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3 Feb 2021

Full-Time Senior Director of the Boards and Special Events

lyricopera – Posted by lyricopera Chicago, Illinois, United States

Job Description

REPORTS TO: Chief Advancement Officer

STATUS:          Full-time, exempt

Through artistic excellence coupled with innovative, relevant programming; initiatives to connect with and grow new audiences; engagement with communities to ignite creativity across Chicago; and a modernized Opera House that is the setting for truly great experiences, Lyric is leading the advancement of opera. This collaborative vision will deliver ever more exciting, thought-provoking and inclusive audience and community experiences – while increasing the gravitational pull of our art form, our company, and our city.



  • Demonstrate leadership in accordance with Lyric’s mission and vision.
  • Oversee activities for all Lyric boards and manage staff who directly support the individual boards: Women’s Board, Ryan Opera Center Board, Guild Board, Chapters’ Executive Board (CEB), and Lyric Young Professionals (LYP).
  • Provide leadership and strategic management for all Women’s Board fundraising activities and help to cultivate individual members as major donors.
  • Oversee entire Development department event strategy to further fundraising goals.

Women’s Board

  • Facilitate development of the Women’s Board’s annual fundraising efforts and manage all activities necessary to achieve them. Seek opportunities to maximize net income and find new audiences.
  • In collaboration with Philanthropy Officers and the Senior Development Team, secure all earned and contributed income goals for events.
  • Oversee management of all Women’s Board meetings, Executive Committee meetings, and all Women’s Board events and projects.
  • Manage Women’s Board staff.
  • Act as primary staff liaison for the Women’s Board President.

Fundraising Events

  • Provide leadership and work closely with the Women’s Board President, event chairs, and the membership to achieve special event funding, planning, and implementation for all Women’s Board events, including Opening Night Opera Ball, Women’s Board Musical Spring Gala, Wine Auction, special fundraising galas, and Board of Directors Annual Meeting.
  • Oversee management of event logistics for special Women’s Board events and galas and for the Ryan Opera Center annual gala, working with co-chairs and staff to secure sponsors and event attendees along with managing vendors.
  • Lead planning and supervise implementation of all aspects of the triennial Wine Auction project, including print/online catalogue development and production, décor, pre-/post-event activities, and interim Wine Auction-related events. Manage and direct all Wine Auction committees, vendors, advisors, and auctioneers.
  • Plan and coordinate Board of Directors and Women’s Board trips. Plan and/or participate in other unique travel opportunities, dinners, and events and projects, as related to donor cultivation as assigned.

Volunteer Boards

  • Oversee management of all Volunteer Board meetings, Executive Committee meetings, and all events and projects.
  • Manage Volunteer Board staff – Ryan Opera Center Board, Guild Board, CEB, and LYP.

Stewardship Events

  • Provide primary leadership for all events within the Development department.
  • Oversee all Lyric Opera donor events including: Production Sponsorship events, Lyric Signature events, Grand Benefactor events, Ryan Opera Center events, Gift Planning events, corporate contracted events, and other events as they arise (over 60 annually).
  • Manage special events team.

Graham Room

  • Provide leadership for the administration and promotion of Lyric’s private dining room, the William B. and Catherine Graham Room, a project of the Women’s Board.
    • Oversee all use of the Graham Room, including on performances and for special events.
    • Oversee all Graham Room operations, including reservations, catering, staffing, physical planning, budget, vendors, etc.


  • Oversee the management of the communication and coordination between the Development department, the Office of the General Director, and the Office of the Music Director as it relates to the General Director and/or the Music Director’s involvement in Development activities.
  • Manage the communication and coordination between the Development Department, the Office of the General Director, and the Rehearsal department in regards to artist attendance and participation at all Development events.
  • As the business evolves, so may this role. These duties may change as Lyric’s leadership identifies the need at any time.


  • Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university.
  • 10+ years’ experience in Development or related field.
  • 5+ years’ experience working directly with a volunteer board.
  • Proven abilities in planning and implementation of marquee special events, leadership, and supervision of administrative staff.
  • Excellent oral, written, and interpersonal communication skills, strong project-management and organizational competencies, and a demonstrated track record of success in solicitation of donors are required.
  • Working knowledge and comfort working with:
    • Microsoft suite of products
    • CRM expertise (Tessitura a strong plus)
  • Ability to work and think independently, a motivated self-starter who also works well in a larger team.


  • Ability to regularly oversee evenings or weekend functions, deployments, or performances.
  • Sitting or standing for extended periods of time.
  • Ability to operate a computer keyboard, mouse, and to handle other office equipment.


The Lyric Opera of Chicago is committed to enhancing our diverse work environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. Lyric does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, parental status, veteran status, or any other protected status under applicable laws. We encourage individuals of all backgrounds to apply.

How to Apply


Job Types: Full-Time.

Job expires in 59 days.

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