Soulsville Foundation seeks a Chief Operating Officer (COO) who will help lead the organization in honoring and building on the powerful history of Stax Records to develop young people for lifelong success. This experienced leader will report to the President & Chief Executive Officer and work with the Soulsville Foundation leadership to advance the three entities of Soulsville Foundation: The Soulsville Charter School, Stax Music Academy and Stax Museum of American Soul Music.


Soulsville Foundation has been growing steadily and is now seeking to dramatically accelerate growth. The organization’s leadership is looking for a mission-focused, seasoned, strategic, and process-minded leader with experience growing an organization, leading a team, and developing a performance-culture among a group of diverse and talented individuals.


The COO must be a leader who is able to help others at the Soulsville Foundation deliver measurable, cost-effective results that make the vision a reality. Importantly, the successful COO will have the skills, sensitivity, and personal confidence to tap into the power that each member of the team brings to this mission. While it is essential that the COO bring efficient and effective systems to increase the productivity of the organization, is it also critical that the team retain the creative spark that drives the Soulsville Foundation.


The Chief Operating Officer, in addition to overseeing internal functions, will help allow the President & CEO to focus on external matters such as fundraising, public relations, and partnerships.




The Soulsville Foundation ( was created in Memphis, Tennessee, in the late 1990s by a group of local business leaders, philanthropists, and former employees of Stax Records to carry forward the rich legacy of the Soulsville USA community, home to Stax Records in the 1960s and 1970s. The mission of Soulsville Foundation is to uplift and invigorate the music and heritage of Stax Records to develop young people for lifelong success, and continue to inspire and transform the world through the power of soul music. In service to this mission, Soulsville Foundation funds and operates three subsidiary organizations on its campus at the original site of Stax:


  • Stax Museum of American Soul Music ( opened its doors as the first and only soul music museum on the original Stax Records site in 2003. Since then, the Stax Museum has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors, sharing the story of American soul music – and especially the “Memphis Sound” – through special exhibits, events and various community outreach programs. An exact replica of the original Stax Records home, the Museum has more than 2,000 cultural artifacts, music exhibits, video footage, and items of memorabilia, all assembled to preserve and promote the legacy of American soul music.


  • Stax Music Academy ( has been mentoring youth since 2000, initially from the surrounding Soulsville USA neighborhood and increasingly from across Memphis, using music as a connector. A highly regarded after-school program housed in a state-of-the-art facility, the Academy personifies the spirit of harmony, respect, and cooperation that defined the legendary Stax Records. The Stax Music Academy annually serves approximately 120 high school and middle school students in its SNAP! after school program during the school year and approximately 100 high school students during its 5- week SNAP! Summer Music Experience.


  • The Soulsville Charter School ( is a tuition-free public charter school whose mission is to prepare students for success in college and life in an academically rigorous, music-rich environment. Launched in 2005 with 60 students, the school’s current enrollment is 600+ students serving grades 6-12 with an emphasis on college and post-secondary success. The Soulsville Charter School is a force rising up against ordinary expectations and the status quo of public education in Memphis.




The COO will collaborate with the President & CEO and staff to build on Soulsville Foundation’s history, further the organization as a global leader in soul music, enhance its youth development offerings, and deepen its impact in the local community.




Soulsville Foundation Chief Operating Officer

Reporting to the President & CEO of Soulsville Foundation, the COO will lead all internal program and evaluation operations and will have the following responsibilities and attributes:


  • Strategy: Working in partnership with the President & CEO, further develop the strategy and implement new processes and approaches to achieve it
  • Partner with the President and CEO and the Chief Financial Officer on all operational and strategic issues as they arise:
  • Provide strategic recommendations to the President & CEO
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically, define a vision, and establish and execute plans to achieve the mission
  • Promote a culture of high performance and continuous improvement that values learning and a commitment to quality
  • Serve as the internal leader of the organization:
  • Coordinate the annual operations plan
  • Lead the performance management process that measures and evaluates progress against goals for the organization
  • Provide for all staff a strong day-to-day leadership presence; support an open-door policy among all staff
  • Provide critical leadership and evaluation of the Stax Music Academy
  • Work with current staff to manage and lead the program during evaluation period
  • Provide program assessment in the areas of organizational structure, programming and campus integration
  • Exhibit strong leadership to achieve Soulsville Foundation’s goals:
  • Foster an organization that has at its core a culture of collaboration, respect, transparency, inclusiveness, and professional excellence, while nurturing and supporting all members of the team
  • Codify and build internal systems and infrastructure
  • Marketing and Relationship-Building:
  • Assist in directing the internal and external communications and marketing of the Soulsville Foundation
  • Maintain collaborations and partnerships around education, music, youth development, and culture in the Soulsville neighborhood and throughout Memphis
  • Significant senior management experience, including cultivating talent and fostering a culture of collaboration. Experience in hiring, supervising, and growing a highly proficient, talented and diverse staff to support the vision of the organization. Encourages input and creativity from staff
  • Significant experience in working with youth and youth development programming
  • Excellent communication skills as a public speaker and writer
  • Communicates with transparency, openness, and integrity
  • Commitment to the mission and legacy of Soulsville Foundation and the community of Memphis
  • Experience working with education, arts or community foundations preferred




The successful candidate will have:


  • Vision and ability to lead consensus-driven strategy setting
  • The COO will need to have the ability to lead, influence, and collaborate with the President & CEO, the Chief Financial Officer, and key leaders and Soulsville Foundation staff, exhibit transparency and openness to all staff, and take decisive action when consensus cannot be reached
  • Ability to pivot and adapt successfully alongside President & CEO, staff, and stakeholders
  • Dedication and passion for the mission of Soulsville Foundation, the history of Stax Records, and the community of Memphis
  • Knowledge of soul music, youth development, and education a plus
  • Dynamic and inspiring communication skills:
  • Excellent communicator with ability to communicate passion for mission to funders, partners, and stakeholders
  • Ability to effectively build buy-in internally through engaging staff in vision and strategy-setting
  • Natural ability to understand what motivates others, how to find collaborative opportunities, and how to foster a positive culture
  • Emotional intelligence with demonstrated self-awareness, self-regulation, social rapport, passion, and motivation
  • Cultural sensitivity and adept at connecting with diverse communities


The successful candidate will be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Must possess a valid driver’s license and show proof of liability insurance coverage as required by the laws of the State of Tennessee.




  • Master’s degree or equivalent experience in a relevant field
  • Desire and ability to work with multicultural youth, as well as a demonstrated commitment to the mission, traditions, and expectations of an urban learning environment
  • A proven track record of strategic leadership in providing academic and social support for urban youth
  • Ability to handle and prioritize multiple complex tasks within a deadline and with a high degree of accuracy and attention to detail
  • Demonstrated ability to bring a creative and entrepreneurial approach to problem solving
  • A strong sense of protocol, tact, and diplomacy
  • Ability to work well with a variety of people, especially creative personalities, and a willingness to take and utilize constructive feedback
  • Personal characteristics of maturity, honesty, consistency, and integrity with the ability to serve as a role model to students and staff
  • Enthusiastic self-motivation, the ability to motivate others, and little need for direct supervision
  • Demonstrated ability to function as a “team player”
  • Ability to make timely and difficult decisions
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Availability to work flexible hours, including some weekends and holidays
  • Ability to stand or sit for long periods of time; ability to lift boxes weighing up to 25 lbs; ability to stoop and reach; ability to climb stairs
  • Knowledge of computers and software programs (i.e. MS Word, Excel and others) and aptitude and willingness to learn new software programs through hands-on use and self-study




Physical requirements include ability to sit for extended periods at a desk and at meetings on airplanes and automobiles, standing, climbing stairs, walking, mental pressure; lifting files, boxes, suitcases, etc., weighing up to 25 pounds. Ability to work flexible hours, including some weekends and holidays.




Fast paced office environment and travel to meetings and community events, (and potential travel out of state or abroad) etc.




This is an outstanding opportunity for a highly motivated professional to assume a pivotal role in the evolution of a fast-growing, highly respected organization. We are seeking an individual of outstanding quality with a respected track record. The Soulsville Foundation is prepared to offer a very attractive compensation package, including a competitive base salary as well as health, 401(k), and vacation benefits.

f you are interested in applying for this position please send a letter explaining your interest along with your current resume and salary history to, and be sure to include “Soulsville COO” in the subject line. All nominations and expressions of interest will be held in the strictest confidence.