Position Profile: Executive Director
Table of Contents
Disability Rights Texas (DRTx) seeks an inspirational Executive Director who has demonstrated a high level of commitment to the mission of advancing the rights of people with disabilities. The Executive Director for DRTx is an effective leader who empowers volunteers, energizes the staff, and collaborates with like-minded organizations, agencies, and other officials to support the achievement of its strategic goals. The Executive Director fosters an environment of cooperation and enthusiasm for DRTx’s vision and mission and brings a background in organizational management, preferably in a nonprofit setting, and has experience working with and on behalf of persons with disabilities. The Executive Director is results-driven, is technologically savvy, demonstrates a deep understanding of DRTx’s governing documents, and can communicate effectively to multiple audiences about the organization’s work.
About Disability Rights Texas
In 1977, DRTx opened its doors as the state’s Protection and Advocacy (P&A) agency following the 1975 legislation passed by Congress that mandated each state establish an organization to protect and advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.
To advocate for, protect, and advance the legal, human, and service rights of people with disabilities.
People with disabilities are respected, empowered, and equal members of an inclusive society.
- People with disabilities have basic human needs that are no different from those of all people.
- They have a right to freedom from neglect, exploitation, discrimination and isolation, and a right to be included in all aspects of their communities.
- Disability is a natural part of the human experience.
- Disability does not diminish the right to live independently or to exert control and choice in life.
DRTx is governed by a 16-member Board of Directors. The organization’s current budget is $21.4M with revenue sources that include federal (79%), state (12%), and other sources (9%). DRTx boasts a staff of more than 160 in nine offices located across Texas.
Programs and Strategic Priorities
To serve its constituents, DRTx attorneys and advocates work to impact the lives of Texans with disabilities by providing legal assistance, protecting rights, educating policymakers, informing people with disabilities about their rights, and making referrals to program and services.
For FY2019-2022, the following strategic priorities emerged as most important to serving the community while advancing the mission and complying with federal law and funders’ requirements:
- Living in the community
- Civil rights
- Safety, protection, and support in Texas institutions
- Health care
- Going to public school
- Housing, employment, access, and transportation
- Disaster planning and recovery
- Protection and support in foster care
Because unknown issues and challenges may arise within a four-year period defined by the strategic plan, the Board of Directors with the Executive Director reviews the priorities at least once a year to ensure the organization invests its resources in areas of highest need. The Board of Directors will implement its next strategic priority setting session in July 2022.
Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will facilitate and provide leadership to further the organization’s development, mission, and status as an integral part of the state’s disability, legal, civil rights, and social justice communities. The Executive Director will communicate DRTx’s understanding of the issues faced by the disability community, and expand the organization’s vision and ability to address those issues. The Executive Director directly oversees six department Directors (i.e., Human Resources, Communications, Finance & Technology, Client & Program Services, Operations), as well as the Executive Assistant.
Leadership Outlook and Near-Term Priorities
The Executive Director provides leadership both inside and outside the organization, continually increasing DRTx’s mission impact. Toward these ends, the Executive’s near-term priorities for the next 12-18 months include to:
- Develop an understanding of the organization’s business model and the needs of the client populations DRTx serves.
- Become the face and voice of DRTx.
- Develop relationships with Board, staff, PAIMI Council, and community partners.
- Understand the Texas state systems that impact DRTx’s work.
- Strongly advocate for DRTx’s clients.
- Explore diversification of funding sources.
- Incorporate the work of the Cultural Humility Work Group into all facets of the organization and its work.
- Negotiate a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
- Participate in planning the all-staff conference in May 2022 and the priority setting retreat in July 2022.
- Make decisions about how/where staff will work post-COVID.
- Represent the organization to the National Disability Rights Network.
Primary responsibilities include to:
- Partner with the Board of Directors, PAIMI Council, and DRTx Senior Leadership Team to advance and protect the capacity of the agency to address and evaluate client needs, service priorities, and emerging issues impacting the disability community.
- In partnership with the Board, staff, key stakeholders, and community leaders, develop, implement, and communicate DRTx’s strategic vision among the disability community, allies, policy makers, key partners, civil legal rights organizations, and stakeholders.
- Serve as an inspirational ambassador for DRTx, inspiring others to take action to address systemic issues facing people with disabilities and raising the profile of the organization’s work statewide.
- Provide strategic leadership and effective management of the agency, including program planning, compliance, resource development, budget, and financial oversight.
- Explore new donor cultivation and stewardship opportunities, identifying and pursuing the potential to broaden and diversify the funding base beyond the current funding available.
- Mentor, empower, and supervise members of the Senior Leadership Team, providing them the guidance and resources they need to succeed in their roles and responsibilities and to support their respective teams.
- Ensure that the staff represent the intersectional diversity of the disability community, and that DRTx is an accessible and safe place for all to take an active role in advancing the organization’s mission.
- Cultivate a strong working relationship with the Board of Directors through regular communication and effective and responsive engagement with all members, both at and between quarterly meetings.
- Serve on DRTx’s Union Management Committee with two other managers and three Union representatives to advocate for staff needs in the Collective Bargaining Agreement DRTx has with the Communications Workers of America.
- Research, analyze, and disseminate current literature and best practices on relevant issues and apply information to outreach and training activities.
Skills and Attributes
The Executive Director must have experience protecting and advocating for people with disabilities and must demonstrate the ability to collaborate effectively with the Board, PAIMI Council, staff, and other stakeholders for maximum impact. Successful candidates will have:
- Proven leadership and management experience (at least ten years) in an organization with a similar mission and comparable size, budget, and staffing.
- Inclusive, visionary, and transparent leadership skills with demonstrated experience effectively inspiring and leveraging staff, Board members, and partners and the finesse to “manage by influence”.
- Strong interpersonal and collaborative team building skills that demonstrate and engender trust, respect, collegiality, inclusivity, and flexibility, thereby creating a positive working environment.
- Experience as an advocate in the broadest sense of the term for individuals with disabilities.
- Demonstrated functional knowledge of complex state and federal laws, rights protection statutes and regulations with knowledge and skills to appropriately implement policy strategies.
- Knowledge of public policy with an understanding of the importance of advocacy in broader policy and public relations contexts.
- Continue to recognize and advance the need to incorporate justice, equity, diversity and inclusion into the culture of the organization and its approach to work.
- Deep understanding of intersectionality and a commitment to addressing the issues that Texans with disabilities face as a result.
- Demonstrated experience and ability to work effectively with a variety of organizations and individuals with diverse perspectives.
- Demonstrated knowledge of strategic, operational, financial, and program planning, including program evaluation.
- An energetic approach and the humor, integrity, patience, and perseverance necessary to support mission-driven staff.
- Demonstrated ability and a desire to develop, expand, and diversify the resources of DRTx.
- Excellent writing, analytical, and oral communication skills, including the ability to actively listen.
- Demonstrated experience in public speaking and developing effective presentations for the public.
- Effective negotiation skills and ability to navigate and address conflict.
- Personality that is personable, approachable, straightforward, and smart.
- High level of commitment to service excellence, plus high degrees of integrity, ethics, and judgment.
- Strong working knowledge of Microsoft Office suite (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint).
- Willingness and ability to travel regularly throughout Texas and to attend national conferences and meetings. Position can be located in Austin, Houston, Dallas, or San Antonio.
- Bilingual in English/Spanish – both written and spoken word.
- Management experience with a unionized workforce.
- Lived experience with a disability.
- Master’s degree from an accredited college or university with preference of major in an area related to human services such as social work, education, psychology, or government plus ten years of experience working with persons with disabilities.
- J.D. and ten years of experience working for a Protection and Advocacy organization, Legal Services Corporation, or other nonprofit corporation plus ten years’ experience in social services, disability rights advocacy, or closely related field.
To apply, send resume, cover letter, and salary requirements via email to Adrienne O’Rourke at email@example.com. Please write “DRTx Executive Director Application” in the subject line. Resume review begins immediately.
Decisions regarding the recruitment, selection, hiring, compensation and promotion of candidates and Staff will be made without regard to race, color, religion, ethnicity, national origin, gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information or any other status protected by federal, state and local laws. Due to the nature of DRTx’s mission and work, individuals with disabilities are encouraged to inquire about employment in any open position to which the organization seeking to fill.
About Raffa – Marcum’s Nonprofit & Social Sector Group
On behalf of DRTx, Raffa – Marcum’s Nonprofit & Social Sector Group – is working with the Board of Directors to advance the search. Founded in 1984 and recently merged with Marcum, Raffa is, and always has been, a mission-driven professional services firm seeking to do more for nonprofits and socially conscious companies like DRTx. Learn more about the work of Marcum’s Nonprofit & Social Sector Group at marcumllp.com/industries/nonprofit-social-sector.