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Marcus Performing Arts Center Vice President of Venue Operations

Marcus Performing Arts Center 

Vice President of Venue Operations


Established in 1969, the Marcus Performing Arts Center (Marcus Center) is the premier performing arts community gathering space in Southeastern Wisconsin. As a Milwaukee County-owned facility (managed and operated by the Marcus Performing Arts Center nonprofit organization), the Marcus Center’s mission is to act as an energizing force that connects the community to the world through collaboration, innovation, social engagement, and the transformative power of live performing arts. The Marcus Center is home to the Milwaukee Ballet, The Florentine Opera, First Stage, and Black Arts MKE and is also a dedicated veterans memorial in Milwaukee.

The Marcus Center has four state-of-the-art performance spaces, three theaters inside the building, and an outdoor theater, lawn, and plaza area adjacent to the Milwaukee River. As the first phase of its Campus Master Plan, the Marcus Center has undergone several major upgrades, including installation of live streaming technology and renovation of the outdoor performance areas and the seating area of Uihlein Hall (the largest venue with 2,128 seats).

Serving more than 500,000 audience members annually, the Marcus Center presents a diverse mix of cultural arts programing, including touring Broadway productions and the world’s best in contemporary dance, jazz, global music, and live music. In addition to providing high-quality arts education and engagement experiences, the Marcus Center is committed to racial equity, diversity, and inclusion (REDI) focusing on representation, inclusion, and investment to build bridges between diverse members of the community.

The Marcus Center has a 20-member board of directors, led by Chair Ray Wilson. Kendra Whitlock Ingram serves as President & CEO. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, the Marcus Center reported a total revenue of $15.2 million, with $4.7 million from contributions and grants and $10.5 million from program services. Total expenses were $14 million.


Wisconsin’s largest city, Milwaukee is located along the southwestern shores of Lake Michigan. The city sits on traditional Potawatomi, Ho-Chunk, and Menominee homeland along the southwest shores of Michigami, where the Milwaukee, Menominee, and Kinnickinnic rivers meet and the people of Wisconsin’s sovereign Anishinaabe, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Oneida, and Mohican nations remain present. Milwaukee is a diverse and vibrant city, home to nearly 600,000 people with a diverse population. The cost of living is 15 percent below the national average. Known as a “big city of little neighborhoods,” Milwaukee’s East Side, Historic Third Ward, and Bay View are just a few of its great locales, each with its own unique personality. Offering rich cultural diversity with mixed-use areas that are simultaneously historic and hip, the region attracts young professionals and families.

Milwaukee is at the center of a seven-county metropolitan area with a robust economy, ranked in the top 20 on MarketWatch's 50 best United States metropolitan areas for business and one of the 25 best places for doing business by Inc. magazine. Seven Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in the region, including Northwestern Mutual, ManpowerGroup, Kohl’s, and Harley-Davidson. Higher education institutions based in the city include the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Marquette University, and Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. Milwaukee also offers extensive options for public transportation, including streetcar, bus, and commuter rail networks. General Mitchell International Airport is the largest airport in the Wisconsin region, offering nonstop flights to more than 35 destinations coast-to-coast and more than 200 international destinations with just one connection.

Recreation and leisure activities abound in Milwaukee. The city’s park system is ranked among the top 30 in the United States by the Trust for Public Land, with 90 percent of city’s residents living within a 10-minute walk to a park. The Oak Leaf Trail has more than 125 miles of trail for cycling, rollerblading, walking, birding, and running around Milwaukee County. Sports fans can catch the MLB Brewers at American Family Field, considered one of the best ballparks in America, and the NBA Bucks at Fiserv Forum, a 17,500-seat arena designed solely for basketball. The city has a vibrant food and drink scene, with many modern craft breweries that maintain the city’s historic and cultural ties to beer. The city’s climate is typical of the Midwest, with four distinct seasons. Winters are snowy and cold and summers are pleasant and warm.

Milwaukee’s cultural vitality is a major factor in the region’s quality of life, with both nationally acclaimed anchor institutions and a growing cadre of emerging and mid-size organizations that reflect the city’s diversity and cultural heritages. The Milwaukee Art Museum, an architectural landmark designed by Santiago Calatrava, is one of the city’s most iconic buildings. The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra has restored and renovated the historic Warner Grand Theater as its new permanent home and the Milwaukee Public Museum will develop a new facility for its expansive natural history collections and interpretive programs. The Milwaukee Youth Arts Center houses the biggest children’s theater company and youth symphony orchestra in the nation. Supporting this stellar arts scene is the United Performing Arts Fund, established in 1967 to raise funds collectively for the performing arts sector.


Position Summary

Reporting to the President & CEO, the Vice President of Venue Operations (VP) will be a results-oriented member of the executive team with overall responsibility for providing strategic leadership in all aspects of the venue management, safety, and security in this multi-venue facility. This resourceful individual will oversee the planning and management of events, ensuring the development and implementation of innovative and cost-effective systems. They will serve as the primary steward of the facility, the front- and back-of-house event operations, food and beverage operation, regular building operation and maintenance, and major capital improvements. They will be knowledgeable about current and emerging venue management technology, trends, and tools. A natural collaborator, the VP will advocate for and with the internal and external stakeholders who utilize the Marcus Center facilities and ensure that every Marcus Center customer experience is enhanced by the high-quality venues. The VP will possess a deep appreciation for the arts and will champion the continuing improvement of the Marcus Center facilities, ensuring the organization’s long-term success.

Roles and Responsibilities

Venue Operations, Planning, and Management

  • Oversee and manage all venue operations, including backstage, front of house, concessions, hospitality, security, building engineering, parking, and maintenance teams, ensuring facilities are properly and efficiently utilized.
  • Ensure all advance work and support of touring shows are provided in a timely and professional manner.
  • Build, implement, and maintain innovative policies and procedures that elevate service and support to all internal and external stakeholders.
  • Communicate regularly with staff to ensure timely response to venue scheduling deadlines and technical needs.
  • Verify that all facilities are managed in compliance with codes, ordinances, regulations, laws, and other requirements.
  • Commit to customer satisfaction with a high value on multiple stakeholder needs, anticipating challenges, and developing appropriate solutions.

Strategic Leadership

  • Monitor and evaluate operational processes and develop new and revised methods and procedures as appropriate.
  • Inspire, mentor, evaluate, and guide a high-performing team that supports the organization’s mission and strategic plan, a culture of inclusion, growth, and continuous improvement and value staff well-being.
  • Research and develop opportunities for shared inventory, services, and resources among venues to create impactful efficiencies
  • Ensure economies of scale in facility purchases, usage, and upgrades across facilities.
  • Develop the long-term capital planning for all venues, including plans for repair and replacement of assets.
  • Create and execute effective and efficient management and operations of all Marcus Center facilities.

Executive Administration and Management

  • Provide concise, relevant, and timely updates on venue financials and operations to help the President & CEO fulfill policy-setting and decision-making responsibilities.
  • Oversee the preparation of the annual operating budget with the Vice President of Finance and Administration.
  • Regularly review all departmental financials to ensure solvency in the division.
  • Actively engage with comprehensive networks of industry professionals by participating in relevant fieldwide convenings to stay current with industry trends and innovations.
  • Build strong, positive relationships with government officials, civic leaders, and industry innovators in support of the Marcus Center’s mission and operational goals.

Traits and Characteristics

The VP will be a versatile and forward-thinking leader with the ability to anticipate and solve complex problems. They will possess exceptional people skills and the capacity to work collaboratively with staff, customers, and other stakeholders. Receptive and decisive, they will be a clear communicator, practical thinker, and active listener. The VP will be comfortable working in a fast-paced environment, prioritizing tasks, and responding to the needs of others. Critical thinking, flexibility, and accountability are all important traits of the successful VP.

Other key competencies include:

  • Time and Priority Management – The capacity to work within established time frames and ascertain top priorities for optimum productivity with procedures, processes, and systems that result in order, accuracy, and efficiency.
  • Customer Focus – A commitment to customer satisfaction with a high value on multiple stakeholder needs and the ability to anticipate challenges and develop appropriate solutions.
  • Interpersonal Skills – The aptitude to build trust and engage people through open-mindedness, active listening, thoughtful and respectful dialogue, and timely, personal responses
  • Teamwork – The dexterity to organize and motivate others while creating a sense of order, direction, and active participation among the board, officers, staff, volunteers, and other stakeholders to achieve collective goals.

Experience and Qualifications

A minimum of five years of direct senior management experience of a multi-venue public events facility are required. Active membership and activity in International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) is preferred. Experience supervising staff, managing budgets, and expertise working with external stakeholders is needed. The ideal candidate will possess exceptional interpersonal skills, creativity, and a deep understanding of the connection between world-class venues and excellent customer experiences. Knowledge and passion for innovative industry technologies are necessary. A demonstrable commitment to racial equity, diversity, and inclusion is essential.

Compensation and Benefits

The Marcus Center offers competitive compensation, with a salary range expected between $145,000 and $160,000, and a generous benefits package that includes health, dental, life, and short-term disability insurance; a 403(b)-retirement plan with matching contributions upon one year of employment; and paid time-off and holidays.

Applications and Inquiries

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

Jenna Deja, Vice President

201 West Lake Street, Suite 133
Chicago, IL 60606-1803
Tel       (888) 234.4236 Ext. 227

Marcus Performing Arts Center commits to creating a more racially representative and equitable community so that it may continue to build bridges between diverse members of the community through high-quality arts entertainment.



Click here for the downloadable PDF.

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