Central City Opera – President/CEO, Central City Opera

Location: Central City, Colorado
  • October 13, 2021

Genovese Vanderhoof & Associates

Position Announcement

Central City Opera

   President /CEO

Central City, Colorado



Central City Opera (CCO) seeks a dynamic leader to be its first President & CEO (CEO). The CEO will serve as the company’s managing director and community ambassador in consideration of CCO’s dual role as both opera producer and historic property manager.

In partnership with the Board, the CEO will be responsible for developing and implementing CCO’s strategic plan and building and maintaining external relationships with donors and the community.   As the chief administrator, the CEO will oversee fiscal management including drafting and monitoring the multi-year operational plan and budget, staff management and all day-to-day operations.

The CEO will inspire and motivate a dedicated team and devoted community, galvanizing supporters to contribute their energy and resources in service of the company, and augmenting the messaging of CCO’s importance to its community, locally, regionally, and globally. The CEO will be a visible presence in the community advocating for CCO and the excellence of its opera festival and historic properties.


CCO is located in Central City, Colorado and also has an office in the Denver Metro area in Wheat Ridge, Colorado.  The CEO will be a part of both of these communities. For the past 90 years, CCO has produced a Summer Festival of opera and musical theater in Central City. The company owns an intimate 550-seat jewel box opera house built in 1878 and 26 Victorian-era properties where the artists rehearse, perform, and reside during the summertime. For over forty years, CCO has also run a 10-week young artist training program that has become a national model for the development of young opera singers. Central City Opera’s year-round education and touring programs connect 40,000 students, families and seniors each year with live performances, workshops and residencies throughout Colorado. The CEO of Central City Opera will provide CCO’s organization with new leadership as the company and the Board of Directors work toward creating a strategic plan for the future of the company.

Central City Opera’s mission is to enhance and enrich the lives and communities of those we serve and to provide a welcoming, inclusive environment of beauty and meaning by: creating exceptional opera and musical theater; delivering engaging artistic and educational programs to diverse communities throughout the Rocky Mountain region; celebrating and embracing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in all facets of the organization; preserving and protecting the historic opera house and other properties entrusted to Central City Opera; and cultivating and supporting emerging opera singers and performing arts professionals through world-class training programs.

Founded in 1932, CCO is renowned for exquisite world-class productions, a competitive and robust young artist training program, and creative education and community engagement activities.

CCO’s pre-pandemic operating budget was $5.3 million in expenses and is expected to return to that level for the 2022 season.  Revenue consists of ticket sales, contributed support and endowment draw.  The Company is engaged in a $20 million Endowment campaign that is nearing completion, which will bring the total endowment to more than $30 million and currently operates with a small cash reserve.   Contributed revenues come from individuals, corporations, foundations, government, and special fundraising events and initiatives such as the annual gala.

The company comprises a dedicated  22+ member staff and features a professional orchestra, chorus and stage crew during the opera festival and other performances throughout the year.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

CCO maintains a commitment to the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) – recognizing that time and resources are needed to realize change. CCO values the creation of a safe, comfortable, welcoming, and enjoyable environment where all individuals, patrons, staff, artists, and volunteers, are treated with humanity, respect, and dignity.


Summary of Responsibilities:

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the CEO’s primary responsibility is to work with the Board in achieving the mission of CCO and to work with the Board and Staff in drafting, implementing and monitoring a new strategic plan to achieve the organization’s goals and long-term objectives for both the Festival and the Historic Properties. To this end the CEO, as the chief administrative officer of the company, works in close collaboration with the Senior Vice-President/Artistic Director (SVP) in carrying out CCO’s vision and mission. The SVP is the Chief Artistic Officer of the Company responsible for the Opera Festival artistic operations and all other artistic activity.

Currently there are six direct reports to the CEO: Senior Vice-President/Artistic Director, Director of Development, Director of Marketing and Communications, Director of Historic Properties, Controller/Director of HR, and Director of Education and Community Programs.  It is expected that the CEO will evaluate the organization and develop a reporting structure that will facilitate the optimum operating organization. The CEO will liaise with support and community groups including the CCO Endowment Board, National Advisory Council, Regional Advisory Council and Honorary Board.

The CEO of CCO will be guided by the following priorities and responsibilities:

Executive Strategy and Board Leadership:

  • Collaborate with the Board to set and achieve goals for the organization following the approved strategic priorities.
  • Work closely with the Board and its Governance Committee to build a stronger, and engaged Company Board.
  • Drive the Board’s cycle of strategic planning in coordination with the Board Chair and Strategic Planning Chair.
  • Develop and communicate CCO’s vision in a manner that honors the organization’s rich history.

Organizational Leadership

  • Oversee the effective management of the organization and ensure its long-term fiscal viability and growth.
  • Work collaboratively with the General Director to ensure the Opera Festival and other company artistic operations stay true to the artistic vision while ensuring financial stability.
  • Lead the maintenance and optimization of the Historic Properties as a Central City Attraction, economic driver and a CCO source for contributed revenue.
  • Ensure delivery of quality program activity, attending to exceptional experience for all constituents.
  • Hire, retain, and nurture staff with the aim of fostering professionalism, diversity, equity, and inclusion and supporting ongoing efforts to make necessary and important progress.

Fundraising and Financial Support

  • Provide organizational leadership to all aspects of development and enthusiastically pursue major donor relationships and new fundraising opportunities for CCO.
  • Actively identify and cultivate new donors and friends of the organization.
  • Engage in planning for major gift solicitations (annual, capital and endowment) and serve as CCO’s chief major gifts fundraiser.
  • Manage the Director of Development in the planning and implementation of CCO’s fundraising efforts, including the $20 million Endowment Campaign, and provide support to the Board Development Committee and General Director in all external relations.

Operations and Financial Stewardship

  • Develop organizational budgets and lead all operational planning with key staff and Board Committees.
  • Meet financial goals through earned and contributed income and expense management.
  • Maintain high standards of financial management and reporting.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

  • Demonstrate a clear and strong commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access.
  • Strongly support and be an active participant in the CCO’s DEI Committee of the Board, assisting and advising the development  of an organizational culture that demonstrably values and institutionalizes the principles of equity, inclusion, and diversity.
  • Prioritize implementation of tactics to build upon a company-wide commitment to greater DEI throughout all of CCO’s operations and programs.

External Relations and Community Engagement 

  • Develop opportunities for collaboration and partnerships, positioning CCO as a cooperative leader within the Central City, Front Range and Denver communities.
  • Represent CCO as an engaging and inspirational public spokesperson and face of the organization.

Qualified candidates should also possess the following qualifications, skills, and traits:

  • Is an accomplished senior-level executive with proven effective business experience.
  • Has major fundraising experience, and has formed strong, lasting relationships with various stakeholders and potential donors including government, corporations, foundations, and individuals.
  • An obvious and active personal commitment to DEI and anti-racism.
  • A genuine passion for opera and historic properties.
  • A desire to build an organization that will become an indispensable part of the communities it serves.
  • Has strong management, business, and financial acumen, including staff development, resource allocation, marketing, fundraising, and fiscal management.
  • Has worked effectively with a board of directors. A demonstrable understanding of the board process and decision-making is highly desirable as is the ability to help build a strong, effective fundraising and governance board.
  • Has the ability to foster open, transparent dialogue across the organization, from the Board and General Director to the company’s singers, musicians, full-time and part-time staff and volunteers.
  • Is an excellent public speaker and presenter who can effectively represent CCO to a variety of audiences and stakeholders.
  • Has experience with collective bargaining and a track record of managing these or similar situations skillfully.
  • Values innovation and forward-thinking.
  • A demonstrable track record of integrity, candor, and reliability.


The ideal candidate will have the combined education and professional experience to have established a successful track record in senior management with executive-level responsibilities.  An MBA degree, with a minimum of five years of development leadership and management experience is preferred but not required.


CCO offers competitive compensation commensurate with organizations of a similar size and scope of activities, with a salary range of $175,000 to $225,000.

A comprehensive benefits package including medical, dental, and vision coverage.  100% paid life insurance and long-term disability insurance. Paid time-off for flexible personal use and holidays. 403(b) Retirement Plan with immediate eligibility to contribute.

The organization hopes to make a hiring decision by the beginning of 2022, with the selected candidate assuming the President & CEO role shortly thereafter.

CCO is an equal opportunity employer that celebrates diversity and is committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.Any offer of employment will be conditional upon satisfactory completion of a background check and reference conversations.

HOW TO APPLY: Application Deadline: Tuesday, 4 January 2022.
Central City Opera has engaged Genovese Vanderhoof & Associates to facilitate this search, with Dory Vanderhoof as the consultant leading the process. GV&A Partners Margaret Genovese and Rosalind Bell are assisting with the search. Interested and qualified candidates should submit the following items for consideration:

  • A current résumé
  • Cover letter (no more than 1 ½ pages)
  • Four professional references

Each file should have the applicant’s name included as part of the file name.

Once all materials have been submitted online, the applicant will receive a confirmation of their submission via the email address provided in the application.  To apply for this position, send an email with the relevant attachments to gvarosalind@gmail.com.

Central City Opera web address: centralcityopera.org.

Genovese Vanderhoof web address: genovesevanderhoof.com.