Executive Director

Executive Director

Executive Director 150 150 SilkroadED
November 30, 2022
Remote (Northeast United States preferred)
Job Type
Contact Name (not public)
Kylie Millbern


Job Title: Executive Director

Reports to: Board Chair

Location: Northeast United States (Preferred)

FLSA Status: Full-time, Exempt

Salary Range: $200,000 - $250,000


Yo-Yo Ma conceived Silkroad in 1998 as a reminder that even as rapid globalization resulted in division, it brought extraordinary possibilities for working together. Seeking to understand this dynamic, he began to learn about the historical Silk Road, recognizing in it a model for radical cultural collaboration, for the exchange of ideas and tradition alongside commerce and innovation. And in an innovative experiment, he brought together musicians from the lands of the Silk Road to co-create a new artistic idiom, a musical language founded in difference, a metaphor for the benefits of a more connected world.

This initial gathering of artists was rooted in a simple, initial question: “What happens when strangers meet?” And thus Silkroad was born, as both a touring ensemble composed of world-class musicians from all over the globe, and a social impact organization working to make a positive impact across borders through the arts.

Today, under the leadership of Artistic Director Rhiannon Giddens, Silkroad is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to create music that engages difference, sparking cultural collaboration and education for a more hopeful and inclusive world. What does this look like?

  • Creation of new music — Silkroad develops a musical language founded in difference and collaboration that draws on the rich tapestry of traditions that make up our many-layered contemporary identities.
  • The Grammy award-winning Silkroad Ensemble — Silkroad thrills audiences worldwide with a collective of artists representing dozens of nationalities and artistic traditions, demonstrating how great beauty can emerge from great difference.
  • Educational partnerships — Silkroad uses the arts to ignite passions and foster education in students, teachers, and musicians through training workshops and residency programs in public schools, universities, prisons, and indigenous and refugee communities.
  • Social impact initiatives — Silkroad brings music, hope, and understanding to underserved, yet culturally rich, urban, rural, indigenous, and refugee communities.

For more information, visit silkroad.org.


Silkroad’s Executive Director leads the organization’s local, national, and international work. They ensure strategic coherence, programmatic integration, financial sustainability, and administrative effectiveness. Reporting to and serving as an ex-officio member of the board of directors, the Executive Director clearly articulates an organizational strategy, identifies and takes advantage of new opportunities, and delivers results that support artistic, education and social impact programs. The Executive Director develops and manages productive relationships with diverse constituencies of artists, partner organizations, board members, and funders. They also convey complex stories in understandable and compelling language to internal and external stakeholders, both in person and through media technology. The Deputy Director has day-to-day fiscal responsibility, but the Executive Director has executive oversight to ensure budget integrity.

This is a full-time, exempt position that reports directly to Silkroad’s board chair.


25% Strategize – Work with board, staff, and artists to:

·       Realize a short-term and define a long-term strategic direction that integrates artistic programs, collaborations, and educational activities in synergy with Silkroad’s vision, mission, and values (V/M/V);

·       Communicate and advocate for artist support and activities, while initiating, maintaining and deepening strategic partnerships; and

·       Create new social impact programs that align with V/M/V and leverage Silkroad work on a national and international basis. 25% Implement – Based on the vision outlined by Silkroad’s board, steward the process of articulating, successfully implementing and measuring impact-driven programs. 25% Fundraise – Collaborate closely with development team, artists and board to:

·       Plan and implement long and short-term strategies to secure gifts from individuals and organizations through major, planned, corporate and foundation relations and other special projects;

·       Work with the Silkroad’s board to establish measurable goals to increase fundraising results that are both aspirational and achievable;

·       Foster new key relationships, while maintaining a portfolio of existing donors;

·       Leverage funding for, artistic work, arts education initiatives, and social impact; and

·        Lead fundraising activities to maximize artistic and education programming across the U.S. and internationally. 25% Support – Lead efforts to unify entire Silkroad network (board, artists, and staff) in realizing the organization’s vision, mission, and values. Manage and lead a diverse and excellent staff. Partner with Artistic Director to create and maintain effective relationships with artists and partners. Model, mentor, train, supervise, and evaluate staff, set the tone for a positive, inclusive, productive, and enjoyable work environment. N/A Other duties as assigned N/A Responds to the needs and requests of Silkroad board, staff, and artists in a professional and expedient manner N/A Adheres to all employer policies and procedures


The statements listed above are intended to describe the general nature of the work being performed. This job description is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all duties, responsibilities, or qualifications associated with this position.



  • 10+ years of relevant experience in nonprofit management, preferably in music/performing arts and social impact work
  • Knowledgeable and passionate about the arts and their potential for performance, education, and social impact
  • Proven track record of successful fundraising and staff development, preferably in a complex arts organization
  • Experience developing and successfully launching fundraising campaigns and initiatives
  • Donor/Patron stewardship experience preferred
  • Proven leadership, management and diplomacy skills including the ability to productively engage in conflict and work across differences
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Effective public speaker and presenter
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively communicate, collaborate and build consensus with artists, staff, board and a diverse and broad range of internal/external constituents
  • Strong prioritization and delegation skills
  • Excellent cross-functional management and communications skills
  • Proficient English writing and editing skills
  • Strong computer skills (Microsoft Office, Google Drive, Slack and proficiency in MacOS environment)


  • An innovative cultural leader — Having empathy, cultural sensitivity and awareness, multi-literacy, creative practice, and financial acuity
  • Socially and emotionally aware — Able to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures, to understand social and ethical norms for behavior, and to recognize resources and supports for yourself and others
  • Flexible and understanding — Particularly as it relates to ongoing organizational shifts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • A person who demonstrates —
    • An ability to fully embrace the multi-layered facets of the organization and its complex background
    • A passion for deep listening, and an authentic belief that artistic vision and operational process need to be in alignment around the pillars of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging
    • A core belief in the values of empathy, inclusion, equity and anti-oppression, as it pertains to a multi-cultural and racially diverse group of unique individuals
    • An ability to communicate (speaking, and more importantly, listening) respectfully, effectively, and inclusively with members of the organization for whom English may be their second or third language
    • Natural curiosity and the willingness to ask questions will be necessary traits: being a part of the Silkroad team inherently means being willing to learn, take risks and engage in creative and resourceful problem-solving
    • A passion for a broad range of new music, and a core belief in the value of music as a humanist agent for connection and for change


  • Silkroad is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization based in Boston, MA. Preference for Executive Director to be based in Northeast
  • Small, vibrant, fast-paced work environment that values initiative, efficiency, diversity, transparency, and teamwork
  • Evening and weekend work occasionally required
  • The noise level in the office work environment is moderate
  • Physical demands may include sitting or standing for long periods of time
  • Domestic and foreign travel required



  • This full-time position offers a competitive benefits package that includes a flexible work schedule; 401K retirement plan; medical, dental, and vision benefits with FSA/HSA options; cell phone reimbursement ($25 per month); and paid time off (20 days of vacation per year; 3 personal days per year; 12 sick days per year; 12.5 paid holidays plus a Winter Recess during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day; up to 12 weeks paid leave for new parents who are primary caregivers; and time off for jury duty, elections, and bereavement).



  • Silkroad is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate on the basis of actual or perceived race, creed, color, religion, alienage or national origin, ancestry, citizenship status, age, disability or handicap, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), marital status, veteran status, genetic information, arrest record, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state or local laws.

How To Apply



  • All applications are held in strict confidence. Interested candidates should submit a resume and a letter of interest to: SilkroadExecDir@themediationgroup.org. The deadline for applications is December 31, 2022.

  • Silkroad’s Board of Directors has convened a Search Committee and engaged an outside, neutral search process facilitator. It is anticipated that the search and hiring process will include an open application period; Tier I interviews; Tier II interviews; Search Committee deliberation; Board deliberation and placement. Overall, the process for hiring this position is expected to take between 12 to 14 weeks, depending on the volume of applicants and the presence of major organizational events and/or national holidays.

  • Open Application Period: The process for hiring begins with the announcement of the job opportunity and opening for applications. Prospective applicants are invited to submit materials electronically for a period of approximately 6 weeks. Once the applications close, Silkroad’s Selection Committee will complete their review and those who qualify will be selected and invited to a Tier I interview. (This step is estimated to occur between November 22 – December 31, 2022.)
  • Tier I Interviews: Please note that all candidate interviews will be conducted by phone and/or video using the Zoom video communications application (https://zoom.us/). Please download the application in advance and have a functioning camera and speaker on your device. Silkroad can also provide candidates with reasonable accommodations, if needed. Candidates are asked to submit accessibility requests directly in their application submission so we can ensure your interview experience meets your needs. During the Tier I interview, candidates will meet with Silkroad’s executive director search committee for 30 to 60 minutes. In order to ensure all candidates selected for a Tier I interview are interviewed, the Tier I interview process can last approximately 2 weeks. Thereafter, if a candidate proceeds, Tier II interviews commence. (This step is estimated to occur January 15 – January 31, 2023.)
  • Tier II Interviews: If selected for a Tier II interview, candidates will be given an assignment to make a presentation to the search committee. The presentation should take no longer than one hour to prepare prior to the Tier II interview and should take no longer than 10-15 minutes to present. Following the presentation, the search committee will meet with each candidate for an additional 15-30 minutes to ask follow-up questions. In order to ensure all candidates selected for a Tier II interview are interviewed, the Tier II interview process can last approximately 2 weeks. (This step is estimated to occur February 5-26, 2023.)
  • Finalists - Meet the Candidates Event: If selected, finalists will be asked to participate in 1-2 online “Meet the Candidate” events to provide the opportunity for the broader Silkroad stakeholder community (artists, staff, board) to meet and pose questions to the finalists.  In order to ensure as many Silkroad stakeholders as possible are able to attend and provide their feedback to the search committee and board, these events can last approximately 2 weeks.  (This step is estimated to occur March 1-March 15, 2023.)
  • Final Deliberations: Once all Tier II interviews and “Meet the Candidate” events have been completed, final deliberation begins. Members of the search committee will compile feedback from Silkroad stakeholders and submit an evaluation form to make a recommendation for hire. Silkroad’s board chair will take all recommendations under advisement in order to make a decision in partnership with the board of directors. During the deliberations is when Silkroad asks candidates’ permission to contact their references. After all references have been contacted and deliberations have adjourned, Silkroad will reach out to the selected candidate with a job offer. (This step is estimated to occur March 15-March 31, 2023.)
  • Placement: Once a job offer is agreed upon, the open position is officially closed and placement of the position begins. (The start date for this position is estimated to be April 1-15, 2023.)