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submitted by
Aurora Toshiko King

Creative Pathways Manager

Job Title: Creative Pathways Manager

Reports To: Executive Director

Supervises: PT Creative Pathways Coordinator, PT Teaching Artists

Status: 32 hour per week salaried position (exempt employee)

Schedule: 4 day a week/ hybrid

Salary: $46,400 (based on .8 of a 58K annual salary)

Benefits: Health insurance (medical, dental, and vision), life insurance, 401k, PTO (vacation, sick, and holidays - including a full week off during the winter holidays and two additional all-staff paid closure/rest weeks per year).

About Free Spirit Media:

Free Spirit Media (FSM) partners with young creators, ages 11-25 and primarily from the West and South sides of Chicago, to develop and amplify their unique and critical voices through storytelling and media arts. We do this through our holistic programming which focuses on community-building, skill-sharing, media creation and career and education pathways that support young people to envision and build their futures within the media industry and beyond.

FSM’s goal is to support young BIPOC media makers and journalists as they form robust and sustainable support systems, gain the skills needed to pursue employment in their creative fields, and understand the powerful and important gifts they bring to their chosen careers and society. FSM’s media arts education and workforce investment programs are designed to break down barriers to access, success and leadership for emerging media makers and journalists from Chicago’s West and South Sides.

Programming is successful when young people obtain the resources they need to share their essential voices, apply their unique talents in pursuit of college and/or careers and find meaningful work within the film and journalism industries and beyond. FSM envisions a future in which more BIPOC creators are able to influence and shape the media industry and thereby influence and shape society.

Overview of Position

The Creative Pathways Manager is a passionate and creative media maker and educator who believes in the power of storytelling and young people to lead transformational societal change. The Manager is responsible for driving and supporting all aspects of Free Spirit Media’s Creative Pathways programs. This key role partners directly with program staff, teaching artists, young creators and the executive director to ensure responsive, high-quality, values-driven creative workforce programs at Free Spirit Media. The ideal candidate is committed to the arts, young people, social justice and building power with BIPOC storytellers and has had steadily increasing responsibilities in media arts, media production and/or workforce development programs.

Core Responsibilities:

The Creative Pathways Manager utilizes facilitation, collaboration and holistic program planning, as well as a strong equity lens to drive and implement FSM’s Creative Pathways programs, ensuring that our programming is values and mission-aligned.

This role serves as a mentor and manager to one staff member and a small cohort of intergenerational teaching artists, as well as a liaison and partner to filmmakers, producers, production companies, media outlets and film houses across Chicago and on behalf of FSM.

Key responsibilities:

Program Development & Facilitation:

  • Drive and facilitate the responsive development, implementation and evaluation of creative pathway programs in partnership with staff and teaching artists.
  • Lead and cultivate a community of practice and support amongst intergenerational teaching artists and creative pathways staff.
  • Utilize creative youth development and restorative practice principles to design and implement program curriculum, in partnership with guest artist facilitators, program staff and teaching artists.
  • Document program structure, session to session, including big picture strategy through collaborative curriculum mapping and creating lesson plans to make visible weekly and daily activities, objectives and procedures.
  • Lead the planning, coordination and facilitation of The Cohort, a 12-week intensive training program preparing emerging creators with technical skills and professional development with the culmination of a short narrative film production.
  • Lead the planning, coordination and facilitation of Flash Forward, Industry Pathways’ Summer Internship and Fellowship program, including but not limited to: recruitment, enrollment, and professional development support services; supporting program design; event coordination; and community and partner engagement and program evaluation.
  • Facilitate planning and implementation process for the Chicago Track, a Fall Professional development training series for young creators.
  • Innovative and deepen program design in collaboration with the Creative Pathways Coordinator and teaching artists and in response to the needs and interests of young creators at FSM.
  • Represent FSM’s creative pathway programs at conferences, workshops, and community events.
  • Plan and facilitate professional development workshops (resume, job and interview preparedness, personal pitching) for creative pathways creators.
  • Cultivate and develop partnerships with artists, industry professionals, and mentors in the film and media community.

Management & Supervision:

  • Support and manage the Creative Pathways Coordinator and Teaching Artists through regular check-ins, shared work plans, clear shared goals and ongoing coaching and collaboration.
  • Partner with the Creative Pathways Coordinator to develop program materials and uplift the work of Creative Pathways in FSM social media channel.
  • Partner with the Creative Pathways coordinator to implement Creative Pathway Programs at FSM.
  • Co-facilitate the hiring and onboarding of teaching artists.

Program Administration:

  • Lead the ongoing collection and management of all data, to align with strategic priorities and funding requirements.
  • Manage and track program budget, invoicing and payroll process connected to creative pathway programs.
  • Collaborate on grant proposals and funder reports and lead partner evaluation strategies.
  • Draft and file MOUs with partnering organizations, contracted temporary instructors, production, and community partners.
  • Facilitate Creative Pathways member administration through onboarding and orientation of new creators; track experience, engagement, and progression in our participant database; and manage administrative records required for program and partner needs.
  • Manage and improve participant and mentor database and tracking systems, ensuring documentation of participant and mentor engagement and progression


  • Belief in the power of young storytellers to lead social change.
  • Love of storytelling and media.
  • A commitment to leadership driven through mentorship, compassion, reciprocal learning and respect for the power of collaboration.
  • Commitment to collaboration built through reciprocity and active communication with staff, families, young people and partners.
  • Experience as a media artist educator.
  • Experience working as a media producer.
  • Ability to work a flexible schedule, including some evening hours and weekends.
  • Ability to prioritize tasks efficiently with a strong attention to detail, time management, multi-layered procedures and complexity.
  • An equity lens (awareness of the inequities that exist at multiple levels from the personal to systemic) and demonstrated commitment to the values of equity, inclusion and belonging.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Experience working with Excel, Adobe Creative, and Salesforce is a plus.
  • Ability to work from our North Lawndale, Chicago office with options for a hybrid work schedule.
  • Bachelor's degree and/or equivalent of 3-5 years youth development work experience (social justice and arts nonprofit experience preferred).

Work Requirements:

This is a .8 FTE position. Hours average 32 hours a week, with some evening and weekend hours required and occasional flextime during production.

To apply:

Please send inquiries to with the subject line: “Creative Pathways Manager.” Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis with a start date July 1st or earlier. Please submit the following information in PDF format: 1) a cover letter explaining your interest and qualifications for the position; 2) your resume.

Free Spirit Media is committed to diversity, equity and belonging across all aspects of the organization. We strongly encourage those who reflect our community to apply, including West and South side residents, BIPOC identified people, individuals with disabilities, LGBTQI and/or people from low-income and working-class backgrounds.

Job Type: Permanent
Location: Chicago, IL