Manager of Strategy and Planning

Manager of Strategy and Planning

Reports to: Executive Director/Director of Operations
Department: Administration
Supervision: Executive Assistant
Employment Status: Full-time
FLSA Status: Exempt

Start date: TBD
Last Updated:  April 30, 2021

Who We Are

Penland School of Craft is an international center for craft education offering residential workshops, residencies, community education programs, and exhibitions. Located on 420 acres in the NC Mountains, Penland has 16 teaching studios and 57 historic and contemporary buildings. We are an equal opportunity employer with a staff of 70. Penland operates with a $44 million endowment and an annual operating budget of $6 million. We are located about an hour northeast of Asheville, NC. Our mission supports individual and artistic growth through creative practice and discovery.

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

We believe that equity, diversity, and inclusion are essential to fulfilling our mission. We want to inspire and nurture the human spirit, and we value the perspectives and contributions of all people. We want the Penland experience to include varied ideas, world views, and personal characteristics. Penland is committed to being a community that welcomes and respects everyone regardless of age, ability, ethnicity, race, religion, philosophical or political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, nationality, geographic origin, and socioeconomic status. We are committed to providing an environment free of discrimination.

Position Summary

The Penland Manager of Strategy and Planning is a high-level administrative position working closely with and reporting directly to the executive director and the director of operations. This position works closely with Penland’s leadership team, has frequent contact with Penland staff and constituents, and needs to be a good communicator and highly organized. Primary responsibilities include leading projects related to the strategic and planning work conducted by the executive director’s office, as well as projects related to fundraising and cultivation efforts. This position also functions as a liaison between the organization and the Penland Board of Trustees and manages the board’s meetings. The manager of strategy and planning exercises administrative judgment and assumes responsibility for decisions, consequences, and results impacting people, costs, and quality of service within the school.  This is a full-time, year-round, benefits-eligible, exempt position.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Drives high-level administrative strategy and planning projects to completion and in collaboration with the executive director, director of operations, and other directors.
  • Gathers information and conducts research on strategic initiatives.
  • Manages and prepares reports that document the results of strategic and planning projects.
  • Prepares “dashboard reports” of financial, development, and enrollment data.
  • Ensures the director’s meetings are scheduled, prepped, and logistics completed. Develops materials for meetings and other events as requested and participates as needed.
  • Maintains a high degree of knowledge of the different operations systems of the school, such as Orbund (registration), Raiser’s Edge (development and fundraising), and OnBoard (board management).
  • Supervises the executive assistant.

Support for Board of Trustees

  • Acts as the primary liaison between the board of trustees and the organization. Handles all board committee meetings, board meetings, and the communication and reporting to the board of trustee members.
  • Works with the executive assistant in scheduling all meetings of the board.
  • Manages the OnBoard platform and ensures training for all board and staff members.
  • Manages the preparation of meeting materials and agendas, reports, meeting minutes, and all other documentation.
  • Maintains and updates the board policy manual (both hard copy and online).
  • Communicates routinely with trustees with information updates.
  • Oversees the training of new board members.
  • Manages and produces all staff and strategic plan outcome reports to the board.

Fundraising-related Assistance

  • Participates in the fundraising and cultivation efforts of the organization by communicating with selected donors and persons identified for cultivation through phone and e-mail conversations and on occasion through personal visits.
  • Provides research and support to the executive director for all development-related activities.
  • Maintains a small portfolio of annual scholarship donors. Manages donor contact, appreciation, correspondence, and reporting.

Special Projects

  • Assists, coordinates, and leads special projects assigned by the executive director or director of operations or designee.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • A general understanding of the field of craft.
  • A bachelor’s degree with at least two years of relevant experience; or equivalent combination of education and experience working with donors, board members, or varied groups of people.
  • Works in confidence related to all conversations and tasks. Is sensitive to the interrelationship of people and their responsibilities within all areas.
  • Ability to drive projects independently and work collaboratively as needed.
  • Knows or is willing to understand the organizational structure, the school’s mission, goals, policies, procedures, and informal systems of operation and the standards and behavior expected of all staff. Is familiar with the roles and responsibilities of all departments.
  • Strong verbal and written skills and show a high level of interpersonal skills required to handle sensitive and confidential situations.
    he ability to clearly communicate and maintain a calm, helpful, and friendly presence in an active, public-facing office environment.
  • The ability to track and organize information is crucial as this position will manage many different sets of data critical to the organization’s administrative operations.
  • Proven experience in being self-motivated and set priorities, meet deadlines and organize multiple projects at once.
  • Strong knowledge and technical fluency in Microsoft Office Suite, social media platforms, and database management, and especially knowledge and fluency of the Google Suite platform preferred.
  • Has prior knowledge of database management and or willingness to be trained on Penland’s registration process and Raisers Edge database.
  • A team player who can work collaboratively and independently as needed.

Physical Demands

The employee is regularly required to work at a computer. They must frequently use their hands to manipulate or touch objects, tools, and controls; they must be able to speak fluently, hear, and see (including close vision). The employee will need to navigate areas of the campus with uneven terrain successfully. The employee must occasionally lift and move objects weighing up to 25 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision.


Compensation discussions are a part of the interviewing process, but the starting wage for this position is  $52,000  commensurate with experience.  This is a full-time benefits-eligible position. Employees at Penland enjoy competitive pay, attractive benefits, and a lively, creative work environment.

To Apply

The position will remain open until filled; we would like this position to start as soon as possible. To apply, send a cover letter, résumé, and contact information for three references, addressing relevant experience and interest in the position to Alyse Ostreicher, Human Resources Manager, Please include Manager of Strategy and Planning as the subject of your email.

We look forward to hearing from you!