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Atlanta Ballet Executive Director

Atlanta Ballet

Chief Advancement Officer


Atlanta Ballet is one of the premier and oldest dance companies in America and the official state ballet of Georgia. Established in 1929 by dance visionary Dorothy Moses Alexander, Atlanta Ballet is currently led by Artistic Director Gennadi Nedvigin. A Bolshoi trained former principal dancer with San Francisco Ballet, Nedvigin was recruited to Atlanta Ballet in 2016 to elevate the artistic excellence and stature of the professional Company. Atlanta Ballet performs at the 2,750-seat Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, accompanied by the Atlanta Ballet Orchestra.

Atlanta Ballet’s mission is to enrich its community by sharing the power and joy of dance at the highest caliber of excellence in its presentations, education initiatives, and community engagement activities. Atlanta Ballet’s five-year strategic plan prioritizes a balanced repertoire of both classical and contemporary ballet; a comprehensive commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); and the centering of the patron experience in establishing effective and long-term financial sustainability. Atlanta Ballet’s vision is to be celebrated globally as one of the premier dance companies in the world, recognized for its distinctive dancers, rich and diverse repertoire, stature in the Atlanta region, and commitment to excellence in dance education—from dance-for-all programming to training for the professional stage. Atlanta Ballet has a deep commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Atlanta Ballet presents a variety of artistic programs, including world premieres by today’s most sought-after choreographers that contribute to its distinctive, signature repertory. The Company also performs iconic and beloved masterworks from classic ballet repertory. In 2018, Atlanta Ballet premiered a new, groundbreaking Nutcracker choreographed by Yuri Possokhov. Debuting in Atlanta, the production was presented the following year at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Atlanta Ballet is committed to equity and diversity within the greater dance field. The organization participated in The Equity Project, a three-year, national collaborative effort involving 21 major ballet companies committed to achieving diversity and inclusion in professional ballet. Atlanta Ballet also launched an internal assessment to further advance its goals for diversity and inclusion and established its DEI Task Force, an internal committee made up of representatives from all sectors of the organization who plan and monitor diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Atlanta Ballet actively seeks to collaborate with diverse artists and support both female choreographers and choreographers of color. The organization has commissioned new work by Dwight Rhoden, Juliano Nunes, and Claudia Schreier, who is currently serving a three-year term as resident choreographer. Atlanta Ballet serves underrepresented communities in numerous ways, including complimentary performance tickets for community partners, scholarships for dance education, and movement programs in schools, community centers, and Boys and Girls Clubs.

In 1996, Atlanta Ballet opened its school, the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education (CDE), which is dedicated to nurturing young dancers while providing an outlet for adults to express their creativity. Fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance, the CDE is now the sixth largest dance education program in the country. In the current fiscal year, with registration diminished due to COVID-19, the CDE serves more than 1,000 young dancers in its enrollment division in three principal locations and more than 500 young dancers in its community engagement programs at numerous other educational and community venues. Of the students in the enrollment division, approximately 13 percent identify as Black, 11 percent as Asian, 6 percent as LatinX, 1 percent as Indigenous, and 4 percent as mixed race. Of the more than 500 students currently served in the community engagement programs, approximately 84 percent identify as Black and 12 percent as LatinX. Atlanta Ballet's roots remain firmly grounded in the Atlanta community and continue to play a vital role in the city's cultural growth.

The CDE maintains an environment that fosters teamwork, promotes healthy life choices, and advances self-esteem. Its Academy track is designed to prepare dancers for professional careers. Atlanta Ballet 2 (AB2) is a pre-professional ensemble that receives the highest level of training through the CDE. Several of its members have risen to apprentice and Company status in previous years. AB2 and Academy students perform at various local venues and in The Nutcracker, Family Ballet series, and annual Spring Concert. CDE’s signature Decade 2 Dance initiative has been designed to support and prepare the next generation of Black and brown dancers for professional careers across the dance community.

Atlanta Ballet is governed by a 33-member board of trustees, led by Chair Nancy Field. Executive Director Tom West and Artistic Director Gennadi Nedvigin oversee an administrative and artistic team of more than 140 people, including 39 company dancers, 47 full- and part-time staff members, 19 full- and part-time faculty members, and a 53-member per-service orchestra. Atlanta Ballet has three collective bargaining agreements with the American Guild of Musical Artists for its dancers, American Federation of Musicians for its orchestra, and International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees for its stagehands.

For the fiscal year ending July 31, 2021, annual revenues were $10.2 million, with approximately $5 million from contributions and grants, $2.5 million from the CDE, and the remainder from investment revenues. Atlanta Ballet receives a substantial amount of government support through various programs of the CARES Act. For the fiscal year ending July 31, 2022, annual revenues are projected to increase to approximately $12.4 million, with $4.7 million from contributions and grants, $4.1 million from ticket sales, $2.2 million from the CDE, and the remainder from investments and other revenues. Atlanta Ballet’s permanently restricted endowment stands at $1.5 million. Its long-term goal is to build the endowment to $12 million plus a shorter-term goal to fund a Working Capital Reserve of $2 million.


Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Southeast region and home to more than six million residents. Known as a “city in a forest” due to its abundance of trees, Atlanta is popular among millennials for its diverse cultural and recreational offerings and affordable cost of living. It is the headquarters of 30 Fortune 500 Companies, including Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and CNN. A rapidly growing technology hub, Atlanta is recognized for its aerospace, transportation, media operations, medical, and information technology services.

Known as the cradle of the Civil Rights Movement, Atlanta has deep historical ties to modern civil rights activism. The city is home to the late Congressman John Lewis and the Ebenezer Baptist Church, which was led by the father of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Atlanta has also become a hub for the film industry, with television pilots, series, reality shows, and feature films currently in production. Popular television shows like The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, Ozark, The Resident, and MacGyver are currently filming in neighborhoods throughout metropolitan Atlanta. Film studios, stages, and production companies are also expanding the entertainment industry landscape in Atlanta, including Trilith Studios and Tyler Perry Studios, one of the largest production facilities in the country.

According to Americans for the Arts, the nonprofit arts and culture sector in metropolitan Atlanta is historically a $720 million industry—one that supports 23,514 full-time equivalent jobs and generates $64.5 million in local and state government revenue. Atlanta Ballet is part of a thriving performing arts and culture scene that includes the Tony award-winning Alliance Theatre, the Grammy award-winning Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Alternate Roots, Atlanta Jewish Music Festival, High Museum of Art, National Black Arts Festival, Atlanta Shakespeare Company, Youth Ensemble of Atlanta, Woodruff Arts Center, The Atlanta Opera, and Atlanta Jazz Festival, among many others.

Downtown Atlanta hosts the business community, with hotels and destinations like Centennial Olympic Park, National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and Georgia Aquarium. Distinctive neighborhoods include Buckhead (a home to one of CDE’s studios), Druid Hills, Little Five Points, East Atlanta Village, and Edgewood Avenue. In a recent study, “2019 US Cities Scorecard for Millennials,” Atlanta ranked among the top five cities in 20 different categories, including second for best value, everyday expenses, and friendliest and third for restaurants. recognized Atlanta as the winner of its city destination category as part of the 2020 Gay Travel Awards. The city is also a restaurant mecca and offers a wide range of sporting and outdoor activities.

Sources: InStyle, February 2021;;;;

Position Summary

The Chief Advancement Officer (CAO) is responsible for planning, implementing, overseeing, and assessing Atlanta Ballet's fundraising plans in support of the organization's strategic vision and growth. Reporting to the Executive Director as a key member of the leadership team, the CAO will effectively represent the organization's development interests to constituencies, both internal and external, and will work in close collaboration with the Executive Director, Artistic Director, and the board of trustees to achieve philanthropic goals and build a case for support. The CAO will establish and advance ambitious and challenging goals, develop and implement strategies to meet objectives, and measure effectiveness and performance to ensure that organizational results are attained.

In addition to establishing and maintaining a personal portfolio of current and prospective major donors, the CAO will manage the development team and oversee technical support within the department, including prospect research. The CAO will succeed and lead by example in a mission-driven working environment that balances the need and relevance of programs with the efficiency of best business practices, fiscal accountability, and institutional impact in keeping with the organization's values, mission, vision, and plans.

Roles and Responsibilities

Strategic Leadership and Comprehensive Implementation

  • Develop both short- and long-term development strategies for annual operating, endowment, planned giving, and capital campaigns with the Executive Director and the board.
  • Lead, oversee, and implement an integrated fundraising plan to achieve and support initiatives contained within the strategic plan.
  • Develop and grow a balanced funding mix of donor sources and solicitation programs that attract, retain, and motivate donors.
  • Identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward a personal portfolio of current and new funding sources and explore opportunities for additional individual, foundation, and corporate philanthropy.
  • Establish goals and metrics to evaluate implementation of strategy and tactics and evaluate the overall effectiveness of the development program.
  • Assess the team to ensure that the department is effectively structured and staffed and oversee performance measures and results.
  • Form deep relationships with individual donors, steward strategic alliances, and engage publicly with an array of stakeholders.
  • Expand the endowment and increase working capital reserves as part of building long-term financial stability for the organization.
  • Cultivate and maintain strong partnerships with the board, major donors, foundations, public agencies, and corporate funders to grow substantial contributed revenue opportunities.
  • Maintain a strategic knowledge of best practices and significant trends in philanthropy and adapt fundraising strategies as necessary.
  • Embrace other strategic leadership and comprehensive implementation responsibilities as needed.

Board Engagement and Recruitment

  • Provide fundraising leadership and support to the Executive Director and board members, including identifying their resource cultivation goals, implementing donor prospecting steps, and participating in asks, as appropriate.
  • Collaborate with the Executive Director and Nominating Committee Chair to identify, cultivate, and recruit prospective board members.
  • Manage the Nominating Committee in its operations and devise strategies that align philanthropic goals with the proactive identification and recruitment of diverse trustees who represent broad community perspectives.
  • Engage in a rigorous board nominating process, communicate with existing and prospective board members, and build relationships with prospective board members locally and regionally.
  • Speak credibly and persuasively about Atlanta Ballet's vision for the future with current and prospective board members.
  • Advise board members, both individually and collectively, on best practices in community ambassadorship and donor cultivation.
  • Embrace other board engagement and recruitment responsibilities as needed.

Team and Organizational Effectiveness

  • Provide general oversight of all development activities, manage the daily operations of the department, and monitor the adequacy of activities through coordination with the Executive Director, staff, and appropriate board committees.
  • Collaborate with the Marketing and Communications team to ensure consistent messaging and outreach strategies as they affect all development efforts.
  • Partner with the Chief Financial Officer to ensure sound fiscal operation of the development function, including timely, accurate, and comprehensive budgeting, monitoring, forecasting, and reporting of charitable contributions and department expenses.
  • Recruit, diversify, coach, inspire, and motivate a strong development team to better represent the community that Atlanta Ballet serves.
  • Support team ingenuity with appropriate human resources, structures, systems, and technological platforms that are in alignment with current and future trends in the philanthropy.
  • Facilitate professional development and maintain a culture where diversity and inclusion are celebrated in achieving common goals.
  • Oversee department accountability and actively address questions and concerns that ensure a safe and healthy work environment for the team.
  • Embrace other team and organizational effectiveness responsibilities as needed.

Traits and Characteristics

A goal- and results-oriented leader with extraordinary interpersonal skills, the CAO will listen, observe, and gain understanding into the motivations of others. An effective communicator who shows sensitivity to a diversity people and perspectives, the CAO will be an authentic relationship builder with the ability to think both analytically and creatively. The CAO will be a compelling and charismatic leader who can inspire donors and move team members forward with a keen sense of humor and joy in their interactions with people from all racial, political, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds.

Other key competencies include:

  • Leadership and Teamwork – The ability to inspire, build trust, and create a sense of purpose and direction while tactfully handling challenging and sensitive issues.
  • Professional Accountability and Interpersonal Skills – The capacity to accept responsibility for actions and results, reevaluate, and develop long-term relationships with people across the organization and throughout the community.
  • Planning, Organizing, and Goal Orientation – The dexterity to adapt quickly when dealing with unpredictable situations while establishing and meeting specific, measurable, attainable, reviewable, and time-sensitive goals.
  • Time and Priority Management – The flexibility to prioritize and complete tasks in order to deliver desired outcomes, effectively managing difficulties and delays to complete tasks on time while creating an environment that is conducive to effectiveness.


A minimum of eight years of senior management experience that includes developing new revenue sources, building and strengthening relationships, and a track record of success in major gift fundraising is required. Exceptional written and interpersonal skills, a genuine enthusiasm for ballet and dance education, and a high degree of professionalism and integrity are needed. Successful experience planning and implementing significant annual operating, endowment, planned giving, or capital campaigns is essential. Specific educational credentials are not required but a bachelor’s degree and Certified Fundraising Executive designation are appreciated.

Compensation and Benefits

Atlanta Ballet provides a competitive and equitable compensation package with salary estimated in the range of $135,000 to $155,000. Employee benefits include paid vacation, sick leave, personal days, and holidays; health, long-term disability, and life insurances; and a voluntary 403(b) retirement plan.

Applications and Inquiries

To submit a cover letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred), please click here or visit For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:

Dr. Bruce D. Thibodeau, President

292 Newbury Street, Suite 315
Boston, MA 02115-2801
Tel       (888) 234.4236 Ext. 201

Atlanta Ballet's diversity, equity, and inclusion goals are to more fully reflect the diversity of its community; for performances to attract and resonate with Atlanta’s diverse communities; for everyone who works at Atlanta Ballet to feel valued for their contributions and competencies; and for everyone in the Atlanta Ballet community to have a sense of belonging, regardless of race, color, gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic background, religion, or sexual orientation.


Click here for the downloadable PDF.

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