Are you an influencer and collaborator? Thought leader? Have experience with equity, diversity and inclusion work? We are looking for candidates who are excited about organizational culture change and can be a leader in this effort for North America’s largest theatre company – The Stratford Festival.
The Organization – The Stratford Festival
Based in Stratford, Ontario, the Stratford Festival is one of the world’s foremost repertory theatre companies. It operates year-round, presenting a season of about a dozen plays each year between the months of April and November, a rich stream of digital content and hundreds of Forum events, designed to deepen understanding of the plays. For every person a theatregoer sees on our stages, we have seven people working behind the scenes, some of the world’s most dedicated and experienced arts workers. At this time we are undergoing a culture shift to support anti-racism and anti-oppression policies and behaviors to ensure a respectful, equitable and inclusive environment in which all staff, artists and audience members can feel a true sense of belonging.
Each season, we present a dozen or more productions in four distinctive venues. We produce classics, contemporary dramas and musicals, with special emphasis on the plays of Shakespeare. Over the course of the year up to 1,000 people work at the Festival in a wide variety of positions including administrators, actors, directors, stagehands, set designers, lighting designers, electricians, costumers, hair and make-up artists, maintenance and facilities personnel and musicians with half of the workforce represented by a collective agreement. Each show demands the talents of a whole team of people necessary to bring a show to life. Each show is performed many times during the season, regularly more than 50 performances per show in the four main theaters.
The Position - Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
This is an extraordinary opportunity to be a significant leader in changing the culture of the leading theatre company in North America. In creating this position, the Festival is reflecting its full commitment to anti-racism and anti-oppression. Reporting to the Executive Director the selected candidate will hold a critical role of ensuring that EDI are, and remain, at the center of the work we do behind the scenes, on all of our stages and with audiences at the Festival. The Director will be a member of senior staff and the Director will ensure that policies, processes and culture across the organization are fully aligned with EDI principles and values. The Director will also co-develop and act as the lead facilitator for the new EDI Advisory Council. The Festival leadership believes that having a truly diverse and inclusive culture is the only way to realize the full potential organization’s mission of excellence.
Primary areas of focus:
A focus on strategy: Lead the development and implementation of a multi-year strategy to move the Festival toward becoming a more anti-racist, diverse, equitable and inclusive organization through the identification of goals, outcomes and strategies to advance and support EDI efforts, with an immediate focus on First Nations, Metis, Inuit, Black and People of Colour communities.
A focus on advice: Provide an informed point of view to guide, advise and partner with the Senior Management Team on diversity, equity and inclusion programs, policies, practices, culture and learnings. Act as a resource and coach for leaders and directors throughout the Festival to build their individual and team capacity. This can be accomplished through training and professional development to address ongoing and ad-hoc organizational needs that build understanding of systemic racism and anti-oppression, underrepresented and marginalized groups, and cultural competency, for staff and artists across our organization.
A focus on systems: Support the identification of right practices in people management and recruitment, including outreach strategies to ensure the Festival is effectively and thoughtfully encouraging prospective talent from underrepresented groups. Evaluate necessary systems, practices and policies that exist to help ensure the success of artists and employees who are (or historically have been) underrepresented in positions of influence within the organization.
A focus on building organizational capacity: Co-create opportunities across work groups for sharing and learning amongst artists and staff about lived experiences of all forms of oppression and discrimination. Lead the creation and facilitation of the EDI Advisory Council, which will provide advice on the implementation of the EDI plan.
A focus on measurement: Develop organization-wide EDI accountability measures and lead monitoring efforts towards success against those metrics across work groups at the Festival. Conduct routine and ad-hoc analysis of various sets of data (e.g., hiring, survey/satisfaction, training and development, compensation, etc.) to identify strengths and areas for improvement. Candidate Qualifications:
Demonstrated history of progress in advancing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion within an organization: from strategy development to implementation.
Proven record of achievement in the implementation of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion programs.
Knowledge and awareness of diversity in all its facets including, but not limited to, cultural, ethnic, racial, religious, gender, gender expression, age, sexual orientation and differing abilities that make us unique.
Thorough understanding of core equity, diversity and anti-racism concepts including employment equity, human rights, power and privilege, emotional intelligence, culture competence, implicit bias and trauma-informed approaches.
Strong networks of educators, facilitators and consultants with experience in anti-racism and equity work.
Lived experience as a self-identified member of an equity-seeking group is valued.
Engaged, thoughtful, empathetic listener.
Experience in a unionized environment is helpful.
Excellent leadership skills and the ability to influence diverse teams working in a complex and fast paced environment.
Compelling spokesperson adept at advising, counseling and assisting in solving human interaction issues.
Exemplary written, verbal and listening communication skills.
Proven ability to manage conflict.
Experience with in-depth assignments with Equity, Diversity and Inclusion initiatives.
Minimum undergraduate degree. Graduate studies or certificates such as Certified Diversity Professional a plus.
City of Stratford
The City of Stratford has a multi-faceted industrial base with the high-profile presence of the Stratford Festival alongside advanced manufacturing, smart technology and agriculture. With a population of 32,000, the City of Stratford boasts services and amenities of a larger cosmopolitan centre from exceptional dining options and artisanal boutiques to comprehensive healthcare and education offerings. While the community attracts retirees as a result of its amenities, artistic reputation, picturesque surroundings and comfortable size, the City of Stratford is home to a campus of the University of Waterloo specializing in digital media. The community is served by a gallery, museum as well as a film and music festivals.
The City of Stratford is a 45-minute drive to London, Ontario, a 30-minute drive to Kitchener Waterloo and within one hour of the communities along Lake Huron (Goderich, Bayfield). The community is served by VIA Rail with daily service to and from Toronto as well as a new bus service that links Kitchener, Stratford and London.
The City of Stratford welcomes diversity and has expressed the need to develop its cultural competency. The City is taking initial steps in that regard. The Festival is aligned with the City in creating a community that welcomes and embraces diversity and intends to work alongside the City to inspire change and encourage inclusivity.
The selected candidate may reside in Stratford, Kitchener/Waterloo, London or the surrounding community.
If you have the qualifications to fill this role and feel you could make a meaningful contribution to the Stratford Festival, please apply by submitting your resume along with a cover letter in which you make the following explicit:
Your previous experience(s) leading Equity, Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, with a specific focus on strategy development.
Your previous experience leading people management change strategies.
Recent experience (within 5 years) in leading the delivery of a suite of programs in people management and/or in EDI.
Recent experience (within 5 years) in analyzing, managing, and providing strategic advice to a Senior Management Team.
Recent experience (within 5 years) in collaborating and maintaining cooperative partnerships in the implementation of a program.
Experience in leading and managing major organizational change and transformation.
About Stratford Festival
HC Smith Ltd is a retained executive search and consulting firm. For more than 30 years, HC Smith Ltd has been recognized as a very successful family-owned boutique firm. Our business and our passion is people. We serve a broad range of clients, from Fortune 500 companies to world-class orchestras and museums, as well as institutions in the public and educational sector. Consultants include Principals Herbert Smith and Becca Smith along with Senior Consultants, Judith Frankfurt and EB Smith and Project Manager, Suzanne Wilson.