los Angeles.
- • Bachelor’s degree required.
● In person at Los Angeles locations
● Ability to travel locally
● Willing to take a criminal background check
$125,000-$140,000 salary based on experience. Benefits include medical insurance coverage, dental insurance, vision, and a 403(b) with match. Competitive vacation time, 10 paid holidays, and 48 hours of annual paid sick time.
EWP has retained Glick Davis & Associates, LLC to facilitate this search on their behalf. To apply, interested candidates should e-mail their cover letter and resume to: EWP@glickdavis.com Resume(s) received without a cover letter will not be considered.
East West Players is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) employer and values diversity and its role in building a more inclusive culture and ultimately a more capable organization. EWP embraces diversity and equal opportunity, with a strong commitment to equity and representation in our hiring process, as well as in all areas of our work. People of color, LGBTQ+, and women candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. We are committed to building a team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, and skills. The more inclusive we are, the better our work will be.