President and Chief Executive Officer

Posted by
Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden
Staten Island, NY
Published 13 days ago


President and CEO

Staten Island, NY



Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden (“Snug Harbor”) traces its roots to 1801 when Sailor’s Snug Harbor was founded to care for aged sailors. In 1831, a site was purchased in rural Staten Island and the campus served retired merchant marines for over a century.

Today, Snug Harbor offers dynamic programming in the arts, horticulture, urban agriculture and education for diverse cultures and all ages, on a historic, welcoming 83-acre campus that is an unexpected oasis in New York City. Snug Harbor envisions being a nationally visible yet locally impactful cultural organization beloved by all who visit. Snug Harbor values artistic vibrancy and discovery, stewardship and conservation, inclusion and community, and communication. Located less than 1.5 miles from the Staten Island Ferry and easily accessible by public transportation, Snug Harbor welcomes nearly 500,000 visitors each year to explore its gardens, grounds and galleries.

The campus features 26 architecturally significant buildings and 12 distinctive gardens, including a traditional Chinese garden and a Tuscan garden. Snug Harbor is a member of the New York City Cultural Institutions Group and Staten Island’s only Smithsonian Affiliate. A vibrant cultural hub, Snug Harbor is also a property manager, home to several non-profit institutions, schools, artists’ studios and small businesses. Founded in the nineteenth century as a charitable rest home for sailors, today Snug Harbor is a growing, must-see destination.

Signature Programs

•                The Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art is the oldest and largest gallery on Staten Island, devoted to presenting bold and innovative work by living artists. The Newhouse has been an incubator for new creative expression since 1977. 

•                The 686-seat historic Music Hall theater anchors the performing arts, which include artist residencies, the Dance Center, outdoor festivals and performances.

•                Snug Harbor is Staten Island’s only botanical garden. Its distinctive gardens include the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden, an authentic replica of fourteenth-century Ming Dynasty gardens in Suzhou, China, created with traditional methods and materials. Others include the Tuscan Garden, White Garden, Rose Garden, Healing Garden, Sensory Garden and Tropical Border. The Carl Grillo Glass House is a 2,800 sq. ft. enclosure used for the propagation and exhibition of rare and beautiful plants. 

•                The Snug Harbor Heritage Farm grows 15,000 pounds of produce annually using sustainable methods. The Heritage Farm provides green education and career development and donates ten percent of its harvest to local food pantries. It offers an annual Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and sells produce to Michelin-starred restaurants. 

•                Snug Harbor is a Food Scrap Drop Off center, part of a city-wide composting effort supporting waste reduction and sustainability, and the only site on Staten Island. It processes more than 1,000 pounds of organic materials weekly. 

•                Snug Harbor Education offers classes, workshops, tours in the arts, life sciences, food and nutrition to schools and the general public, serving 25,000 people of all ages from pre-K to senior citizens each year, including 15,000 students from Title 1 schools. Education programs align with City and State standards. Snug Harbor is an anchor arts partner to the NYC Department of Education, District 31, participates in the Staten Island Child Wellness Initiative and the Equity Alliance of Staten Island. 

In addition to its own independent programming, Snug Harbor as a leading cultural organization on Staten Island, actively partners with its on-campus tenants (Staten Island Museum, Noble Maritime Collection, Staten Island Children’s Museum, Staten Island Conservatory of Music, and Art Lab School of Fine and Applied Arts) as well as other off-campus organizations such as the College of Staten Island, the St. George Theatre, Alice Austen House and others to produce community events. 


Snug Harbor seeks a dynamic non-profit executive with demonstrated excellence in driving an organization forward. The successful candidate will have expertise in management and planning, fundraising and communications, operations and facilities, with a strong background in staff management and campus oversight. Reporting to the Board of Directors, the President & CEO is a highly visible and hands-on leader who will provide leadership and strategic direction to implement Snug Harbor’s goals and vision.

Professional leadership is an integral component of the position. The CEO is expected to be a leader and resource to the Board and staff in addressing Snug Harbor’s opportunities and challenges. The CEO must be a strong communicator in groups and with individuals, able to interpret issues clearly, and effectively persuade others in a manner that leads to agreement and action. 

Snug Harbor serves an important role as caretaker to a historic 83-acre facility replete with botanical gardens and landmarked buildings and structures. It also provides programmatic and operational space to its nonprofit tenants. 

Besides its own programming, Snug Harbor is as a steward and property manager. The chief executive must ensure sound management of the physical site and build positive and collaborative relationships with its tenant nonprofit organizations. The President & CEO must be creative and versatile, and work collaboratively with the Board, staff and campus constituents, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and other government agencies, federal, state and local elected officials to ensure the long-term sustainability and vibrancy of this unique New York City asset. 

This is a critical hire at a pivotal moment in Snug Harbor’s evolution. Snug Harbor recently completed a 20-year, site-wide Master Plan for capital investment. The Plan has three essential goals: upgrade buildings and infrastructure, improve the visitor experience, and create new opportunities for earned income. The Plan is fully phased and cost-estimated, and includes preventive maintenance plans for all buildings and infrastructure, with life-cycle analyses for each. The Master Plan is Snug Harbor’s guiding principle whose implementation will secure Snug Harbor for future generations.

The CEO is tasked with increasing public awareness about Snug Harbor’s programs to further develop the brand throughout the New York metropolitan area that will result in greater attendance, recognition,
and private funding through corporate, foundation, and individual donors.

Snug Harbor is the cultural anchor of Staten Island, one of the five boroughs of New York City. As such, the President & CEO is a prominent leader in our borough, answerable to the diverse communities of Staten Island and to New York City taxpayers. Snug Harbor is committed to community engagement and anti-racism. The President & CEO must be an empathetic communicator, able to work with residents, community organizations and Staten Island leadership to effectively reflect and serve our communities.


Organizational Leadership

•                Provide leadership and management for staff and volunteers in the development and implementation of Snug Harbor’s plans. Set goals and strategy with staff. Review and evaluate progress and implementation. 

•                Working with the Director of Operations and the attendant buildings and grounds team, ensure sound management of all facilities on the Snug Harbor’s campus. 

•                Ensure the sound financial management of the organization and oversee the preparation of reports, records and other documentation as requested by the Board that presents the progress and status of Snug Harbor’s plan and activities. 

•                Recruit, motivate, deploy and supervise a professional team that can effectively carry out the organization’s programs. Lead a management team whose work in directing daily activities will ultimately allow the CEO to spend the majority of his/her time with private donors, government funders, community leaders, and other stakeholders. 

•                Lead implementation of Snug Harbor’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Plan and ensure that Snug Harbor reflects and celebrates the vibrant diversity of Staten Island.

Revenue Development

•                Work with the Board to develop and implement a plan that will diversify the organization’s revenue stream from government, foundation, corporate, and individual sources. 

•                Creatively activate campus assets to expand and catalyze new earned income opportunities. 

•                Interact effectively with city and state funding agencies to secure new and continued funding 
necessary to support and subsequently grow Snug Harbor’s programs.

Board & Volunteer Development

•           Proactively build and maintain a strong and diverse Board of Directors that reflects the communities served and ensure that members understand and fulfill their expectations as volunteer leaders of the organization.

•                Work effectively with the Board and its committees to maximize their efforts. Ensure that meetings are properly arranged, organized, and conducted productively. Work with leadership to develop the skills and knowledge required to build agreement on issues. 

•                Serve as professional advisor and resource to the Board in all areas of programs, development, finance, policy, and governance. 

Community Development and Public Outreach

•                Serve as the public face of Snug Harbor. 

•                Provide leadership for the cultivation of productive relationships with elected leaders, 
government agencies, media, corporate leaders, and other nonprofit organizations. 

•                Ensure that the organization’s story, message, program success and positions are effectively developed and disseminated to multiple and diverse communities.

•                Build productive relationships with other similar organizations. 

•                Provide leadership and modelling to ensure that Snug Harbor is an equitable and diverse 
organization, and a safe and inclusive space. 



•                At least 10 years progressive senior level management and organizational leadership experience. 

•                Demonstrated track record of performance excellence in a multi-faceted similarly-sized nonprofit institution. 

•                Prior experience and passion in historic preservation or adaptive reuse of historic sites highly desired. 

•                Experience with property management, overseeing physical plants and systems, capital construction and renovation, lease agreements and enforcement. 

•                Understanding of and successful professional experience in all areas of fundraising, planning, implementation, and financial resource development. A proven track record and the willingness and desire to be personally involved with these efforts are required. Experience with cultivation and solicitation of major donors is critical. 

•                An entrepreneurial orientation -- looking for ways to build earned income on the site. 

•                Strong leadership skills with a philosophy and style that encourages creativity, growth, 
collaboration, problem solving, open communication, and accountability. 

•                Proven effectiveness in serving as a spokesperson and representative with funders, community leaders, government officials, the media, and other stakeholders. 

•                Ability to prioritize multiple, competing projects and produce positive outcomes. 

•                Track record of building and motivating a Board of Directors. 

•                Financial management experience (budget development and management). 

•                Bachelor’s degree required. Graduate degree preferred. 


•                A creative and skillful professional able to motivate others and instill a positive work ethic. 

•                An open and inclusive style that encourages teamwork and acknowledges enthusiasm and 

•                A charismatic leader who can continue to unify the numerous organizations that call Snug Harbor home and rally community support for the site and the umbrella of organizations it supports. 

•                Ability to present as a confident, informed, and inspiring leader and spokesperson.

•                Excellent written and verbal communication skills. 

•                Superior active listening, observation, analytical, and problem recognition and solving skills. 

•                Ability to make sound judgments independently and to take initiative. 

•                Well-disciplined and results-oriented self-starter who is extremely resourceful and resilient. 

•                Extroverted, outgoing, and entrepreneurial. 

•                A strategic, creative, and original thinker. 


This position description is based upon material provided by Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, an equal opportunity employer.


For more information, to refer a candidate, or to apply in confidence, please contact:

David Hinsley Cheng, Managing Partner

Jennifer Thorne, Search Consultant

DHC Search

(203) 307-0120



President and CEO

Staten Island, NY



Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden (“Snug Harbor”) traces its roots to 1801 when Sailor’s Snug Harbor was founded to care for aged…

Details at a Glance

  • Time Commitment
    Full Time Schedule
  • Start Date
    November 1, 2021
  • Application Deadline
    August 31, 2021
  • Education
    4-Year Degree Required
  • Professional Level


$170,000 - $185,000


Temporarily Remote
Work must be performed in or near Staten Island, NY
Associated Location
Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301, USA

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