Chicago, IL

Executive Director, Intonation

The Organization

About Intonation:

Intonation works with young people in Chicago to experience making music on their own terms, leading to personal growth and the enrichment of their communities.

Offered in partnership with schools, park districts, and community organizations, our year-round classes make music accessible to young people by providing them with instruction, mentorship, instruments, and the chance to perform on stages across the city. Each Intonation student takes part in a personal and team approach to practice, setting goals and problem solving; and over time, they gain the confidence to take charge of their direction and seek out new experiences.

Position Overview

Ideal Candidate Profile:

Intonation’s Board of Directors and Staff agree that the ideal candidate for the position of Executive Director is:

A Visionary: We seek a catalyst to help Intonation realize the goals we’ve laid out in our 2021-2023 strategic plan, and also to set a course for the future. The successful candidate will bring leadership characterized by an ability to garner broad community support, increase local and national visibility of the organization, and carry forward innovative ideas to build Intonation’s impact.

Youth-Focused: We seek a leader who believes that young people have a voice, and that their interests and needs should be centered when making decisions for the organization. Successful candidates may have a personal or professional connection to music, and will demonstrate that youth development is part of their life’s work.

Authentic: We seek a leader who builds strong and respectful working relationships with Board, staff, students and families, program partners, funders, donors, and other stakeholders.  The ideal candidate’s executive presence and style reflects strong collaborative and relationship nurturing skills, blending the values of integrity, honesty, transparency, and equity. They should have experience leading diverse teams successfully and with purpose, reflecting optimism, promoting collaboration, and recognizing contributions of all stakeholders in the organization.

Entrepreneurial: We seek a leader who has a track record of building and growing an organization – diversifying revenue streams, considering and implementing innovative program and operating models, building and nurturing an effective staff culture, and making critical and timely financial decisions while assessing risk and reward. We value leaders who are agile in their thinking, with the ability to spot opportunities while staying aligned to the values of the organization.

Strategic: We seek an Executive Director who has experience identifying and delivering on short and long-term objectives. The ideal candidate will demonstrate overall business sense, including sound financial judgment; demonstrated skills in operations, business management, financial planning, and budgeting. They are willing to challenge the status quo to move the work forward, and display confidence making choices and decisions.

Specifics of the Job:

The Executive Director is responsible for providing overall leadership in day-to-day activities and, along with the Board of Directors, executing on the organization’s long-term strategic objectives. The ED will report to the Board of Directors, and provide direction for all organizational affairs in accordance with its mission as defined by its by-laws, mission statement, guiding principles, and policies established and approved by the Board in these major categories:


  • In collaboration with the Board, provide direction to develop and achieve the organization’s goals. Lead strategic planning. Work with leadership to translate the vision and strategic plan into achievable steps. Actively promote the mission, vision, and values statements and ensure assigned staff incorporate these beliefs and values into their daily work ethic.
  • Promote and foster an organizational culture that creates and sustains a productive, inclusive, and motivating environment for staff, Board Members, instructors, volunteers, students, parents, program partners, and other stakeholders.
  • Build and nurture strong, long-term relationships and partnerships with current and prospective key donors, community leaders, volunteers and other organizational partners.
  • Serve as an articulate, passionate, and visible spokesperson for Intonation and as a prominent leader throughout the organization, among stakeholders, and in the community.


  • Provide leadership, direction, and motivation to staff.
  • Hire, train, mentor and supervise assigned staff; including recruitment and selection; scheduling and job assignment, coaching; training; performance evaluation; and recommending salary, disciplinary and other personnel actions in accord with procedures.
  • Provide professional development opportunities and guidance to each team member to strengthen their skill sets and job satisfaction; meet regularly with the team to identify priorities, clarity of goals and measures of success, discuss strategies, and review ongoing projects.
  • Guide and implement all operational policies.
  • Oversee program development and implementation, working closely with the Program Director to build strategic partnerships, ensure program quality, and foster growth.

Board Relations

  • Serve as primary liaison to the Board of Directors and facilitate its involvement in fundraising, policy setting, Board development, succession planning, strategic planning and financial management.
  • Work with the Board to create an overall culture of inclusivity and engagement among all internal and external stakeholders.
  • Work with individual Board Members to create and review individual annual giving and engagement goals and strategies.
  • Conduct monthly Executive Committee conference calls to review and address key organizational developments.
  • Collaborate with the Board Chair and Deputy Director to schedule, plan, and conduct quarterly Board meetings.


  • Provide guidance and oversight to Intonation’s development team in order to maintain and grow foundation, corporate, and government grants and other strategic partnerships as per annual plan.
  • Collaborate with and oversee Development Director in all aspects of the individual gift cycle: Identify and initiate contacts with potential donors; develop appropriate donor cultivation strategies; move potential donors in an appropriate and timely fashion towards solicitation and closure; make direct solicitations; maintain stewardship, recognition, and acknowledgement contacts with current donors. The Executive Director will have specific fundraising targets set collaboratively with the Board.
  • In conjunction with key Board Members and the Development Director, create a broad and diversified fundraising vision by developing an annual strategic fundraising plan.
  • Provide guidance and oversight for Intonation’s annual gala and other fundraising events.

External and Community Relations

  • Represent Intonation as an articulate, passionate, and visible spokesperson within the community among all stakeholder groups.
  • Provide strategic leadership to the communications team in the organization’s efforts to effectively communicate its mission, interests, goals, and accomplishments to all stakeholders and across all channels.

Financial Oversight

  • Oversee the development, preparation, administration, tracking, and reforecasting of the budget in collaboration with Board Treasurer, Operations Director and department heads.
  • Oversee, disseminate, and review Intonation’s quarterly and annual financial reporting statements (annual audit and 990) together with the Board Treasurer and Executive Committee.
  • Review financial transactions on a monthly basis in collaboration with the Operations Director.

Human Resources

  • Oversee the Operations Director and HR provider to set HR policy including annual performance reviews, compensation, benefits, and grievance procedures. Obtain Board approval as appropriate.
  • Oversee hiring process for director-level positions.
  • Meet bi-weekly with direct reports to review progress and goals.
  • Review and address all incident reports and performance issues together with the Operations Director, the appropriate department head and the Board Executive Committee.
  • Conduct annual performance reviews with all director positions; provide guidance for department heads in creating and conducting annual performance reviews for their direct reports.

Other responsibilities

  • Protect organization by keeping information confidential.
  • Update job knowledge by participating in educational opportunities and professional networks and organizations.
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the Board.


  • 10 years nonprofit leadership experience, creative arts management, youth development, or related fields.
  • Demonstrated experience working effectively and responsively with and in historically divested communities and communities of color; experience working within Greater Bronzeville or Chicago’s South Side a plus.
  • Deep knowledge of youth service and out of school time best practices, and the potential of music and the creative arts to support positive youth development, particularly in communities of color and historically divested communities.
  • Demonstrated fundraising acumen and experience obtaining and retaining individual major gifts of at least $5,000+, in addition to major private and public foundation support, government grants, and corporate gifts.
  • Knowledge of best practices in music education youth development, especially related to diversity and inclusion; musical skills and industry connections are a plus.
  • Proven ability to hire, coach, and lead employees as an effective team of closely coordinated, professional, and self-accountable staff members.
  • Demonstrated experience making strategic and data-based decisions.
  • Experience developing and/or operationalizing strategies that have taken an organization to the next stage of growth.
  • Past success working collaboratively with a Board of Directors with the ability to attract, recruit, and cultivate new as well as existing Board Members.
  • Past success with building and/or utilizing effective systems to track progress and measure impact so organizational results can be effectively communicated to the Board, funders, and other constituents.
  • Demonstrated excellence in organizational management with a particular emphasis on fiscal responsibility.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills; an authentic and passionate communicator with excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Web literate and proficient use of Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs, Microsoft Office, and Zoom.

    Additional Details:

  • Full-time, twelve-month work year.
  • Annual salary is $95,000 to $110,000, commensurate with experience
  • Generous benefits and time off policy.

How to Apply:

  • Submit a thoughtful cover letter and a current resume in PDF form to We are unable to respond to phone inquiries about this position.
  • Please write your name (Last, First) in the subject line of your email. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
  • Initial interviews for this position are expected to begin in July, with a goal of having our new Executive Director on board by October 2021.
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