What if Puppets / Kansas City, MO


$70,000 to $80,000, commensurate with experience

We believe that diverse teams make the strongest teams, and we encourage people from all backgrounds to apply.


What if Puppets (WiP) provides innovative touring shows and educational programs for young people from birth to 8 years old, trains emerging artists in puppetry, and builds custom puppets for commercial clients. Over the last 3.5 years the organization has experienced rapid growth in programming, staff, and financial stability. We are seeking an Executive Director who can build on our successes with an eye on moving the company from the  growth stage into maturity.


Inspiring play and cultivating connections through puppetry.


The Executive Director is responsible for overall management and strategic direction to advance the success and sustainability of WiP. The Executive Director reports to the board of directors, supervises staff, and plays a pivotal role in ensuring WiP’s financial sustainability. This individual possesses a strong passion for the arts, leads with empathy, and holds a deep commitment to WiP’s mission.


  • Strategic Planning: Establish strategic priorities in collaboration with the board, staff, and key partners aligning with the needs of the diverse community that WiP serves.
  • Human Resources and Operations: Exercise overall responsibility for hiring, development, support, and retention of staff and volunteers. Develop policies and procedures to ensure smooth daily operations. Work collaboratively with the senior leadership team on programmatic goals  and creating a positive work environment.
  • Fund Development: Oversee fundraising efforts and work with inside and outside professionals (such as communications manager and grant writer) to generate continuing and new support from foundations, corporate sponsors, and individual donors.  Collaborate with senior leadership on stewarding and cultivating partners and clients to meet budget goals.
  • Financial Management: Monitor financial performance continuously, and develop and implement revisions to financial strategies as needed. Utilize financial reports and forecasting to ensure fiscal responsibility and provide reports to the board of directors.
  • Program and Business Development: Sustain relationships with art centers, businesses, schools and libraries, to continue the history of quality programming and services. Work with senior leadership to evaluate programming for effectiveness, financial viability, and support of WiP’s mission. Develop relationships with potential partners and clients locally and nationally. Support inter-departmental collaboration.
  • Board Engagement: Facilitate effective board participation in strategic planning, fundraising, and  long term fiduciary oversight.


  • Successful senior-level management experience with a proven record of leading teams.
  • Strategic thinker who is adept at making decisions with an understanding of how they impact the big picture.
  • Team builder who is good with coaching staff to perform at the highest level. Strong interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Strong skills in fiscal management, oversight, and budgeting.
  • Understanding of the operational and back-office systems and infrastructure of a nonprofit (Quickbooks, Donorperfect, Google Suite, etc.).
  • Experience engaging with boards of directors.


Full Time, Salary, Exempt.


$70,000 to $80,000, commensurate with experience.

Simple IRA, 3% match

Health, Vision, and Dental eligible

Generous PTO and holidays


WiP is based at the Plexpod Westport Building, 300 E. 39th St., Kansas City, MO 64111.  Hybrid work is available, and some local travel is required for site and constituent visits.


Board of Directors


Director of Puppetry; Director of Education; Director of Production; Operations Manager; and Communication Manager.


November 2023 to  January 2024. The start date is flexible.


Please apply by emailing your resume and cover letter  to Jennifer Fenton, Operations Manager, jennifer@whatifpuppets.org. Applications will be reviewed on a continuous basis until a candidate is selected, with a preference given to applications received before August 11.