Susan W. Plageman, CFRE, the Nashville Symphony's Vice President of External Affairs and a longtime valued member of the Symphony's senior management team, has accepted a similar position with the Cincinnati Symphony. Her new title there, which she assumes in early February, will be Vice President of Development. Cincinnati is Plageman's hometown, and the city where she and her husband, Bob Plageman, grew up.
"I love the Nashville Symphony and this city, and it has been a rare privilege to have spent 13 amazing years as part of the Symphony staff during such an eventful and productive period in the orchestra's history," Plageman said. "But Cincinnati is home, and my new job brings with it many exciting and unique challenges and opportunities."
Long considered a "top ten" orchestra nationally, the Cincinnati Symphony is the fifth oldest symphony orchestra in the United States and the oldest orchestra in Ohio, having played a leading role in the cultural life of the Midwest since its founding in 1895.
"There is no question that Susan is leaving Nashville and the Nashville Symphony better than she found them, and we owe her a great debt of gratitude," said Alan D. Valentine, President and CEO of the Nashville Symphony. Back in 1998, when Valentine and Plageman were both new to the Symphony, the annual fund campaign was raising about half of what it raises today, and the scope of the organization was much smaller than it is now. In the years that followed, Plageman successfully led both the "Symphony 2000" campaign and the much larger "A Time for Greatness" endowment campaign. Since 2006, Plageman has headed up the newly created External Affairs Department, which merges the marketing, communications, sales and development functions of the organization into a single "patron services" department. This innovative model, which Plageman helped create, operates on the theory that each Symphony patron should be cared for and nurtured through a program of unparalleled customer service. "Susan led this experiment so well that it not only began to produce immediate results for us, but it also prompted orchestras large and small from across the country to travel to Nashville just to study our model." Valentine said.
The search for a replacement for Plageman will begin immediately.