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Arts administration ,
submitted by
Ashley Bland

Executive Director

PlayMakers Laboratory Executive Director

Organizational Mission

PlayMakers Laboratory, formerly known as Barrel of Monkeys, is an ensemble of actor/educators who create an alternative learning environment in which students share their personal voices and celebrate the power of their imaginations. PML accomplishes this through creative writing workshops and in-school performances of children’s stories. PML also engages the broader community in support of the visions of children through public performances of their work.

Position Description

The Executive Director is an inspirational leader who motivates and unites PML’s staff, company and board in the pursuit of its mission as well as its vision of a radically kind Chicago. Primary responsibilities include Board relations, fundraising, communications, human resources, financial management, and event planning. The Executive Director is responsible for implementing strategic planning goals and ensuring that the mission and programming of the organization is achieved to the highest standards of excellence. The ED reports directly to the Board.


A successful Executive Director will possess strong leadership skills that include a demonstrated ability to coach and develop staff, solid relationship management of both internal and external stakeholders, and robust financial acumen. In addition, they must:

  • Have 3 – 5 years’ experience in nonprofit management, understanding best practices and contemporary issues in leadership, fundraising, HR, and communication;
  • Have a strong financial management background, and be able to effectively report on financial matters to the board and other stakeholders;
  • Have proven experience communicating and collaborating amongst various stakeholder groups and ensuring that information is imparted in a timely and effective manner;
  • Have a strong familiarity with theatre management and/or public education (both a plus!);

Primary areas of responsibility:

Lead Staff:

  • Cultivate the PML leadership;
  • Embrace and effectively manage different methods and ideas;
  • Provide regular and consistent feedback to staff, ensuring the strategic plan’s goals are met; and
  • Ensure a positive and inclusive workplace environment and company culture.

Board Relations:

  • Together with the PML Board’s Executive Committee, cultivate new Board members and maintain strong working relationships with current members and facilitate regular communication with them;
  • Maintain effective reporting systems to ensure the Board is informed and up-to-date on company efforts and programs; and,
  • Work closely with the Executive Committee on strategic projects and organizational oversight.

Implement Strategic Vision:

  • Ensure that the organization engages in regular strategic planning every 3-to-5 years;
  • Oversee delivery of the active strategic plan and demonstrate progress toward measurable outcomes;
  • Drive organizational alignment; and
  • Delegate strategies and tasks as needed to ensure timely completion of goals.

Ensure Financial Success & Sustainability

  • Work with the Finance Committee to develop organizational and project-based budgets;
  • Report regularly on finances: updating projections and monitoring cash flow; and
  • Oversee the annual audit and all legal reporting including IRS filings, state and local requirements, and grant reporting.

Oversee Fundraising & Special Events:

  • Oversee and participate in grant writing and reporting ensuring financial goals are met;
  • Together with staff, research and pursue new funding opportunities as needed;
  • Together with the staff and Board, plan and execute both annual and ad hoc fundraising events;
  • Regularly communicate and meet with large donors, funders, and Board candidates;
  • Attend leadership events, networking opportunities, and professional development workshops to develop and maintain relationships with business leaders and members of the arts education sector.
  • Plan, oversee, and execute individual giving campaigns including an Annual Appeal; and
  • Work with communications, design, and PR staff to meet annual fundraising goals.

Manage Internal and External Communications

  • Serve as a public face of PML, speaking at events as needed and representing the organization; and
  • Drive and maintain effective communication.

Other administrative activities

  • Assist the education department in program evaluation and reporting; and
  • Provide general HR functions.

Salary & benefits information:

The Executive Director position is a full time, exempt position. PML offers a comprehensive compensation and benefits package which includes holidays, vacation, personal and sick leave along with medical and dental insurance. Salary commensurate with experience and as set forth by PML’s annual budget.

To apply:

Please attach cover letter, resume, and salary requirements to The subject line should read, “PML Application – Executive Director.”

Equal Employment Opportunities:

PlayMakers Laboratory is an equal opportunity employer. We provide equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, marital status, protected veteran status, age, individuals with disabilities, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression or any other legally protected category. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

Contact Info:
Ashley Bland
Job Type: Permanent
Location: chicago