Executive Director


The Board of Directors of the San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC) seeks a dynamic, strategic leader and communicator who is passionate about participatory performing arts for girls and young women as a means for building self-efficacy, individual achievement, self-expression, interpersonal and leadership skills, and artistic excellence, and about the unique contribution that girls’ and young women’s voices at the highest level of artistic practice bring to the performing arts field at large. This leader will maintain SFGC’s delivery of exceptional music education programs and services, provide leadership for the development of a refreshed vision and strategic plan for the organization, and cultivate strong, thriving relationships with internal and external stakeholders, including board and staff, parents, patrons, schools, other performing arts organizations and funders, and musician/composer partners and collaborators. SFGC is highly visible both through its participation in professional-level performances nationwide, and through its status as a superb educational institution for young women.

SFGC’s next Executive Director will have the skills to partner with and support the organization’s experienced Faculty and Senior Leadership Team to continue to create and deliver the highest caliber of music education and performance programs for young women in the San Francisco Bay Area, across the nation and around the world. Reporting to the Board of Directors co-equally with the Artistic Director, the Executive Director supervises the Management Team consisting of the Music Director and Principal Conductor, Finance and Operations Director, Development and Communications Director.

ABOUT san francisco girls chorus

Established in 1978, and with an operating budget of $2.4 million, the mission of the San Francisco Girls Chorus is to create outstanding performances featuring the unique and compelling sound of young women’s voices through an exemplary program committed to education and visionary leadership in the development of this art form.

The vision of the San Francisco Girls Chorus is to produce performances of the highest artistic caliber; to provide music education for girls and young women from all backgrounds; to be a leader in the field through creativity and innovation; to give the girls and young women who participate in Chorus programs the skills, self-discipline and confidence to succeed in music and in life; to instill in the choristers a lifelong love of music; and to communicate this passion through involvement with the greater community. To this end, three years ago, the Board selected new musical and artistic leadership to bring a refreshed focus and vision to SFGC. Under the direction of Artistic Director Lisa Bielawa and Music Director Valérie Sainte-Agathe, the SF Girls Chorus has achieved an incomparable sound that underscores the unique clarity and force of impeccably trained treble voices fused with expressiveness and drama. As a result, the Chorus vibrantly performs 1,000 years of choral masterworks from plainchant to the most challenging and nuanced contemporary works created expressly for them in programs that are as intelligently designed as they are enjoyable and revelatory to experience.

Over 300 singers from 45 Bay Area cities ranging in age from 4 to 18 participate in the SFGC’s programs. The organization consists of a professional-level performance, recording, and touring ensemble; the four-level Chorus School training program; and a Preparatory Chorus for 4-7 year olds.

A leading voice on the Bay Area and national music scenes, the Chorus has produced award-winning concerts, recordings and tours, empowered young women in music and other fields, enhanced and expanded the field of music for treble voices and set the inter­national standard for the highest level of performance and education.

Commissions of new work from the leading composers of our time, collaborations with renowned guest artists, and partnerships with other Bay Area and national arts organizations provide the young women of SFGC with matchless performance experiences among powerful adult role models. In addition to its annual engagements with the San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Symphony, recent and current/upcoming artistic partnerships include the New York Philharmonic’s Biennial Festival of New Music at Lincoln Center in June 2016 in collaboration with The Knights orchestra, the newly-created SHIFT Festival of American orchestras in April 2017 in Washington, DC, featured appearances at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Carnegie Hall, and others. Many of these performances include works commissioned especially by and/or for SFGC.

Additionally, SFGC’s owns and operates the Kanbar Performing Arts Center, which has become a hub for small to mid-size arts organizations in the Bay Area. In addition to SFGC’s own rehearsal and performance programs, the Kanbar Center provides long-term leased office space to such organizations as Chanticleer, American Bach Soloists, Opera Parallèle, and the New Century Chamber Orchestra, as well as rehearsal space for groups including the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, Merola summer opera program and the San Francisco Boys Chorus.

The SFGC also offers an Educational Engagement Program that takes the choral music experience to under-served and low-income students throughout the Bay Area. Creating Choral Music is in its ninth year at three elementary schools in San Francisco and Oakland.


Members of the SFGC Board and staff recently reviewed the current record of achievements and the near-term opportunities and challenges to its work in order to develop a new vision for the future.  To continue building on SFGC’s strong record of outstanding and innovative performances and creating new works and opportunities, several priority goals and objectives were identified.   The incoming Executive Director will be charged with leading the Board and staff in setting specific strategies to reach these Key Outcomes:

  • To become something that has not existed before
  • To achieve recognition in the field according to professional-level musical standards
  • To become a recognized leader in music and young women’s organizations in general, within but also beyond the choral music field
  • To have a strong, international “name-brand” artistic and cultural identity

For SFGC to remain cutting-edge in its field, the Board seeks to achieve the following Objectives in the next Five Years:

  • Continue to increase our reputation through high quality programming and artistic achievement that lead to a “sea change” in the field of treble vocal music
  • Further expand and develop our educational programs to be more diverse, far-reaching throughout the region, with rigorous and exceptional music training
  • Continue to build and strengthen our Board of Directors to expand fundraising, professional prominence, diversity and governance capacity
  • Continue to empower girls to be high achievers, seek musical careers, and become leaders
  • Maintain healthy and sustainable financial practices with a balanced budget and substantial reserves
  • Further professionalize our infrastructure with the right mix of staff who have the resources, professional development and tools needed for success
  • Build a strong and viable fundraising apparatus the includes a deep pool of donors, endowed funds, planned gifts and special events that support at least half of the annual budget
  • Ensure The Kanbar Center reflects everything we do with improved spaces and necessary structural and sound improvements
  • Contribute to a refreshed vision and a 3- to 5-year strategic plan for the organization in partnership with the Artistic Director, Board of Directors and leadership team
  • Continue to build on marketing/PR planning efforts to brand/differentiate SFGC to raise its visibility and strengthen its position with peer organizations/competitors, partners, funders, and the artistic community



The Executive Director serves as chief executive officer responsible to the Board of Directors for the effective conduct of all affairs of the organization. The Executive Director:

  • Engages with board and staff in carrying out the strategic vision for SFGC.
  • Recommends to the board an annual budget and an annual work plan in line with SFGC’s strategic vision.
  • Working cooperatively with the Artistic Director and Music Director, serves as the public face and a leading voice for the organization.
  • Assures that the organization’s programs, products and services are consistently of the highest quality.
  • Supports the work of the Board of Directors, and is involved in the planning of its meetings and achievement of its priorities.
  • Ensures sound fiscal and programmatic operations of the organization. Supervises senior staff, who are, in turn, responsible for overseeing SFGC’s musical and educational programs, finances, building and contracted artistic and outreach projects and performances.
  • Leads and participates in active fundraising to secure project contracts and grants and to generate sponsors, donors, fees, and foundation funding.
  • Develops and maintains strong, well-grounded and collaborative relationships with SFGC’s staff, customers, choristers and their families, funders and sponsors, and other collaborating organizations within the artistic community.



Required Qualifications

  1. Demonstrated arts champion with a commitment, passion and love of arts and culture, particularly as related to those organizations that serve children and families.
  2. Knowledge and understanding of cultural institutions and enterprises and performing arts programming with particular emphasis on music education and the individuals, foundations, cities, counties and initiatives that fund them.
  3. Demonstrated understanding of youth development and leadership programs that operate within the framework of social responsibility and advocacy for girls’ empowerment.
  4. Executive-level leadership skills, including the ability to think and plan strategically, create an organizational vision that ties multiple programs together, and execute an innovative vision by bringing together the financial and human resources necessary for successful and impactful programs.
  5. Previous success in building a culture of teamwork and cross-departmental communication that fosters excellent employee morale and retention.
  6. A minimum of 7-10 years of experience in upper-level organizational management with strong experience and success in strategic planning, operational, fiscal, arts advocacy and program oversight and developing and supporting high-performing diverse work teams.
  7. Knowledge and understanding of the diverse funding streams of earned and contributed sources necessary to fund arts programming.
  8. A strong track record in raising funds from multiple sources for nonprofit arts organizations; keen awareness of diverse funding opportunities; and understanding and ability to foresee and project earned income potential, philanthropic and other funding.
  9. Strategic networking skills; ability to build and maintain strong relationships and position San Francisco Girls Chorus successfully as a leader in the music field.
  10. Excellent verbal and written communications skills, including public speaking and use of electronic media; ability to represent SFGC to the public and advocate on its behalf.
  11. Experience developing excellent working relationships with the Board of Directors and staff; ability to engage and motivate them to achieve organizational goals.
  12. Culturally sensitive and aware; commitment to multicultural learning environments and culturally informed service delivery and programming.
  13. College degree required, with graduate experience in arts administration management preferred with an emphasis on performing arts, culture and arts. Additional professional training or internships in the field considered a definite plus.


This position is San Francisco-based and the starting annual salary is $115,000-$120,000. SFGC’s outstanding benefits package includes health, dental and life insurance, a retirement savings plan (403B) and other voluntary benefits. Additionally, SFGC offers a uniquely generous time off package (11 paid holidays, two personal days, three  weeks’ vacation accrual).


Applicants should send their resumes and cover letters describing their qualifications and interest in the position to boardpresident@sfgirlschorus.org

Deadline for submission is November 22 or until the position is filled. Please note that first round interviews will take place the first week of January 2017. Early application submission is encouraged. Documents should be submitted as PDFs.

San Francisco Girls Chorus is an equal opportunity employer. Submission of your application is not an offer of employment or an employment contract.