Executive Director

February 2023 | National, USA
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Define American seeks an innovative, collaborative, and inspirational Executive Director to lead the organization into its second decade of changing hearts and minds about immigrants.

About Define American

panel of four people seated in front of a screen that reads immigration of television stories from america

Founded in 2011 by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, Define American (DA) is a pioneering narrative change organization that uses the power of storytelling to humanize conversations about immigrants. It conducts original research to understand what types of authentic, nuanced narratives move people to action. Its programs work behind the scenes in Hollywood, on social media, and with immigrant artists and organizers to foster a culture in which everyone belongs. To date, Define American has helped to shape more than 110 movies and television shows. In 2022, it released three cutting-edge studies on:

  • Immigrant representation on television;
  • Best practices for journalists covering immigrants; and
  • The impact, tactics, and reach of anti-immigrant narratives on YouTube and tools to fight back.

For more information about Define American, please visit defineamerican.com  

About the Position

four people seated on a couch discussing immigration in americaThe new Executive Director will step into an organization with a track record of innovation and an excellent reputation built on substantial partnerships in research, programming, and fundraising. They will guide, attract, and inspire a highly skilled and committed staff to deliver on Define American’s mission. Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will have management responsibility for a $4.5 million annual budget and 23 employees.

The Executive Director will lead overall strategy, resource development, and external engagement, supervise senior staff, and foster an engaged and high functioning board of directors. Founder Jose Antonio Vargas remains an active member of the board and strategic consultant in the areas of strategy, fundraising, and ambassadorship, and the Executive Director will effectively partner with him in their separate yet synergistic roles.

The Executive Director will take the helm as a second decade of work begins, skillfully navigating changing conditions, seizing new opportunities, and scaling Define American’s impact. They will have a deep understanding of the role of media, culture, and narrative in American society as well as the experiences of immigrants and their families. They will demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit for developing bold and effective interventions.

Key Responsibilities

Executive Leadership and Organizational Management

  • Provide big-picture, cross-cutting vision and leadership to maximize the impact of the organization’s programs
  • Organize, motivate, and mentor internal team leaders to collaborate, grow staff capacity, set, and meet ambitious goals
  • Champion the values of equity and inclusion in the organization’s day-to-day work
  • Oversee the day-to-day operations of the organization, ensuring that deliverables are met and stakeholders are engaged
  • Uphold the mission and direction of the organization through changes in the cultural and historical landscape to keep the organization on mission for the long term

Development and Fundraising

  • Lead the organization’s resource development by engaging current and  potential funders, clients, and partners, dynamically articulating the organization’s vision and programs
  • As appropriate, leverage the Founder’s experience and strategic guidance around fundraising
  • Initiate and cultivate relationships with new funding sources
  • Bring a strategic and creative approach to further diversify funding streams and earned revenue

External Relations and Communications

  • Provide leadership in discussing narrative strategies in and around immigration in the United States
  • Represent the organization publicly, and serve as chief spokesperson, along with the Founder, with the media and at events, conferences, and partnership meetings
  • Present and promote the organization and its mission in a consistently positive manner, working to elevate the brand and significantly raise awareness around key Define American initiatives

Board Governance

  • Partner with the Governance and Board Development Committee to grow the size and sophistication of the Board
  • Work closely with the Board Chair to continue to strengthen good governance practices for the Board
  • Collaborate with the Board to identify strategic options and plans for organizational impact, and gain necessary Board approval for such plans 
  • Maintain regular and ongoing communication with the Board, keeping them apprised of key matters and issues

Key Qualifications

  • Commitment to and passion for the Define American mission, including an understanding of the experience of immigrants in the United States
  • Knowledge of and relationships within entertainment and/or media systems; prior success driving culture change strategies and approaches  
  • High emotional intelligence and passion for social justice issues
  • five people seated all holding microphones discussing define americanUnderstanding of and experience with organizational development, change management, and governance
  • A thoughtful management style that promotes diversity, inclusivity, collaboration, and mentorship 
  • Ability to bring together passionate and strategic thinkers in an inspirational way and towards a common goal 
  • Ability to take thoughts, ideas, and people to the next level and supercharge organizational impact
  • Entrepreneurial approach that aligns itself to the mission
  • Flexibility as the environment or priorities shift, including ability to pivot and lead through change
  • Media savvy in representing a brand externally
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Ability to lead effectively in a fully remote environment
  • Ability to accommodate 20-25% travel, primarily domestic

Define American is offering a salary of $170,000 – $210,000, plus benefits, commensurate with experience.

Define American is proud to be an equal opportunity workplace and does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, national origin, veteran status or any other basis covered by appropriate law. All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, merit, and business need.

Apply to this position using the form below or email your resume and cover letter in confidence to: defineamerican@developmentguild.com

Kat Landa

Senior Vice President, Executive Search

Development Guild DDI

Apply Now

Please complete this form to be considered for this role.

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