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Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Vice-President, Marketing & Communications

“This is a city where every neighborhood feels like a unique slice of the world, which means there are endless moments
of inspiration from these cultures that need to be a part of how we present our music.”
                                                                                                                      - Gustavo Gimeno, The New York Times, September 2018

Organization

Celebrating its 100th anniversary during the 2022-2023 season, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) is one of Canada’s most respected arts organizations and plays a vital role in the city’s dynamic cultural life. Committed to serving local and national communities with more than 100 performances annually and expansive educational activities, the TSO offers a wide range of programming that resonates with multicultural and multigenerational audiences. More than 275,000 audience members attend concerts and events each year, with 7,000 households subscribing to the TSO. Toronto’s iconic Roy Thomson Hall has been the TSO’s home since 1982, drawing patrons from around the world. With a notable recording and broadcast history complementing international touring engagements, the TSO is a unique musical ambassador for Canada around the world.

Gustavo Gimeno, the TSO’s 10th Music Director, is a critically acclaimed conductor with an ability to elicit fresh and vibrant performances. Maestro Gimeno has conducted leading orchestras in Europe, North America, and Japan throughout his illustrious career. Also serving as Music Director of the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, he began his first season as Music Director of the TSO in 2020-2021 with a livestream broadcast in March 2021 and his second full season with the return to in-person performances in November 2021. He has programmed a dynamic 2021-2022 season that reflects his expansive artistic vision, intellectual curiosity, and sense of adventure. The TSO is committed to a national musical identity, engaging Canadian artists and programming new Canadian music in concert with international artists and composers. The TSO’s sound, repertoire, and programmatic flexibility connect the 93-member orchestra to the community and the full range of human emotions.

The TSO’s 2020 Strategic Plan is built on the following three core pillars, with numerous supporting priorities:

  • Create – We make great music. We break ground artistically and inspire our listeners.
  • Connect – We listen, share, curate, and learn together. We build deep relationships in our city and beyond. We invite and we welcome. We serve people where they are; we help city-build.
  • Challenge – We challenge the status quo. We change expectations, move beyond the comfortable, and adapt with an eye toward the future.

Additionally, the TSO Education & Community Strategy has three areas of focus for using music to improve the lives of people in Toronto:

  • Health & Wellbeing – Partnering with organizations in Toronto that serve people with physical and mental health issues;
  • Youth Music – Committing to an increased presence in schools that lack dedicated music instruction and by supporting organizations that provide music education to under-represented groups; and
  • Reaching all of Toronto – Ensuring that all people in Toronto have opportunities to meaningfully engage with music and interact with musicians, including people of non-European ethnicities, people who currently have limited access to arts and culture, and newcomers to Canada.

The TSO also continues its long-established history of introducing younger generations to orchestral music. Two core programs include School Concerts, performed for more than 40,000 students annually, and the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra (TSYO), which provides a tuition-free model with high-level orchestral training for talented young musicians up to age 22. Additionally, the TSO supports the development of next-generation artists through its annual open call for Canadian orchestral scores, Resident Conductor and Affiliate Composer positions, RBC Emerging Artists Project, and NextGen Composers initiative.

The TSO is committed to equity, diversity, inclusion, and access (EDIA), as well as to honouring Canada’s Indigenous communities. In March 2020, the TSO began an organization-wide effort to build a plan incorporating representation, new practices, and long-term commitments to weaving EDIA into the fabric of the TSO. As part of Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in 2021, the TSO collaborated with Red Sky Performance on a digital reimagining of Mistatim, Red Sky’s award-winning stage production for young people, in association with Crow’s Theatre. Indigenous music creators and TSO musicians worked in partnership to create new musical additions to the play’s score. As the TSO focuses its EDIA initiatives into its second century of service to the community, a cross-organizational board committee will help prioritize and monitor this important work.

The TSO is governed by a 15-member board of directors, led by Chair Catherine Beck, and Mark Williams was recently named Chief Executive Officer of the TSO and will begin the role in April 2022. He will lead an administrative team of approximately 60 full-time employees. The TSO has a historic annual budget of almost $30 million, with earned income of more than $10 million from ticket sales. The TSO invests $1.6 million annually in marketing and communications efforts exclusive of the investment in department staff. The TSO’s 100th anniversary season anticipates an additional investment of $120,000 in funding to celebrate this important milestone to advance and deepen the relationship with the community.

Community

Toronto is located on the Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Wendat, and Haudenosaunee. The territory is within the lands protected by the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement between the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe and allied nations to peaceably share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. Today, the meeting place of Toronto (also known as Tkaronto) is home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and the various stakeholders of the TSO are grateful to work on this land.

Toronto is the largest city in Canada with a population of three million people. More than six million people call the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) home. Its demographics are approximately 50 percent white, 13 percent East Asian, 12 percent South Asian, 9 percent Black, 7 percent Southeast Asian, 3 percent Latin American, 2 percent West Asian, 1 percent Arab, and 1 percent Indigenous. The United Nations has also designated Toronto as the most diverse city on the planet with more than 50 percent of the population being foreign born.

In 2016, the time of the last census, there were more than 164,000 culture jobs in the City of Toronto, accounting for 90 percent of all culture jobs in the GTA and more than half of total cultural employment in Ontario. In addition to numerous museums and performing arts organizations, large-scale special events can be found every weekend of the year. Several signature music and performing arts events in the city include Nuit Blanche, Luminato Festival Toronto, Pride Toronto, Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto Caribbean Carnival, Just for Laughs Comedy Festival, and Toronto International Film Festival, among many other theatre, dance, and arts presenters, producers, and education organizations. Toronto was the first city in Canada to be designated as a Creative City of Media Arts by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Toronto has had an increasing impact on global popular culture due to the rise of hip-hop stars like Drake and The Weeknd. Voguemagazine declared Toronto’s West Queen West neighbourhood the “second coolest neighbourhood in the world.” The Toronto Raptors also brought international attention to the city with its 2019 NBA Championship win, the first to be played outside the United States. With more than 8,000 international restaurants to choose from, the food scene in Toronto is one of the world’s finest and most eclectic.

Toronto has four universities, four colleges, and 128 specialised research centres. The University of Toronto has been ranked 18th in the world for the third consecutive year in the prestigious Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Toronto is the fastest growing technology market in North America, with 80,100 jobs created—greater than the job growth in New York City, Seattle, and Boston combined. The city has also been undergoing a construction boom over the last decade. This increased commercial development is coinciding with major transportation upgrades, including the $640 million revitalization of Union Station, Canada’s busiest transportation hub. Toronto also plays a significant role in the global film industry, serving as a filming location for numerous television shows and movies.

Sources: census.gc.ca, cbc.ca, thestar.com, utoronto.ca, travelandlesisure.com, financialpost.com

Position Summary

The Vice-President, Marketing & Communications (VP-MC) will lead the strategy, implementation, and evaluation of all direct sales activities, brand promotion, and institutional communications for the TSO. Focused on maximizing audience development and public visibility, the VP-MC will oversee subscription and single ticket campaigns, advertising, promotion, publications, social media, and patron service plans in support of the TSO’s performances, events, education, and community programming. This individual will position the TSO’s brand and raise the visibility, relevance, and impact of the organization and orchestral music for the dynamic community it serves. Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer, the VP-MC will collaborate closely with Artistic Administration to determine programming themes, associated stories, repertoire highlights, and focal points of seasons, series, and programs that build compelling, clear, and accurate marketing and communications plans that generate active participation. This individual will also partner with Development & Donor Relations to highlight and integrate marketing and communication messaging that both reinforces case-for-giving statements and drives greater philanthropic support. The VP-MC will engage with both Business Administration and Finance to ensure effective budgeting, forecasting, and technological integrity. This individual will provide consistent and compassionate leadership, mentorship, coaching, and support to a dedicated departmental staff team of approximately 20 employees, including the directors of marketing, media relations & communications, and patron services.

Roles and Responsibilities

Strategic Sales and Audience Growth

  • Implement and oversee marketing and sales plans that generate revenues through advertising, sales promotion, influencer tactics, direct mail, digital marketing, social media, and telemarketing, among others.
  • Evaluate single ticket, subscription, dynamic, and promotional pricing tactics and set pricing structures that ensure access by the widest possible audience and maximize revenues.
  • Achieve and strive to exceed the TSO’s earned revenue goals, measure success, and celebrate results with the team.
  • Adapt to the intersectionality of audiences and associated audience development opportunities in response to quantitative and qualitative research.
  • Provide a meaningful connection between programs, artists, and experiences that address the distinctive nature of the multicultural community that the TSO serves.
  • Share insights and input with Artistic Administration on programming strategies that will balance existing subscriber expectations with new audience development goals.
  • Supervise marketing and communication efforts that support the TSO’s Education & Community Strategy.
  • Generate organizational standards for the TSO’s brand and visual identity, educate internal stakeholders on the importance of this information, and monitor usage.
  • Embrace the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, Tessitura, to align marketing and development efforts that are part of the integrated cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of individual, corporate, and foundation donors.
  • Safeguard data integrity and privacy of subscription, ticket, and group sales information and support appropriate data hygiene and records management.

Dynamic Public Relations and Community Visibility

  • Manage the TSO’s brand through effective storytelling to ensure that its vision and values are clearly articulated in all external and internal communications.
  • Direct media relations and publicity, strategically guiding the engagement of local, national, and international media, journalists, critics, and other influencers.
  • Increase the TSO's market visibility and value proposition to expressly leverage its brand, quality, and reputation as a unique social and artistic destination.
  • Build greater visibility for the Music Director, Principal Pops Conductor, musicians, and guest artists while calibrating key messages that ensure relatability to current and future audiences.
  • Support Development & Donor Relations to convey the TSO’s overall mission, vision, and values to funders and sponsors.
  • Ensure that TSO supporters are well informed of the TSO’s contributions to the community and that their support is recognized publicly and in writing.
  • Communicate the TSO’s artistic programs, vision, and brand to an array of audience members, donors, partners, musicians, staff, and community members.
  • Cultivate collaborative relationships with the media, key business partners, promotional partners, board members, media, and other performing arts organizations.
  • Maximize and leverage digital and social media to communicate and extend TSO’s commercial potential and support community conversations, input, and advocacy.
  • Manage outside public relations partners and firms, creative agencies, sponsorship liaisons, and media outlets to promote the TSO and its programs.

Customer Service and Audience Accessibility

  • Deliver the highest level of service and standard operating procedures that ensure the customer experience—online, on the phone, at the box office, and in the performance venues—solidifies the audience’s relationship with the TSO.
  • Partner with Development & Donor Relations to focus on data-driven insights into lifetime value; audiences, donors, demographics, and psychographics; and market opportunities that maximize the TSO’s reach into the community.
  • Create audience satisfaction benchmarks in a system that allows for continuous feedback from audience members that demonstrate a deep commitment to a service-oriented experience.
  • Ensure that patron service practices reflect the TSO’s commitment to EDIA and the tenets of Truth and Reconciliation.
  • Respond to audience expectations in alignment with arts and entertainment industry benchmarks in a competitive Toronto market.
  • Serve as a primary liaison with staff at Roy Thomson Hall and other TSO venues related to ticket inventory and financial controls, sales team training, and overall patron services.

Authentic Leadership and Mentorship

  • Mentor, empower, and diversify the Marketing & Communications team to deepen and broaden their experience, better serve internal and external stakeholders, and represent the communities that the TSO serves.
  • Maintain productive, collaborative, and authentic working relationships with the Music Director, Principal Pops Conductor, senior leadership group, board members, musicians, and staff.
  • Inspire a results-oriented environment with and for the Marketing & Communications team.
  • Convey a deep sense of appreciation for the personal and professional commitments that are being made by the Marketing & Communications team.
  • Actively initiate, delegate, and integrate marketing and communications initiatives.
  • Support professional development and team cohesiveness with appropriate structures, systems, and technological platforms that are in alignment with core values of mutual respect.

Traits and Characteristics

The VP-MC will be a patron- and team-centric leader that excels in planning, organizing, and achieving goals. An engaging written and verbal communicator who effectively builds diverse and multigenerational audiences, the VP-MC will also proactively represent the TSO to the media. The VP-MC will be resourceful in mobilizing human, financial, technology, and other resources to advance programmatic, educational, and institutional visibility. Driven by an experiential approach to building a strong TSO community and a passion for classical and orchestral music, the VP-MC will be collaborative by nature in seeking to strengthen internal and external relationships of the many stakeholders that the TSO serves.

Other key competencies include:

  • Customer Focus – The capacity to anticipate, meet, and frequently exceed customer expectations while deeply considering internal stakeholder perspectives.
  • Leadership and Teamwork – The authenticity to inspire, build trust, and create a sense of purpose and direction; tactfully handle challenging and sensitive issues; and lead, mentor, and understand the team’s potential.
  • Decision Making and Resiliency– The ability to leverage quantitative and qualitative data in analyzing all aspects of a situation; establish and achieve specific, measurable, attainable, reviewable, and time-sensitive goals; make consistently sound, timely, and well-communicated decisions; and quickly adapt to changing circumstances.
  • Professional Accountability – The self-awareness to accept responsibility for actions and results, reevaluate, and develop long-term relationships with people across the organization and throughout the community.
  • Planning and Organizing – The ingenuity to use practical and efficient approaches in creating action plans that ensure high quality work is completed on time and desired outcomes are reached.

Qualifications

A minimum of eight to 10 years of senior marketing or communications experience in the arts or creative industries, with demonstrable results in growing subscriptions, single ticket sales, and other earned revenues, is required. Excellent interpersonal, written, analytical, and supervisory skills are required. A proven record of success in establishing promotional partnerships with the media and other organizations is strongly preferred. Experience in patron loyalty and retention, strategic branding, market research, direct marketing, and digital marketing, including web and social media, are required. A passion for classical music and interest in orchestras are desired. A bachelor’s degree in marketing, communications, or a related field and a proficiency with Tessitura or comparable customer relationship management system are preferred. A genuine commitment to EDIA and TSO’s important role in addressing Truth & Reconciliation are expected.

Compensation and Benefits

The TSO provides a competitive compensation package with an estimated salary range between $140,000 to $175,000 in consideration of the organization’s pandemic financial recovery plan. Benefits include extended health and dental insurance, long-term disability and life insurances, vacation and statutory holidays, group pension plan, and an employee and family assistance program.

Applications and Inquiries

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

Dr. Bruce D. Thibodeau, President
Mr. Menon Dwarka, Senior Vice President

2 Toronto Street, Suite 217
Toronto, Ontario M5C 2B5
Tel       (888) 234.4236 Ext. 201 (Dr. Thibodeau) or Ext. 206 (Mr. Dwarka)
Email    TSO-MarComm@ArtsConsulting.com

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra is committed to having a workforce that is reflective of the diversity of the City of Toronto and strongly encourages applications from all qualified individuals, especially those who can provide different perspectives and contribute to further diversification of ideas. The TSO is also committed to providing accommodations for people with disabilities and will support those needs.

Click here for the downloadable PDF.

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