Executive Director, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal

Location: Montreal, Quebec
  • March 26, 2018

About Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal (GBCM)

Founded in 1957 by Ludmilla Chiriaeff, GBCM was established as the first professional dance company in Quebec. GBCM has grown into a world-renowned creation, production and performance company, dedicated to the development of ballet in all its forms, with a strong base in classical technique.

Newly appointed Artistic Director Ivan Cavallari is a former Principal Dancer of the Stuttgart Ballet, Artistic Director of West Australian Ballet in Perth, and Ballet du Rhin in Strasbourg. Building on the Company’s international reputation, artistic quality and outstanding repertoire, his 2018-19 season features four creations, one guest company and The Nutcracker.

Since May 2017 GBCM is located in its own unique, state of the art building in the Quartier des Spectacles, the heart of Montreal’s entertainment district. With 80,000 square feet, it features 7 new studios, a creation studio and an atrium, with a café and restaurant to come: a central hub for professional dancers, choreographers, dance students, researchers, dance therapists and the general community taking advantage of GBCM facilities and activities and avocational dance students. The move is part of the Company’s plan to implement a holistic vision that defines GBCM as a dance hub, a wellness and a business Centre, promoting all benefits yielded by dance.  The Company tours annually in Quebec, Canada and internationally since its creation in 1957 and promotes the aesthetics, wellness and entertainment of dance.

The Company

With a company of 42 dancers, GBCM creates works from a roster of choreographers including Bridget Breiner, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Uwe Scholz, and Edward Clug. The Company also presents annually 1 classical production that it creates (Giselle in 18/19).  The dancers perform at Place des Arts, which houses two main auditoriums: Salle Wilfrid Pelletier (2,982 seats) and Théâtre Maisonneuve (1,453 seats) and gives approximately 54 performances in Montreal to an audience of 100,000.  Beyond Montreal, the Company’s reputation has been reinforced by regular international touring successes in North America, Europe and the Middle and Far East along with tours to Quebec City with The Nutcracker.

In addition to its main stage performances, the company engages with the Montreal community through a variety of community outreach efforts and education programs. Since 1997, The Nutcracker Fund for Children has given thousands of children from disadvantaged communities an unforgettable holiday season, with educational workshops and a free performance of The Nutcracker. In 2010, GBCM launched The Nutcracker Market—Montreal’s first non-profit Christmas market—to raise money for the Fund and now has almost 80,000 visitors each year. In 2016, GBCM created the first Dance Therapy Centre, a unique initiative worldwide that promotes wellness for people living with health issues, and today collaborates with 60 dance therapy partners including hospitals, universities, schools, senior homes and prisons.  In 2017, the Company launched a new dance school called “Studios”, offering some 40 classes catering to the recreational adult dance market.

GBCM has an operating budget of more than $17 million, and is supported by an endowment fund of $34 million It is governed by a 30-member Board of Directors and has an administrative staff of 42.


GBCM has a good relationship with the École supérieure de ballet du Québec (ESBQ), which provides a complete ballet education for students, starting with Creative Movement classes and progressing all the way to the training needed for a professional career. The school is currently led by Anik Bissonnette, formerly one of GBCMs most pre-eminent prima ballerinas. Each year students are chosen to perform in The Nutcracker and will be involved in GBCM’s future full-length productions.

Position Summary and Opportunity

The Executive Director provides the leadership for GBCM and shares the responsibility for the success of the company on an equal footing with the Artistic Director – both reporting directly to the Board – to ensure artistic and sustainable excellence.

The Executive Director is responsible for developing and driving the implementation of GBCM’s vision and strategic plan: developing and maintaining external relationships with donors and Government; managing finances, staff and operations; supporting the Board of Directors; and building its profile and its resources to advance its artistic mission. The Executive Director will be particularly involved in leading and implementing the second phase of a major gifts campaign with a goal of raising a remaining $6 million of a $25 million capital campaign for its new building. The Executive Director will also be negotiating a new collective agreement with the dancers in 2019.


The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors through its President, Mrs. Constance V. Pathy.

The Executive Director has an important partnership with the Artistic Director, Ivan Cavallari

Reporting to the Executive Director are:

  • Director, Events & Fundraising
  • Director, Marketing, Communications & Sales
  • Director, Touring & Guest Companies
  • Director, Finance & Administration
  • Director, Production
  • Director, National Centre of Dance Therapy
  • Manager, Human Resources
  • Manager, Leisure Department

Primary Responsibilities

  • Develop the company’s strategic plan and its subsequent execution into a tactical rolling three-year plan with input from the Board of Directors and the Artistic Director;
  • Forge an effective and positive partnership with the Artistic Director and Board of Directors to ensure the company stays true to its artistic vision while ensuring financial stability;
  • Increase appreciation of the Artistic leadership of GBCM by working closely with the Artistic Director and proactively seeking opportunities for him to network with audience, donors, Government and the broader community;
  • Work with the Director, Events & Fundraising, to lead GBCM’s development and fundraising efforts and provide for substantial growth in contributed income and in the donor base. Provide leadership and support for the active participation of Directors, volunteers, and staff in donor cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship;
  • Actively participate in the cultivation and stewardship of Government funding bodies;
  • Work with the Director, Finance & Administration, to ensure the financial sustainability of the Company through creating and achieving balanced annual operating budgets and ensuring that accurate financial reports are regularly provided to the Audit Committee;
  • Work with the Director, Marketing, Communications & Sales, to develop innovative, omni channel marketing and audience development strategies to support both earned and contributed revenue, enhance client engagement and the reputation of the Company;
  • Work with the Director, National Centre of Dance Therapy, to promote health and wellness in the field of dance and continue positioning the Company as a leader in the field;
  • Oversee the Company’s Community Outreach programs, working to sustain and build relevance to the community and to increase and diversify the Company’s audience and stakeholders;
  • Develop strategies to ensure an optimal use of the space (studios, theatre, atrium);
  • Ensure that the new building is properly and efficiently managed to provide the revenue streams to support the Company’s core activity;
  • Work closely with the Board of Directors to support their efforts, commitment, and leadership. Assist the Board in cultivating and recruiting new members;
  • Recruit, develop, inspire and retain skilled and experienced staff members to contribute to the Company’s success, image and reputation. Negotiate and manage the employee collective agreement;
  • Liaise with the Director of ESBQ to ensure an effective administration in support of the development of professional dancers;
  • Maintain current knowledge of developments in ballet/arts management, and participate in appropriate regional, national, and international organizations and activities;
  • Position, build and promote GBCM as a leading, innovative and dynamic player in the community, both locally and on the international scene, forging innovative and sustainable partnerships.

Candidate Profile

  • A strategic thinker and planner who can work collaboratively to establish and communicate a vision for the Company and a plan for developing sustainable resources to support it.
  • An inspiring leader with exceptional networking skills and a high-energy level for donor cultivation and fundraising who can rally and build strong and innovative partnerships with the community.
  • An outstanding manager with strong financial skills in sales and marketing, a comprehensive grasp of development, and superb skills in building a management team and creating a positive working environment.
  • An experienced executive who understands the direct shirt-sleeves involvement necessary to run a performing arts organization on a financially sound basis, and who also understands how to work effectively with a volunteer Board.
  • A confident and respected leader who can command the trust of the Artistic Director, Board, staff, volunteers and community, and who can represent the company to its audiences, its stakeholders and the public.
  • A ballet advocate, with knowledge of and passion for the art form and all its related benefits.

Ideal Experience

  • The ideal candidate should be bilingual or with strong working knowledge of French both written and spoken.
  • The Executive Director must be an outstanding communicator and collaborator and motivator, with a proven track record in innovative partnerships and collaborations in and beyond the arts.
  • At least 5 years of experience as an Executive Director managing a comparable staff and budget; experience leading a ballet company or other performing arts organization would be ideal. Strong entrepreneurial and financial management skills are essential. A knowledge of facilities issues would be an asset as would a thorough understanding of the issues and challenges facing ballet companies today.
  • Demonstrated experience in working with a non-for-profit Board of Directors and volunteers.
  • Candidates should have a successful track record in building donor relationships and in soliciting and stewarding significant gifts from individuals, foundations and corporations.
  • Excellent oral, written and presentation skills are required.
  • Exposure to labour unions and contract negotiations, including experience with successful labour partnerships would be an asset.
  • High level energy, resilience, a positive attitude and a sense of humour are key attributes as well.

Application process:

Interested candidates are invited to submit a letter of interest along with resume in confidence by May 11, 2018 to: Mr. Dory Vanderhoof, Senior Partner, Genovese Vanderhoof & Associates, 284 St. Clair Avenue East, Toronto, ON, Canada, M4T 1P4, gvarosalind@gmail.com.

For additional information:  www.grandsballets.com; www.genovesevanderhoof.com