Executive Director

January 2023 | Remote, USA
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The Garrison Institute seeks a values based Executive Director with experience in nonprofit leadership, program oversight, Board development, and fundraising to further diversify and expand the Institute’s impact.

About The Garrison Institute

a group of people posing with the dalai lamaThe Garrison Institute was established in 2003 as a not-for-profit, non-sectarian organization that explores the intersection of contemplation and engaged action in the world. The Institute applies the power of contemplation to today’s social and environmental challenges, connecting the skills and wisdom contemplation builds with emerging insights from science, to leverage transformational change and help build a more compassionate, resilient future.  Working collaboratively with practitioners in diverse fields – from front-line workers to finance executives – they teach the skills and benefits of contemplation, host retreats and symposia, produce research and publications, and provide a hub for ongoing learning networks. The Institute focuses on three core initiatives, outlined below: 

  • Contemplative-Based Resilience: The Contemplative Based Resilience Project (CBR) was created in response to the need to address the chronic and acute stress that frontline professionals experience as they provide care for the most vulnerable in our society. The CBR Project teaches the ABCs of Resilience: Awareness, Balance, and Connection with courses and coaching that provides practical skills and tools to maintain mental health and well-being. Grounded in cutting edge evidence-based research, the CBR Project was designed by experts in trauma informed care, humanitarian aid work, and psychology.
  • Pathways to Planetary Health: Pathways to Planetary Health (PPH) is the Garrison Institute’s signature environmental initiative, building upon nearly two decades of experience developing practical, scalable solutions to global problems by integrating science, mindfulness, and morality. With a particular focus on environmental change and its health impacts, PPH hosts public forums, leadership programs, and courses for executives in the financial and business sectors, all in pursuit of planetary health.
  • Compassionate Leadership:
    • Compassionate Leadership in Finance: It’s possible to be a successful leader – both in business and in life – while building a more sustainable, compassionate society. The novel challenges of today require a novel approach, one that combines deep introspection and compassion. Learning how to hone those qualities puts you in a position to succeed as a leader.
    • The Garrison Institute Fellowship: A component of Compassionate Leadership, the Fellowship involves monthly retreats, lectures from visiting scholars, Fellowship Forums, curated research and literature, and intra-fellowship collaborations. Our Fellows develop relationships with one another as well as experts in the field, expand their individual understanding and methodologies, and organize meaningful offerings – such as public workshops and conference convenings – that have the potential to make long-term impact on communities and systems.

group of people meditating in a circleIn addition, the Garrison Institute runs the Garrison Retreat Center, a physical sanctuary on the banks of the Hudson River to develop a more meaningful sense of mission and purpose, to embrace more mindful and connected leadership, and to build a culture of growth, sustainability, and resilience.

Through its retreats and programs, more than 100,000+ individuals have learned contemplative-based methods for building personal resiliency and transforming their approach to work in the world. The Institute is housed in a beautifully renovated former monastery on 90 acres overlooking the Hudson River an hour north of New York City. Staffing consists of 10 full time and 10 part time staff plus key consultants. The anticipated FY23 budget is $3.5m. For more information, please visit www.garrisoninstitute.org.

The Current Context

Aerial view of the Garrison insitituteIn the spring of 2022, the Garrison Institute engaged an Interim Executive Director to lead and support the organization through a transitional phase, with the ultimate goal of helping to pave the way for its next long-term Executive Director.  There had not been anyone in the Executive Director role for over a year, while the organization navigated through the myriad of challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, which in many ways presented an opportunity to “hit pause” and take a step back to reflect on its overall strategy and position within the contemplative space.  In the early months of 2022, the organization began to rebuild, re-imagine, and position itself for its next phase.  New staff were hired (following some downsizing as a result of the pandemic), and several external consultants were engaged to assess current operations, make recommendations for improvements, and develop and implement new systems and processes, ultimately increasing effectiveness and efficiencies. 

Overall, there are several moving operational projects and activities across all functions of the organization, and the Garrison Institute is now in the midst of positive, forward-looking transition, building on its core mission and holding true to what lead to many successes in its first two decades as an Institute.  At the same time, there are several core priority areas that the organization must focus on in order for it to regain its footing following the challenges of the past few years and ensure its long-term sustainability and potential impact in the world.  These include development of a strategic plan, board development, increase and diversification of fundraising, and raising organizational and programmatic profile to targeted audiences. 

Since its inception, the Board and staff of Garrison Institute have realized that “how we do things is as important to us as what we do.“ In this context, the Institute has sought to instill the notion of belonging throughout its culture, demonstrating our interconnectedness and shared human experience while also valuing the differences which makes each of us unique and our own selves.

As the Garrison Institute approaches its 20th anniversary in 2023, the Co-Founders, Jonathan Rose and Diana Rose, are looking for the next generation of leadership to lead and carry the Garrison Institute into its next phase of growth and success.  In turn, the Institute will be looking for ways to honor the integral role and impact that each of them has had over the past two decades, and ensure their respective voices continue to be a part of the work, while incorporating new ideas and approaches to set and achieve ambitious organizational goals.

Looking Ahead – New Executive Director Profiles

three diverse women smiling for the cameraUltimately, Garrison Institute seeks to consolidate its position as just that – an Institute, one with three core initiatives that demonstrate how contemplative practice can lead to action, which leads to transformation on today’s social and environmental issues.  In order to reach its potential and be an effective thought leader around globe, there are several priorities the incoming Executive Director will need to focus on:

  • Organizational strategy, focusing on program development, oversight, innovation, and integration across the three core initiatives
    • Building programs that emanate from and fulfills mission/vision/values
    • Developing 3-5-year strategic plan
    • Lead the Senior Management Team including the Director of Contemplative Based Resilience, the Director of the Garrison Fellowship, the Director of Pathways to Planetary Health, the Director of Development, Communications and Advancement, and the Director of Finance and Operations.
  • Board development
    • Building diverse pipeline of future board members
    • Overall succession planning, including co-founders and co-chairs
  • Fundraising
    • Establishing new and re-kindling existing and/or dormant relationships with key individual and institutional funders
    • Diversifying funding portfolio across all revenue segments
  • External relations and elevating institutional profile
    • Raising visibility of the Institute’s work and impact
    • Increasing engagement opportunities with key stakeholders, including high-profile, international networks, conferences, and influencers
  • Strategic partnership development and integration into mission-related networks
    • Developing revenue-generating, multi-year partnerships with like-minded organizations to participate in core Initiatives and Garrison Retreat Center

The Executive Director reports to the Chair of the Board. Leadership at the Institute is collaborative and flexible, and plans to encourage for the new Executive Director to reevaluate their goals in conjunction with Board leadership after 3 months of employment.

Development Guild plans to cast a wide net to capture a diverse pool of candidates. This person could come from academia, be a Director at a similar institution, or be an Executive Director at another non-profit with personal connection to the mission, just to name a few examples.

Key Responsibilities

Leadership, Strategy, & Program Development

  • Provide strong visionary leadership in creating, implementing and enhancing a multi-year plan for the Garrison Institute
  • Determine and measure short- and long-term benchmarks and outcomes.
  • Oversee all Garrison Institute operations ensuring that internal systems and processes for tracking programs, financial, fundraising, and operational data are coordinated and streamlined for maximum efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency.
  • Lead the Garrison Institute Senior Management Team, and meet regularly with Board and Advisors, delivering reports to the Board of Directors with a dashboard showing performance results
  • Build a diverse pipeline of future Board members
  • Ensure annual and long-term financial viability

Fundraising and Development

  • Establish new relationships and re-kindle existing relationships with key individual and institutional funders
  • Diversify funding portfolio across all revenue segments

External Relations and Communications

  • Serve as the “face” of the Garrison Institute to raise visibility of its work, promoting accomplishments, findings, and vision to engage a range of audiences and stakeholders, including donors, potential funders, policy makers, media entities, peer organizations, and partners.
  • Map out the sector landscape to identify, develop, cultivate, and manage strategic partnerships with key organizations, agencies, and networks for the purpose of Institute growth and impact.
  • Increase engagement with key stakeholders domestically and internationally, through attendance at conferences and leveraging Garrison’s network

Key Qualifications

Ideal candidates should demonstrate:

  • 10-20+ years of related work and leadership experience
  • Authentic alignment with Garrison’s mission and values
  • The ability to advocate, communicate, and adapt Garrison’s strategic messaging for external and internal audiences
  • Relevant nonprofit accomplishments in areas of Board development, strategic planning, development, program development and oversight, team building and management
  • Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Successful fundraising experience
  • Very strong interpersonal, collaborative, and working relationship skills with proven ability to build networks and partnerships.
  • Thought leadership in the contemplation sector, ideally with an established network to build upon
  • Experience leading and navigating organizational growth in times of change

Candidates can reside anywhere in the continental United States. Regular travel to Garrison, New York  for engagement with key stakeholders and staff, occasional travel required nationally and internationally. All travel expenses will be covered by the Institute.

Compensation: The position’s pay range is $180,000-$220,000 + benefits.

The Garrison Institute is committed to being is an equal-opportunity employer. Individuals from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply. All applications will be handled confidentially.

As of 2021, the Garrison Institute has implemented a mandatory COVID vaccination policy for staff and attendees of onsite retreats and events.

Please email your cover letter and resume in confidence to: GarrisonED@developmentguild.com 

For more information about the Garrison Institute, please visit https://www.garrisoninstitute.org/


Bill Weber and Mel Witman

Development Guild DDI

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