CDSS Seeks an Executive Director

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Traditional American and English country dance, music and song thrive in the United States and Canada because, in large part, of the Country Dance and Song Society (CDSS) and its many members. Through increasingly putting its extensive resources online, its nationally recognized camps and leadership conferences, support for local organizations, callers and musicians, and the energy and passion of its staff and members, CDSS celebrates and preserves music, song and dance; promotes their new expression; connects people who enjoy them; and supports and connects communities where they prosper.

The Opportunity

tl_files/cdss/images/about/ED-job/nightingale.jpgCDSS seeks an Executive Director to lead the organization, headquartered in Easthampton, MA, into an era of heightened local connections and partnerships where recreational and professional dancers, singers, musicians, teachers, callers, and dance historians are actively engaged in the joys of traditional American and English country dance, music, and song. As it approaches its centennial in 2015, CDSS hopes to harness the innovations, talents and enthusiasm of musicians, singers and dancers to energize and deepen participation throughout North America. CDSS plans to expand the availability of organizational assistance, dance instructions, music, local dance schedules, historical archives, and directory information through a robust online portal. It is excited about finding ways to connect people both locally and across the continent -- individual dancers, singers and musicians, groups, other nonprofit partners, volunteers and vendors -- so that communities thrive. And, CDSS will continue to expand its availability of, and scholarship assistance for, its popular camps and leadership conferences throughout the country, where people of all ages come together to dance and sing, to learn and to share.

Special upcoming events and responsibilities:

  • To coordinate planning and lead a celebration of the centennial of the organization throughout the United States and Canada, with focus on increased awareness of American and English dance and song, enhanced partnerships with related organizations, and the maximization of the fundraising potential inherent in a centennial year.
  • To significantly expand the capacity of CDSS to raise funds needed for its programs.
  • To improve marketing and communications, including more effective use of technology.
  • To develop strategies to connect and link members and others locally.

The Organization

tl_files/cdss/images/about/ED-job/erica-anna-naomi.jpgCDSS has approximately 3,000 individual members and 300 affiliated groups in the United States and Canada, with an annual budget of $1.3 million. There are 15 dedicated full and part time staff (9 FTE), many having worked for CDSS for more than 10 years. The active governing board comprises 23 individuals from around the US and Canada, virtually all are practicing dancers, singers and musicians, by avocation. Much more information is found on the organization’s website:

The Ideal Candidate

The successful candidate must be a leader with strong people management, organizational, fundraising, communication, and consensus-building skills. Specifically, CDSS is looking for a candidate who has a breadth of experience and confidence to lead a national organization and who possesses the following experience, skills and attributes:

  • Systemic and strategic thinker; has the ability to anticipate trends and capitalize on opportunities and has the resourcefulness, creativity, and flexibility to lead the staff and community in new directions.
  • Passion for music and dance. Knowledge of and personal experience with American and English country dance, music and song, or parallels, is valuable but is not required.
  • Collaborative; is focused on positive team dynamics, sharing success and engaging others -- staff, volunteers, members and partners -- to develop solutions.
  • Experienced with fundraising and fundraising program development that includes grant writing, earned income strategies, events and personal contact with donors.
  • A facilitative leader; able to find common ground among conflicting interests and bring a group to accomplish goals by inspiring focus in a shared direction.
  • Excellent communicator; acts as an articulate, effective and visible spokesperson for the organization through public appearances and written communications.
  • Nonprofit business and finance depth and aptitude, including volunteer board development work and managing change.
  • A learner and one who listens well. Has been mentored or mentored others.
  • Direct and tenacious while maintaining a sense of humor and warmth.
  • A steward of an organizational culture that welcomes diversity, promotes learning throughout, encourages the use of initiative, individual and team responsibility, open communication, and mutual respect.
  • Comfortable with current and future-oriented communication methods and IT applications, such as social media, virtual communications, web-based portal systems; is able to recognize their potential for marketing, information exchange, publications, and resource sharing.


Education: Bachelor's degree required; graduate degree and/or advanced courses in management, business, nonprofit leadership, fundraising or other relevant fields preferred.

Travel to represent the organization around the United States and Canada is required. This position is based from the Easthampton, MA office.


tl_files/cdss/images/about/ED-job/morris.jpgCountry Dance and Song Society is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer and actively seeks a diverse pool of candidates.

Competitive salary and benefits package, commensurate with experience.

This search is being conducted by Third Sector New England's Executive Transitions Program with Transition Consultant Nancy Jackson. To apply, please go to TSNE CDSS Job.

Please include cover letter, resume, salary requirements, and where you learned of the position. Only electronic submissions will be considered.

Applications will be reviewed until a candidate is hired, with a final deadline of January 13, 2012.