Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Now Hiring: President of the Human Rights Campaign

It was announced a few months ago that Joe Solmonese will be stepping down as the President of the Human Rights Campaign when his contract is up at the end of March. It is now up to the Board members of HRC to find suitable candidates. However, with this position seems to come with a tremendous amount of scrutiny from the LGBT community. I wonder if this will be looked at as one of the best jobs in the LGBT community or one of the worst. Can someone handle not only the pressure from the anti-gay groups but the constant second guessing and armchair quarterbacking that comes from our own community. While I believe in holding leaders accountable, you just have to wonder, who thinks they have what it takes.

Oh and by the way, it takes a lot. Let me share with you a portion of the job posting. You can see the full posting here. This is the portion that focuses on the role details and the competencies the Board is looking for. If you think you have what it takes I say go for it and apply! Just make sure you have skin as thick as an elephant.

The Role of the President

The President reports to the Boards of Directors of both the Human Rights Campaign and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and is responsible for the overall management and leadership of HRC’s activities and programs. The President’s job is to develop and implement HRC’s strategic vision, its policies and programs to advance the interests of its membership and the LGBT community as a whole. The new President will be charged with leading this important organization during a time of great change and progress in the country. The President will be working every day to improve the lives of LGBT Americans by identifying and overcoming societal and legislative barriers to LGBT equality. At the same time, s/he will be working to engage, educate and empower millions of fair-minded Americans to advocate for equal rights for the LGBT community.

Specific responsibilities include:

Provide vision and focus for a dynamic organization. HRC is a large, diverse and highly motivated organization with activities occurring simultaneously in many locations and on a variety of issues, with a unique combination of professional staff, volunteers, allies, boards, donors, and members. The President must be able to inspire, motivate, coordinate and honor these multiple constituents in ways that advance the mission of HRC and maintain the highest standards of service and integrity.

Build, maintain and continually inspire a work environment to achieve the highest standards of performance and accountability. One of the hallmarks of HRC's mission is to assure workplace equality for all LGBT employees. HRC strives to attain those goals with its own employees by fostering a workplace that welcomes and embraces diversity and encourages industry, teamwork and mutual respect. The new President must not only embrace these values, but continually lead in creating an atmosphere that promotes teamwork, client responsiveness, diversity, accountability, professional development and succession planning – and helps the organization adapt to changing and disparate needs within the community.

Manage through change. The effectiveness of HRC as a civil rights organization will depend on how well it manages uncertain changes in the political environment and how nimble it can be in responding to external changes. Managing these changes in ways that keep HRC relevant and central to the movement will be critical for success.

Represent and lead HRC in the most positive manner, enhancing HRC’s visibility and influencing public opinion. The President of HRC has the ability to reach government and business decision-makers and influence public opinion on issues vital to HRC’s mission. It is essential that the new President be able to convey HRC’s activities (and those of the broader LGBT community) effectively and persuasively to thought leaders and the broader public through a wide variety of communication tool.

Lead the development and promotion of legislation and public policies that positively affect LGBT families and their children, as well as, oppose legislation and public policies that would adversely affect LGBT families and their children. HRC’s President also is the strategic visionary on how to elect candidates for public office who will sponsor and support HRC’s legislative agenda and the creation of equities for LGBTs throughout society, as well as oppose those candidates who have promoted policies and legislation adverse to LGBT families.

Attract new members, allies, strategic partners, advocates, donors and volunteers. HRC continues to grow and diversify its membership, which has helped to expand its impact. The new President must be able to lead HRC in building on its growth by effectively finding new ways to retain and attract a broader membership base. S/he must be skilled in coalition building, working in partnership with other LGBT and civil rights organizations to tackle legislative and policy needs on the state and federal level.

Engage diverse constituencies. Diversity and inclusion are strategic imperatives for HRC and necessary for the continued success of the organization. Diversity and inclusion have been embedded in HRC’s mission since it was founded in 1980. In the last several years however, HRC has provided diversity and inclusion objectives more sustained support internally by providing staff and resources to cultivate a diverse and inclusive environment at every level of the organization. In addition, HRC has developed significant relationships externally to evidence its commitment to diversity and inclusion. The President must work to broaden public support for LGBT equality by engaging fair-minded people and partner organizations that represent the multiple dimensions of diversity, including ethnicities, national origins, ages, sexual orientation, gender identity, beliefs, religions and faiths, geographies, experiences, cultures, socio-economic backgrounds and levels of physical ability.

Lead the development of educational programs that positively affect the societal and cultural condition, as well as shift public opinion. HRC’s next President will continue to build upon the dynamic educational programs and tools of the organization such as the Corporate Equality Index, Healthcare Equality Index, Family Project and Religion & Faith programs. S/he also will push for innovation and the creation of new programs consistent with HRC’s strategic plan that will educate and gain a broader understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced by the LGBT community.

Candidate Profile 

HRC is seeking a charismatic, visionary, and strategic leader with public policy acumen. The President will be a poised, confident and energetic leader who is capable of leading an organization and movement during a time of great evolution and change. The President will be a force for constructive dialogue and relentless advocacy – passionate and productive in his/her pursuit for social justice.

The ideal candidate will have a sophisticated understanding of the policy environment and be a passionate ambassador for the organization whether it be in front of a camera giving an interview on national television or in someone’s living room. In addition, because its members are woven into the fabric of numerous local communities, the new President should be able to help HRC effectively build upon and leverage these critical and decentralized constituents.

While the President must be a decisive, visionary leader, this individual also must have outstanding interpersonal skills. The successful candidate will have a style that is collegial, approachable, affable, flexible, direct and diplomatic. The President must be skilled at building bridges and developing relationships in a variety of settings with diverse constituencies. The President must have the service-orientation necessary to lead a member-driven and supported organization.

Specific competencies include:

Strategic Vision: The successful candidate will have a demonstrated record of setting priorities and leading organizations to success. S/he will be a strategic thinker who will work with HRC’s senior Staff and Board leadership team and Board of Directors to establish plans and methods to achieve its mission while providing the strategic direction necessary to evolve the organization. S/he will be capable of working with others to develop differentiated strategies with multifaceted approaches to address disparate audiences, cultures, and political contexts.

Communication and Development Skills: The successful candidate will be an inspiring and persuasive communicator who can articulate HRC’s vision and direction effectively through mass media, debate, lobbying, public speaking, writing, networking, fundraising and one-on-one discussions. S/he will have the ability to connect with and secure results from world leaders, government policy makers, corporate leaders, partners, donors, Board Members and staff.

Leadership: In addition to the critical, externally-focused competencies, the successful candidate must also possess outstanding leadership skills that will enable him/her to oversee the management of a complex, member-focused organization. S/he must be an involved and inclusive manager, who will ensure HRC functions in an orderly and fiscally responsible manner. The President will have a track record of recruiting, retaining and motivating a professional and highly performing staff. The successful candidate must be able to set strategic direction for the organization, prioritize and define clear goals for staff, and manage performance toward achievement of those goals. The candidate will be an inspirational leader to the staff, and encourage openness, transparence and mutual respect. Further, the candidate must have the executive skills to manage various Board and membership constituencies as well as leverage the energy of a dedicated, diverse, and growing membership.

Interpersonal Acumen: The successful candidate must be a person of the utmost personal and professional integrity with a high level of energy. Candidates must possess the right combination of self-confidence balanced with humility and a healthy sense of humor. The successful candidate needs to be gracious in manner and comfortable in any situation. S/he will be confident enough to hire and retain strong, smart people, and possess an understanding of his/her own strengths and weaknesses.

Judgment: The successful candidate will have the demonstrated ability to make timely and clearly communicated decisions and take appropriate risks to achieve results. Likewise, s/he will be thoughtful about deploying the organization’s budget in a way that maximizes outcomes aligned with HRC’s strategic plan and core institutional values while managing risk. S/he will listen to and learn from key stakeholders inside and outside of the organization and will be an inclusive and independent thinker, who can manage ambiguity and devise solutions even when a clear path is not evident.

Passion and Shared Values: The successful candidate will have a passion for ending discrimination against LGBT Americans and an absolute commitment towards realizing a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all. At its heart, HRC is about making a difference in the lives of everyday people. The successful candidate will not only have earned the appropriate leadership credentials across their career, but be implicitly anchored by HRC’s core values.
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