Chief Operating Officer – The Straz Center, The David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts

Location: Tampa, Florida
  • December 8, 2023

The David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts (“The Straz Center”) invites applications for the position of Chief Operating Officer.

The Position:

The Chief Operating Officer is responsible for providing strategic leadership on all day-to-day management, safety, and security of The Straz Center’s Operations Division which includes five theatres, three restaurants, programming, booking support, production services, and security.

Reporting to President & CEO Greg Holland, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) is a member of the CEO’s senior leadership team comprised of the CAFO, CMO, and CDO, partnering on all strategic and day-to-day operations relating to the respective areas of oversight.

The COO supervises these positions: VP of Operations, VP of Food & Beverage, Senior Director of Facilities, the Senior Director of Programming, and the Special Assistant to the COO.  Supervision of these areas involves direct and indirect responsibilities for interviewing, selection, training, motivation, performance evaluation, wage and salary administration, developing goals, and developing procedures to ensure the achievement of these goals.

The COO works closely with City of Tampa officials as well as other municipal and county governmental agencies on issues relating to The Straz Center’s operations such as real estate development, parking, and traffic concerns.

In addition the COO provides executive leadership and oversight of collective bargaining with the IATSE and HERE unions, negotiations with musical contractor, serves as Crisis Manager for The Straz Center’s Disaster Response Team, and through the Senior Director of Programming all programming, booking and production agreements and activities, including all event budgeting.

The Straz Center’s mission is to inspire, educate, and enrich its entire community through the transformative power of the performing arts.  The Straz Center is envisioned as a welcoming and inclusive international cultural institution renowned for innovation, creativity, and celebration of the human spirit.

Background:

With an annual operating budget of $53 million, the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts is the largest presenting and producing institution in the Southeast, hosting more than 1,600 performances, conferences, training activities, business, and community events annually.  A 335,000 square-foot campus with six distinct performance venues (capacities ranging from 150 to 2600), three restaurants, and the fully-accredited Patel Conservatory, The Straz Center is the largest not-for-profit cultural organization in Florida. It consistently ranks in the Top 10 Performing Arts Centers in the world by Billboard, Venues Today, and Pollstar.  It was ranked as the fifth largest grossing venue under 5,000 seats in the world by Billboard in 2023.

The Straz Center is located in downtown Tampa on a picturesque nine-acre site along the east bank of the Hillsborough River. The largest performing arts complex south of the Kennedy Center, The Straz Center is home to one of the nation’s leading Broadway series, in addition to producing grand opera, and presenting a wide variety of concerts, performances and events.

Opening in 1987, the construction of The Straz Center (formerly known as the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center) was one of the most courageous decisions in Tampa’s history.  The visionary governmental, civic, and arts leaders who founded it weren’t just building a performance space: they saw what Tampa Bay could become and knew The Straz Center would be the catalyst for the transformation.  The Straz Center led the way: revitalizing downtown Tampa and enhancing millions of lives in the process, show by show, student by student.

The Straz Center has an annual attendance of more than 618,000, hosting more than 1,300 events 365 days a year.  Its annual economic impact is more than $130 million, generating more than 110,000 hotel room nights.  It had a full-time, part-time, and seasonal staff of 685, complemented with 850 volunteers contributing more than 142,460 hours.  There are more than 45 arts education partnerships with Title 1 schools and community agencies.

Master Plan:  BOUNDLESS: The Campaign for The New Straz Center

In 2017 The Straz Center began developing its new Master Plan to create an iconic community gathering space: opening its lobbies to the Riverwalk and adding roof-top terraces, a water-side bistro, a signature restaurant, and the expansion of performance and educational facilities to be more welcoming and multi-functional.

The goals of the campaign are to pioneer ways to serve better tomorrow’s arts consumer, extend The Straz Center’s reach as an arts educator and community builder, and demonstrate internationally the unique vision and vigor of Tampa Bay and its citizens.

Besides the transformation of the physical spaces, the campaign will also focus on growing the endowment fund (currently at $67 million).  The overall campaign goal is $100 million; $60 million has been raised to date).

The current Chief Operating Officer, Lorrin Shepard, is retiring in April of 2024 after 33 years at The Straz Center.  He will continue in a consultative capacity on the Master Plan project.

Tampa Bay Area:

The Tampa Bay Region, which includes Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater, is the third MSA in the Southeast, one of the fastest growing in the USA.  It is ranked No. 1 in Florida for high tech jobs with a growth rate of 5% and consistently ranks high on many lists of the best places to live, work, and play.

Tampa Bay is also renowned for the grit and success of its major league sports teams, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Tampa Bay Lighting, and the Tampa Bay Rays.   The region is also home to numerous universities, colleges, and trade schools, and its health care sector is burgeoning, attracting incredible talent and providing magnificent resources for all who live and work in the region.

Tampa Bay is situated half way up the coast, affording a moderate climate, glorious topography, historic neighborhoods, a diverse and welcoming population, with an influx of Millennials from around the country, an explosion of growth of progressive residential communities and businesses, and a passion for the arts.

Across the Bay from Tampa, St. Petersburg hosts the world-renowned Dali Museum, and has recently renovated its pier to afford enhanced waterfront amenities to Bay area residents and visitors.

Tampa is distinguished by its remarkable sense of community, bringing together persons of all stripes across demographics, occupations, and points of view to create a vibrant, positive center of innovation and balanced lifestyles.  Though rich in history, in many ways Tampa is at the dawn of its Golden Age.  The best is yet to come.

Qualifications:

The ideal candidate will have seven to ten years of proven success in operations  leadership positions with a large, complicated performing arts facility or cultural organization.

Working knowledge and experience of best practices in a not for profit entity are preferred.

An industry professional with comprehensive knowledge of all aspects of arts venue management  and many performing arts forms.  Experience in curation of both presenting and producing programming including logistics, scheduling, and contract administration, as well as food and beverage operations.  Experience in project and construction management, with leadership abilities in construction planning oversight, relationships and timelines.

The ability to build and nurture excellent staff teams, work with highly committed board members and other volunteers,  and collaborating with other senior executives to meet strategic, financial, and operational goals.

Excellent communication and financial skills.

The strategic thinking, personal leadership qualities, political acumen, tact, diplomacy, and patience required to negotiate and manage change successfully.

Experience in capital/endowment campaigns and building projects.

A proven track record in building successful public/private partnerships and working with the public/government sectors.

A deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and evidence of positive actions taken to hold an institution accountable to these issues.

A personal vision of how the arts and arts education can transform the life of a community.

Minimum of an undergraduate degree in arts management or business administration or equivalent therefore.  A graduate degree in arts, arts management, business or not-for-profit administration is preferred.

Application Process:  

The salary range is $225,000 to $240,000 with an excellent benefits package and a discretionary annual bonus.

Deadline for applications: Monday, February 26, 2024.

Interested candidates are invited to submit a cover letter and resume, with a list of references, in confidence to:

Margaret Genovese

Senior Partner

Genovese Vanderhoof & Associates

gvamargaret@aol.com

416/340-2762

For additional information:

 

https://www.strazcenter.org/about-us/careers/

www.genovese vanderhoof.com,

 

www.visittampabay.com

 

The David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts is an Equal Opportunity employer committed to being an inclusive workplace and strongly believes in the importance of having a diverse group of individuals represented. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital or veteran  status, or any other basis protected by applicable federal, state, or local laws.