The Director of Patron Experience | Bethesda Magazine

The Director of Patron Experience


Bethesda | Administrative, Business/Management, Communications, Customer Service, Hospitality | Senior-level | Full-time
Date posted: 10-25-19

Position Summary Statement

The Director of Patron Experience works in tandem with the team of Vice Presidents at Strathmore to ensure an exceptional patron experience, anticipating patron needs, exceeding expectations, and creating a “wow” factor for our guests.  This position manages a comprehensive set of responsibilities (front of house, ticket office, volunteer/docents, special events, and donor events) to ensure the comfort and safety of Strathmore’s guests.

The Director of Patron Experience is highly visible and interacts with patrons, donors, volunteers, vendors, partner organizations (Baltimore Symphony, National Philharmonic, Washington Performing Arts, Levine School of Music, and CityDance), and a large assortment of performing arts companies who rent various venues.  The Director of Patron Experience also has regular interaction with Strathmore employees throughout the organization, and this position is expected to provide the highest level of customer service to everyone who visits.

The Director of Patron Experience reports to the Executive Vice President of Operations (EVP Ops) and is a member of the Operations Division leadership team. The position supervises the following groups of people: house managers and assistants, Union ticket office treasurers and part-time ticket office employees, volunteers, docents; he/she also interacts on a regular basis with the exclusive food service partner and works with the Strathmore colleagues who handle show merchandise.

This position requires a combination of daytime, evening, and weekend hours. Exact hours/work schedules will be developed in conjunction with the Executive Vice President of Operations.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Venue and event management

  • Serve as the lead, on-duty, Front of House Manager for all of Strathmore’s signature and special events, i.e., Gala, Strathmore Branded Productions, Premieres, as well as others to be determined in conjunction with the EVP Ops.
  • Define and maintain standards for audience chamber readiness and ensure front of house is clean, set-up, and ready for guests at all times.
  • Work in conjunction with the Director of Operations and act as the front-of-house liaison for all Partner and Rental companies regarding the coordination of performances and special events.
  • Supervise and direct Front of House and Ticket Office staff as well as dozens of volunteer ushers during Music Center events and supervise and direct Music Center docents during the week.
  • Work in conjunction with the Director of Operations to execute the annual MCPS concerts.
  • Work in conjunction with the Director of Security to coordinate daily/weekly schedules for security showtime coverage, as well as the deployment (when necessary) of off-duty Montgomery County police officers.
  • Work in conjunction with exclusive food service partner to ensure efficient Café operations and any/all special catering events.
  • Schedule and code invoices for amenities such as sign language interpretation and other accommodations, Valet Service, Show Porter Service, and Golf Cart Service.

Supervision, scheduling, and team management

  • Establish Front of House standards and operations, schedule all personnel, and provide day to day supervision of Front of House operations.
  • Establish Ticket Office standards and operations, approves all schedules, and provide day to day supervision of all ticketing office operations.
  • Advance the Front of House, Ticket Office, docent, and volunteer training on basic roles and responsibilities, safety and evacuation procedures, industry practices, and venue operating policies.
  • Establish volunteer and docent standards of operations, schedule all personnel, and provide day to day management of volunteers.
  • Design and implement meaningful volunteer recruitment and recognition.
  • Work with senior leadership to establish new ways to keep volunteers and Front of House staff informed and engaged in the Strathmore community.
  • Coordinate the Volunteer/Docent website and database.
    • Work closely with the Vice President of Marketing and Communications on two fronts: first, ensuring all volunteer/docent information in recorded in Tessitura, and second, exploring other scheduling program possibilities.

Customer service strategy and leadership

  • Identify, research, and resolve guest issues – interacting as needed with various personnel to develop effective communication to resolve issues and inquires.
  • Advance and implement the requirements for special needs patrons. Maintain an active role in all accessibility issues, schedule sign-interpretative services, open-captioning services, etc.
  • Work in conjunction with VP, Marketing & Communications and other team members to advance organization-wide customer service procedures, to refine patron feedback channels, and to create an exceptional experience for each patron.
  • Be a lead contributor to patron-focused improvements to the facilities.
  • Model expected behavior and train patron-facing staff to provide service to patrons that goes above and beyond every time.

Other responsibilities

  • Facilitate communication between Music Center event staff and administrative staff at Strathmore.
  • Attend and contribute to regular meetings including a weekly operations meeting and those focused on planning and problem solving for unique events.
  • Work with the Rentals team and exclusive food service partner to provide strategy and direction for new revenue growth possibilities.
  • Work with the Director of Operations on annual budgeting responsibilities.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.


Satisfactory completion of this job will be evidenced by excellent attention to detail, anticipation of event needs, exercising sound professional judgment, meeting financial goals, building and maintaining good working relationships with staff, partners and other colleagues, keeping excellent records, and working well as a member of the Operations Department Leadership team.  It will also be determined by operating within the Strathmore approved budget.


  • Bachelor’s degree in facilities management, business, arts administration or related degree ideal, or a minimum of five years of house manager and/or ticket office experience in a multi building performing arts environment.
  • Experience with the Tessitura Arts Enterprise Software program.
  • Significant, and quantifiable, experience in at least two of the following areas with significant knowledge of the others: house management, ticket office, volunteers, accessibility, security and catering.
  • Strong customer service skills with experience in resolving disputes and experience in effectively handling emergency situations.
  • Experience managing, and/or working with, employees or operations in a unionized environment.
  • Experience in recruiting, training, supervising and motivating employees and volunteers.
  • Demonstrated success as a manager; excellent listener; clear communicator.
  • Experience developing and operating systems that track accountability within a similar department or organizational setting.
  • Record of success working with multiple partners (e.g. governments, non-profits, corporations).
  • Proven ability to think on one’s feet, to react flexibly and being able to efficiently analyze and interpret the needs of customers – thus being able to offer appropriate solutions.
  • Collaborative and energetic work style, superior people skills, and ability to lead.
  • Strong planning and organizational skills; ability to prioritize, manage time efficiently, meet deadlines; ability to work under pressure.
  • Maturity, poise, initiative, and flexibility to handle complex situations and sensitivity to handle confidential information with professionalism.
  • Experience with finance/accounting systems.
  • Excellent computer skills, as well as demonstrated experience in record keeping.

Compensation and Benefits

Compensation will be commensurate with experience, with a benefits package that includes a generous health insurance plan, retirement plan, parking, paid time off, and other employee benefits.

Strathmore is committed to providing equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment. Accordingly, Strathmore provides employment opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, creed, ethnicity, sex, pregnancy, national origin or ancestry, age, physical or mental disability, citizenship status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, family responsibilities, genetic status or information, military or veteran status or in any status protected by federal, state, or local law.

This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including, but not limited to, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.  Strathmore will not tolerate unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation under any circumstances.

Application Information (applications will be accepted until September 30, 2019) 

Please submit the following items:

  • Cover letter
  •  A résumé showing demonstrable accomplishments
  • Salary expectations


If submitting your application electronically (PDF), the email SUBJECT line must contain the words “Director of Patron Experience.” Only qualified applicants will be contacted. Please direct all submissions to: Human Resources,

Although emailed applications are strongly preferred, applications may also be mailed to:


Human Resources

Director of Patron Experience

5301 Tuckerman Lane

North Bethesda, MD 20852


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