President & CEO

The QTI Group has been exclusively retained by Discovery World to recruit for their next President & CEO. The successful candidate will lead an organization providing rich, exciting entertainment and education with science, technology, freshwater and maritime content. The next CEO will have an earnest passion for technology, freshwater topics, hands-on learning, and a commitment to encouraging younger generations to be curious, He or she will actively demonstrate his or her own curiosity and inspiration for all to see. The next leader will support a creative, energetic staff that is excited each day to teach and entertain kids about the wonder of the world around them, and engage them in thinking about how they can impact the world of tomorrow. She or he will help the staff envision the best path to achieve this vision and show them how to get there, with a collaborative, communicative and approachable management style.

The President & CEO will serve as the brand ambassador and champion for Discovery World.  She or he will help advance the organization to become a regionally recognized, established leader and innovator in STEM and freshwater education, opening kids’ eyes to the amazing opportunities before them. The President & CEO will effectively communicate Discovery World’s bold mission and vision, and build key relationships with others who feel the power of Discovery World’s potential, and have the financial means to help bring strategies and ideas to reality. Working closely with the development team, the next leader will sustain the organization’s financial footing and initiate enthusiasm around the continued expansion of Discovery World’s educational programming to diverse communities throughout the city, state and region.

This leader will possess the interpersonal skills, strategic management expertise, and broad business acumen to work effectively with the board, staff, community, volunteers and donor partners to continue to build on the strong foundation that has been created. The President & CEO will guard the innovative, entrepreneurial spirit that made Discovery World a reality, while taking it to the next level with organizational processes that allow for bigger ideas, bigger community impact, and the kind of exceptional experiences that keep people coming back to Discovery World month after month, year after year.

       Essential Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Promote an organizational culture among the staff that fosters a passion for the mission, collaboration, open and frequent communication, innovation, and a common organizational vision, engaging and empowering staff leaders to drive effective processes to ensure forward momentum.
  • Work in partnership with the development team to enhance long-term strategic fundraising efforts by identifying funding sources and establishing strategies to develop relationships with individual, corporate and foundation donors, with an emphasis on increasing Discovery World’s endowment, as well as the funding of new exhibits and facility maintenance requirements.
  • Oversee the development of a strategic planning process that builds on the existing foundation to identify a clear vision for Discovery World for the next five, ten, and twenty years, and generate enthusiasm for it among stakeholders.
  • Serve as a valued mentor and manager to staff, offering them a clear career path forward with professional development opportunities, support and partnership, understanding a strong team is what drives success.
  • Serve as a positive face of Discovery World, spreading the news about the amazing things happening in STEM and freshwater education because of Discovery World; build relationships throughout the community and maintain high visibility for the organization in the media and the community at large.
  • Work with the Chief Financial Officer to oversee the financial operations of the organization, including creating and managing annual budgets, monitoring actual financial performance relative to budgets, monitoring cash flows, and ensuring funds are responsibly stewarded.
  • Collaborate with and support the Board of Directors in the continual development of an effective and motivated board; guide the Board of Directors in developing policies, procedures, budgets and programs that fulfill the mission of Discovery World. 
  • Work with the staff to successfully manage the overall visitor experience, from Admissions, to exhibit appeal, and learning outcomes, ensuring a positive, fun and impactful adventure with each visit.

Desired Experience

  • Experience leading a healthy organizational culture characterized by high levels of employee engagement and strong performance developed through teamwork and collaboration.
  • Demonstrated success in generating revenue through a variety of fundraising techniques, including experience building and maintaining major donor relationships, building endowments, pursuing major gifts, and leading annual campaigns, capital campaigns, special events, and grant proposals.
  • Proven experience developing strategic goals, implementing them, and benchmarking success based on results.
  • Proven ability to create and instill professional development strategies to build expertise within a leadership team.
  • Operational experience in an organization of considerable size, including direct experience managing and developing budgets, P&L oversight, and the management of a diverse staff.
  • Experience working with a Board of Directors of a nonprofit organization.
  • Experience working in education, a plus!

Desired Attributes

  • A proven passion for STEM, innovation, and education, with an understanding of the importance of reaching disadvantaged youth, and the ability to effectively articulate that passion to create infectious energy around Discovery World’s mission and vision. Knowledge of and interest in freshwater or maritime topics desired.
  • A goal-oriented, visionary leader who possesses the creativity and drive necessary to build upon and expand the success and impact of Discovery World to date.
  • Financial and operational acumen; a leader who is visible, relatable, and approachable, and portrays integrity, humility, enthusiasm, a sense of humor, and a strong, roll-up-your-sleeves work ethic.
  • Politically savvy, with the ability to engage people in difficult conversations when necessary, in a manner which is respectful and solutions-oriented.
  • A commitment to continuing to further build diversity and inclusion into the organization internally through culture, staff, and externally with focused outreach and educational programming.
  • Exceptional communication and interpersonal skills to both speak and listen effectively, and to move seamlessly between the community, staff, Board, volunteers, donors, members, and corporate partners.
  • A commitment to being involved in Milwaukee beyond Discovery World, to engage in conversations and work collaboratively with partners to solve larger community issues.