Job Search: Managing Director of External Affairs



EMPLOYMENT STATUS: Full-time, W-2 status, permanent, exempt, 40 Hours per week 

DESIRED START DATE: March 1, 2023 (Apply by 1/10/23)

COMPENSATION: $85,000 - $95,000 / PER YEAR 

REPORTS TO: President + CEO 

SUPERVISES: Director of Community Learning; Director of Marketing/Development 

BENEFITS: paid holidays, accrued vacation + sick time, 401k after one year with 3% employer contribution, intermittent travel for staff and board retreats, convenings or discovery trips, employer contribution towards insurance, quarterly work from home stipend, at minimum participation in 3 community rest weeks. 

LOCATION & OFFICE: Fully remote office. The majority of administrative work and meetings are conducted virtually and majority of staff work from a home office except when required to be on-site for programs and meetings. 

SCHEDULE: A typical work week is Monday-Friday 9 am -5 pm ET Flex Schedule with average 40 hour work week. Travel, nights and weekends required for special events, board and community meetings. 

HOW TO APPLY: Submit your application package including a resume, cover letter, and 1-2 work samples. Cover Letter should address why this role is in alignment with your current goals and trajectory at this time, mission alignment, your core competencies, and what you will bring and gain from ACA. Please email your application packet to by January 10, 2023. 

WHERE TO APPLY: Unlock Creative: Coaching & Management Solutions LLC is conducting this search. If you have any questions, please email Ashley Walden Davis at or call 404.236.6222. Label the email “ACA MD Search questions.” All applications and expressed interest in this position will remain confidential. 

WHEN TO APPLY: Apply by January 10, 2023.

ABOUT ACA: The Artist Communities Alliance (ACA) is an international nonprofit association, providing services to more than 400 organizational and individual members working in the field of artist residencies. Based in Providence, RI and operating fully remote, ACA conducts research about artist residencies, hosts field-wide discussions and professional development convenings, manages several grantmaking programs, offers consulting services, develops informational tools, and advocates on behalf of artist residencies and artists. Founded in 1991, ACA maintains a staff of 6-9 employees and a national/international Board of Trustees. We are an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace. We expect our staff to embody respect, independence, collaboration, commitment, anti-racism, and equity both in our outward-facing work and the internal culture of our workplace. 

ABOUT ACA STAFF CULTURE: As an organization dedicated to equitable practice — including racial, gender, and economic justice — we try to live the values we seek to cultivate within the broader artist communities by applying principles of fairness, respect and justice in our relationships with artists, our members, grantees and collaborators, as well as in our internal management processes and structures. We strive to create conditions in which every person is supported to bring their whole, best self to do great work, to learn and to grow. We are building a habit of open and skillful interactions about race and racism, gender and sexism. 


ACA provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws. 

Managing Director Role 

The Managing Director of External Affairs will provide strong leadership, programs operations management, and management for the programs team – individually and collectively. This newly created role of External Affairs comes at a critical time for the organization. A key member of the leadership team with the CEO and Managing Director of Finance + Operations, this individual will collaboratively advance the organization’s strategic vision and bolster plans to achieve our long-term growth goals by securing revenue in addition to expanding our organizational profile and impact. The role will oversee fundraising, marketing/communications, advocacy, and programs in pursuit of ACA’s mission. 

The Managing Director of External Affairs will initially manage a team of coordinators and managers. They will develop a plan to grow their 3 person team by 2-3 positions within 2023, as needed to help meet ACA’s strategic priorities. 


The successful candidate will have 8-10 years of relevant advancement experience in an organization that centers artists including managing team members and must have a demonstrated ability to manage, mentor, and promote strong collaboration in a dynamic environment. They will be open-minded, possess strong listening and written communication skills, be self-directed but have good judgment when consultation is required and communicate openly and effectively across multiple constituencies. They will also have experience with a commitment to racial and gender equity in both a national and global context. An ability to align resources to simultaneously address both current operational needs and future priorities as determined by the President + CEO. Evidence of innovative, proactive thinking, coupled with knowledge of best practices and decision making, based on data and strategy is strongly desired. 

Top candidates will have a penchant for action while also consistently demonstrating a transparent and consultative style of decision-making with the President + CEO and Managing Director of Finance + Operations. They will be an exceptional communicator, possess the ability to inspire and motivate staff, demonstrating a strong consistent work ethic. They will view leadership through a growth mindset and will relish the opportunity to support and develop staff to drive maximum operational effectiveness while fostering a positive work environment. 



● Work in deep partnership with the President + CEO and ACA’s Leadership team to guide the overall strategic vision and pursuit of organizational mission and programs, in partnership with ACA board, staff, members, and supporters. 

● Manage, mentor, and motivate a dedicated Development, Communications and Learning team using a supportive and collaborative approach. 

● Participate in selected program activities to deepen understanding of the why of the organization. 

● Collaborate with the Managing Director of Operations & Finance to provide a consistent and transparent view into revenue planning, opportunities and needs. 

● Open doors for ACA to promote its policy and programmatic goals globally. 

● Reinforce an organizational culture that values "transparency of information” by establishing strategies to implement and evaluate internal and external communications. 


● Drive overall external affairs team’s performance to meet annual goals and objectives aligned with ACA’s strategic vision; regularly review performance and annually adjust compensation relative to performance outcomes. 

● Coordinate with staff to develop measurable individual annual performance goals and objectives; hold staff 

accountable for achieving goals and objectives. 

● Oversees ACA’s communications function, member engagement, ensuring alignment of programs with member needs, updating member profiles to align with new content sharing platforms. 

● Oversees Grantmaking/Consortia related activities in collaboration with the Grants + Development Administrator and President + CEO, ensuring that programs are implemented, data collected, and host residencies engaged. 

Development Responsibilities 

● Manage a portfolio of Foundation, Individual donors and strategic partners with the development team, President + CEO. 

● Co-Create and manage a strategic development plan that grows revenue goals in 30% in 2023, with the goal of securing or increasing support from new, existing, and lapsed supporters. Annual fundraising sources and strategies include foundations, government, major donors, annual appeal, peer-to-peer fundraiser, and a membership program. 

● Develop a strategy to diversify and expand our fundraising portfolio including grassroots donors, high net worth individuals, corporations, and other earned income opportunities. 

● Work with a team to plan and implement special events. Oversee execution, with staff and consultant support as needed. 

● Track, monitor, analyze, and report on key metrics relevant to development efforts and work with the Managing Director of Finance to provide updates and reports that will drive key decisions within the organization. 

Communications Responsibilities 

● Lead the evolution of and oversee strategic management of ACA’s core communications platforms, including website, social media, newsletters and other communications, maintaining brand identity for all programs, events, and general outreach. 

● Oversee the creative development and production of all outward-facing materials and marketing efforts in collaboration with the Director of Communications and Development and consulting graphic designers. 

● Partner with colleagues to conceptualize and deliver content ideas that position ACA as thought leaders in the field of arts and . Content delivered in a variety of formats (articles, videos, infographics). 

● Supervise campaigns in collaboration with Director of Marketing and Communications and consulting press relations firm, when applicable

● Oversee strategy for tracking current and newly established metrics and benchmarks for communications and external relations to improve ACA’s visibility. 

Program & Advocacy Responsibilities 

● Partner with the Director of Community Learning to build a cohesive and comprehensive learning strategy for Artist Communities.

● Collaborate closely with other organizational departments to ensure outreach, partnership and outcomes align with overarching goals.

● Identify and cultivate new strategic partnerships that will have a significant impact on ACA’s objective to promote why the support of individual artists is vital to progress. 

● Establish a “convener strategy” to actively engage key stakeholders and elevate ACA’s research and national thought leadership role. This includes designing an overall conference strategy for ACA-hosted convenings, as well as participation in key forums and gatherings around shared goals that position ACA research, ideas and experts while promoting support of artists through the awareness and use of ACA resources and programs. 

● Translate ideas and insights into actionable program strategy and initiatives with specific and measurable outcomes. 

The foregoing description is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities of this job and other duties may be assigned as needed. 

ACA promotes, and retains employees based on their professional qualifications, demonstrated abilities, and work performance, as well as on the degree to which these qualities are required in the employment positions made available by the organization’s service needs and business requirements. All personnel decisions, including but not limited to recruitment, hiring, compensation, assignment, training, promotion, discipline, and discharge, are made without discrimination based on any protected characteristic as defined by law, e.g., race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, ancestry, age, disability, gender identity or expression, sex, sexual orientation, marital or familial status, domestic partner status, veteran or military status, genetic predisposition or carrier status, and prior criminal convictions, as well as educational attainment.