The American Jazz Museum

Executive Director

To Apply

The American Jazz Museum has retained the services of Harris Rand Lusk to conduct this search.  Inquiries, nominations and applications may be directed in confidence to:

Jack Lusk, Managing Partner & CEO
Harris Rand Lusk
122 East 42nd Street, Suite 3605
New York, NY 10168


Please put the words “American Jazz Museum” in the subject line of your e-mailed application.

The American Jazz Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, is one of the only museums in the country focused solely on the preservation, exhibition and advancement of jazz music. For over 20 years, the Museum has been a leader in celebrating America’s only indigenous art form and is dedicated to expanding the awareness, influence and appreciation of jazz across Kansas City and beyond.

Located in the historic Jazz District of 18th & Vine, the Museum houses an exhibition space, the Gem Theatre and the Blue Room jazz club. The American Jazz Museum has provided thousands of students, scholars, musicians and fans with the ability to learn about and enjoy music through interactive displays, live performances, educational programs and community events.  Its permanent collection provides insight into the lives of some of the best loved performers who have contributed to the development of jazz music in this country, including Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, and Kansas City’s own Charlie Parker.  Steward to one of the largest collections of jazz on film, the Museum has a budget of $2.5 million and a staff of 15.

Since its founding, the Museum has grown significantly, both in terms of budget and as an influential cultural institution in the community. The Board is seeking an Executive Director to help shape the Museum’s future, ensure its financial stability and successfully lead it into the next phase of growth and development.

The Position:
The American Museum of Jazz is seeking a skilled, dynamic, and dedicated professional to become its next Executive Director (”ED”). The ED will work to develop and execute a robust fundraising plan, set organizational priorities, and articulate the Museum’s vision going forward, translating its mission into outcomes that provide financial health and independence, and positive impact.

The ED must be a sophisticated relationship-builder who is able to work effectively with a wide variety of internal and external stakeholders, including private and public funders, and local elected officials. A leader who can bring about real change, the ED will concentrate on marketing and communications, keeping the collections up to date and relevant, and be a partner to the Board and the community to develop the Museum as a must-see destination.  This person will ideally have experience in the arts, performing arts, music and/or management of museums and cultural institutions, and must demonstrate significant accomplishments and past successes.  In addition, he or she must be an accomplished fundraiser, a hand-on manager, a strategic thinker and planner, a problem solver and be able to respond to crises quickly and effectively. Leadership capacity and effective management will be key qualifications for this position.

Specific Responsibilities:

Leadership & Management

  • Serve as the Museum’s top executive officer; lead, coach, and develop the senior management team and administrative staff to ensure rigorous program evaluation and programmatic excellence, and consistent quality of finance and administration, fundraising and communications
  • Create timelines and deploy resources needed to develop and monitor strategic goals and objectives
  • Ensure appropriate, organizationally effective and timely accomplishment of the Museum’s mission
  • Be an effective steward of resources via disciplined, mission-driven, results-oriented budgeting and planning
  • Clearly define future opportunities for growth

Fundraising & Communications

  • Together with the Development Director and senior staff, advance and implement a comprehensive development strategy to include individual gifts, corporate, foundation, and government grants
  • Support top quality relationship building with current and new donors
  • Expand fundraising and revenue-generating activities including cultivation and stewardship
  • Serve as the primary public face of the Museum, working to enhance the profile and role of the museum in the field at various forums and in communications
  • Deepen and refine all aspects of communications, from web presence to external relations with the goal of creating a stronger, more recognized organizational profile

Board Management

  • Support effective Board operations by engaging them in meaningful participation to further the organization’s goals, communicate and sustain a clear vision, mission and strategy for the organization, and set internal policy
  • Implement policies, programs, goals, and objectives as established by the Board
  • Encourage personal commitments and increase personal contribution
  • Together with the Board, recruit new members to meet the organization’s needs, add diversity and those whose talents, interests, and commitment will help to further the Museum’s mission and expand funding opportunities
  • Cultivate a strong working relationship with timely and regular communication


  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited school; advanced degree preferred
  • Minimum of eight years’ experience at the director/senior management level, with extensive supervisory experience in the arts or nonprofit management
  • Accomplished fundraiser at ease in the role of seeking and asking for individual and major gifts, and grants; adept at developing institutional partnerships to advance the mission
  • Excellent marketing, communications and public relations skills; a persuasive and passionate communicator both verbally and written
  • Experience in building, mentoring and motivating a dedicated staff able to collaborate and problem-solve
  • Knowledge of the arts and culture community, passion for jazz a plus; strong commitment to the mission of the Museum
  • Successful track record in developing partnerships with internal and external stakeholders, including government representatives and agencies
  • Solid experience working with and supporting a board of directors
  • Demonstrated ability and success in developing and implementing effective strategic business, financial and operations plans that will maintain a financially stable and sustainable organization
  • Extensive program and managerial experience, demonstrating a collaborative supervisory style
  • Strong organizational skills with proven ability to focus, prioritize and implement
  • Dynamic leader who is visionary, ethical, innovative, and diplomatic

For more information about the American Jazz Museum, please visit their website at:


 All positions at the American Jazz Museum are filled without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, HIV/AIDS status, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law.  All are encouraged to apply.

122 East 42nd Street, Suite 3605, New York, NY 10168