Strategic Plan


Photo by Tom Schwarz

The JEN Board of Directors have created a strategic plan to guide JEN’s mission and work from 2017 to 2020.


The Jazz Education Network is dedicated to building the jazz arts community by advancing education, promoting performance and developing new audiences.

View, print or download the 2017-2020 Strategic Plan

Executive Summary

JEN was formed in 2008 to help bring together the jazz arts community. It hosts an annual conference with concerts presented by students and professionals, a student jazz festival, workshops, research presentations and an exhibition area with manufacturers, retailers, schools and other jazz related organizations. JEN also offers many educational programs, from an outreach program, to mentoring and scholarships. The Strategic Plan that follows is a “living document” that, beginning in 2017, will serve to guide and inform the organization’s operational structure and ongoing activities over a three-year period, through 2020.


JEN will:

Advocate for the advancement of jazz as an art form and the inclusion of jazz pedagogy in all educational settings and in jazz artistry and business;

Promote jazz performance on a local and global basis; and

Lead the development of new and expanded jazz audiences worldwide.


JEN is a diverse community, where inquiry, exploration and innovation are nurtured and encouraged to grow through education.  We respect and accept all backgrounds that reflect love and passion for jazz, and we welcome interests and perspectives that reflect the diversity of the world. 

Strategic Objectives


Promote and advance jazz for all through the Annual JEN Conference and other Jazz Education and Networking programs and events

Goal #1.1: Present an Annual Conference and continue to develop its scope and reach

Tactics: Select from the best available resources and individuals for presentation at JEN conferences, to identify and share “best practices” for teaching, performing, research and sharing jazz at all levels. Through Conference Review Committees, evaluate and identify specific needs, seeking a balance of sessions for different areas at JEN Conference.
Parties Responsible: Conference Selection Committees supported by the Education Committee
Timeframe: Ongoing
Progress: Ongoing

Goal #1.2: Expand the JENerations Jazz Festival and promote increased performance levels through ongoing evaluation

Tactics: Utilize rubrics and clinics with top-tier educators and professionals to assess student learning/performance at the JENerations Jazz Festival. Increase capacity to accommodate the maximum number of student participants. Add an additional day to the JJF for 2018; Explore options to increase capacity through additional space in 2019 and beyond
Parties Responsible: JENerations Jazz Festival Committee supported by the Education Committee
Timeframe: Ongoing
Progress: In progress and piloted at the 2012 Conference. Sold out three venues in 2017.

Goal #1.3: Offer an Honors Jazz Ensemble Program as part of the Annual JEN Conference

Tactics: Create a collegiate level Honors Jazz Combo (horns, rhythm, and vocalist) program with specific costs and facility requirements for implementation at 2018 JEN conference. Secure a sponsor for the ensemble rolling forward. Explore feasibility of high school combo and possible vocal jazz ensemble.
Parties Responsible: JENerations Committee
Timeframe: Announce program and auditions at 2017 conference; secure sponsor by July 2017; present inaugural ensemble at 2018 conference
Progress: In progress

Goal #1.4: Present Regional JEN Conferences

Tactics: Design and launch Regional JEN Conferences by 2018 in conjunction with newly formed Area Units, Educational Chapters and Jazz Societies.
Parties Responsible: Newly formed subcommittee of the Education Committee
Timeframe: Develop proposal by July 2017; launch first regional festival in 2018 with additional festivals coming online rolling forward
Progress: Planning phase

Goal #1.5: Establish Educational Chapters

Tactics: Launch Educational Chapters for junior high schools, high schools, community schools, colleges, and universities. Detail membership requirements, governance, training, and back end administration for said Chapters.  
Parties Responsible: Membership Committee
Timeframe: Have 50 active Educational Chapters by January 1, 2018; 100 by January 1, 2019; and 200 by January 1, 2020
Progress: In progress

Goal #1.6: Establish Area Units

Tactics: Launch Area Units. Detail structure, governance, training, and back end administration for said Units.
Parties Responsible: Membership Committee
Timeframe: Have Area Units organized in 30 US states and 5 additional countries by January 1, 2018; 40 US states and 10 additional countries by January 1, 2019; and 50 US states and 20 additional countries by January 1, 2020
Progress: In progress


Promote professional development and outreach opportunities

Goal #2.1: Enhance professional development for JEN members through an increased number of opportunities

Tactics: Develop and implement a program of professional development offerings and materials, both in person and online, for JEN members, in support of comprehensive jazz programs in schools, colleges and communities, at all performance levels.
Parties Responsible: Education Committee
Timeframe: In Process
Progress: Ongoing

Goal #2.2: Expand the JEN Outreach Program in person and online to be an ongoing, year round program

Tactics: Develop and expand the Outreach program through curriculum development, fundraising and collaboration with a variety of new institutional and other partners.
Parties Responsible: Outreach Committee supported by the Education Committee
Timeframe: In Process
Progress: Ongoing

Goal#2.3: Expand the reach of JEN offerings through increased online activities

Tactics: Offer online activities, including the streaming of conference performances, clinics and research sessions and electronic webinars on different jazz education and industry topics for JEN members.
Parties Responsible: Education Committee supported by the Outreach Committee
Timeframe: In Process
Progress: Ongoing



Increase membership in JEN through marketing, communication and advocacy initiatives

Goal #3.1: Develop a comprehensive and strategic marketing and communications plan (includes website strategy)

Tactics: Develop the plan using standard tools and vehicles and the most up to date communications and marketing approaches, placing JEN at the forefront of the Jazz Education and Performance industry.
Parties Responsible: Marketing & Communications Coordinator with assistance from the Website Committee, Webmaster and Web Developers
Timeframe: to be updated annually
Progress: In progress; new website will be launched early 2017

Goal #3.2: Increase membership in JEN through a Membership Development Strategy

Tactics: Identify audiences for JEN activities and services, develop membership structures and secure regional representatives.
Parties Responsible: Membership Committee supported by the Marketing & Communications Committee & Coordinator
Timeframe: Ongoing
Progress: In process

Goal#3.3: Increase strategic and operational partnerships through development of a partnership strategy

Tactics: Promote collaboration between JEN and a variety of new strategic partners, including other educational, professional and/or music industry organizations. Develop a JEN Partnerships Strategy.
Parties Responsible: Executive Committee and appointed Committees
Timeframe: In process
Progress: Ongoing

Goal #3.4: Disseminate jazz research results and presentations to the membership for information and application

Tactics: Create a conference research track, various publication options and JEN sponsored research projects
Parties Responsible: Research Committee supported by the Education Committee and Website Committee
Timeframe: Ongoing
Progress: In Process

Goal #3.5: Raise awareness of JEN’s mission by developing an advocacy program that addresses current issues in jazz education and the jazz music industry

Tactics: Promote advocacy through increasing the level of awareness on JEN projects/activities, in public media (e.g. newspapers, magazines, television, radio, internet, social media, etc.) throughout the world, including but not limited to: Network Affiliate Projects/Events; JEN Endorsed Festivals/Events; Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM)-April; International Jazz Day (April 30th);; NAfME events; state music conferences; Music For All Events; Music in Our Schools Month-April; the Jazz Audiences Initiative. Women in Jazz, promoting diversity
Parties Responsible: Marketing & Communications Committee supported by the Board of Directors
Timeframe: Ongoing
Progress: Various



Promote leadership development at all levels of the JEN organization

Goal #4.1: Create a Leadership Development Strategy to address the needs of JEN Board members, committee members and members at large

Tactics: Create leadership development programs for current officers. Develop specific programs, i.e., financial efficiency, expense control. Encourage additional submissions and nominate candidates who exhibit potential as future Board officers, Present conference sessions and online workshops on leadership topics.
Parties Responsible: Past President and Executive Committee
Timeframe: At conclusion of annual election, prior to new Board members taking office and ongoing
Progress: Ongoing implementation

Goal #4.2: Develop leadership development within the JENerations Committee

Tactics: Encourage leadership within committee tasks; have committees set 6-month, 1 year and 5 year goals for planning, be inclusive of diversity and younger JEN members
Parties Responsible: President-Elect
Timeframe: Ongoing
Progress: In Progress

Goal #4.3: Promote and support “electronic meetings” where possible to improve efficiency, cost effectiveness and provide leadership toward “going green”

Tactics: Carry out electronic and online meetings wherever possible
Parties Responsible: President-Elect
Timeframe: Ongoing
Progress: Ongoing implementation


Ensure the long-term financial stability of JEN

Goal#5.1: Ensure that financial procedures are transparent, clearly defined and operating efficiently

Tactics: Review and update financial reporting policies and procedures on an annual basis or as needed and post up to date financial information on the JEN website.
Parties Responsible: Finance Committee
Timeframe: Ongoing
Progress: In Progress

Goal #5.2: Budget accurately for JEN’s short term and longer term financial needs

Tactics: Define programs, services and operational needs. Develop and implement procedures for determining current needs and forecasting future financial requirements, including full and part-time staff and the development of permanent assets.
Review revenue sources, including the JEN dues structure on an annual basis and adjust as appropriate to organizational needs.
Parties Responsible: Led by the Finance Committee and supported by the Fundraising & Development Committees
Timeframe: Ongoing
Progress: In Progress

Goal #5.3: Invest JEN’s funds prudently

Tactics: Develop appropriate reserves to ensure continuity of the organization’s programs and create a prudent Investment Policy for approval by the JEN Board
Parties Responsible: Finance Committee and Outside Financial Consultant
Timeframe: Ongoing
Progress: In Planning Phase

Goal #5.4: Ensure proper management of risk to JEN, across the organization

Tactics: Develop a JEN Risk Management Strategy to appropriately manage risk across all aspects of JEN’s operations.

Parties Responsible: Finance Committee supported by the Executive Committees
Timeframe: In Planning Phase
Progress: In progress

Goal #5.5: Develop a comprehensive Fundraising and Development program

Tactics: Pursue various areas of support, including foundations and public grants, individual donors, annual giving program, corporate/institutional support, bequests and memorials, and additional projects and events to raise funds. Receive assistance in promotion from the Marketing and Communications Committee
Parties Responsible: Development Committee
Timeframe: Ongoing
Progress: In Progress


JEN will operate at the highest level of organizational efficiency and integrity

Goal #6.1: Create and regularly update a JEN Policies and Practices Manual

Tactics: Develop and maintain a Policies and Practices Manual that includes IRS-mandated policies and staff position descriptions, as well as overviews on board structure and responsibilities and committee structures and responsibilities
Parties Responsible: Personnel Committee supported by the Finance Committee
Timeframe: Ongoing
Progress: In Progress

Goal #6.2: Review JEN’s organizational/governance and committee structure on an annual basis and update as required

Tactics: Review organizational and governance structures annually, along with general policies and practices Review Committee structure, policies and practices to ensure that all Committees are functioning properly and efficiently.
Parties Responsible: Board of Directors
Timeframe: Ongoing
Progress: In Progress

Goal #6.3: Continue to improve the process for election of JEN Board Members and Officers

Tactics: Review processes for nomination. Recruit future board candidates based on skill sets required for the development and sustainability of JEN.
Parties Responsible: Nominating Committee
Timeframe: Ongoing
Progress: In progress

Goal #6.4: Continue to enhance the current web-based electronic elections process.

Tactics: Develop general Web policies and practices to ensure the processes are functioning properly and efficiently. Review annually.
Parties Responsible: Nominating Committee supported by the Webmaster
Timeframe: Ongoing
Progress: In progress

Goal #6.5: Ensure up to date posting of organizational and financial documents on the JEN website

Tactics: Continue the established practice of posting financial, organizational, and other documents on the JEN website.
Parties Responsible: Responsible Committees supported Webmaster
Timeframe: Ongoing
Progress: In progress