Chief Program Officer
Friends of the High Line (FHL) seeks a new leader to shape and implement an innovative and strategic cultural, public, and community engagement vision and program that advances the High Line’s mission and helps drive the organization to new levels of creativity, visibility, interaction, and impact.
The Chief Program Officer (CPO) reports to the Co-Founder and Executive Director and is a key member of the executive leadership team along with the Chief Advancement Officer and Chief Operating Officer. This is a new role for the organization and an opportunity to evolve our existing programming by making thoughtful, creative changes that refine our programmatic offerings.
As CPO, this person will advance a key pillar of the High Line’s strategic plan by developing programs that support and further our commitment to equity in public open space. With a visitorship of nearly 8 million people annually, the High Line is an essential public space for the residents of New York as well as a community asset and partner for our neighborhood.
The ideal candidate will have a demonstrated record of designing, delivering, and evaluating cohesive annual programming that reflects FHL’s vision, ethos, and brand, and be inspired by an audience reflective of the diversity of New York City. The candidate must also possess strong leadership and managerial skills as well as an ability to work cross-departmentally to conceive, integrate, and implement all programmatic offerings. Together with the executive leadership team, he or she will collaborate on envisioning and delivering an integrated programming plan for audience engagement and future development.
Reporting to the CPO are a total of 11 staff responsible for the day-to-day design and management of public, art, horticultural, youth, school, and family program development and partnerships. The CPO will also oversee (with a dotted line to the Executive Director) the Director and Chief Curator of High Line Art, who manages a team of four staff who are responsible for conceiving, curating, and producing the High Line’s exceptional public art program.
The CPO will also work closely with the Chief Advancement Officer to help gain program visibility, deliver on messaging, and actively support fundraising efforts. He or she will also lead a Board Program Committee.
- Vision. Develop an integrated programming plan for the High Line that highlights and connects the unique and varied experiences of the park, effectively shaping our approach for the next three to five years. High Line programming should ensure the High Line remains an innovative, inclusive, and fresh cultural destination and gathering place.
- Values. Promote equity in public space and public interaction as a key feature of city life. Work towards providing greater access to nature and green space, promoting cultural vibrancy, and creating platforms for diverse voices and communities to actively participate in shaping the city’s future.
- Leadership. Be the champion for the High Line’s programs and be a “voice” for audience development, diverse and experimental programming, artistic expression, community engagement, and visitor-centered initiatives. Model respectful and productive collaboration, both internally and externally. Provide leadership and direction for special initiatives, and participate in organizational strategic planning. Develop and present information about programming and engagement to the Board of Directors, leadership team, staff, and external stakeholders. Seek to strengthen FHL’s position as a thought leader for community-based park and cultural projects, and explore opportunities to partner with like-minded organizations and individuals.
- Staff Management. Manage creative and multi-dimensional teams. Must be a keen listener and mentor to others at varied levels of experience. Be open to learning from others at different levels of the organization. Must possess strong decision-making capabilities and a flexible nature that will accommodate multiple working styles. Will work to improve workflows, advance planning, and processes among team members.
- Cultural Organizing and Community Engagement. Build support for, and connections to, the High Line in neighboring communities and throughout New York City. Bring a sensitivity and ability to understand the dynamics at play in vibrant, diverse neighborhoods, and develop personal relationships by being an effective listener and community partner. Develop creative and effective ways to leverage the High Line as a beneficial resource for under-resourced communities.
- Evaluation. Develop measurable outcomes, assessment tools, and strategies to measure intangible benefits and impacts. Evaluate intradepartmental initiatives with regards to their impact on accessibility, impact, sustainability, and institutional capacity.
- Production, Planning, and Scheduling. Oversee the production of small- and large-scale events across different cultural disciplines. Producing events on the High Line requires flexibility and adaptability given its restrictions as an outdoor, elevated public space with limited gathering areas.
- Budget Management. Exercise sound fiscal management by working closely with the COO and FHL’s VP of Finance to draft the annual program budget; monitor expenses throughout the year and ensure program adherence to the budget.
- Fundraising. Maintain close working relationships with members of the Development department and support the department’s ability to raise funds for the organization by occasionally liaising with donors and helping with funding applications. Manage the Program Committee of the Board of Directors by maintaining close communication with key members and scheduling and facilitating several meetings throughout the year.
- Communications & Marketing. Work with the Communications & Marketing department to produce key promotional materials, and help shape the language used to describe programs and community engagement. These materials include press releases, print calendars, postcards, flyers, newsletter articles, blog posts, and more. Oversee some of the department’s marketing initiatives in the neighborhood to help build a local audience. Occasionally speak with members of the press.
For confidential consideration, please submit your cover letter, resume, and salary requirements to the search firm Machlowitz Consultants, Inc. at email@example.com. No phone calls, please. Those whose candidacy is-being considered will be contacted. Please do not apply via this applicant portal.
Friends of the High Line is an equal opportunity employer and considers applicants for all positions without regard to race, color, religion, creed, gender, national origin, age, disability, marital or veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected status.
- A minimum of 10 years’ programmatic and staff management experience
- A respect and admiration for the history of the High Line and surrounding neighborhoods
- Demonstrated ability to both envision and execute a broad range of public events and activities; experience with cultural, educational, and community-based programming is required
- Track record of fostering diverse and inclusive team environments
- Ability to thrive in a busy, fast-paced environment and be adept at juggling many projects at once
- Experience in working with artists from different disciplines, horticulture, and/or urban design.
- Ability to articulate strategy and provide ongoing direction to implement that strategy
- Strong written and oral communications and presentation skills, including the ability to deploy tact and diplomacy in pursuit of results
- Availability during select weekends and evenings as required
- Flexible, fun, and collaborative personality
- Adroit with the unexpected and with meeting aggressive deadlines
- Strong computer skills (facility with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint)
- Paid vacation, sick time and holidays
- Paid parental leave
- Medical, dental and vision insurance
- Commuter benefits
- Flexible spending accounts
- Contribution in a 403(b) retirement plan
- Citi Bike membership
- Discount on High Line merchandise