McMurtry Family Director of Stanford Live

99171 Requisition #
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Continue to reimagine and strengthen arts presenting in a shifting cultural context

Across the country, arts and presenting organizations are being called upon to build the future landscape of the performing arts in the shadow of the last few years, including the pandemic, social isolation and increasing mental health challenges, racial reckonings and social justice movements, climate change, increased polarization and threats to democracy, changing work paradigms, and more. Stanford Live has exceptional opportunities to facilitate dialogues between the arts and other disciplines to reimagine the ways in which arts and presenting organizations function as a part of a university, community, and society. The ED will stay abreast of artistic conversations as they evolve and will adapt their vision to emergent practices and trends, as relevant and appropriate. A successful vision will position the presenting, commissioning, and engagement programs for increased audience engagement as well as increased regional and national acclaim. Most importantly, the ED will need to work collaboratively with various constituencies to develop broad support for this vision, and then align resources – human, physical, and financial – to execute that vision.


Engage Stanford’s diverse communities on campus and beyond

The next ED must quickly work to establish the relationships and credibility required to be recognized as a cultural leader in the community. There is a strong desire for more collaboration with Stanford Live on campus. An enterprising ED will leverage this desire, taking full advantage of the rich academic resources that exist on campus, engaging faculty in season development, and supporting them in their curricular efforts, when possible. The ED will act as the connective tissue between Stanford Live and the university, proactively reaching out to students, faculty, and staff, connecting visiting artists with campus life, and developing new collaborative programs and projects that integrate the arts and academic pursuits. They will also continue to encourage the participation of the campus community by refining and communicating guidelines for using and interacting with Stanford Live’s spaces to reduce barriers to engagement.


Equally important will be the ED’s ability to engage communities and artists locally, regionally, and nationally. Within the broader regional artistic community, they will seek mutually enriching partnerships that will increase artistic innovation and draw new audiences. Stanford Live has cultivated strong standing relationships with community partners like EPACENTER, and East Palo Alto’s Ravenswood School District. The Bay Area is home to some of the nation’s most exciting and cutting-edge artists. As such the next ED will work to create new, sustainable local partnerships.


Lead centering principles of equity and inclusion

Stanford strives to ensure that people of all cultures, races and ethnicities, genders, political and religious beliefs, physical and learning differences, sexual orientations and identities have space to thrive on its campus. VPA believes that artists and arts administrators can contribute powerfully to this community transformation. Stanford’s IDEAL (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access in a Learning Environment) initiative, the VPA, and by extension Stanford Live, has developed plans to advance goals of anti-racism, equity, and justice in and through the arts. The ED should see the unique capacity of the arts to forge connections across differences and be a champion for how equity and inclusion manifest in Stanford Live’s programming, operations, management, and relationships both on campus and off.


Continue to program relevant and successful seasons

Over the years, Stanford Live has become known for its compelling and diverse programming and has built a loyal audience that includes longtime subscribers and single ticket buyers. While programs have continued to draw a robust audience, there are increasingly more options for audiences in the region. As such, the next ED must create a unique value proposition for Stanford Live that both contributes to and augments existing regional offerings. The ED must also sustain, and even enhance, the quality and diversity of programming across all of Stanford Live’s venues. To do so, it is important for the ED to develop enduring relationships with artists, ensembles, organizations, and institutions around the world that are pioneering in their fields and whose work speaks and contributes to university-wide conversations and priorities. They will need to balance more commercial programming, like Stanford Live’s partnership with Goldenvoice, with other programs, to tap into the wants of both new and existing audiences. Additionally, it will be essential to assess the optimal number of performances per season to balance the cadence of programming with the demands on staff capacity.


Develop, train, and retain a top-notch staff

As the landscape of presenting changes, the ED must ensure that all staff members have the skills and support to deliver the present and future success of Stanford Live. The staff across Stanford Live’s central operations and venues is lean but highly accomplished. In order to sustain the artistic depth and breadth that Stanford Live is known for, the ED must work alongside staff to infuse palpable excitement for the arts and, specifically, Stanford Live’s programming. They will work to address staffing concerns and develop the next generation of arts leaders by encouraging and modeling an atmosphere of listening and responding, collaboration and empowerment, curiosity, inclusivity, tolerance for risk-taking, open communication, and respect with a deep commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. They will build policies and procedures that are clearly articulated and respond to staff needs and to our changing world. The ED will need to approach change with both boldness and sensitivity and will employ excellent interpersonal skills to build buy-in proactively and collaboratively.



The Executive Director will be an experienced leader and administrator with presence and stature in the performing arts. They will also have:

  • Deep experience and recognized leadership in the arts presenting world, including a strong and broad-based network of peers and artists and the ability to leverage those connections to build Stanford Live’s programs in transformative ways;
  • Strong interpersonal and leadership skills; decisiveness, confidence, and an ease and empathy with others; ability to build trust in audiences, donors, staff, students, and University leadership;
  • A demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging;
  • Demonstrated success as an enthusiastic and accomplished fundraiser with individuals, foundations, and corporate sponsors;
  • Financial acumen commensurate with running a complex arts or presenting organization;
  • An appetite for and prior success with collaborations and partnerships on a university campus and/or with external partners;
  • Intellectual curiosity; the ability to capitalize on Stanford’s rich academic and institutional resources;
  • A track record of success leading a complex organization with multiple stakeholders and known for quality and excellence;
  • Proven ability to recruit, organize, mentor, and retain key staff;
  • Creative marketing savvy with the ability to both plan and execute campaigns and initiatives;
  • The ability to carefully manage financial operations and a state-of-the art facility;
  • Experience energizing and engaging a board or advisory committee;
  • Comfort with technology and emerging digital platforms;
  • Excellent writing and communication skills;
  • A track record of coalescing others around objectives and their successful implementation.



The expected pay range for this position is $205,000-275,000 per annum. Stanford University provides pay ranges representing its good faith estimate of what the university expects to pay for a position. The pay offered to a selected candidate will be determined based on factors such as (but not limited to) the scope of the responsibilities of the position, the qualifications of the selected candidate, departmental budget availability, internal equity, geographic market, and external market pay for comparable jobs.


At Stanford University, base pay represents only one aspect of the comprehensive rewards package. The Cardinal at Work website ( provides detailed information on Stanford’s extensive range of benefits and rewards offered to employees. Specifics about the rewards package for this position may be discussed during the hiring process.


Why Stanford is for You

Through world-class research and education, Stanford University has revolutionized the way we live and enrich our increasingly complex world. Supporting this mission is our diverse and dedicated 17,000 staff. We seek talent driven to impact the future of our legacy. Our culture and unique perks empower you with:

  • Freedom to grow. We offer career development programs, tuition reimbursement, or audit a course. Join a TedTalk, film screening, or listen to a renowned author or global leader speak.
  • A caring culture. We provide superb retirement plans, generous time-off, and family care resources.
  • A healthier you. Climb our rock wall, or choose from hundreds of health or fitness classes at our world-class exercise facilities. We also provide excellent health care benefits.
  • Discovery and fun. Stroll through historic sculptures, trails, and museums.
  • Enviable resources. Enjoy free commuter programs, ridesharing incentives, discounts and more!


*The job duties listed are typical examples of work performed by positions in this job classification and are not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, tasks, and responsibilities. Specific duties and responsibilities may vary depending on department or program needs without changing the general nature and scope of the job or level of responsibility. Employees may also perform other duties as assigned.


*Consistent with its obligations under the law, the university will provide reasonable accommodation to any employee with a disability who requires accommodation to perform the essential functions of their job.


*Stanford is an equal employment opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.



Stanford Live has retained the national executive search firm Isaacson, Miller to assist in this search. Screening of complete applications will begin immediately and continue until the completion of the search process.

Sarah James (she/her), Ben Tobin (he/him), Angelo Alexander (they/them), and Alaine Small (she/her)

Isaacson, Miller

263 Summer Street, 7th Floor

Boston, MA 02210


  • Applications consisting of a cover letter and resume should be submitted via the Stanford Careers website

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