The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine seeks a dynamic, experienced chief executive to lead a civil liberties agenda throughout the state of Maine. Founded in 1920, the ACLU is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan organization which uses legal, legislative, and public education approaches to protect and promote a broad range of civil rights and civil liberties including free speech, racial justice, criminal legal reform, immigrant’s rights, voting rights, privacy, religious liberty, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, and more. The ACLU of Maine is an affiliate of the national ACLU, the leading defender of civil liberties in the United States.
Founded in 1968, the ACLU of Maine is a premier public advocacy organization, serving as Maine’s guardian of liberty. Based in Portland, the ACLU of Maine has an operating budget of approximately $2 million. The organization is led by a 12 member Board of Directors and a highly skilled team of 13 staff members and interns, who work tirelessly to protect the rights of all people in Maine and advance the ACLU of Maine’s priority issues. Non-managerial staff are members of a union, MSEA-SEIU Local 1989.
The Executive Director (“ED”) will serve as the chief executive officer of the ACLU of Maine. The ED will have primary responsibility for managing the organization’s day-to-day activities and operations, leading the organization’s fund development efforts, collaborating with the board and staff to strategize about and advance the ACLU of Maine’s agenda, serving as the primary spokesperson for the ACLU in the state of Maine, and representing the affiliate with ACLU National. Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will ensure that the organization is fiscally sound and that its internal and external communications, fund development, and programs are meeting the current and emergent needs and interests of its constituents. The Executive Director will lead a team of five directors to support ACLU of Maine’s mission and strategic priorities.
The Executive Director will have a working knowledge of civil liberties issues and policies and be a leader and manager who is adept at balancing internal management with external impact and visibility. The individual must be an outstanding communicator who can effectively work internally with staff to elucidate and implement the affiliate’s mission and goals, and externally to convey the work to a variety of constituencies, as well as to the broader public. The ideal Executive Director will be unafraid to dive into the details to solve complex challenges, in strong partnership with team members and the board.
Areas of Leadership:
Strong Mission Alignment: Bring a mission- and equity-centered lens to all decisions, both at the organizational and functional level. Credibly lead our mission by working with the national office and affiliate staff, and establish a clear vision for priorities and programming for the ACLU of Maine’s legal, legislative, and communications departments. Serve as a persuasive and visible spokesperson for the ACLU of Maine, effectively articulating the organization’s history, programs, and mission. Appropriately represent the organization in the media, increase public awareness, and broaden the organization’s reputation to strategic constituents.
Direct experience in legal and/or policy reform and/or civil rights advocacy
Demonstrated connection to Maine or a similar rural state
Experience and comfort with serving as the public face of an organization
Executive Leadership: Building on national strategic priorities and the affiliate’s program priorities, collaborate with all relevant partners to work together to implement ACLU of Maine’s strategic vision. Work closely with the senior management team to ensure the day-to-day operations and financial management are efficient and sound. Effectively and regularly communicate, engage, and partner with the Board to set strategic priorities and policies and advance the organization’s financial and governance goals. Identify and help recruit new Board Members, who will add diversity to the Board and whose talents, interests, and commitment will contribute to overall Board effectiveness and help to further the ACLU of Maine’s mission.
Demonstrated experience in all or some aspects of leading an organization or entity in executive or leadership roles
Track record of setting and articulating strategic priorities across all or parts of an organization
Experience leading a diverse team and executing on an organization’s DEI priorities. Knowledge and understanding of the ways implicit bias, personal identity, and power and privilege impact individuals, organizations, systems, policies, and structures
Experience in creating and managing significant organizational budgets, ideally over $1 million
Fundraising and Partnerships: Serve as a persuasive and visible spokesperson for the ACLU of Maine, effectively articulating the organization’s history, programs, and mission. Working with Development staff, cultivate existing and new donors to identify and pursue fundraising opportunities.
Direct or relevant experience in calling individuals to action (for example, in fundraising efforts; relevant experience could be strong service sales skills)
Experience in cultivating and managing donor or client relationships
Experience building and maintaining partnerships with allied organizations, whether partnering in the legislature, in the courts, or in shared messaging.
People & Culture Leadership: Continually develop a collaborative, inclusive, and cohesive culture in which communication is clear and decision-making is transparent. Serve as an accessible and engaged leader in support of an evolving organizational culture, including a unionized environment.
Track record of successful, people-centered leadership in highly complex organizations, ideally managing an organization equivalent to the ACLU of Maine’s budget and size
Proven ability to simultaneously manage, develop, mentor, and learn from multiple, thriving teams of professionals at various levels of career and skill sets
Demonstrated ability to approach leadership with a collaborative orientation and successfully build relationships at all levels of an organization, board, and diverse external constituencies
Direct experience leading in a high-pressure leadership role where difficult conversations, strong ideas, and healthy discourse are balanced with nurturing a highly collaborative environment
Our office is in Portland, Maine. The new Executive Director would be expected to be or become a resident of Maine. Relocation assistance is available. The ACLU of Maine team is currently in a hybrid workplace model with 2 days minimum in the office. The Executive Director will spend the majority of their time in the office or in the field, both to interact with staff the other days of the week and to represent the ACLU of Maine in its various efforts.
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