Senior Director, Anti-racism, Equity, and Belonging - The Public Theater

New York, NY
Full Time

About The Public Theater

The Public is theater of, by, and for the people. Artist-driven, radically inclusive, and fundamentally democratic, The Public continues the work of its visionary founder Joe Papp as a civic institution engaging, both on-stage and off, with some of the most important ideas and social issues of today. Conceived over 60 years ago as one of the nation’s first nonprofit theaters, The Public has long operated on the principles that theater is an essential cultural force and that art and culture belong to everyone.


The Public’s wide breadth of programming includes an annual season of new work at its landmark home at Astor Place, Free Shakespeare in the Park at The Delacorte Theater in Central Park, the Mobile Unit touring throughout New York City’s five boroughs, Public Forum, Under the Radar, Public Lab, Public Works, Public Shakespeare Initiative, and Joe’s Pub. The Public Theater is home to over 200 full-time staff members and up to an additional 300 part-time or contract hires at any given time.  


Our Commitment to Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 

The Public is firmly committed to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). We are unequivocally committed to fighting systemic racism, injustice, and anti-Blackness within our organization and in the work we do. We aspire to be a place where all – including those from underrepresented communities such as people of color, those with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ+ community are welcome, celebrated, and can thrive. We hold ourselves accountable to becoming an actively anti-racist organization and are transparent in our commitments. We understand this requires staff to have difficult conversations, confront biases, and shift away from white supremacist cultural norms. We want our professionals to have rewarding careers and be valued for their contribution.


Our community came together to develop an Anti-Racism and Cultural Transformation Plan that reflects the goals, values, and commitments that we are making as an organization to move closer to our aspirations for ourselves and the entire theater community. 


About the Opportunity

To advance our bold commitments, The Public Theater seeks a senior leader for a newly created position, Senior Director of Anti-racism, Equity, and Belonging. Reporting directly to and working in deep partnership with the Executive and Artistic Directors, this role will be the leading voice and advocate for these commitments within and outside our organization, holding an executive-level position of influence and oversight of key activities related to The Public’s cultural transformation, anti-racism, belonging, and equity work. The Senior Director will manage a sizable budget to implement this work, including the option to hire additional staff. A significant amount of this work will allow for meaningful collaboration with the Senior Director of Human Resources. This position will work across the organization to build a culture that reflects the diverse communities we serve, ensuring an inclusive lens and opportunities to build affinity at every step.  


The position will be instrumental in implementing our cultural transformation plan, enabling an environment where all voices can be heard; driving greater transparency and accountability standards across the organization; and helping to ensure that our hiring practices are equitable. The Senior Director will act as a flag-bearer for the Public’s culture, evangelizing the culture inside the team, and serving as a resource to employees to ensure they feel fully engaged and are experiencing The Public as a great place to work. 


This is a unique role for someone whose background includes a combination of experience in professional implementation of diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy, learning and development, and coaching in a complex organizational setting. Ideally, this will be someone with either professional or personal experience in performing arts, although that is not a requirement. 


Given the size and scope of The Public, this is a unique opportunity to influence this leading institution in New York theater, but also in American theater broadly. It offers an opportunity to effect change at many levels: problem solving for individual employees, crafting an inclusive culture, and designing new universal intervention and remediations inside of the theater community. 


Areas of Leadership

Passion for the Mission: Serve as an active leader in an institution that was founded on and continues to engage deeply with complex, timely, and critical social issues and ideas through performing arts. Apply best practices in DEI, accessibility, affinity-building, and belonging, as well as organizational development and change management in the context of a large, progressive arts nonprofit. Represent The Public’s work related to equity, belonging, and anti-racism externally with industry peers and other interested parties. 


Key Qualifications: Track record of senior-level experience in DEI work within complex institutions. Comfortable reviewing DEI research and applying principles from relevant research in a nonprofit performing arts setting. Enthusiasm for the performing arts and understanding of fast-paced, deadline-driven environments.


Strategic Oversight: Building on the Cultural Transformation Plan and partnering with the Cultural Transformation Committee, create and effectively communicate the vision of cultural transformation and work toward equity, belonging, and anti-racism. Establish and implement plans that include long and short-term goals, developing and reporting key deliverables with metrics and benchmarks, for internal and external constituents. Translate equity, belonging, and anti-racism values into systems, practices, and day-to-day work and help lead, facilitate, and support ongoing organizational change. Apply a change management lens to foresee and address barriers, bringing a large and diverse group of constituents together for shared goals. Lead and/or work with other Leadership Team Members to lead Cultural Transformation Committee, Affinity Group process, and any other groups or structures related to equity, belonging, and anti-racism work. Serve as staff liaison to the Board of Directors’ Anti-Racism Committee. Develop and manage the DEI budget in alignment with the strategy and key deliverables.


Key Qualifications: Proven expertise in building and executing a strategy related to DEI. Ability to think conceptually and strategically while maintaining and communicating a results-driven approach. Goal-oriented and comfortable with ambiguity with ability to prioritize on a consistent basis in a dynamic environment.


Executive Leadership: Partner closely with the highest leadership of The Public, including Artistic and Executive Directors, Senior Leadership Team, and the Board, to ensure that commitments related to equity, belonging, and anti-racism are woven into every aspect of decision-making, internal and external communication, programming, and policy-setting. Serve as a coach, confidante, and thought partner around core issues. Collaborate with Human Resources with the goal of attracting, retaining, and developing a talented and diverse staff. Oversee and build appropriate trainings, programming, and resources for staff, including Affinity Groups, Speaker Series, and engagement with external leaders. 


Key Qualifications: Experience serving in an executive capacity, with a track record of applying equity values into organizational leadership and management. Demonstrated previous work in coaching and partnering with senior leaders. Understanding of human resources and/or talent strategies in nonprofit organizations. Experience with both direct and indirect management. 


Communications and Relationship-Building: Identify and support opportunities to build trust and communication among staff and Board at all levels. Create clear expectations about what equity, belonging, and anti-racism mean in The Public’s context and how those expectations will be upheld and expressed. Collaborate with appropriate leaders to ensure that internal and external messages are conveyed in alignment with equity, belonging, and anti-racism values. Identify and implement systems and processes to address issues related to equity that arise, both internally and those impacted by external events. 


Key Qualifications: Senior-level experience with facilitation, developing and delivering internal messages, and engaging with a diverse group of constituents. Demonstrated strength in written and oral communication around issues relating to difference and diversity. Track record of building a culture of organizational trust, with ability to establish rapport and communicate effectively at all levels within the organization and with external stakeholders. Able to manage information in a way that honors parties with a high degree of honesty and integrity.


Salary, Benefits, and Location

This role offers a competitive salary, with a salary range of $200,000-$225,000. This role includes a full benefits package, including a range of excellent health, dental, and vision insurance options, flexible paid time off, pension, 403(b) Retirement Savings Plan, and free access to Public Theater programming with opportunities to access free and discounted tickets to other theater productions. This is a hybrid position, with the requirement for candidates to reside in the New York City area and to have an on-site presence at least two days per week, including potential for weekends and evenings, as needed. 


Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion in Hiring

The Public is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. Applicants from populations underrepresented in the theater field are strongly encouraged to apply. All qualified applications will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, familial status, sexual orientation, national origin, ability, age, or veteran status. 


COVID-19 Protection Expectations

As a condition of employment, the Public will require all employees who report to work on site (either at the Public Theater or any other workspace or performing location) to be up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccine and boosters. The Public will provide exceptions only for employees with an approved medical or religious exemption.At the time of posting, all employees are expected to participate in on-site rapid testing and screening when they are at any of the theater sites.   


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