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Executive Director

Portland, OR, USA | American Civil Liberties Union

  • Industry:
    Non-Profit / Social Enterprise
  • Position Type:
  • Functions:
    General Management
  • Experience:
    15-20 years
Job Description:
65 people have viewed this job

The ACLU-OR seeks a nonprofit Executive Director to lead a strategic and effective civil liberties agenda throughout Oregon.

The Executive Director will have primary responsibility for developing and inclusively achieving a clear vision and strategic priorities, building strong and affirming relationships, and reimagining collaboration to support intersectionality among board, staff and community partners. The Executive Director will provide accountable direction and effective, balanced oversight of the organization’s day-to-day processes and operations; direct and develop professional staff; and serve as primary spokesperson for the organization. The Executive Director will ensure that the organization is fiscally sound and that its internal and external engagement, fund development, and programs are resourced to address the needs and interests of its constituents.


In fulfilling their job responsibilities (outlined below), the ideal Executive Director will embrace and exude our organizational values and demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to cultivate these across the organization and ecosystem. 

Inclusion - Partner and affirm

Integrity - Be clear and aligned as we learn and adapt

Equity - Shift and share power

Pausing - Rest as a commitment to revolution

Persist - Balance work and life

Teamwork - Support and have fun together

Job Responsibilities

The Executive Director will be a seasoned nonprofit executive with a passion for increasing access to justice, a working knowledge of civil rights, liberties issues and a deep understanding of the partnerships and collaborative efforts required for effective policy change. They will be a trusted relational leader with a longstanding commitment to, and demonstrated success in, building equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace.The individual must be adept at balancing internal management with external impact and visibility. The Executive Director will be an outstanding connector and communicator who is able to engage a variety of constituencies, as well as to the broader public, in support of the ACLU-OR’s mission and activities. 

Strategic Vision and Leadership

Exhibit leadership that provides inspiration and direction to all staff

Establish a clear vision and priorities for the continuous improvement and growth for ACLU-OR programs and integrated roles for its c3 and c4 entities

Establish effective decision-making processes that will enable ACLU-OR to achieve its long- and short-term goals and objectives, celebrating milestones along the way

Serve as an effective and visible spokesperson for the ACLU-OR who articulates the organization’s history, programs, and mission

Recognize rest and rejuvenation as integral to action and change

Initiate or strengthen community relationships and collaborations with organizations in Oregon who work on civil rights and liberties issues.

Collaborate with the ACLU and its affiliates to enhance the ACLU-OR mission and effectiveness

Inclusive and Engaged Staff Leadership

Exhibit a strong equity lens in every interaction with staff, board, and community partners

Draw from experience working with people of multiple cultures and backgrounds; identifying intersectionality to help support all staff 

Advance an organizational strategy and commitment to embed equity into its internal and external operations, with the guidance of external consultants and the support of the Board of Directors

Reinforce a culture of feedback by creating a structure of transparency and learning mindsets

Organizational Excellence

Attract, retain, and develop a high-performing team whose work centers the needs of the most impacted and thus, creates substantive, radical change

Demonstrate an ability to delegate and share responsibility and ownership of projects to evenly distribute workload and not overextend capacity within the organization

Identify and build necessary internal systems, staffing structure, operational plans, and best practices to achieve organizational effectiveness and efficiency

Facilitate cross-departmental collaboration and strengthen internal communications with staff and board

Create and promote a positive, inclusive work environment that supports consistency throughout the organization's strategy and operational methods

Ensure ongoing programmatic excellence and rigorous program evaluation to assess effectiveness of ACLU-OR initiatives and growth opportunities

Board Relations

Demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and ability to support board development and the systemic transitions required to facilitate a nonprofit's transition through the equity journey in the context of a larger national organizational structure

Cultivate a strong and transparent working relationship with the Board and ensure open communication about the measurement of financial, programmatic, and impact performance against stated milestones and goals

Assist the Board with identifying and establishing strategic goals for the advancement of civil rights and liberties in Oregon

Work with the Board to identify and help recruit new members whose personal and professional experience, perspective, talents, interests, and commitment will help to further the mission of the ACLU-OR

Regularly brief the Board on the status of the organization

Candidate Profile


Bachelor's Degree (highly desirable) with an MBA, MPA, JD, or related advanced degree preferred

General Experience:

At least 15 years of overall professional experience

Prior nonprofit leadership experience

Experience setting and achieving strategic objectives, and managing the financial and operational aspects of an organization

Demonstrated experience with fundraising across a variety of revenue streams, with an ability to build genuine and active partnerships with funders, organizations, and activists

Past success working with a Board of Directors, with the ability to cultivate relationships with current members while assisting with the recruitment of new members

Social Justice Experience: 

Analytical and good understanding of the Oregon political landscape

Experience in community organizing and/or policy advocacy and campaigns

Excellent coalition building skills with an ability to communicate and work effectively with a variety of internal and external stakeholders; a persuasive negotiator able to achieve consensus amongst differing opinions

Leadership Experience:

Ability to build a high-performance culture that reflects the organization’s values and commitment to progressive workplace policies.

Outstanding presentation and communication skills and the experience and proclivity to be an outgoing spokesperson, relationship builder, and fundraiser

A financially savvy and politically astute leader with the ability to set clear priorities, delegate, and guide investment in people and systems; keen analytic, organization and problem solving skills, which support and enable sound decision making

Strong commitment to the professional development of staff; successful track record of recruiting and retaining a diverse team.

Strong emotional intelligence, with the ability to foster an environment and culture that supports people from all communities in developing their voice, generates action-oriented problem-solving, and values transparent communication, flexibility, and authenticity

Exceptional interpersonal and communication skills, including the ability to work effectively with a broad range of stakeholders by building trust, buy-in, and effective, authentic relationships

Demonstrated success building, coaching, and managing a high-performing team, including managing conflict and providing consistent constructive feedback in a timely manner

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