Director of Finance - People's Light, Malvern, PA

Founded in 1974, People’s Light serves as one of Pennsylvania’s largest professional nonprofit theatres.  The company is known for its resident company of artists, an eclectic mix of productions, and innovative work with young people.  Each season the company produces eight to nine productions for nearly 77,000 patrons, presenting stories drawn from ancient times through tomorrow that have direct relevance to the thoughts and concerns of the community it serves regionally and as an important voice in the national theatre community. People’s Light produces both classical and contemporary theatre and has long supported the commission of new work—in their history of over 400 productions, over a third have been world or regional premieres.

People’s Light has always called Chester County, PA its home. In 1979 the company moved into its current location in Malvern on a sprawling and bucolic campus.  The location includes two flexibly configurable black box theatres (340 and 160 seats), administrative offices, scenic and production shops, rehearsal halls, and a restored 18th Century Farmhouse which serves as a place for guest artist housing and as a banquet facility and restaurant.  The Farmhouse banquet and catering facility and Bistro restaurant have become increasingly important components of the entire People’s Light experience, serving as both important revenue centers and open doors for new People’s Light audiences and supporters. 

People’s Light employs nearly 150 full and part-time employees annually, most of whom reside within 15 miles of the theatre’s Malvern, PA campus. Nearly 200 guest artists from Philadelphia, New York, Washington, DC and other cities primarily on the East Coast work at People’s Light each season. 


People’s Light has taken significant steps to foster an environment of collaborative input as senior leadership sets the agenda for the future.  Celebrating its dedicated staff is a priority at this moment in People’s Light’s history, and that has resulted in thorough discussions and evaluation of how to approach creating structures and systems that can allow People’s Light to embrace its highly regarded past and celebrate a future that builds upon its history for artistic innovation combined with organization stability and rigor.

The primary mission-based activities of People’s Light include: 

• An annual season of 8-9 theatre productions; a mix of contemporary, classic, and new.

• New play development primarily focused on two initiatives; New Play Frontiers and Harmony Labs:

New Play Frontiers explores the American Identity by commissioning leading playwrights to create plays influenced by the concerns, history and stories of nearby populations, simultaneously developing audiences who have deep personal stakes in this new work. 

Harmony Labs is a program that brings together teams of composers and playwrights to create new music theatre.

• Surround programming and community engagement activities; discussions, panels, readings, town hall meetings and workshops inspired by the plays People’s Light produces and the plays they develop. These take place on People’s Light’s campus and throughout the region. 

• Arts Education programs; Theatre School, Summerstage, the New Voices Ensemble, internships, school residencies, 4th Friday for teens, and a variety of activities that focus on work with children and adults who have cognitive challenges.

Additionally, People’s Light has recently taken steps to more aggressively promote the activities of its already thriving Farmhouse banquet facilities and Bistro Restaurant.  Growth in this for-profit venture is seen as full-of-potential for increasing revenue streams as well as a front-facing entry way for new constituents to the People’s Light experience.

The theatre’s senior leadership is strong and resilient with Abbey Adams serving the role of organizational leader as Artistic Director & CEO.  Ms. Adams has been a fixture with People’s Light for over 30 years and is supported by Producing Director Zak Berkman in setting the vision and artistic profile of the company.  Current General Manager & CFO Ellen Anderson will soon be transitioning into a newly conceived role overseeing all Farmhouse operations.  In this move, People’s Light is taking the opportunity to rethink senior level staffing to provide an optimum level of support to its current staff and actively advance an atmosphere of concierge-level service in all its operations. The result of that inquiry is the creation of stand-alone Director of Finance, Director of External Affairs, and General Manager roles as part of the senior leadership team.


The Director of Finance is a member of the Senior Management Team reporting directly to the Artistic Director & CEO. This position works closely with the Artistic Director & CEO, Producing Director, General Manager, and Director of External Affairs (position to be filled at beginning of 2018-2019 Season in early Fall of 2018) to provide operational leadership and oversight in all matters of ongoing financial management, accounting and strategic business development.  This individual will also forge a close and successful working relationship with the Director of People’s Light’s for-profit Farmhouse & Bistro Restaurant activities to align all business practices and financial reporting seamlessly with overall institutional operations. The Director of Finance will be a highly strategic thinker who is able to manage the day-to-day financial life of the company while working proactively to anticipate and plan for the future.


The Director of Finance will oversee and monitor all systems and procedures for People’s Light’s financial operations, exercising independent judgment to ensure conformity with fiscal best practice, company policies and goals.

• Provide information, participate and lead implementation (as required) in the long-range strategic planning of the organization.

• Direct the annual budgeting process in collaboration with Senior Management Team.

• Implement current fiscal policies and procedures and recommend appropriate changes and improvements.

• Proactively manage all banking and investment relationships, loans and lines of credit ensuring that the organization is maximizing benefits and minimizing costs.

• Supervise the preparation of financial statements and submit to administration, Board of Directors, funding sources, and required governmental agencies. 

• Manage all insurance programs of the organization and recommend insurance requirements and policies.

• Administer legal matters of the organization, seeking appropriate counsel and resolving such matters at a minimum expense and risk exposure to the organization.

• Maintain high level contacts with personnel in other agencies, board members and public and private groups to position People’s Light as a regional and national leader in the non-profit performing arts field.

• Assist in developing data processing systems for financial planning and reporting purposes.

• Consistently benchmark the financial and business operations of the organization to determine financial requirements and advise Board and Artistic Director & CEO of findings.

• Maintain up-to-date oversight and compliance on non-profit best practices and federal and state laws regarding non-profit operations.

• Coordinate all financial interactions and budgetary goals and activities of Farmhouse Operations relative to overall institutional operations.

• Administer employee benefit plan (TIAA-CREF).

• Interact closely with all external auditors.

• Manage and mentor Accounting staff, helping them set and achieve annual performance goals.

• Perform other related duties as directed. 


The Director of Finance will have a minimum 7 years of relevant experience in accounting and at least 3 in a not-for-profit environment. At least 5 years’ managing experience with a proven track record in hiring and maintaining a professional and committed staff. Possess strong interpersonal, written communication skills and the highest personal integrity. Bachelor’s degree in Finance, Accounting or a related field is required. CPA and a knowledge of the performing arts are strongly preferred. 

Special Job Characteristics:

Decisive with a “big picture” perspective.  Team player: values collaboration among individuals and other departments. The Director of Finance will be well-organized: able to manage tasks successfully; prioritize and delegate effectively. A strategic visionary with sound technical skills, analytical ability, good judgment, strong operational focus and a creative thinker.  


The Director of Finance salary will be competitive with other companies of comparable stature and size. Benefits will include the following:

• Medical/dental/life/disability insurance plans (largely employer funded).

• Defined Contribution Plan through TIAA-CREF.

• Paid vacation, holidays and sick leave.

People’s Light is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Candidates for employment are considered without regard to race, color, sex creed, religion, national origin, sexual preference, age, non-job-related disability, or marital status.

People’s Light hopes to make its decision by Summer of 2018, with the successful candidate onsite as soon as possible thereafter. Applicants should submit a résumé, cover letter, salary expectation, and three professional references electronically to the consulting firm retained to facilitate this important search:

Management Consultants for the Arts, Inc.
Attn: Jonathan West

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Subject Line: People's Light, Director of Finance

Last modified on Tuesday, 15 May 2018 00:21