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Career Opportunities at the National Willa Cather Center

The Willa Cather Foundation—formerly the Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial—is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Willa Cather and preserving the historical settings and archival material associated with her life and writings. Since its founding in 1955, the Foundation has been headquartered in Cather's hometown of rural Red Cloud, Nebraska. 

Our purpose is to promote and encourage increased understanding and appreciation of the life, times, settings, and work of Willa Cather. Our core programs directly serve more than 90,000 people each year. We actively seek team members at all experience levels who share our values of Connection, Creativity, Inclusiveness, Learning, Professionalism, and Stewardship. Please see detailed job descriptions below. 

Hotel Garber General Manager
Architectural Rendering of Hotel Garber
Architectural Rendering of Hotel Garber

Job Title:  General Manager 
Location: Hotel Garber, Red Cloud, Nebraska
Classification: Exempt
Reports To:  Red Cloud Hotel, LLC, Board of Managers
Status: Full-Time 

About Hotel Garber:  Hotel Garber is a boutique hotel under construction in Red Cloud, Nebraska, childhood home of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Willa Cather. An economic resurgence in the rural community has been underway for more than a decade. Hotel Garber will meet a growing demand for visitor accommodations. In addition to 27 guest rooms, it will house a loft apartment, a spacious lounge and dining area, kitchen facilities, and lower level meeting spaces. The new boutique hotel will be housed in the rehabilitated Potter-Wright building in historic Red Cloud, adjacent to the National Willa Cather Center and other local businesses and attractions. The hotel is owned by Red Cloud Hotel, LLC, of which the National Willa Cather Center is a supermajority owner alongside six private investors.

Summary/Objective: This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for a hospitality professional to shape and launch a boutique hotel project. The General Manager (GM) will oversee all the details of planning and preparing for the estimated late fall 2024 opening. The GM will design and execute a strategic plan to maximize return on investment to the owners of the hotel by achieving the objectives of the annual budget. The GM will be responsible for marketing the hotel to achieve occupancy targets, creating a high-quality experience for guests, and ensuring a positive work environment for employees. The General Manager will also ensure the hotel complies with local health and safety codes and aligns with industry best practices for notable small hotels. This includes achieving the highest standards of guest service as well as the development and oversight of all policies and procedures as part of the Hotel Garber Policy Manual and Operating Criteria. The GM will ideally reside in Red Cloud or environs; relocation assistance is available as is possible housing. 

Essential Functions Prior to Opening

  • Develop a mission and vision for the property that distinguishes the project and will enhance Red Cloud as a tourist destination.
  • Review all relevant planning documents, including a feasibility study, construction budget, operational budget, construction documents and renderings, staffing model, and heritage tourism survey.
  • Inform possible revisions to multi-year budget projections, year one operational budget, and staffing model. 
  • Review the messaging and operational models for small boutique hotels that operate in other creative districts.
  • Consult with leadership at boutique hotels in similar communities.
  • Research and make recommendations concerning the purchase of property management software; furniture, fixtures, and equipment; artwork and décor; keying and security systems; and other essentials.
  • Work to market the facility and secure bookings—for overnight lodging, meetings, and events—prior to opening.
  • Develop policies and procedures necessary to guide all aspects of hotel operations.
  • Work to develop appropriate food service amenities for the property, either by recruiting a tenant to lease the kitchen space or by partnering with another local business to provide food and beverage offerings available for on-site purchase. 
  • Develop job descriptions, recruit, interview, and hire staff.
  • Draft rental policies, pricing, and procedures.
  • Plan for an exclusive opening to bring together stakeholders and key supporters for an overnight event to soft launch the property prior to opening.

Essential Functions After Opening

  • Directly recruit, supervise, and develop the performance of all hotel staff.
  • Ensure all staff support Hotel Garber’s mission and vision.
  • Develop, implement, monitor, and achieve the objectives of the multi-year operational budget, marketing plan, and annual operating budget.
  • Ensure all policies and procedures are fully implemented and maintained.
  • Protect and enhance the value of all hotel assets through appropriate repairs and maintenance, preventative maintenance, housekeeping, security and capital budgeting process.
  • Develop and supervise programs that promote a positive work environment for all employees, ensuring that all employment related processes comply with local, state and federal regulations.
  • Ensure timely and accurate completion of all period-end financial statements and reports, and provide controls to ensure the proper handling and accounting for all hotel receipts.
  • Comply with Hotel Garber brand standards.
  • Provide timely forecasting and financial re-projections as required.
  • Review and approve all operating expenses for the hotel.
  • Conduct bi-weekly staff meetings (minimum) to report key operating results to staff in areas of financial performance, employee development and guest service. Develop exchange of ideas, suggestions and comments between staff, management, and board.
  • Conduct monthly (minimum) Board of Managers meetings.
  • Supervise recruitment process of all management level staff.
  • Respond to owner requests and inquiries professionally and timely.
  • Deepen hotel’s relationship to the Red Cloud community and beyond.
  • Perform other duties as directed, developed or assigned.


  • Appropriate credentials such as a Bachelor’s Degree in business or hospitality, or equivalent experience in an outstanding hotel environment.
  • 3-5 years of prior experience in hospitality or as a hotel GM.
  • A desire to be part of the Red Cloud community and help shape its future.
  • Strong aptitude in hotel-related financial management, financial reports, and analysis.
  • Strong hospitality industry networking expertise.
  • Proven expertise at successfully driving performance in similar operations.
  • A knowledge of current trends in hotel sales/marketing, food & beverage systems, and other industry-related issues.
  • A commitment to community partnerships including local markets, business, and initiatives.


  • Strong interpersonal and communications skills, both verbal and written.
  • Strong leadership and organizational skills.
  • An ability to build rapport with staff and the public.
  • Ability to present clear, concise and meaningful information to owners, guests, executives, managers and employees.
  • Ability to coach and mentor staff members.
  • Ability to solve practical and complex problems.
  • Ability to use systems and equipment including computer, copier, MS office, Gmail, property management system, and other software/machinery as required.
  • Ability to work with little or no supervision and to effectively supervise others.

Schedule and Physical Demands

  • Generally 40+ hours a week, with some evenings and weekends as needed based on operational staffing plan.
  • Occasional need to stand for extended periods of time.
  • Lifting/carrying up to 10 lbs. frequently and 25 lbs. occasionally.

This job description in no way states or implies that these are the only duties to be performed by the employee occupying this position. The GM will be required to perform any other job-related duties prioritized by the Board of Managers as essential to the success of the hotel.

Compensation: $60-$70K annually, though special consideration will be given to candidates with a depth of experience. Benefits include health insurance, IRA, PTO, and paid holidays. Relocation assistance is also available. A furnished downtown loft apartment in a fully restored historic building is also available.

To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and the names and contact information for three professional references by April 29 to The position will remain open until filled.

Finance & Operations Manager (Closed)

Job Title: Finance & Operations Manager
Classification: Exempt
Report to: Executive Director
Status: Full-Time


Who We Are: The National Willa Cather Center exists to promote and encourage increased understanding of and appreciation for the life, times, settings, and work of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Willa Cather. Our mission is to advance her legacy locally and beyond through education, preservation, and the arts. 

Position: The Finance and Operations Manager is responsible for managing financial and operational systems, processes, administration, inventory management, and internal controls in support of the organization's mission. The position’s primary goal is to ensure the day to day business and financial operations of the organization run effectively and efficiently. This is a newly restructured position that will report to the Executive Director and work closely with the leadership team. We seek a collaborative individual who will work alongside a small staff to fulfill a multifaceted mission, which includes participation in fundraising activities, program outreach, bookstore operations, museum and historic site care, and other support as necessary.


Bookkeeping and Accounting (Approximately 40%)

  • Provide outsourced accounting firm with statements and documentation needed to produce monthly financial statements
  • Review financial reports and reconciled monthly activity prepared by accounting firm
  • Monitor cash flow and bank transfer needs with ED oversight
  • Distribute accounts payable invoices to outsourced accounting firm
  • Generate invoices for accounts receivable 
  • Receipt and process contributions and income
  • Manage grant contracts and reimbursement requests
  • Prepare budget figures for annual operating expenses to support the development of annual organizational budget 
  • Manage syncing and integration of Lightspeed Retail,, and Gusto payroll systems with QuickBooks accounting software
  • Keep financial records and files organized and accessible 
  • Coordinate annual audit, 990 filing, and 1099s in coordination with accounting firm
  • Stay up to date on best practices to recommend and implement improvements to systems

Internal Operations & Administration (Approximately 20%)

  • Provide HR support with new hire paperwork, benefits enrollment, and onboarding
  • Maintain administrative files and office supplies
  • Act as a primary contract liaison with vendors, including insurance brokers, accountants, speakers, performers, and other independent contractors
  • Look after internal office systems: phones, voicemail, automated answering messages, computers, server, cloud-based email & file management system, and physical mail
  • Set up computers, catering, and technology for on-site and virtual meetings
  • Be familiar with and adhere to organizational policies and procedures
  • Work rentals, receptions, performances, and other events as needed

Development & Grants Administration (Approximately 20%)

  • Process donor gifts into CRM and ensure accuracy of donor information and gift data
  • Generate donation acknowledgments
  • Send membership and pledge renewal reminders
  • Assist with grant administration, including reporting and tracking expenditures for grant-funded programs and projects
  • Conduct data entry and records updates in CRM 

Museum Store Inventory Management (Approximately 20%)

  • Generate inventory reports regularly and reorder bookstore inventory as needed
  • Assist with sourcing and ordering new products
  • Maintain inventory quantities and prices upon product delivery
  • Manage vendor information and relationships
  • Conduct yearly inventory and reconcile inventory quantities 
  • Maintain commission sales records and submit related payments requests

Education and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Business, Accounting, Operations Management, or a related field
  • 2-3 years’ experience in operations management or accounting is preferred

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Highly organized, detail-oriented, and the ability to problem-solve
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • The ability and desire to work collaboratively with others on a team
  • A life-long learner who embraces opportunities to continue to grow professionally
  • Adeptness to reprioritize projects as new assignments arise
  • An appreciation for literature, the humanities, and the arts

Schedule and Work Environment: Generally eight-hour days, Monday through Friday, and occasional weekends as needed for events. Candidates must be available to work on site at least 3 days each week; flex time and/or remote work will be available after a 30-day onboarding. 

Salary and Benefits: A competitive wage based on experience. Benefits include health insurance, IRA, paid holidays, and paid time off, and a professional development stipend. Housing and relocation support are also available.

This job description may evolve over time. At management’s discretion, the employee may be assigned different and/or additional responsibilities. 

The National Willa Cather Center is an equal opportunity employer that values diversity and works to cultivate inclusion and belonging. Applicants are encouraged to apply by Monday, March 4. The position will remain open until filled. To apply, send cover letter, résumé, and contact information for three professional references to:

The Willa Cather Foundation

Attn: Human Resources

413 North Webster Street

Red Cloud, NE 68970

Tour Guide

Job Title: Tour Guide
Classification: Nonexempt
Reports To: Director of Education and Engagement
Status: Part-Time

Who We Are: The National Willa Cather Center exists to promote and encourage increased understanding of and appreciation for the life, times, settings, and work of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Willa Cather. We promote her legacy through education, preservation, and the arts, and we aim to become a premier cultural center that offers broad educational opportunities for our patrons to experience Cather's work, explore historic landmarks, foster their own creativity, and embrace the arts and humanities.

Job Purpose: Tour Guides at the National Willa Cather Center are responsible for welcoming guests and leading individuals and groups on guided tours of the Willa Cather historic sites. Guides work closely with the Visitor Services Coordinator to ensure an outstanding visitor experience, and to this end, Tour Guides must have detailed knowledge of each of our buildings and be able to retain historical facts, dates and anecdotes about Willa Cather. Tour Guides are the face of our organization.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Know the history of Willa Cather, her time period in Red Cloud, her novels and short stories, and how they relate to the Cather historic sites in Webster County
  • Deliver friendly and professional service to all guests
  • Conduct tours of the various properties and prairie preserve maintained by the Willa Cather Foundation
  • Connect Willa Cather descendents and guests interested in donating gifts to our collection to the Director of Collections and Curation
  • Orient guests to our bookstore, exhibit, and art gallery spaces
  • Encourage visitors to sign our guestbook as well as complete a satisfaction survey about their experience
  • Answer the phone when the Visitors Services Coordinator and Administrative Associate are unavailable
  • Provide up to date information about opera house events, exhibits, and other relevant local services and community happenings
  • Process bookstore, opera house, and gallery sales using our Point of Sale system
  • Assist with restocking, cleaning, and decorating the bookstore
  • Handle bookstore opening and closing procedures as they pertain to shift schedules
  • Assist with preparing mailings and other office duties when requested
  • Perform other duties as assigned

Education and Experience

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Prior experience in the museum, hospitality, or customer service field is preferred but not required
  • Prior experience with public speaking is preferred but not required

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Interest in Willa Cather and Webster County history
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to build relationships and communicate effectively and professionally
  • An understanding of literature, the humanities, and the arts
  • The ability and desire to work cooperatively with others on a team

This job description may evolve over time. Duties and the position status are subject to periodic updating. At management's discretion, the employee may be assigned different and/or additional responsibilities.

To apply, send a resume and three references to:

The Willa Cather Foundation
Attn: Human Resources
413 N. Webster St.
Red Cloud, NE 68970 |

DEADLINE: This position will remain open until filled.


Facilities & Preservation Specialist

Job Title: Facilities & Preservation Specialist
Status: Full-Time
Classification: Exempt
Reports To: Director of Collections & Curation

Who we are: The National Willa Cather Center exists to promote and encourage increased understanding of and appreciation for the life, times, settings, and work of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Willa Cather. We promote her legacy through education, preservation, and the arts, and we aim to become a premier cultural center that offers broad educational opportunities for our patrons to experience Cather’s work, explore historic landmarks, foster their own creativity, and embrace the arts and humanities.

Job Purpose: The National Willa Cather Center seeks a highly-organized, technically skilled, and  multi-talented candidate to fill a Facilities & Preservation Specialist position. The Specialist ensures the  short- and long-term maintenance, security, and safety of the NWCC’s  historic properties and grounds, including the National Willa Cather Center (30,000 square feet); the Red Cloud Opera House (11,000 square feet); and nine sites on the National Register of Historic Places, including Willa Cather’s Childhood Home (a National Historic Landmark), the Burlington Depot, the Farmers and Merchants Bank, the Cather Second Home, Pavelka Farmstead, J.L. Miner House, and three historic churches.  

The Facilities & Preservation Specialist works as part of the Collections team to ensure efficient maintenance and repair of properties; acts on behalf of the NWCC when engaging and overseeing the work of independent contractors and vendors; and assists NWCC leadership in planning and prioritizing regular preventative maintenance and capital improvements. Duties include evaluation of and contribution to sites-related procedures and documents, such as disaster planning, integrated pest management, environmental monitoring, and maintenance scheduling. 

Essential duties and responsibilities:  

  • Proactively review all general maintenance and maintain detailed maintenance files on all HVAC units, security systems, fire suppression systems, and other equipment 

  • Maintain compliance with applicable regulations by completing regularly scheduled  inspections per established schedules and update maintenance checklists as needed 

  • Oversee the safe and proper maintenance of equipment and tools including coordinating repairs and/or replacement and ensuring all are returned to appropriate storage areas 

  • Ensure that security, fire, and emergency safety equipment is inspected and in good working order

  • Respond to and resolve issues regarding security systems, buildings, and grounds

  • Manage and conduct basic maintenance and repairs including carpentry, plumbing,  electrical, and engaging outside vendors/contractors with approval

  • Keep centralized detailed records of preservation work completed, costs, warranty cards, paint colors, and other pertinent material 

  • Oversee construction projects, ensuring timely completion within budget 

  • Regularly communicate maintenance priorities, concerns, and emergencies both verbally in meetings and in written and digital communication

  • Develop a long-range facility maintenance plan including necessary improvements and costs 

  • Adhere to approved budget, managing expenses for the  benefit of the organization 

Education and Qualifications: 

  • Bachelor’s or Associate’s Degree with technical training in facility management, construction, or a related field is preferred 

  • Minimum 1–3 years of experience as a facility manager or related profession that involved conducting repairs and renovations including carpentry, plumbing, electrical, etc. 

  • Well versed in facilities management and historic preservation best practices, or a willingness to pursue professional development to acquire this knowledge 

  • Outstanding communication skills, organizational skills, and impeccable attention to detail  

  • Ability to work collaboratively

  • Strong analytical skills to review complex information in order to make decisions based on  priorities and budget availability 

  • Experience using Gmail, Google Calendar and Drive, and Microsoft applications  

  • Ability to have a flexible work schedule when needed (occasional evenings and weekends) 

  • Appreciation for rural America, small town life, and local history 

Work Environment and Physical Demands: 

  • Must be able to lift and carry a minimum of 40 lbs. 

  • Must be able to perform moderate to heavy manual labor 

  • Must be able to crawl, bend, stretch, and climb while performing routine tasks 

  • Must be able to work in non-temperature controlled areas throughout the year 

  • Must have a valid driver’s license and be able to drive a motor vehicle 

Salary and Benefits: 

This is a full-time, salaried position. Competitive compensation will be based on experience.  Benefits, including health insurance, IRA, paid holidays, and paid time off (PTO) are available. 

This job description may evolve over time. Duties and the position status are subject to periodic updates. At management’s discretion, the employee may be assigned different and/or additional responsibilities.  

To apply, send cover letter, résumé, and three professional references to: 

The Willa Cather Foundation  
Attn: Human Resources 
413 North Webster Street 
Red Cloud, NE 68970 | 

DEADLINE: Applicants are encouraged to apply by January 21, 2024. The position will  remain open until filled.