President & CEO
About Disability Rights Advocates (DRA):
DRA’s mission is to advance equal rights and opportunity for people with all types of disabilities nationwide. DRA’s vision is a world free from discrimination, where people with disabilities are valued members of their communities with equal access to opportunity.
Founded in 1993, DRA focuses on high-impact class action litigation to protect the civil rights of people with all kinds of disabilities throughout the nation. DRA represents people with disabilities in numerous cases seeking access to key activities of mainstream life. Through these cases, DRA has positively impacted the lives of millions of people with disabilities.
DRA serves: People with all disabilities, often low-income individuals and families, including children.
DRA works through:
- Class action litigation
- Structured negotiations
- Training attorneys
- Media to raise awareness about disability issues
- Education related to cases
DRA’s work is fueled by 25+ dedicated staff and a broad network of client organizations representing people across the disability spectrum. The organization is well poised for its next visionary leader, and is on sound financial ground with healthy reserves and an annual operating budget of approximately $6 million.
“DRA uses the law as a tool to advance the cause of justice for people with disabilities across the country. We work with people with all types of disabilities to promote and ensure equality, inclusivity, and change through high-impact litigation, education, and advocacy. Our goal is to ensure that all people with disabilities are valued, have access to opportunity, and can live with dignity. We recognize disability as a key component of diversity, and it is a high priority for us to foster and maintain an inclusive environment where diverse perspectives are welcome and where everyone can feel valued. People of color, particularly black, brown, and indigenous people with disabilities, are especially impacted by disability rights violations. Therefore, we commit to listen to, honor, reflect, and elevate the voices and participation of cross-disability and cross-movement advocates. We commit to serve as a partner with culturally diverse communities of cross-disability and cross-social justice movements to build trust and advocate for societal transformation.”
Office Locations and Office Location of the President/CEO
DRA is a national nonprofit organization with three office locations: Berkeley, California, Chicago, Illinois, and New York City. During the COVID-19 pandemic, all DRA employees have been working remotely. When our offices reopen, DRA will provide a hybrid, remote-friendly workplace. The President/CEO may elect Berkeley or New York City as their base office.
Summary of Position
The President/CEO deploys exceptional leadership, management, and relationship-building skills to lead a national cross-disability nonprofit public interest legal center, Disability Rights Advocates. The President/CEO sets the strategic vision and collaborative partnership approach needed to expand the reach of DRA, including its role as the litigation arm of the disability rights movement. The President/CEO is an articulate, compelling, passionate ambassador and revenue generator for the organization, addressing diverse audiences in a broad range of settings. The President/CEO currently directly supervises two Managing Directors (of Litigation and Development & Operations) and two contractors who oversee the Human Resources and Finance functions.
Role and Responsibilities
- With direction from the Board of Directors, manage DRA in a manner consistent with the core mission.
- Relay commitment to the mission of DRA both inside and outside the organization while demonstrating the highest ethical standards and operating with integrity and transparency in conducting the business of the organization.
- Lead the DRA team with a positive, results-oriented style that inspires staff and broadens the circles of support for DRA’s work.
- Foster and promote the professional development of staff through training, coaching and feedback on results.
- Oversee DRA’s litigation program.
- Consult with litigation staff leadership regarding overall litigation strategy and questions regarding specific cases, so as to maximize DRA’s impact as the litigation arm of the disability rights movement.
- Implement and continue to develop DRA’s strategic plan and vision in consultation with the Board of Directors, advisors, leadership team, staff, and stakeholders.
- Recognize, create, and capitalize on opportunities for organizational growth and success, including prioritizing diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism both within DRA itself and throughout the community DRA serves.
- Approach problems and opportunities for DRA and the disability community in a way that demonstrates openness and innovation.
- Engage and support the Board of Directors in their governance role by communicating effectively with the Board to facilitate informed decisions.
- Develop and maintain effective relations with the Board Chair, Executive Committee, and all other members of the Board of Directors.
- Serve as ex officio on all Board committees and work with the Executive Committee and Board leadership to implement Board decisions.
- Serve as lead liaison between the Board and the staff.
- Manage committees, support programs and events, and conduct annual Board surveys and evaluations.
- Provide executive leadership on all public relations messaging and marketing efforts and serves as the public face and spokesperson of the organization.
- Build new and maintain current relationships with the disability community, other disability advocacy organizations, and current and former key donors, to advance the mission of DRA.
- Work with stakeholders in the disability community to conduct annual needs assessments.
- Work with the development and communications teams to deepen and refine all aspects of communications with the goal of creating a stronger and more publicly recognizable brand.
- Maintain and develop new media contacts to ensure DRA’s work is more widely publicized.
- Develop connections with the disability community using social media and innovative strategies and technologies.
Fiscal Development & Management
- In concert with the finance team and Board Finance Committee, develop, implement, and monitor the annual budget, the assets under financial management, and all other financial activities of DRA.
- Exercise sound and prudent fiscal judgment to ensure that DRA meets its financial obligations and annual budget goals.
- Oversee finances for the organization including budgeting, investment strategy, and financial management oversight.
- Promote a culture of innovation with appropriate financial risk-taking commensurate with the organization’s financial position.
- Work with the Board and development and communications teams to broaden the financial support for DRA’s work by expanding and retaining DRA’s donor base while cultivating new individual and institutional donors.
- Oversee the creation of a development plan to grow contributed revenue over time so that fundraising priorities are aligned with DRA’s organizational mission.
Administration, Human Resources, and Operations Management
- Manage operational responsibilities, overseeing the organization’s management team.
- Oversee the steps required to negotiate and finalize a collective bargaining agreement with the newly formed DRA employee union.
- Mentor and build a highly effective team to support and manage daily operations in accordance with DRA’s mission and applicable laws and regulations.
- Cultivate an environment of diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout all facets of the organization.
- Foster a culture that encourages full contribution, engagement, and development of staff.
- Maintain a climate that attracts, motivates, and retains a high-performing, diverse staff.
Qualifications and Professional Experience
The successful candidate should:
- Be an accomplished leader with practical and substantive experience in a disability or legally-based nonprofit environment and have the ability to manage a dynamic and evolving legal organization.
- Be familiar with the use of high-impact litigation as a tool to create social change.
- Possess senior-level management experience with a proven track record of effective organizational leadership skills.
- Possess the ability to supervise and oversee a 25+person, national organization with multiple offices and unionized employees.
- Possess the ability to oversee all operations, including human resources, IT, administration, budgeting and finance.
- Possess strong and effective interpersonal and communication skills with the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders and donors.
- Have a proven track record of building, managing, and leading effective teams with the ability to attract, retain, grow and inspire an impactful staff.
- Possess the business acumen required to evaluate standard nonprofit financial statements while allocating among many worthy programs.
- Have a track record of successfully developing and implementing novel fundraising strategies to grow and diversify nonprofit-contributed revenue streams over time.
- Have a history of success working with and supporting a nonprofit board to grow and develop, govern, and make critical decisions.
- Bachelor’s degree is expected and a minimum of 10 years of senior-level management experience, preferably within nonprofit organizations.
- An advanced degree such as a JD or MBA, or a master’s degree in a relevant field, is not required but would be a plus.
The successful candidate should:
- Be a fierce disability leader with an uncompromising commitment to advancing the rights of all people with disabilities.
- Intimate knowledge of the day-to-day challenges in the life of a person with a disability and deeply engaged with the disability community.
- Be an innovative, transparent, and adaptive leader with a commitment to building strong and effective teams, while maintaining a drive to mentor, coach, and support all DRA staff.
- Have the emotional intelligence and humility to engage in honest self-reflection and receive constructive feedback.
- Have proven success in creating a culture defined by accountability, trust, and respect.
The pay range for this position is: $270,000 – $300,000 per year. Please note that the foregoing compensation information is a good-faith assessment associated with this position only and is provided pursuant to the New York City Salary Transparency Law.
DRA is an equal opportunity employer and values a diverse workforce and inclusive culture. DRA encourages applications from all qualified individuals and does not discriminate in employment opportunities or practices on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital or familial status, veteran status, disability, AIDS/HIV status, medical condition, or any other characteristic protected by law.
This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.
DRA is committed to providing access andreasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities in all aspects of the employment process. If a reasonable accommodation is needed, please contact HR@DRAlegal.org.
Vetted Solutions is a Washington, D.C. based executive search firm specializing in association and nonprofit recruiting and consulting. We focus on CEO and senior staff positions.
For confidential consideration, please email your chronologically oriented resume and cover letter that specifically addresses your qualifications with respect to the position described above along with salary expectations to: DRACEOsearch@vettedsolutions.com or call +1 202 544 4749.