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Chief Executive – Chiltern Open Air Museum
Location: Chiltern Open Air Museum, Newland Park, Gorelands Lane, Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire HP8 4AB
Closing date: 12:00 am 15 December 2023
The role – summary
The Trustees are looking for a Chief Executive who will run COAM in line with our evolving strategy.
The CE will work with the Trustees to ensure COAM continues to deliver locally and nationally in its role as a visitor attraction and location for excellent educational opportunities, whilst maintaining its collections and continuing to engage with new audiences.
The CE will be a leader with the confidence and experience to deal with people at all levels, an appreciation of the role and needs of both the heritage and charity sectors, combined with strong financial and commercial acumen. It is a relatively small charity so while it is a strategic and leadership role, the CE will be expected to understand the operational challenges of COAM too.
Previous experience in the museums or heritage sectors and/or visitor attractions would be an advantage but not essential – leadership qualities are the most important, though applicants will be expected to demonstrate the ability to quickly establish their credentials in the sector.
The CE will report to the Board of Trustees who monitor progress and approve strategy.
Summary / Overall purpose
The CE is responsible for providing leadership for all aspects of COAM, working with the Trustees to set the strategic direction and with the management team to deliver it. This is the key leadership role of the organisation – the role holder is responsible for ensuring that the right people and processes are in place to deliver the strategy and then for motivating them to do so.
- Ensuring the management team is delivering the income-generation, operations, fundraising, financial reporting, and museum know-how required to deliver the strategy.
- Ensuring this team understands the strategy and is inspired and motivated to deliver it.
- Translating the strategy into objectives for each area.
- Determining which projects fit best with the strategy and assisting with fundraising for them – will need to be able to inspire potential donors.
- Providing regular reports to the Board on the delivery of the agreed strategy and proposing updates to the strategy as appropriate.
- Ensuring the Board and the management team have the appropriate financial and other reporting to make informed decisions.
- Ensuring the right systems are in place to capture and interpret data on performance e.g. ticket sales, secondary spend, visitor numbers and retention, website usage, visitor experience …
- Drafting the budget for Board approval.
- Being an ambassador for COAM – maintaining current and developing new partnerships and collaborations with public authorities and other organisations, local (including FCOAM), national and international, that connect with COAM’s objectives.
- Managing HR issues that management team members cannot resolve, or that involve them.
- Ensuring that COAM has the right processes in place to adhere to its legal, licensing, regulatory and other similar compliance obligations (including, among others, Data Protection, GDPR, H&S).
- Managing the relationship with COAM’s neighbours.
- Resolving issues that cannot be resolved by the management team, escalating to Board if appropriate.
- Distillation of papers for Board and ensuring that Board decisions are effectively communicated.
The ideal candidate will possess and be able to demonstrate:
- Excellent leadership and people management skills, and a commitment to diversity.
- Experience of dealing with people at all levels – colleagues, volunteers or external to COAM.
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills, and organisational ability of a high order.
- An understanding of the challenges of fundraising and, ideally, some success in this area.
- An awareness of and interest in the business issues faced by COAM, and the ability to identify those that are significant, while understanding COAM’s unique role.
- The ability to reconcile business requirements with other needs (e.g. environmental, ethical, community, stakeholder).
- A can-do attitude – willingness if necessary to help out where there are people shortages e.g. with events, and to get around the site and be visible and available to staff and volunteers.
- Sound budgetary and commercial acumen with a knowledge of business practices.
- A track record of delivering targets across a broad range of functions with demanding deadlines.
- Networking and stakeholder management skills.
- Problem solving and innovation.
- An understanding of the issues facing a relatively small organisation dependent on volunteers.
Chiltern Open Air Museum is an award-winning independent outdoor museum and charity in the Chalfonts, Buckinghamshire that welcomes around 55,000 visitors a year. The site, set in beautiful Chilterns countryside, is a spacious 45 acres and includes over 30 reconstructed historic buildings that were either the homes or workplaces of ordinary people. The collection of buildings include; a 1940s prefab, blacksmiths forge, Victorian earth cottage, tin chapel, furniture factory, Iron Age roundhouse, medieval barns, World War Nissen huts and more. There is a working historical farm with livestock including goats, sheep, chickens and cows. In addition to historic buildings, there are a variety of traditional cottage gardens, natural playground, orchards and woodland. Each building is interpreted to tell the unique story of the Chilterns, its people, crafts, history and traditions.
As an independent charity, the Museum receives no government funds. Income is generated through a wide range of activities including – admissions, Annual Pass, events, retail sales, catering, weddings and private hire, experience days, educational visits, filming – and the balance is made up through donations and grants.
‘To tell the story of the Chilterns through historic buildings, landscapes and culture for the enjoyment, inspiration and learning of present and future communities.’
Further information can be found at www.coam.org.uk
How to apply
Please send a completed application form, a CV, and a covering letter to Verena Clark at email@example.com
If you have any questions before applying please write to firstname.lastname@example.org – if needed a short call with a trustee can be arranged.