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YEA! looks for a qualified Director of Operations

Experience manager sought to help grow the mission

When I first became the director of the Cadets in September 1982, I was fresh from the classroom. I had little if any business experience and organization, including policies and procedures. It was foreign to me. Of course, I did not let a little thing like not knowing what I was doing stop me. I forged ahead with The Cadets, we won three world championships (thanks to a great staff) and the rest is history.

In 1988, we managed our first band show. In 1990, we morphed the Cadets’ organization into Youth Education in the Arts. In 2004, we relocated to Allentown and opened the Urban Arts Center of the Lehigh Valley, and well … we are still learning, growing, and offering more programs to more young adults each and every day.

And still, 30 years after my arrival here at The Cadets (Now known as Youth Education in the Arts), the organization is weak in terms of foundational strength. Youth Education in the Arts is program-based. While we do great work with students which has been our central focus on a local, regional and national level, YEA! has room for development in the areas of policies and procedures. We tend to move quickly and ask questions later. In addition, I am personally on the road for at least 100 days a year, and thus, there is a void in leadership that needs to be addressed.

As we look to a new future, and we consider the reality of life with, and eventually without a CEO with 30-years of experience, there is a clear need for a partner who is driven by process, who is able to work with a young but aggressive staff, and who is committed to the values and program success that Youth Education in the Arts has, and will continue to generate.

This position has been a long time in coming. We are, and I am excited about the possibility of expanding the team, and expanding the possibility for the organization.

SO, please take a look, and if interested, we look forward to hearing from you.

Position Description

Director of Operations,
Youth Education in the Arts 

Founded in 1934 as the Cadets and eventually in 1990 as Youth Education in the Arts, the mission of YEA! is to support the development of young people to magnificent human beings through their participation in the performing arts.

The principal programming offerings are:

1-      The Cadets - A nationally competitive highly decorated drum corps (brass and percussion ensemble) that provides service to 150 college-aged musicians and dance students each summer.

2-      The US Scholastic Band Association - An event management service that coordinates more than 150 band festivals in 15 different states each fall.

3-      The Urban Arts Center – A series of programs offered to youth in Allentown, Pa., and the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania.

There are other educational offerings, but the above are the critical components at this time.

For more information, please visit


Youth Education in the Arts has been growing steadily and is now seeking to dramatically accelerate and solidify the foundation of the organization. The board and CEO, George Hopkins, are looking for a mission-focused, seasoned, strategic, and process-minded leader with experience scaling an organization, being a critical part of an executive management team, and developing a performance culture among a group of diverse, talented individuals. 

The Director of Operations must be a leader who is able to help others at Youth Education in the Arts deliver measurable, cost-effective results that make the vision a reality. Importantly, the successful Director of Operations will have the skills, sensitivity, and personal confidence to tap into the power that each member of the team brings to this mission. While it is essential that the Director of Operations bring efficient and effective systems to increase the productivity of the organization, is it also critical that the team retain the creative spark that drives the Youth Education in the Arts concept. 


Reporting to the CEO of Youth Education in the Arts, the Director of Operations will lead all internal operations and will have the following responsibilities:

  • Working in partnership with the CEO, continue to work and develop the current strategic three-year plan and implement new processes and approaches to achieve it. The plan will need to be updated and refined year after year.
  • Serve as the valued deputy leader of the organization:
    • Coordinate the annual operations plan and budget.
    • Lead the performance management process that measures and evaluates progress against goals for the organization while continually assessing identifying and managing operational risks.
  • Provide for all staff a strong day-to-day leadership presence; bridge national and regional operations and support an open-door policy among all staff. 
  • Lead and manage the organization’s department supervisors, who have the following responsibilities:
        • The US Scholastic Band Association
        • The Urban Arts Center
        • The Cadets
        • Fundraising and Development  
        • Marketing of events and programs
        • Merchandising Systems, Operations and Opportunities
        • Finance and Accounting  
        • Building and Operations Management

NOTE - There will be overlap, of course, from the CEO to the Director of Operations but in general, Program Directors will report and work with the CEO directly. Operational departments including finance, merchandising, fund raising, marketing, human resources, technology and building management will fall to the Director of Operations.

  • There are a number of Special Projects the Director of Operations will be asked to take on over the first few years of the position:
    • Instill a human capital development and “coaching” culture within Youth Education in the Arts; upgrade human resources functions including: training, development, compensation and benefits, employee relations, performance evaluation and recruiting.
    • Work with the director of finance to develop an accounting system that provides the organization with quick access to financial information and enables strategic budgeting. A new accounting system will need to be installed.
    • Analyze the current technology infrastructure and scope out the next level of information technology and financial systems that support the growth of specific projects and the organization overall.
  • Work with the national board of directors: present to the board at quarterly meetings and serve on several board committees.

And a final note on the term of the position – In many ways, the work to be done here would relate to that of a “workout specialist.” There is much to be done to raise the operations to a new level, after which, maintenance and consistency would be the actions needed to sustain this new level of operation. With this in mind, there is a thought that this is a three-year position for the individual who likes the challenge of building, but not the repetition, of the day to day.

We believe that the scope of the initial challenge will be 2-3 years after which re-evaluation will be a critical piece of any strategic initiative moving forward. The CEO and Director of Operations will work together to define future roles and positions as growth takes hold. 

Key Qualifications

As a prerequisite, the successful candidate must believe in the core values of Youth Education in the Arts and be driven by the mission. The candidate should demonstrate a passion for breaking new ground to lead change and provide services. Beyond that, we are seeking a candidate that has proven experience in scaling a multi-site organization and a demonstrated ability to both lead and build the capabilities of a driven, bright, diverse team. We need systems. We need process. And we are looking for the individual that can drive this process to completion and excellence over a three-year time frame, at most. 

The successful candidate will most likely have had management experience with a for-profit organization but we are most interested also in those who do indeed have non-profit background. As noted, this is an organization driven by the values of its people, so experience in managing a “values-driven” organization will be highly prized. Additional requirements are:

  • Results-proven track record of exceeding goals and a bottom-line orientation; evidence of the ability to consistently make good decisions through a combination of analysis, wisdom, experience, and judgment; high level of business acumen including successful P&L management; the ability to balance the delivery of programs against the realities of a budget; and problem solving, project management, and creative resourcefulness.
  • Strategic Vision and Agility - Ability to think strategically, anticipate future consequences and trends, and incorporate them into the organizational plan.
  • Capacity Building - Ability to effectively build organization and staff capacity, developing a top-notch workforce and the processes that ensure the organization runs smoothly.
  • Leadership and Organization - Exceptional capacity for managing and leading people; a team builder who has experience in scaling up organizations; ability to connect staff both on an individual level and in large groups; capacity to enforce accountability, develop and empower top-notch leaders from the bottom up, lead from the top down, cultivate entrepreneurship, and learn the strengths and weaknesses of the team so as to put people in a position to succeed.
  • Action Oriented - Enjoys working hard and looks for challenges; able to act and react as necessary, even if limited information is available; not afraid to take charge of a situation; can overcome resistance to leadership and take unpopular stands when necessary.
  • General Management - Thorough understanding of finance, systems, and HR; broad experience with the full range of business functions and systems, including strategic development and planning, budgeting, business analysis, finance, information systems, human resources, and marketing.
  • Solid educational background - Undergraduate degree required; MBA or similar advanced degree highly desired.


This is an outstanding opportunity for a highly motivated professional to assume a pivotal role in the evolution of a fast-growing, highly respected organization. We are seeking an individual of outstanding quality with a respected track record. Youth Education in the Arts is prepared to offer a reasonable compensation package, including a competitive base salary as well as health, 401(k), and vacation benefits. 

Final Note
The addition of this position is a great step for Youth Education in the Arts. With thousands of students and ever growing programs, a foundation of operational excellence is essential. Great programs are in place and now, we need to grow the related procedures to insure the future for today’s students, and for those who will be arriving for many years to come.

No doubt the partnership between the CEO and Director of Operations will be critical to success. The right person, the right mix of personality, and just the appropriate balance will set in motion great success.

Please email a resume, a letter of introduction and any other materials of interest directly to George Hopkins at  With summer travel and program responsibilities taking center stage, the possibility of the position beginning before June 15 is possible but not probable. That said, resumes will be reviewed on a week by week basis and you can be sure of an initial response within 3 days of your submission.


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