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California Youth Symphony (CYS) seeks an Executive Director to partner with our acclaimed Music Director and artistic team in furthering our mission of providing exceptional musical training to the Bay Area’s top young musicians. Since 1952, CYS has expanded to include multiple orchestras and ensembles, engaging over 400 young musicians from nearly 100 Bay Area schools annually. Our international tours for young people have garnered praise, alongside our commitment to offering high-quality concerts to the community at little or no cost. 

Start date: May 2024

Deadline for applications: Until the position is filled
Download the PDF Version of the CYS Executive Director Opportunity Here 

Compensation:  CYS offers competitive compensation of $110,000 - $150,000 based on experience and provides retirement options, health coverage, and generous PTO. Full-time exempt position based in Palo Alto, with flexible scheduling options.

Confidential Application Process: Please email your resume and cover letter to Stacy Nelson & Associates at with “CYS Search” in the subject line. Inquiries are welcome.

Executive Director Job Responsibilities

The Executive Director oversees administrative operations, ensuring alignment with the organization’s vision, strategies, and policies and executing on these initiatives. Responsibilities include financial administration, fundraising, volunteer management, concert/event planning, education, community engagement, and supporting the management of artistic staff. The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors in partnership for the vision and mission of the organization. The Executive Director collaborates with the Artistic Director to support the artistic program. The Executive Director supervises the Finance Manager, Operations Director, and administrative team.

*Percentages provided as a guide to the incoming Executive Director given the organization’s priorities for the first 12 to 18 months of the job.

Administration and Operations 40%

  • Oversee administrative operations including finance, HR, and IT. Ensure that internal systems, technology, policies, and procedures are in place to support administrative efficiency and effectiveness and meet nonprofit corporate fiscal policies
  • Develop systems to establish and achieve goals of being welcoming, diverse, equitable, and inclusive in staffing and programs.
  • Responsible for hiring and staffing as well as other human resources functions including staff development, reviewing and maintaining the accuracy of job descriptions, completion of regular performance evaluations, and compliance with personnel policies established by the Board and with all federal and state regulations.

External Relations and Fundraising 30%

  • Oversee marketing communication strategies including social media, website, and newsletter content to students, supporters, and audience.
  • Lead the development and implementation of fundraising strategies and campaigns including family, community, and alumni giving, as well as corporate and foundation support. Engage directors and staff in fostering major donor relationships and stewardship activities.
  • Represent CYS at conferences, meetings, and seminars.

Support Program Administration 15%

  • Maintain a positive and close working relationship with the artistic leadership.
  • Maintain a working knowledge of the issues, best practices, and trends impacting excellence in youth music education and operations.
  • Oversee the planning of auditions, performances, tours, and activities such that they are appropriate and consistent with the mission and policies of the organization.
  • Regularly attend and be visible at concerts and events.
  • Guide the implementation and evaluation of longer-range strategic priorities.

Board Partnership 15%

  • Assist the Board in identifying, recruiting, and onboarding new board members with the skills to support the mission and priorities. Engage and motivate Board members to ensure productive and constructive experiences.
  • Ensure that Board policies are implemented.
  • Effectively serve as an active, non-voting member of the Board and its Committees.
  • Report regularly to the Board and committees about organizational objectives, the organization’s financial status, and other relevant issues to facilitate the formulation of strategic decisions and necessary policies and goals.

Physical Requirements

  • Ability to travel locally and regionally to attend meetings, events, and performances.
  • Flexible working arrangements.
  • Capacity to lift and carry event materials, promotional items, and equipment as needed.
  • Willingness to work occasional nights and weekends to support Board meetings, concerts, and events.
  • Possession of a valid driver's license, access to a personal vehicle, and proof of insurance for travel throughout the area.


  • Executive management experience and proven leadership skills; experience in similar organizations is a plus.
  • Exceptional organizational, financial management, project management, and verbal and written communication skills.
  • Strategic thinking and analytical skills as well as the ability to execute.
  • Successful track record in fundraising.
  • Passion for music and the arts.
  • Demonstrated experience in implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of compliance and best practices.
  • A bachelor's or higher degree.

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