Merit School of Music transforms the lives of Chicago-area youth by removing barriers to high-quality music education. As a nationally accredited music school located in Chicago’s West Loop, for 38 years Merit has been home to a diverse community of talented young musicians, and has acted as a springboard for students’ achieving their full musical and personal potential. Our 125 passionate and experienced teaching artists provide access to high-quality music education, engaging nearly 5,000 students annually at our downtown location and in area schools and community centers. Merit develops young musicians reflecting the socioeconomic and ethnic diversity of Chicago, and provides young people with the tools they need to excel in life, with virtually 100 percent of our graduates going on to conservatory, college or university.
Our programming continuum consists of five major areas, which students may join at any stage, including Early Childhood, Instrumental and Vocal Music, and Private Lessons. Merit’s programming continuum begins and concludes with two signature programs—Merit Music in Communities, an in-school music education program; and the audition-based Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-free Conservatory, which requires and represents the highest level of achievement. More than half of Merit’s budget is allocated to student support, with 70% of our students receiving assistance through need-based tuition relief, low-cost instrument rental, and music supplies.
Merit is poised to celebrate its 40th anniversary year in 2018/19, leveraging that milestone as the foundation for the school’s dynamic next phase: the implementation of our recently completed three-year strategic growth plan. Successful implementation will be enhanced by a recent planning grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which, with Merit as leader of a collaborative planning process, will yield an implementation plan intended to unite Chicago’s musical, educational sector in collective action to identify and develop an increased number of promising young musicians from traditionally underrepresented communities.
Summary of Position and Responsibilities: Vice President for Finance and Administration
Reporting to the President and Executive Director, the Vice President for Finance and Administration will provide executive-level leadership and strategic direction for the financial and administrative affairs of Merit School of Music, and will be a member of the Department Head team, which also includes the Dean and Vice President for Educational Affairs, and the Vice President for Development and Marketing.
The Vice President for Finance and Administration will oversee accounting, budgeting, finance, risk management, internal controls, human resources, and information technology as well as key aspects of facilities and office management. She/He will oversee finance and facilities staff as well as outside accounting, HR and IT consultants.
The Vice President for Finance and Administration will work closely with the President and Executive Director and the Board of Trustees of Merit School of Music in developing and implementing both near-term and longer term financial plans and budgets.
She/He will play the lead role in managing and coordinating the development of the annual operating budget consistent with strategic plan goals and the financial goals established in partnership with the Board of Trustees.
The Vice President for Finance and Administration will provide ongoing fiscal and financial analysis; prepare long term forecasts and financial models; monitor and report financial performance; manage banking and external audit relationships; and support the President and Executive Director in the negotiation and administration of certain contracts on behalf of the organization.
The VP for Finance and Administration will provide oversight and management to a facilities team who will be responsible for all physical plant elements of the Joy Faith Knapp Music Center, including building maintenance, janitorial activities, event set up, etc. The VP for Finance and Administration and the facilities team will also be responsible for ensuring that the Joy Faith Knapp Music Center is compliant with all safety and other regulations.
The Vice President for Finance and Administration will oversee rental activities and events, setting and supporting a high standard for customer service to retain and attract rental clients to sustain and grow rental revenue.
The Vice President for Finance and Administration will provide oversight and management for Merit’s human resource activities, policies, and staff, including performance assessment and management, benefits, employee assistance, and professional development.
The Vice President for Finance and Administration will be responsible for providing user friendly, informative financial reports. She/He will assist the President and Executive Director in providing support to the Board of Trustees and will be the principal staff liaison to the Finance and Investment Committees of the Board of Trustees.
The Vice President for Finance and Administration will play a proactive and constructive leadership role, working both independently and with the President and Executive Director, to bring together senior colleagues to address near and longer-term financials, planning for future academic years, and supporting financial reporting for Merit’s Development operation.
Career Path Leading to this Position:
Preferred candidates will have a minimum of five years in increasingly responsible management positions in the field of finance. Experience as a CFO or senior financial manager in a nonprofit organization and experience working with a Board of Directors is desirable, although candidates with equivalent experience in other settings (including for-profit) are encouraged to apply. Passion for the transformative power of music and community arts education is imperative.
Compensation is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience. Benefits include: Health, Dental, Long-term Disability, Flexible Spending Account, Retirement Plan (after 1 year of employment) and Paid Time off.
Please direct inquiries, nominations, and applications, including resume and a compelling letter of interest in confidence to Jasmin Preciado at email@example.com. No phone calls or faxes will be accepted. For more information about Merit, please visit www.meritmusic.org.
Merit School of Music does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, religious belief, gender, sexual orientation, age, national origin, ancestry, veteran status, physical or mental disability or any other protected status in admission or access to, or employment in its programs and activities.
A degree in finance or accounting or related degree with an MBA, CPA or related degree preferred
Traits and Characteristics Desired:
The successful candidate will be an entrepreneurial, flexible, effective, strategic, and self-motivated leader with strong communication skills, both oral and written. She/He should have exceptional analytic and strategic skills and be able to develop and implement clear goals, systems, and priorities. Accounting and financial expertise, outstanding analytic and problem-solving abilities, and strong interpersonal skills are expected. This candidate must be a skilled thought leader as an individual contributor, manager, and member of the leadership team.
Merit School of Music is a highly collaborative environment and is led by a senior leadership team. The Vice President for Finance and Administration must be a competent member of a team that encourages and values ingenuity, collegiality, transparency, feedback and embraces Merit School of Music’s mission.
The Vice President for Finance and Administration must be a strong, mentoring manager and colleague with a strong sense of personal integrity and dedication to Merit’s mission.
She/He will prepare and share timely, accurate and cogent financial information to the Board of Trustees to support its fiduciary and strategic responsibilities. Working closely with the President and Executive Director, the Vice President for Finance and Administration will play the lead role in preparing the financial reports, analyses, and plans required by the Board. The Vice President for Finance and Administration must possess the skills and temperament to be an effective oral and written presenter in the context of supporting the Board.
She/He must possess the breadth and depth of experience and skills necessary to provide effective oversight for critical functions related to human resources and facilities, including information technology.
Merit School of Music is a high-paced, dynamic environment. It requires this Vice President to be a nimble creative problem solver, able and willing to step in and roll-up sleeves, while at the same time demonstrating exceptional leadership, creativity, and intellectual horsepower. The Vice President for Finance and Administration should also be a model of integrity and fairness with high ethical standards. Ingenuity, compassion, unflappability, dedication, enthusiasm, humor, and energy are key attributes.
The successful candidate will be highly motivated and comfortable managing multiple tasks simultaneously. Strong organizational skills and attention to details are important. The successful candidate will be responsive and good at follow-through.