Executive Director

Ashé Cultural Arts Center
New Orleans, Louisiana
May 13, 2019
Jun 12, 2019
Position Type
Full Time


Efforts of Grace, Inc., sponsor of Ashé  Cultural Arts Center (Ashé CAC), a leading community-based cultural arts organization was founded to provide an institutional presence in New Orleans, dedicated to the celebration of African and African derived culture, art, artists and culture bearers as a source of inspiration, education, enrichment and empowerment of the overall community.  This North Star aspiration of Ashé CAC is an opportunity to demonstrate a model in which equity and social justice prevail and where place keeping is as important as place making. This strategy and effort of creative place-making combines community cultural and economic development with art and opportunity to establish an organizational agenda of work and activity with artists, culture bearers and community activists as core practitioners. Ashé CAC’s work has been effective in demonstrating the catalytic potential for cultural and arts organizations animated by artists and culture bearers. Ashé CAC is hailed for its trailblazing vision, pivotal influence and its leading force in the renaissance of the Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard corridor of Central City in New Orleans.  As a result, Ashé CAC is a studied model in creative place-making and culture driven community development.

Under the leadership of its co-founding director and visionary, Carol Bebelle, the organization has made significant strides in pioneering the turnaround of the historic commercial corridor, Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard. The organization has played an important role in the recovery of the city following the 2005 Katrina related disaster especially for the cultural community. Ashé CAC is now at a critical stage of transition; building on two decades of impactful work, the organization is poised to welcome a new Executive Director (ED) to continue its visionary work, building on the founding directors’ successes.

The new ED should possess senior level executive experience, advanced knowledge of nonprofit administration, and previous experience working in the southern region of the United States. S/he should be poised to assume a range of opportunities and challenges, including: articulating and advancing the strategic direction of the organization to support its expansion; leveraging strategic relationships with funders, community partners, and nonprofit organizations; expanding and deepening relationships with communities across New Orleans, and strengthening the internal organizational infrastructure to support ongoing excellence through the transition and beyond. The Executive Director is the steward of Ashé’s brand and understands her/his role in maintaining and protecting the reputation of the organization. S/he is the leader of the institution and will implement a vision for further sustainability and growth in concert with a dedicated board of directors and a diverse team of accomplished leaders, staff, and volunteers. This is an extraordinary opportunity for an exemplary chief executive to lead a nationally-known and highly respected organization in its mission to support programs, activities, and creative works that emphasize the contributions of people of African descent in New Orleans.

Efforts of Grace, Inc./Ashé recognizes culture as a pivotal influence in the human experience, and pursues a collection of activities that advocates, models and supports equity and social justice.



The new ED will join a strongly committed and talented team of professionals and a dedicated board. S/he can expect to engage in the following core opportunities and challenges:

Articulate and advance the strategic direction of ASHÉ to support community cultural arts organizations, artists and culture bearers.

The new ED will work in partnership with the board and staff to both continue Ashé’s strong leadership in current key program areas while leading the development of innovative strategies that advance Ashé’s long-term vision. S/he will assess, analyze, and map the funding landscape, identifying emerging areas that Ashé can be most effective. S/he will develop compelling and comprehensive forward-thinking programs that are coordinated with community input, partner organizations, community stakeholders and informed by unfolding trends and best practices in the field of community-based culture and arts.

Leverage strategic relationships with funders, community partners, and other nonprofit organizations.

The new ED will continue to position ASHÉ as a trusted, thoughtful convener, creating opportunities for various members of the extended community to come together. S/he will also expand Ashé’s funding base by nurturing relationships with local and national funders that align with the organization’s mission and vision and foster long term sustainable partnerships. S/he will develop, test and expand new programs and revenue streams that leverage Ashé’s unique leadership position and diversify the organization’s funding streams.

Strengthen internal organizational infrastructure to support ongoing excellence through a period of change.

The new ED will develop a culture of leadership, cultivating staff to carry out the mission of the organization. S/he will mentor and empower staff members across the organization through building and sustaining a continuous culture of excellence through team work, and commitment to Ashé’s mission. S/he will continually improve services and internal systems, monitoring their effectiveness in meeting the organization’s mission, balanced by responsible fiscal management. Finally, the ED will maintain a strong, positive, and transparent working relationship with the Board of Directors, identifying opportunities for strengthened governance and broadening diversity on the board.



While no one candidate will embody all the qualifications enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:

  • A minimum of 7 years’ experience in senior leadership roles, preferably in cultural and/or arts institutions, social services organizations, non-profit entities, or related industries with a demonstrable track record of outstanding performance and measurable growth benchmarks. An undergraduate degree is required; a graduate-level degree is preferred;
  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience in nonprofit administration with proven financial management, budgetary control and a comprehensive understanding of organizational capacity-building in a multi-disciplinary organization;
  • Community engagement and broad-based experience in planning, organizing, and resource management. Experience collaborating with and leveraging a talented board of directors to craft and develop strategy for increased impact;
  • Strong fundraising ability with proven philanthropic relationships via a wide spectrum of funders; A demonstrable track record of successful fund development;
  • Creative, strategic critical thinker with entrepreneurial spirit, able to identify opportunities and diversify revenue streams building on sustainability of current initiatives and developing strategies for new earned income abilities;
  • Track record of effectively leading and scaling a nonprofit organization and staff with specific examples of developing and deploying proven strategies that raise an organization to a higher level of accelerated growth;
  • A demonstrated ability to collaborate, build strong professional relationships and connect diverse stakeholders with Ashé, overcoming cultural, historical or political barriers;
  • Experience engaging in local, statewide and national policy trends and shifts that affect the arts and artisan communities;
  • A commitment to furthering an equity-based portfolio across Ashé’s core areas of culture, community, and commerce and integrating the organization’s real estate management and assets responsibilities with its cultural programming;
  • Expansive knowledge of New Orleans and surrounding communities, its history and culture combined with comfort embracing a social justice and equity platform, both in programs and organizational culture;
  • Compelling executive presence with ambassadorial and authentic leadership style; excellent oral and written communication skills; demonstrated ability and comfort with strong external presence to communicate with diverse audiences, tailoring messages accordingly.



  • An understanding of and commitment to an asset-based approach; facilitating processes that allow people and communities to connect to achieve positive change, using personal knowledge, skills, and lived experiences of the issues;
  • Demonstrated ability to inspire, unquestioned integrity, and optimism to the organization, promoting alignment and cooperation within the cultural and arts communities;
  • High emotional intelligence with an engaging and accessible style that builds trust and confidence across diverse team cultures and priorities;
  • A healthy sense of humor; appreciation of creativity, fun, and inspiration that fosters positive energy and productivity in a mission-focused environment. Demonstrate impeccable integrity and professionalism and the ability to inspire optimism, as part of the organization’s employment culture;
  • A high level of intelligence and intellectual curiosity and desire to explore new ideas, entrepreneurial initiatives, and innovative approaches to solving problems;
  • Commitment to work on an agenda rooted in the community’s own perception of its needs and aspirations.



Efforts of Grace, Inc. is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. This search is being conducted by Jennifer Oliver-Goodwin. Applications including a cover letter describing your interest and qualifications, and your resume (in Word format) should be sent to: Leadershipsearch504@gmail.com.

Be sure to include Ashé Executive Director in the subject line. All applications and expressions of interest will be held in the strictest confidence.