Vice President, Government Relations & Protocol

02 Oct, 2021


Vice President, Government Relations & Protocol

Kennedy Center
Washington, DC

About The Kennedy Center

“I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit.” – President John F. Kennedy

The Kennedy Center is the nation’s cultural center and living memorial to President John F. Kennedy. Located on the banks of the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., the Center presents performances across all genres, and is also home to artistic affiliates Washington National Opera and National Symphony Orchestra.

Mission Statement: As the nation’s performing arts center, and a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy, we are a leader for the arts across America and around the world, reaching and connecting with artists, inspiring and educating communities. We welcome all to create, experience, learn about, and engage with the arts.

Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion

The Kennedy Center is a welcoming and inclusive culture where everyone benefits – we do it in a way that honors everyone’s humanity. We are able to advance our mission because of committed and passionate employees. We are fortunate to be able to leverage their diverse perspectives, life experiences and skills to inform how our workplace can be a safe, transparent, and replenishing community. Through honest discussion, our focus on DEI, and the creation of a D&I council, we are committed to always being the best versions of ourselves.

Job Description

The Vice President of Government Relations & Protocol oversees and manages the external outreach to the executive branch, legislative branch, diplomatic community, and state and local officials on behalf of the Kennedy Center.  This position services as liaison and ombudsman to these communities, develops strong relationships, stays current on existing and proposed legislation.  This position develops proposals and strategies for the Center’s federal funding and legislative issues with relevance to the Center.

The Vice President works internally as liaison to the Board of Trustees. They collaborate internally to ensure compliance with laws, regulations, and executive orders as appropriate. They establish outreach initiatives to ensure awareness of and support for the Center’s role as a national center for the performing arts and as a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy.

Duties & Responsibilities

70%   The Vice President creates and executes a strategic plan for the Center’s government relations to foster relationships locally, nationally, and internationally with key organizations and governments.  As directed by the President, the Vice President plans, develops, and implements high visibility projects that fulfill the Center’s mission.

  • Manages relationships with key White House, State Department, Cabinet, and other executive branch officials.
  • Serves as primary point person with the Office of the Management and Budget and guides strategy and communication regarding the Center’s priorities to the Administration.
  • Develops, maintains, and oversees the Center’s congressional relationships, and develops outreach and advocacy for the Center’s mission, goals, and financial priorities
  • Develops and implements strategies for expanding the Center’s reputation and presence in Congress, the executive branch, and across the country, including programs or communications to generate interest from elected officials and/or their constituents.
  • Monitors legislation moving through Congress with relevance to the Center and understands its effect on the Center and its operations.
  • Delegate to team members and ensure effective implementation to achieve objectives.

20%   The Vice President serves as a staff contact and Assistant Secretary to the Board of Trustees The Vice President serves as a point of contact for the Board’s Executive Committee, Nominating and Governance Committee, and Congressional Advisory, and other Committees as assigned by the President.

5%   The Vice President serves as protocol officer of the Kennedy Center and manages all communication and outreach to foreign governments and their embassies.

  • Manages relationships with Heads of State, Heads of Government, foreign ambassadors, and delegations from foreign countries to achieve mutual goals.
  • As appropriate, contributes to developing, negotiating, and planning major international projects with the highest level of foreign government.

5%   The Vice President manages outreach and serves as community ombudsman to a wide range of city officials.

  • Develops and maintains relationships with key local officials, including the Mayor’s office, local transportation department, and other local entities.

N/A   Responds to the needs and requests of Kennedy Center management and colleagues in a professional and expedient manner.; Adheres to all employer policies and procedures.

N/A   Other duties as assigned.

Key Qualifications

  • Must have a bachelor’s degree; additional advanced degree is optional.  A minimum of 10 years’ experience in policy positions either on Capitol Hill or in advocacy.
  • Must have knowledge of Congress as an institution and understand roles, responsibilities, and working processes.  Specifically, in-depth knowledge of the House and Senate legislative processes, authorization, and appropriations.
  • Broad and substantial experience working with Members of Congress and staff, and a broad understanding of the executive and judicial branches of government.
  • Awareness of and substantial experience with both political and protocol processes are required.
  • Must be able to effectively communicate orally and in writing, including preparing complex presentations, position papers, and reports for a wide variety of audiences.

Skills & Knowledge Qualifications

  • Ability to organize and communicate with a broad spectrum of constituencies and interests outside the institution and across the Departments within the institution to convey goals, priorities and strategies of the Institutional Affairs Department
  • Ability to multi-task, work on a deadline and under pressure in a fast paced office
  • Work collaboratively with a diverse staff and external constituencies

Physical Demands

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to communicate in person and on the telephone.  The employee is frequently required to use hands to finger, handle, or feel in order to operate computer keyboard, office equipment, and other essential tasks.  The employee is frequently required to sit, stand, walk, bend, stoop, crouch, and reach with hands and arms.  This position infrequently lifts, carries, or otherwise moves and positions objects weighing up to 25 pounds.

Work Environment

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

The noise level in the work environment is low. Travel up to 5% may be required.


We offer a comprehensive range of benefits to all full-time employees including: Medical, Dental, Vision, Paid Time Off, Paid Sick Leave, and a matching 403(b) Retirement Plan (employees are eligible for organization match after 1 year of employment).

Learn more here

Job posted: 2021-10-02