Ottawa Jazz Festival Seeks Executive Director

Ottawa Jazz Festival Seeks Executive Director

The Ottawa Jazz Festival has been presenting an annual music festival in the heart of the National Capital for more than 40 years. Every summer, Confederation Park, Marion Dewar Plaza, the National Arts Centre, and numerous other downtown sites play host to indoor and outdoor performances by both international and local artists. The Ottawa Jazz Festival has presented in-person and recently online concerts to tens of thousands of audiences, making it one of the largest jazz festivals in Canada.

As the festival has grown, so too has audience appreciation and demand for jazz music and the artists our festival curates. In response to this demand, a winter concert series was created in 2010. It enables broader engagement with an expanded community of artists and audience members. This highly successful Winter Jazz showcase provides a series of high quality performances curated by Ottawa Jazz Festival organizers.

The organization invests heavily in both community engagement and education events bringing music to schools, care facilities, and the streets. It proudly facilitates important community- building initiatives while investing in mentorship opportunities for up-and-coming artists.

The Ottawa Jazz Festival is governed by a Board of Directors composed of passionate business, government, academic, non-profit, and community leaders. The organization’s leadership works closely with more than 15 dedicated employees and independent contractors, as well as 650 enthusiastic volunteers every year.


The Ottawa Jazz Festival Board of Directors is seeking its next Executive Director, a person who is excited about leading this long-running and highly successful organization at this important crossroad. The ideal candidate will bring a mix of strong leadership abilities, well-developed relationship-building skills, and a high level of adaptability to respond to changing parameters common in a music festival milieu. We seek candidates with between 5-8 years’ experience working in senior management roles in the arts and cultural sector, preferably in the music sector, or within the not-for-profit sector.


The Executive Director is responsible for the executive and administrative leadership of Ottawa Jazz Festival in fulfilling its mission and vision, and achieving its strategic goals. The role also oversees the festival’s artistic programming, in collaboration with the Artistic Director.

The Executive Director leads by example to create a respectful and inclusive workplace where employees and volunteers perform their duties free from discrimination, harassment, or intimidation. Established, respectful workplace policies clearly outline parameters for a positive work environment for everyone, implemented under the executive director’s management and guidance.


Strategic direction and planning

  • Participate in the development of the multi-year strategic plan, in collaboration with the Board of Directors.
  • Develop short and long-term organizational goals that align with overall strategic objectives and targets.
  • Work with the Board of Directors to update/develop operational policies/procedures.

Operations and Financial Management

  • Establish, implement, and monitor associated operational planning—financial, human resources, and physical resources/assets—to ensure effective and responsible management of all aspects of the organization.
  • Develop and implement an annual business plan for the organization, outlining annual
  • Develop and manage the annual organizational budget, achieving ongoing sustainability of operations.
  • Apply for and monitor government grants and subsidies that support
  • Implement operational policies and
  • Ensure the highest level of professional standards are presented when representing the Ottawa Jazz Festival in both ongoing and new business relationships, partnership development opportunities, public-facing activities, and the office environment.
  • Lead and facilitate a positive organizational culture, externally and internally, based on collegiality and respect towards others.
  • Report to the Board of Directors on a monthly basis on all aspects of operations including planning, financial and administrative matters.
  • Provide, prepare and present reports and/or related documentation at Board meetings, committee meetings and the annual general meeting.

Marketing and Communications

  • Oversee the development and execution of marketing and communications strategies, activities, and public relations initiatives, in association with festival staff.
  • Participate in defining overall branding, imagery, and design of the Ottawa Jazz Festival with in association with the marketing and communications team.
  • Act as the primary spokesperson of the organization for all media, publicity, and public- facing partnership activities.

Human Resources

  • Plan for and establish necessary human resources to fulfill both permanent and cyclical
  • Oversee recruitment, hiring, training, management, and retention of the administrative team and volunteers.
  • Guide an administrative team of employees by establishing clear expectations, ensuring necessary support, and developing work plans.
  • Undertake annual evaluation and professional development of permanent staff to meet operational and career development opportunities.
  • Establish and implement an annual evaluation process for
  • Work with the Board of Directors to review human resource planning and procedures, and revision of policies and associated documents.


  • In collaboration with the Artistic Director and the Board of Directors, plan and implement the Ottawa Jazz Festival’s programming.
  • Contribute to the identification, development, and execution of new partnerships and opportunities that support festival performances, community engagement, educational, and digital initiatives.
  • Keep abreast of emerging music sector trends and musical acts, in addition to broader cultural industry trends.


  • Report to the Board of Directors on all planning, financial and administrative
  • Provide, prepare and present reports and/or related documentation at Board meetings, committee meetings and the annual general meeting.
  • Serve as an ex-officio member on the Board of Directors and its committees, such as the Finance Committee and Governance Committee.
  • Assist the Board President with the organization and setting of the agendas of Board and committee meetings.
  • Work with the Board of Directors for review and revision of policies and associated official documents, as required.


 Qualifications and skills

  • Seeking candidates with a minimum of 5 years of experience as a senior manager leading an arts and/or cultural industries organization; and/or minimum of 8 years in a senior leadership position in a non-profit sector organization.
  • A minimum of a bachelor’s degree is Equivalent experience in senior arts sector management and/or senior non-profit administration will be considered.
  • A successful track record in securing funding from government agencies, individual (major and small) donors, foundations, and/or Experience writing successful grant proposals is required.
  • Significant human resource management skills with a proven ability to manage both staff and large numbers of volunteers, reflecting the requirements of this role.
  • Experience developing and managing a significant organizational
  • Demonstrated experience successfully managing large-scale events, ideally in an arts festival milieu.
  • Financial literacy, such as the ability to read financial statements and balance
  • Knowledge of intellectual copyright issues with respect to artists’ rights in all aspects of their artistic assets, including within online and/or digital realms.
  • Significant computer systems and database proficiency with the ability to both work autonomously and mentor others.
  • Significant experience and familiarity with social media platforms is an


  • Demonstrated ability to report to, work with, and maintain trusting relationships with a Board of Directors.
  • Demonstrated ability to build, infuse and maintain sustainable community partnerships with public sector agencies, performance venues, educational institutions, industry associations and other stakeholders, to support sustainable operations.
  • Maintain a strong and collegial relationship with national leadership at Jazz Festivals
  • Demonstrated ability to operationalize an artistic vision into a comprehensive and adaptable work plan, reflective of the annual operations planning cycle.
  • Ability to identify and evaluate organizational risks and implement measures to manage associated risks (e.g., finance, funding, people, image).
  • Holds a track record exhibiting high professional standards in-keeping with the demands of the executive director role.
  • Possesses a high level of personal integrity, exhibited in all
  • Demonstrated ability to lead and adapt in uncertain and changing

Professional Attributes

  • An empathetic communicator who is adept at relating to, engaging with, and developing a professional rapport with patrons, funders, sponsors, board directors, volunteers, staff, and other stakeholders.
  • Is mission-driven, result-oriented and is willing to roll up their sleeves alongside other staff and volunteer.
  • Exudes pragmatism, is an analytical thinker, and enjoys being an effective problem-
  • Holds a high degree of professionalism, openness, integrity, and transparency in all aspects of their work.
  • Exceptional English language communication skills (oral presentation, proposal writing, reporting).
  • Professional proficiency in French is a strong


This position is full-time, based in Ottawa, Ontario with a competitive salary commensurate with skills and experience. This is not a hybrid (remote) role. Benefits include 4 weeks annual paid vacation and access to a health benefits package.

This role requires frequent evening and weekend working hours, given the Executive Director attends the majority of the organization’s events. S/he is expected to represent, promote, and raise the profile of the Ottawa Jazz Festival through regular attendance at community, fundraising and diplomatic events, as well as conferences and workshops.

The Board of Directors intends for the successful candidate to start in November 2023 to overlap with existing Executive Producer. In the event of relocation, the new Executive Director is required to take residence in the National Capital Region.

If you are interested in applying, please submit a cover letter and CV to the President of the Board, Adam Douglas (, by no later than midnight EST on June 30th, 2023.