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Program Manager – Full-Time Position

We're hiring!The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area is hiring a full-time Program Manager. We are seeking the right candidate to advance BRNHA’s significant program offerings including its cultural trails, web and digital content, events, and partnerships.

Job Title: Program Manager
Reports To: Executive Director
FLSA: Full-Time
Posting Date: June 5, 2024
Approved by: Executive Director

About Us:

The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area is a federally designated 25-county region of Western North Carolina recognized for its nationally significant natural and cultural resources. The BRNHA Partnership is a 501(c) 3 non-profit charged with preserving, interpreting, and sustainably developing agricultural, Cherokee, craft, music, and natural heritage assets within the designated area. The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area is based in Asheville, North Carolina at 31 College Place, Ste. 120 with a satellite office located at the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center at 195 Hemphill Knob Road, Asheville. Some travel is required throughout the region and some evening and weekend activities will be necessary. This is a full-time position offering a benefits package.

Position Summary:

The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area (BRNHA) program manager will oversee significant programs focused on the preservation, interpretation, and development of five natural and cultural heritage assets that are central to the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area’s mission and identified within the organization’s management plan and strategic plan. These include agriculture, Cherokee, craft, music, and natural heritage.

Primarily the position will focus on the implementation of the organization’s three cultural trails-the Blue Ridge Music Trails (BRMT), the Blue Ridge Craft Trails (BRCT), and the Blue Ridge Heritage Trail. This position serves as a leader in working with a team of staff and contractors to manage BRNHA’s cultural trails and other affiliated programs, activities and content.
In collaboration with the Music Trails Coordinator and the Blue Ridge Craft Trails Administrative Coordinator, the position manages the creative planning and execution of BRMT and BRCT content, interpretive programming, events, and earned revenue opportunities. This position also oversees BRNHA’s cultural trails merchandise program and works with a team of staff and contractors to carry out the duties of this effort.

Some travel is required throughout the region and some evening and weekend activities will be necessary. This is a full-time position offering a benefits package.

Key Responsibilities:

Blue Ridge Music Trails (BRMT):

  • Develop and implement BRMT content, interpretation, and preservation activities in conjunction with BRMT Steering Committee and the NC Arts Council.
  • Create innovative programming to showcase BRMT traditional music, its diversity, history, current status and new dimensions to the music.
  • Oversee web development and maintenance activities for BlueRidgeMusicNC.com in collaboration with the BRMT Coordinator.  
  • Provide guidance to the Blue Ridge Music Trails Coordinator to maintain fresh content on the BRMT homepage and to regularly update the events calendar on the Music Trails website.
  • Manage and communicate in advance the BRMT social media Calendar and the BRMT Facebook page. Write and distribute BRMT E-news and manage content and relationships with WNCW Public Radio for Down the Road Music Trails podcasts. Oversee and manage the BRMT Down the Road Magazine in conjunction with the BRMT Coordinator and Smoky Mountain News. 
  • Connect BRNHA to people and partnerships to further the progress and sustainability of BRMT.
  • Manage BRMT concert series, workshops, and other activities in coordination with the BRMT Coordinator. 
  • Work with BRMT partners, staff, and volunteers to participate in key events such as MerleFest, International Bluegrass Festival, NC Tourism Week, and the Earl Scruggs Festival, etc. 
  • Work with the BRMT Coordinator to manage the merchandise program. 
  • Develop Power Point presentations and serve as a presenter at community meetings, donor/sponsor cultivation activities and civic clubs to share the value and importance of BRNHA and BRMT.
  • Work with the BRMT Coordinator to manage the evaluation process for the Blue Ridge Music Trails.
  • Manage continued development and updates to the Traditional Artist Directory.
  • Provide input on marketing and interpreting the directory to support traditional artists.

Blue Ridge Craft Trails (BRCT):

  • Work with the Blue Ridge Craft Trails Steering Committee to identify artists, galleries, and arts organizations for inclusion in the Craft Trails, and coordinate onsite visits and selection process with BRCT Administrative Coordinator and Curator.
  • Write artist’s profiles and offer itinerary recommendations to the Communications Team for inclusion on the BRCT website. 
  • Provide content and recommendations for Craft Trails promotional programs, including map brochures and social media and offer content for educational/interpretive programming and training.
  • Work with the BRCT Administrative Coordinator to manage the evaluation process for the Blue Ridge Craft Trails and the Blue Ridge Music Trails with support and feedback of the BRCT Steering Committee and the BRMT Steering Committee, and other volunteer groups as needed. 
  • Work with the BRNHA Communications Manager to update the BRCT website, Facebook and Instagram pages and provide feedback to BRCT social media posts. 
  • Advise and support the Administrative Coordinator in the creation of a BRCT partner and BRCT visitor E-newsletter to be distributed in a timely manner.  
  • Manage relationships with artists and cultural organizations for the Craft Trails and make connections with tourism organizations.
  • Support the BRCT Administrative Coordinator as necessary for functions including data management, hosting meetings and events for the BRCT including Steering Committee and Advisors Group. 
  • Manage and coordinate BRCT programming and exhibits.

Strategic Plan Activities

  • Work to expand BRNHA’s partnerships to include more diverse organizations, under-served audiences, agricultural, Cherokee, and natural heritage focused organizations and projects. Work with the BRNHA Executive Director to identify resources/contacts in each county to assist with developing relationships and new partnerships.
  • Help fulfill BRNHA Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility goals.
  • Review BRMT and BRCT websites to determine opportunities for expanding content from diverse and under-represented communities.
  • In partnership with the Executive Director and Fundraising Team, help create earned income streams, apply for grants, and help solicit and fulfill corporate sponsorships for the Cultural Trails, Traditional Artists Directory and other BRMT programming and content.
  • Initiate, coordinate, and help oversee special projects and promotions as requested by the Executive Director.

Education and Experience:

  • Three to five years’ experience organizing and managing community projects, events and working in partnership with a variety of groups and individuals. 
  • Three to five years’ experience working in a cultural, educational, or non-profit institution.
  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree in education, communications, non-profit management, or a similar degree

Organization and Management Skills:

  • Experience managing contractors and volunteers.
  • Ability to set realistic goals and work within budget guidelines and procedures.
  • Must have strong project management skills, with the ability to multi-task, manage multiple projects, and follow through on projects from concept to implementation while maintaining attention to detail.
  • Must be highly organized, self-directed, and motivated.
  • Capacity to generate creative solutions and help solve problems. 

Interpretation, Education and Communications Skills:

  • Excellent writing, verbal skills, and the ability to communicate effectively across a variety of communication channels and in compelling, concise, and brief manner.
  • Demonstrated ability to translate BRNHA work into captivating stories that inspire action and demonstrate impact, while being historically accurate.
  • Good listener and the ability to maintain confidentiality.
  • Ability to engage a variety of audiences as well as prepare and make presentations.
  • Proven ability to create engaging programs and interpretive material focused on the heritage assets of Western North Carolina and share them with a variety of audiences.

Technical Skills:

  • Experience working with printers and graphic designers.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
  • Experience in managing databases, a plus. 
  • Ability to use a camera or electronic device to capture images and video.
  • Experience using content management systems such as WordPress, and experience with e-mail marketing programs such as My Newsletter Builder or Mailchimp, a plus.
  • Experience in successfully managing social media programs and developing social media relationships. 

Interpersonal Skills:

  • Passion for making a difference and appreciating the special culture of Western North Carolina.
  • Ability to work collaboratively within a small team and foster positive relationships.
  • Strong work ethic and a desire to produce high quality work.
  • Ability to professionally represent BRNHA at partner meetings with elected officials, funders, and the public. 
  • Customer service oriented with a desire to meet both internal and external customer needs in a timely manner.  
  • Capacity to work in a fast-paced environment and maintain a positive attitude, attention to detail and meet deadlines.

Working Environment and Physical Demands:

  • Work in an office environment with the ability and flexibility to travel across the 25-county region, and ability to work some weekends as needed.
  • The noise level in the work environment is usually quiet, but position is subject to frequent interruptions which may require a varied response.
  • Must use personal vehicle for travel with federally approved mileage reimbursement.
  • May occasionally lift and/or move up to 30 pounds.
  • Close vision is required as well as an ability to speak and hear clearly. 
  • Some walking or standing may be required while out in the field, and position will have to sit and reach with hands and arms. Good eye/hand/foot coordination required. 

Certificates and Licenses:

The employee is required to have a North Carolina Driver’s License and show proof of automobile insurance.

Reasonable accommodation will be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job.

Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE).

Apply for the Position:

To be considered for this position, please submit resume, cover letter, three references and three writing samples (at least one should be representative of a digital application) to Cindy Blankenship at cindy@blueridgeheritage.com.

Job position remains open until filled.