A day in the life of a director of operations & finance at NAE
Published: 22 Jun 2016 By Jennifer Jackson
The New Art Exchange (NAE) is recognised for presenting high quality exhibitions, arts events and festivals. The organisation is looking for an operations & finance director to join its senior management and executive team.
The pivotal role of operations & finance director will lead on all aspects of the day-to-day operations of the venue, as well as ensuring the continued financial sustainability and robustness of the organisation, human resources and risk management. We spoke to NAE’s current director of operations & finance, Mark Stephens, for more insight into the role.
What is involved in a typical day of an operations & finance director?
The director of operations and finance role involves keeping a constant eye on the overall revenue and capital finances of the organisation, as well as reviewing budget performance against targets and KPIs. As the NAE is a public venue, you will need to ensure the building is presented in the best and safest possible way for audiences, visitors and clients. You will also need to identify new sources of income, commercial opportunities and collaborative partnerships.
What is the best bit about your day?
Strolling into the café/lounge, seeing it buzzing with a happy and content clientele, completely satisfied with the service they have experienced. I also love talking to audiences and participants about their creative experiences from the exhibition and public programme.
And what is the biggest challenge?
Identifying, developing and securing a number of sustainable income streams to allow the organisation and team to continue to grow.
Why would someone want to do this role?
You will be able to utilise your sound financial, administrative and operational skills and knowledge in a highly respected public facing role in an organisation that really does make a difference to the people we engage with.
What do you think makes a strong director of operations & finance in an organisation like yours?
A strategic, entrepreneurial thinker, continually seeking out opportunities for growth, would be well placed to succeed at the NAE. You need a glass half full approach, never saying “no” but instead saying “so how best can we achieve this?” You can’t be fazed by unforeseen, challenging and unplanned occurrences, and you need to be able to deal with such occurrences with a logical mind set, leading from the front and with the ability to take the team with you.
What opportunities for development do you get?
A structured appraisal system highlights any training and development needs and opportunities from both the employee and employer perspectives. Networking and peer working is also actively encouraged and supported.
What types of people does the NAE look for in candidates?
We look for creative, flexible, compromising, friendly and caring individuals with a passion for the organisation and the people we engage with.
What tips would you offer applicants for the role of operations & finance director?
Flexibility is paramount. Try to demonstrate an ability to operate outside of the norm and to seize opportunities that previously may not have been viewed as having a natural link with an arts organisation. You also need to show that you can communicate effectively and confidently with all levels of society.