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Executive Director


We are looking for an Executive Director with non-profit experience and who will be passionate about our mission to foster family and youth inspired learning by creating experiences to explore ourselves, our valley, our world and beyond. The museum’s exhibits and program based “please touch” atmosphere serves more than 32,000 visitors annually, engenders the best in self-discovery for children and adults. The museum with it’s 13,000 square feet of exhibits and a new community makerspace currently under development, creates the perfect opportunity for a creative and motivated individual to meet the current demand and plan for future growth.

The Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum is the only children’s museum in Santa Barbara County and educates visitors of all ages. Santa Maria consists of a diverse population of 137,000 and is located in Northern Santa Barbara County on California’s Central Coast, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The city’s economy is based on retail, agriculture, and manufacturing. Santa Maria is a close-knit community known for its famous Santa Maria Style BBQ and where many of its residents were born and raised.

Position Summary

The Executive Director has primary responsibility for the museum’s overall organizational development and financial operations, fundraising activities, employee selection and development, museum policies and practices and the safeguarding of all human and physical resources. This position reports to the Board of Directors and coordinates closely with both the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors and is an active participant and leader in strategic planning. Using exceptional leadership and communication skills as well as mastery of grant writing and development protocols, this position shapes the goals and success of the organization and its mission.

Executive Director will continually strive to reach new audiences through dynamic programming that provides opportunities for deeper public involvement. The Executive Director will develop and implement strategic fundraising strategies to meet the budgeted goals of the organization. Through engagement with corporate, planned giving, foundations, private individuals, major gifts and other sources the Executive Director will lead SMVDM in its mission to serve the families of the Central Coast.

Essential Duties


• Provides motivational leadership to the museum staff, creating a positive workplace environment in which the mission and vision can be achieved.

• Works closely with the Board of Directors to develop and implement short term operational and long term strategic plans and goals.

• Evaluates and reports progress towards goals on a regular basis with the board.

• Conveys passion for the museum’s mission and endorses working with children, families and educators.


• Designs, manages, implements, and evaluates the overall fundraising program consistent with the museum’s needs and goals including donor recognition.

• Personally cultivates major corporate and individual donors.

• Engages board members in fundraising strategies.

• Instills ethics in all fundraising programs, maintaining highly professional relationships and a commitment to timely follow-through.

Finance and Administration

• Supervises the preparation of timely financial reports and oversees the annual operating budget process.

• Works with the board to track and project income and expenses; monitors expenses against budget and mentors staff on effective budget monitoring and reporting.

• Oversees the design of business processes, controls and information systems that ensure efficient operation and full compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and accounting standards.

• Hires and supervises staff; monitors employee performance against objectives while providing appropriate guidance and leadership.

Community Relations

• Creates and implements a strong community relations program to educate local leaders and the community at large about the museum and its programs.

• Represents the museum at numerous community events in order to cultivate positive external relationships.

• Supervises and controls all external communication with media, community partners, supporters, members and interested parties and develops a robust marketing and public relations protocol to enhance awareness of museum programs and services.

Influencing Capabilities

• Communicates effectively with Board of Directors, staff and other collaborators to clarify roles and accountability.

• Demonstrates sensitivity to diversity and cultural issues.

• Possesses the ability to identify problems, analyze risks, generate solutions, prioritize issues, set goals, resolve conflict, gather data and prevent problems and delegate.

• Organizes and plans ahead; can develop strategic and annual business plans.

• Establishes and monitors deadlines, assigns tasks while working within a budget and resource limitations.

Professional Characteristics and Interpersonal Skills

• Initiates and develops relationships in positive ways

• To be highly organized

• Successfully works with a wide variety of people, inside and outside the Museum.

• Preferred knowledge and experience with Children’s Museums or other institutions serving children.

• Working knowledge of financial controls and policies in either a public or private sector.

• Must be able to self-start and self-manage. Maintain a level of activity without direct supervision while orchestrating teamwork to complete high quality work on time.

This position is a salaried, full-time exempt position. The work schedule is determined by the needs, objectives and deadlines that are presented at any given time with some evenings and weekends expected.

Required Experience and Education

• Bachelor’s degree in a related field and/or at least 3 years of non-profit experience

• Proven track record of developing and implementing successful fundraising events

• Previous experience supervising and managing staff and budgets

• Excellent verbal, written and interpersonal communication skills and organization

• Ability to work independently, but also in collaborative team environment

• Ability to handle multiple projects simultaneously and work on firm/tight deadlines

• Strategic thinker who can see the big picture while executing tactics and is an excellent problem solver and decision-maker.

• Adaptable, positive and flexible under pressure and tight deadlines

• Strong follow-through capabilitites

• Strong knowledge of computer programs including Word, Excel, PowerPoint

• Strong working knowledge of email marketing providers

• Deep knowledge of and enthusiastic interest in social media platforms and experience working with social media systems

• Must be willing to work evenings and weekends around special events

Background Check Disclaimer

A background check (including a criminal records check) must be completed satisfactorily before any candidate can be offered a position with the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum. Failure to satisfactorily complete the background check may affect the application status of applicants.

Please submit resume, cover letter and 2 professional references to by Wednesday, May 9, 2018. No phone calls please.

More details

Name Description
Deadline May 9, 2018
Date Listed: April 13, 2018
Organization Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum
Web Address
Address 441 Spanish Moss Lane
City Arroyo Grande
State/Prov CA
Country United States
Postal Code 93420
Job Listing
Job Status Full-Time
Exemption Status Exempt
Application Instructions Please submit resume, cover letter and 2 professional references to by Wednesday, May 9, 2018. No phone calls please.

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