Hiring – Executive Director

ORGANIZATION: Workers Arts & Heritage Centre

POSITION: Executive Director (35 hrs/week)

REPORTS TO: Board of Directors

LOCATION: Hamilton, Ontario 

                 START DATE: End of August                   

WEBSITE: www.wahc-museum.ca


BACKGROUND

The Workers’ Arts and Heritage Centre’s (WAHC) mandate is to bring together and celebrate ALL working people (paid and unpaid) through art, history, and culture, enabling a stronger, more connected community. To do this, we facilitate shared opportunities where diverse stories and ideas are invited and exchanged. Our vision is a society where all labour matters and our organizational values include solidarity, dignity and equity and inclusion. WAHC is located just off Hamilton’s creative hub, James Street North, in a designated heritage building, the Custom House. WAHC is a community museum and multi-disciplinary arts centre – we program contemporary exhibitions, arts events and permanent exhibits as they relate to our mandate. We support contemporary artists with a focus on social practice and community engagement, and foster and promote arts that can be accessed by a diverse range of audiences. WAHC also works very closely with, and is heavily supported by, Canada’s union movement.

WAHC was started 27 years ago by a dynamic group of labour historians, artists, and union and community activists who gathered together to discuss the need for a place where workers’ history could be celebrated. In 1996, after intense work by a volunteer board of directors, the Workers Arts & Heritage Centre opened the doors of its permanent home, the historic Custom House in Hamilton’s north end.  WAHC is committed to the maintenance and preservation of the Custom House, a national historic site and a unique piece of built heritage in the City of Hamilton. WAHC’s stewardship of the Custom House serves as an important community space for the local arts and cultural sector, as well as the non-profit sector more broadly.             

PRIORITIES AND ONGOING RESPONSIBILITIES

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will lead the overall direction and operations of an Ontario Heritage Trust-listed site, community museum and multi-disciplinary arts centre, as well as supervision of unionized and contract staff that involves overseeing workload planning and guidance. The ED will have responsibility for implementing and enhancing the organization’s strategic goals. The individual selected will be bold and creative in enhancing WAHC’s position as a vibrant community museum and community arts organization within Hamilton. 

Like most arts organizations, COVID has impacted our programs and disrupted our operations. While we have remained financially stable, WAHC is entering a period of rebuilding. This will present the incoming ED with an interesting opportunity to assess, analyze and rebuild programs and organizational operations. Strategic alliances – be they formal or informal – will be important.

SPECIFIC RESPONSIBILITIES

  1. The Director will participate in, and lead development of, strategic planning for WAHC (the next strategic planning session will take place in 2023). They will be creative and willing to work closely with the Board and foster new Board candidates to enhance the mission of the Centre, its programs and development efforts.

  2. The Executive Director, in association with the Board and staff, is expected to lead and strengthen fundraising endeavors utilizing local, regional and national resources, as well as all grant writing initiatives.  Development, along with the Outreach and Development Specialist, is a primary responsibility of the Executive Director.

  3. The Executive Director will have excellent communication skills and will develop and maintain regular and frequent communication with Board, staff, partners and funders. The Director will also possess a passion and ability for developing and maintaining long-term relationships that will enhance the financial, artistic and educational goals of WAHC.

  4. The Executive Director will, in collaboration with staff, be responsible for overseeing the development and presentation of innovative multidisciplinary arts and heritage programming activities that reflect WAHC’s mandate, values and community. This will include in-house programming, community-based partnerships, and online programming and social media. They will have a solid track record of seeing projects through to successful completion. A knowledge of museum practices and museum community will be considered an asset.

  5. The Executive Director will be responsible for overseeing the assets and financial affairs of the Centre, ensuring expenditures are in line with WAHC’s resources and achieving an appropriate balance between revenue generation and fundraising.  

  6. The Executive Director is expected to lead and delegate to staff responsibility for the successful management of daily affairs of the Centre. The Executive Director will manage a staff team in a unionized environment.

QUALIFICATIONS

  • A passion for, and knowledge of, multidisciplinary artistic programming and museum practices, with a minimum of 5 years of proven experience
  • Proven fundraising and grant-writing experience 
  • Experience in, and understanding of, exhibit development and design
  • A successful track record of leading a not-for-profit organization in the arts and cultural sector; specifically, vision coupled with motivation and execution 
  • Advanced knowledge of, and working experience, with the Canadian labour movement; as well as a unionized environment will be important
  • Excellent communication skills (oral and written)
  • A strategic thinker with an innovative style, and a willingness to try new strategies 
  • Ability to balance fiscal responsibility with a social justice lens in the management of a non-profit community-based arts and heritage organization. Financial literacy and experience with non-profit budget management is vital. 
  • Skilled at establishing and maintaining positive relationships with a wide range of community partners and stakeholders
  • A personable, inclusive and collaborative management style that optimizes staff and resources with an anti-oppression lens
  • A willingness to partake in the community life of Hamilton and to participate actively in WAHC’s lively schedule of activities and events weekdays, evenings and weekends

COMPENSATION

Compensation package is negotiable based on experience with a salary floor of $60,000 annually. Compensation also includes health benefits, pension plan, 18 sick days annually, lieu time and generous vacation time.


Please send a resume and cover letter to the ED Search Committee, as one document, no later than July 15 by 5 pm to hirings@wahc-museum.ca. If you have questions about this position, please email Florencia Berinstein, outgoing Executive Director, at florencia@wahc-museum.ca with succinct questions. We will do our best to answer them up to one week before the deadline.

We regret that we can only respond to those selected for an interview.

WAHC promotes employment equity, and as such encourages those who have experienced discrimination based on sexual orientation, race, class, gender, ability and other systemic forms of oppression to apply and self-identify if they wish to do so. If you require any accommodations during this hiring process at any point, please contact Florencia Berinstein, Executive Director, at florencia@wahc-museum.ca and we will strive to accommodate you.