Friends of Berston, a 501(c)(3) formed in 2014 to continue the work and legacy of the historic Berston Field House, is thrilled to announce it is seeking nominations and applications for its next Executive Director.
This Executive Director will join the organization at an exciting time, as the planned facility expansion and new strategic plan is positioning the organization to expand its impact both within and beyond the city of Flint, MI. Friends of Berston finds itself at a major inflection point – it is in the midst of a large capital campaign that has been endorsed by local funders and is now ready to find their new Executive Director after the untimely passing of the organization’s previous and beloved leader, Bryant "BB” Nolden. Berston’s next Executive Director will bring their own vision, skills, and experiences to this important leadership role, working with an engaged board and numerous community stakeholders. They will also bring an unwavering belief in Berston’s mission and a deep conviction in the power of the arts, education, and sports to impact people across generations.
Berston’s new Executive Director will be a transformative leader, leading the organization to sustainable growth by continuing its efforts to be the center of arts, sports, educational, and social services on Flint’s north side. They will be committed to building trust and transparency both internally and externally, lead partnerships with key community stakeholders, and align with Berston’s vision as a recognized place of hope and achievement for the entire community. In addition, the Executive Director will build upon a strong base of supporters who are dedicated to the mission and stretch the organization to widen its base of philanthropic support. Finally, this new Executive Director will bring a proven track record of leading effective teams, building a strong organizational culture, and upholding high standards of work in a fast-changing environment.
Berston’s next Executive Director must reside in Genesee County or be willing to relocate within 90 days of accepting the job offer. Friends of Berston is open to negotiation around relocation costs. This role will be primarily an in-person position, with occasional local and possibly regional travel.
ABOUT BERSTON FIELD HOUSE
Berston Field House was built in 1923 on land donated by the children of Flint land developer and philanthropist, Neil J. Berston. At the turn of the century, Mr. Berston had the foresight to buy and transform farmland into the residential neighborhoods surrounding what is now Berston Field House. The field house was named in honor of this generous visionary, and after 94 years of existence, the building remains structurally sound – as is Berston’s place in the community among its patrons, who range from young children to senior citizens.
Berston Field House almost closed its doors over a decade ago, when the City of Flint was no longer financially able to keep its recreational and community centers open. In 2009, Bryant “BB” Nolden stepped in and asked the city if he could open the building so the neighborhood could use the facility. For several years, he did this work as a volunteer, all while creating a vision for what was possible for the future of Berston and recruiting others to join in the work. When Friends of Berston formed in 2014, Nolden became its inaugural Executive Director.
Under his leadership, Friends of Berston embarked on a large capital campaign to expand its facilities, and they recently broke ground on this exciting and transformational project. Since Nolden’s passing in 2022, the Board, Interim Director, and Staff have kept operations going and prepared behind the scenes for launching the search for their next Executive Director.
OPPORTUNITIES AND EXPECTATIONS OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Executive & Organizational Leadership
- Lead collaboratively and inclusively, partnering with key leaders and stakeholders across the organization, including Berston staff, Board, community stakeholders, and funders to advance the organization’s priorities and growth.
- Guide the implementation of Berston’s strategic plan and define the organization’s impact, structure, and staffing needs through this period of sustained growth while ensuring its nonprofit compliance.
- Develop and monitor the budget and service delivery plan in consultation with the appropriate board committees.
- Actively advance Berston’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Internal Operational Leadership
- Remain abreast of the organization's overall health by implementing recruitment, hiring, and retention practices that ensure equitable policies and processes are in place.
- Assure that the organization’s long-range strategy is implemented in a consistent and timely manner.
- Ensure that resources are managed wisely by developing and maintaining sound fiscal practices.
- Provide leadership in developing programs, as well as organizational and financial plans with the Board and staff and carry out plans and policies authorized by the board.
- Work with the Board and appropriate committees to develop and implement income generation.
- Maintain official records and documents, and ensure compliance with federal, state, and local regulations, including the agreement with the City of Flint.
- Maintain a working knowledge of significant developments and trends in the community and in the program areas.
External Relations and Governance
- Partner with the Board to engage existing donors and identify new donors committed to advancing Berston’s mission.
- See that the Board is kept fully informed on all important factors related to the health of the organization and status of the expansion project.
- Recruit and partner with new and existing Board members that share Berston’s commitment to individual and community enrichment through education, athletics, the arts, and community service.
- Oversee the development and implementation of the marketing and public relations activities of the organization.
- Serve as an organizational spokesperson and ensure a positive image of Berston in the community.
- Solicit the perspective of and engage with the Flint community on a regular basis to ensure Berston’s programming aligns with community need and interest.
- Oversee the expansion of Berston Field House, working with a variety of stakeholders including contractors, government entities, the board of directors, the community, and funders to ensure a timely and successful completion.
- Effectively manage the maintenance, cleanliness, and overall upkeep of the facility.
- Ensure that all safety and accessibility regulations are met for both indoor and outdoor spaces.
- Develop and maintain positive relationships with tenants, addressing their needs and concerns.
- Create and manage budgets for different aspects of the facility’s operations, including sports, arts, and educational programs.
- Lead a multidisciplinary team of staff and instructors to foster a collaborative and supportive work environment that aligns with the facility’s goals.
QUALIFICATIONS OF THE IDEAL CANDIDATE
The new Executive Director of Berston will need to be a highly relational, visionary, strategic leader with meaningful experience leading teams through change. They will need to have high emotional intelligence, resilience, exceptional people leadership skills, and a heart for the community to succeed in this role.
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:
Mission and Value Alignment
- Has a deep, abiding belief in Berston’s mission and values.
Executive and Organizational Leadership
- 7-10 years of executive leadership experience in contexts where they balanced being an organizational leader with people management responsibilities.
- A track record of leading teams around a vision while expertly managing change.
- History of strong and productive partnerships with a board of directors.
- Experience leading finance and budgeting to ensure the organization’s wellbeing.
- Understands and experience in managing facilities including upkeep, tenant management, financial strategies, program development, marketing, and engagement.
People Culture, HR, and DEI
- Passionate about organizational change management that includes team and culture building and a track record of supporting staff through accountability and capacity building.
- A proven ability to manage and build financial portfolios that contribute to the organization’s growth and sustainability, including the ability to successfully ask for large gifts from diverse sources.
- Has a strong understanding of financial management, including the ability to develop and manage budgets, develop sound financial practices and secure funding.
A Bachelor’s degree is preferred, though equivalent experience will be considered.
As stated previously, it is a requirement that Friends of Berston’s next Executive Director must reside in Genesee County already or be willing to relocate within 90 days of accepting the job offer.
Friends of Berston is offering a salary in the range of $80,000 - $90,000, depending upon candidate experience. Benefits will be shared with candidates at a later stage in the process.
More information about Berston Field House may be found at: berston.org.
This search is being led by Emily Wexler and Rachel Burgoyne of NPAG. Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Candidates may submit their cover letter, outlining their interest and qualifications, along with their resume via NPAG’s website (https://npag.com/berston-ed).
Friends of Berston is an equal employment opportunity employer and is committed to maintaining a non-discriminatory work environment and does not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.