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Director of Programs and Events

Feb 12, 2021
City of Seattle
For more information please visit:

Position Description

Seattle Center, a department of the City of Seattle, is seeking a qualified candidate for the position of Director of Programs and Events. This position reports to the Director of Seattle Center, is a member of the executive team and is responsible for production of all events and event staff as well as security for the campus. The chosen candidate will direct the work of seven units whose 66 permanent and over 400 intermittent employees comprise close to half of Seattle Center’s workforce. Seattle Center is looking for an innovative candidate who will further and expand on Seattle Center’s program offerings and foster decision making based on Seattle Center’s values. This position balances the interests of free and affordable public programming with commercial and revenue generating events, while managing and supporting a large team. 


This is an extraordinary opportunity to work with community to help achieve Seattle Center’s purpose “to create exceptional events, experiences and environments that delight and inspire the human spirit to build stronger communities” while addressing the challenges of reopening the event business in a post-COVID environment. Production of Seattle Center’s rich and diverse offerings, which include free and affordable programs, cultural festivals, and commercial offerings in entertainment, arts, leisure, and corporate events, is directed by this position. 


Job Responsibilities


This position leads efforts to build a stronger community by centering BIPOC community voices, connecting more fully with and responding to community interests, creating greater equity in programmatic offerings, and working with Seattle Center and arena staff to integrate existing and new Seattle Center sponsors, events and programs with the privately managed Climate Pledge Arena. 


In addition to event production responsibilities, the Director is also responsible for management and administration functions for all events as well as business development and generation of event revenues while managing a large operating budget. The position is also the primary liaison with several resident organizations, working collaboratively to advance their organization’s and Seattle Center campus-wide interests.


Due to the pandemic’s impact on in-person events, Seattle Center added a digital video recording studio to record, broadcast and stream events from various cultural festivals, the opera, ballet, and more. The successful candidate will guide adaptation of this service into a new business function. 


The chosen candidate will lead and direct the work of units that are led by a manager or crew chiefs in the following areas:


  • Event Booking and Contracting: This small group works with community and commercial partners on event rentals, booking, business development and event contracting and maintains the master calendar of program and event activity.
  • Event Management: This team provides the connection between the community and commercial partners vision for their event, manages staffing resources and is responsible for all event management and production, including advancing, planning and execution of events, as well as daily management of the Seattle Center campus.
  • Cultural Programs: This team seeks to raise the bar on production of and advocacy for cultural events at Seattle Center, while managing a coalition of community-based festival producers.
  • Arts and Community Programs: Seattle Center produces internally developed programs, including an annual multi-day free public health clinic, collaborates on events in partnership with the  community, and supports protected speech events. 
  • Emergency Services:  Oversees 24-hour campus safety and security.
  • Stage, Sound, and Video: This group of regular and intermittent employees handle the technical aspects of producing all events on the campus.
  • Guest Services: All regular and intermittent ushers and guest services employees throughout campus comprise this unit.




  • Professional experience managing performing arts, entertainment or other types of event teams or equivalent experience;

  • Demonstrated leadership and management skills;

  • Ability to navigate a unionized environment and political and financial systems; 

  • Ability to evaluate events and programs from a race and social justice perspective;

  • Demonstrated successful experience working with an organization in transition; 

  • Event production and safety and security experience;

  • Ability to develop and manage an effective team;

  • Experience working with diverse populations and stakeholders;

  • Strong written and oral communication skills;

  • Appreciation and understanding of Seattle Center’s unique events, experiences, and environment.

Desired skills, values, and experiences that will influence your success include:


  • Knowledge of and experience with management and production of a variety of event types;
  • Proven ability to generate event income and achieve revenue goals; 
  • Experience working with communities of color and people from cultures other than your own;
  • Proven ability to lead and professionally develop diverse staff with different functions;
  • Demonstrated ability to collaborate with a variety of stakeholders;
  • Strong personnel management skills and experience working in a highly unionized environment;
  • Demonstrated ability to cultivate connections with community members and build lasting and productive partnerships;
  • Knowledge of the core principles of antiracism with the ability to think critically through the lens of race equity and ground those principles in everyday work; 
  • Commitment to the advancement of race and social justice and anti-racism principles;
  • Creative and innovative program design skills; 
  • Knowledge of public safety management and campus-wide security procedures;
  • Background in technical production;
  • Experience with labor relations and contract negotiation/management (five unions are represented in teams overseen by this director); and
  • Previous public sector, nonprofit or governmental experience.


Additional Information


As an equal opportunity employer, people of color are encouraged to apply.


How to Apply: 

Applications are reviewed after the posting closes. Submit the following items to be considered for these vacancies:

  1. NEOGOV online (or paper) application
  2. Supplemental questionnaire
  3. A cover letter AND résumé

Your application may be rejected if these items are missing or incomplete. Note, simply providing a cover letter and résumé is not a substitute for completing the application itself. 

Hiring process involves background check of conviction and arrest records in compliance with Seattle’s Fair Chance Employment Ordinance, SMC 14.17. Applicants will be provided an opportunity to explain or correct background information.


In compliance with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, all persons offered employment are required to provide proof of identity and authorization to work in the United States at time of hire.


About Seattle Center:

Seattle Center serves as an extraordinary art, civic and family gathering place in the core of our region. The more than 30 cultural, educational, sports and entertainment organizations residing on the 74-acre campus, together with a broad range of public and community programs, offer nearly 16,000 events attracting 12 million annual visits. Seattle Center’s Purpose is “to create exceptional events, experiences and environments that delight and inspire the human spirit to build stronger communities.” Activities at the Center generate $1.864 billion in business activity and $631 million in labor income a year.


For additional information about Seattle Center, please visit our website:

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