Organization: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

Location: Chicago, IL

Express Interest

About Hubbard Street Dance Chicago:

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (“HSDC”) is among the most original forces in contemporary dance and one of Chicago’s leading cultural organizations. As one of the only professional dance companies to perform year-round, HSDC tours nationwide and internationally. Now in its 39th year and poised for an exciting 40th anniversary season, the main company has appeared in celebrated dance venues in 44 states and 19 countries.

Throughout its history, HSDC has been known for unique collaborations and innovative production concepts.  Over the past few years, HSDC has furthered its focus on these areas with the goal of creating one-of-a-kind programs designed to grow audience and increase participation in dance as an art form.

The core purpose of HSDC is to bring artists, art and audiences together to enrich, engage and change lives through the experience of dance.  HSDC is comprised of three components:

  • The HSDC main company: A professional performing dance company, HSDC dancers work on a full-time, 50-week contract performing regular engagements in Chicago as well as throughout the rest of the United States and around the world;
  • The Lou Conte Dance Studio (LCDS): HSDC’s public facility for Chicago dancers of all ages and skill levels. The West Loop facility offers classes year-round, hosts auditions and rehearsals, and is free to explore during regular Open House events; and
  • HSDC’s Youth, Education and Community Programs: HSDC’s initiatives serving more than 2,500 students in 150 classrooms each year.

HSDC grew out of the Lou Conte Dance Studio at LaSalle and Hubbard Streets in 1977, when Lou Conte gathered an ensemble of four dancers to perform in senior centers across Chicago. Barbara G. Cohen soon joined the company as its first Executive Director. In partnership with Cohen and then her successor, Gail Kalver, Conte directed the company for 23 years, during which he initiated and grew relationships with both emerging and established artists including Margo Sappington, Nacho Duato, Daniel Ezralow, Jiří Kylián, Ohad Naharin, Kevin O’Day, Lynne Taylor-Corbett and Twyla Tharp.

Conte’s successor, Jim Vincent, widened HSDC’s international focus, began HSDC’s collaboration with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and cultivated growth from within, launching the Inside/Out Choreographic Workshop and inviting Resident Choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo to make his first work. Kalver’s executive leadership of HSDC continued through the 2006–07 season, when Executive Director Jason Palmquist joined the organization.

Glenn Edgerton became Artistic Director in 2009 and, together with Palmquist, moved this legacy forward on multiple fronts. Inside/Out now begins the creative process for danc(e)volve, two weeks devoted to new work presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Partnerships with the CSO, Art Institute of Chicago, Second City and other institutions keep HSDC deeply connected to its hometown. To the company’s repertoire, Edgerton has deepened relationships with its signature choreographers while adding significant new voices such as Mats Ek, William Forsythe, Sharon Eyal, Alonzo King, Crystal Pite and Victor Quijada.

The main company’s 16 members comprise one of the only ensembles in the U.S. to perform year-round, domestically and around the world, while a nationally renowned Summer Intensive Program brings young artists into its ranks.

HSDC’s Youth, Education, and Community Programs were formed in 1997 in order to offer movement-based arts experiences to students, teachers and families throughout the Chicago area, giving them opportunities to experience and participate in dance activities and to enhance their learning in other curricular areas.

Now recognized as a leader in the field, HSDC’s programs bring students into the world of dance by actively engaging them in perception, research, reflection and discussion, assisting them in strengthening basic proficiencies to develop analytical and abstract thinking, interpretation and problem-solving skills.

HSDC’s partnerships with schools provide teaching artists and educators the opportunity to plan, teach and learn together to create exciting and meaningful integrated curriculum which challenges students and takes learning to new levels.

HSDC also offers family workshops and youth dance programs through its community partnerships at locations throughout the city and at the Hubbard Street Dance Center.

For more information on Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, please visit

The Opportunity:

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the next Executive Director (“ED”) will bring a sincere passion for performing arts and an understanding of how they enhance a community and the lives of its citizens. S/he will direct and lead all HSDC’s administrative activities and operations. S/he will be a proven and respected nonprofit leader whose skills will inspire continued growth in fundraising, stakeholder engagement and brand awareness. In partnership with the Artistic Director, s/he will maintain excellence in the content and delivery of HSDC’s programming and services, ensuring that it continues to adapt and innovate to continue to captivate and reach both new and existing audiences.

Key responsibilities of the ED include:

  • In partnership with the Board of Directors and Artistic Director, set organizational vision and develop and implement plans and goals for the future (this includes oversight of the planning, and potentially building, of a new facility);
  • Provide the strategic thinking required to ensure HSDC’s programs evolve to meet the needs of the communities it serves;
  • Ensure that programs and initiatives are conceived and delivered at the highest level of quality;
  • Communicate HSDC’s vision and mission with passion and authenticity to a wide audience;
  • Excite and engage HSDC’s many constituencies in supporting its work;
  • Continue to collaborate with existing local, national and international partners while cultivating new relationships;
  • Increase annual funding and endowment funding and commitments to support new initiatives, additional program expansion and program development;
  • Lead and manage a capital campaign for facilities development and/or renovation;
  • Achieve annual performance revenue and fundraising goals, leading and continuing to develop a team of skilled marketing and fundraising professionals;
  • Maintain and grow relationships with a portfolio of high wealth/high opportunity individual, corporate and foundation donors;
  • Cultivate new sources of revenue by expanding the existing funding base, further developing current partnerships and identifying new ones;
  • Engage and inspire the Board as active brand ambassadors and in their critical role in fundraising;
  • Serve as an inspirational internal leader of HSDC’s staff of 49 and continue to build a strong organizational culture;
  • Demonstrate outstanding financial management of HSDC’s $7 million annual budget, working with HSDC’s senior staff to ensure that business practices and plans meet all financial goals and achieve optimal levels of operational and programmatic performance;
  • Work closely with the Board to drive vision and develop organizational priorities;
  • Leverage the experience and expertise of the Board on key initiatives;
  • Exercise best practices in governance and ethics; and
  • Ensure that Board members are kept current on financial and operating metrics.

Candidate Profile:

The ideal candidate will have the following professional and personal skills, qualities, competencies and characteristics:

Passion for the Mission

The ED has a sincere passion for the performing arts, and an understanding of how they enhance a community and the lives of its citizens. S/he is committed to bringing HSDC’s mission to the residents of Chicago, the surrounding communities, and beyond. S/he is innovative with the goal of helping HSDC expand its brand and reach and deepen its work.  S/he is a strong, collaborative leader and dedication to the mission. It is imperative that s/he leads by example and always stays true to the values of HSDC. Moreover, the ideal candidate is an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics and values; someone who can be trusted without reservation.

A Strategic and Visionary Leader

The ED is a strategic, tactical and visionary leader who is able to set and articulate a vision for HSDC’s next chapter in partnership with the Artistic Director and the Board.  S/he can successfully leverage the skills and talents of a Board to develop a strategic plan, while working closely with HSDC’s various constituents on the plan’s successful implementation and evaluation efforts.  S/he can successfully lead the organization through the study, design and implementation of a plan for the development or redevelopment of the HSDC facilities. S/he actively and strategically seeks out partnerships and builds coalitions with local nonprofit and community organizations and their leaders on behalf of the strategic vision of HSDC. S/he is innovative, creative and skilled when it comes to building partnerships with national and international institutions and leaders in the performing arts to enhance HSDC’s impact and advance its mission and strategic priorities.

An Ambassador and Fundraiser

The ED is an “Ambassador” for HSDC, sharing the mission and vision with the outside world and helping to expand HSDC’s role more broadly. S/he will bring a propensity for engagement to the role. S/he will build strong brand equity and awareness, will establish partnerships and seek opportunities to promote HSDC. S/he is inspirational, energetic, creative and ambitious and experienced in establishing strong working relationships in furtherance of an organization’s mission. S/he has exceptional interpersonal skills with the ability to build and sustain strong support across a wide range of stakeholders including staff, Board, donors and the public. S/he develops a powerful sense of shared purpose in others and motivates them to engage in the opportunities and future of HSDC.  S/he inspires confidence in donors, builds collaboration and buy-in, and generates support from new and existing stakeholders. S/he enjoys fundraising and can successfully convey the objectives of HSDC to potential donors. S/he is fluent in communicating the value of an institution, and in particular, HSDC, on a local, regional and international level to a broad range of constituents. S/he is a media savvy communicator who brings passion for HSDC’s mission as its spokesperson. S/he is politically astute and attuned with a sophisticated personal presence.

Nonprofit Management

The ED is a seasoned executive with strong staff, operational and financial management experience. S/he has a track record of sound financial planning, oversight and accountability, with the ability to clearly communicate financial status to the Board. The ED possesses the ability to identify, hire, build and inspire a staff with a diverse set of skills, provide a productive work environment and professional growth opportunities that result in team cohesion and camaraderie. S/he is a facilitator of staff and Board teamwork with the ability to provide clear expectations and accountability measures for staff deliverables while encouraging innovation and initiative. Experienced in managing a large and diverse Board, s/he possesses the knowledge and ability to assure that the Board is achieving its primary responsibilities of best practice governance and fundraising.


Alison P. Ranney and Anne B. McCarthy of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please email Alison and Anne directly at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search firm that works exclusively with nonprofits. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit