Executive Director - Writers Block Ink

Location: New London, CT

Type: Full Time

Min. Experience: Experienced

About the Organization

The Writers Block Ink, Inc. transforms youth and communities through the arts. Our primary mission is to arm young voices with the power of pen and prose, reinforcing teamwork, accountability, and responsibility to ignite social change on the page and stage. Here, youth create and perform their own works running the full spectrum of creative arts (writing, dancing, singing, visual arts, etc). 

All Writer’s Block productions address serious social issues youth and communities regularly encounter. These include micro and macro themes of abuse, discrimination, peer pressure, bullying, drugs, teen pregnancy, family dysfunction, racism, violence, war, etc. 

We establish an environment that invites and nurtures individual and collective creativity. We engage youth from all walks of life to use all aspects of theatre as a tool to address personal and social challenges. At the Block, we invite and encourage youth to open up, speak up, create and perform. We find, feed, and launch young leaders.

About the Position

Through inspirational leadership, operational management and community and stakeholder engagement, the Executive Director will grow Writer’s Block Ink’s (WBI) presence, partnership, revenue and participants to ensure the organization delivers on its goals and realizes its mission to develop young leaders who create social change through the arts.  

Specifically, the Executive Director acts as the key fulcrum and liaison between students, staff, WBI’s board of directors and the community—engaging, inspiring and motivating all stakeholders, and positioning the organization to play a leadership role amongst arts organizations locally and beyond.  The ED is responsible for operations, brand, fund and partnership development, leadership development, and programming oversight for both the team and students. 

Ideal candidates have an authentic passion for social justice and the arts, are equally strong in operational management, community engagement and talent development/people management, with direct experience fundraising and leading teams.  


Key Responsibilities & Goals:

Organizational & Operational Leadership:

  • In collaboration with the Board of Directors, develop and oversee the execution of an organizational strategic plan
  • In collaboration with the Board of Directors, analyze and ensure quality of programming and operations 
  • In collaboration with the Board of Directors, develop an annual operating budget 
  • Work closely with the Board of Directors, including leading relevant operating committees, to ensure WBI meets its revenue targets and performance goals
  • Oversee contracts & agreements with partners
  • Ensure effective, continuous communication between BOD, team and stakeholders
  • Develop and oversee operating policies and processes 
  • Oversee production of quarterly core programmatic events and performances ensuring they remain aligned with the WBI’s mission and brand

External Relations & Fundraising:

  • Significantly increase partnerships and collaborations with community partners, schools and stakeholders; engaging, mobilizing and organizing constituents, and building positive relationships throughout the community 
  • Serve as a primary spokesperson of the organization, positioning WBI to be a leader in local and state wide social justice & arts organizations 
  • Develop and implement strategy for expanding WBI’s brand and presence through marketing, public relations and events 
  • Develop and execute fundraising strategy which diversifies revenue, broadens base of supporters, builds out individual and corporate giving, includes an earned income model and leverages the Board of Directors 
  • Manage and support the development manager to ensure fundraising strategies are executed and targets are met
  • Develop and ensure effective volunteer recruitment strategy

Leadership Development & Team Management:

  • Manage, support and develop staff and volunteers
  • Develop and execute performance management process, ensuring team members are supported and developed to meet individual and organizational goals
  • Design leadership development strategy for students ensuring they are effectively recruited, developed and supported through a continuum of opportunity within the organization, including developing successor leader


Experience & Qualifications

  • Authentic passion for the arts and social justice; energized by WBI’s mission and vision
  • Significant experience working with diverse communities; at least three years of experience in an leadership rolein a community serving organization
  • Passion for and experience in youth development and talent development 
  • Direct experience in fundraising and revenue generation, particularly in individual and/or corporate giving
  • At least two years experience managing teams with strong ability to coach and mentor at variety of skill and experience levels 
  • Outstanding community and stakeholder engagement and relationship management skills with direct experience in community engagement, organizing/ mobilizing, partnerships or development 
  • Demonstrated relationship management skills and experience in creating collaborations among partner organizations
  • Experience developing and executing strategic plans, goal setting processes and annual budgeting 
  • Ability to articulate, engage and inspire stakeholders around a vision 
  • Excellent project management and strategic planning skills

Additional Qualities & Mindsets

  • Entrepreneurial mindset, highly self driven, able to work at both grass tops and roots levels with ability to execute
  • Demonstrates executive presence, professional maturity, poise and humility; ability to manage up effectively 
  • Highly positive and enthusiastic style capable of motivating others and building an effective team
  • A change agent and team player with integrity, humility and tenacity capable of influencing across the organization and to champion change in a passionate, convincing manner that elicits support
  • Strategic mindset with the ability to deliver upon tactical goals
  • Works well under pressure; accepting constructive criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations. This includes continuing to persevere and remaining calm in challenging or frustrating circumstances
  • Clear thinker with the ability to prioritize and communicate priorities clearly and concisely. Able to make decisions with speed and accuracy, based on available information
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