JAWS Executive Director Job Description

Journalism & Women Symposium (JAWS) seeks a dynamic executive director eager to help write the next chapter in the history of women in journalism.

JAWS is a nonprofit organization that advances the professional empowerment and personal growth of women* in journalism and advocates for more inclusive coverage of the diverse experiences and cultures that comprise our society.

At a time when women continue to face challenges of equality and harassment at work, when journalists — along with journalism itself — are under attack around the world, and newsrooms have largely stalled in their progress to reflect the populations they cover, our mission has never been more relevant or important.

We’re looking for a leader who can take our 36-year-old organization to the next level and is motivated to find new ways to elevate and support women journalists.

The executive director will be responsible for all aspects of JAWS’ operations, including executing the organization’s strategic plan. The ideal person should approach the work with a lens toward equity and have experience working with diverse communities with a wide range of needs and experiences.

This grant-funded position reports to the president and board of directors.  

* “Women” here includes anyone who self-identifies as a woman, non-binary or agender person. 

Primary responsibilities

The executive director will play a strategic role in developing and transforming JAWS to ensure it fulfills its mission and will also run the organization’s day-to-day operations.

The director will oversee JAWS programs, events and the annual Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP), designed to help members advance and succeed. The director will also drive fundraising efforts; identify and develop revenue and grant opportunities; increase visibility of the organization and grow membership; work closely with the board of directors, especially the board president; and build partnerships with other organizations to grow JAWS’ impact.

This is a remote role with some travel required to participate in JAWS or partner events.

Specific duties

  • Leadership and operations: Serve as executive leader of the organization managing day-to-day operations, supervising contracted staff and external contractors, coordinating with the board and committees, representing JAWS externally and managing strategic partnerships.
  • Board and committee support: Working closely with the board president and executive committee, solicit volunteers for the board and all committees and coordinate their work;  keep the board informed of all significant activities, operations and conditions related to JAWS;manage the execution of board decisions.
  • Fund development: Lead fundraising efforts for JAWS, working closely with the fundraising committee to evolve the fundraising strategy, planning and implementation; prioritize long-term, sustainable funding; and manage funder and sponsor relationships and grant requirements.
  • Financial management: Oversee financial operations, including budgets, taxes, reports and proper records maintenance;; serve as point person on financial transactions, including invoices, contracts and daily bookkeeping; work with the treasurer and contracted CPA. Recommend an annual financial strategy and budget, in collaboration with the finance committee (which is led by the treasurer) and manage JAWS’ financial resources within budget guidelines, financial projections and goals.
  • Programming and membership: In support of JAWS’ mission and the board’s’ strategic goals, manage events and programming, working closely with the programming committee; manage efforts to grow, engage and retain members, in collaboration with the membership committee. Oversee the marketing, promotion and delivery of these efforts.
  • CAMP: Manage the evolution, planning and production of JAWS’ annual conference (CAMP) with the aim of advancing the organization’s mission and strategic goals. Work closely with the CAMP chair(s), treasurer and contractors to identify programming needs, logistics and budget to deliver an impactful event that benefits new and existing members.
  • Culture and communication: Maintain an inclusive, supportive culture that attracts, retains, promotes and engages JAWS members. Keep members informed and actively engaged via a regular cadence of communication and timely, clear responses to member questions and requests.

Essential job functions and time allocations:

  • Executive Leadership & Administrative Duties: 30%
  • Board & Committee Support: 20%
  • Fund Development & Strategic Partnerships: 25%
  • Financial Management: 15%
  • Programming & Membership: 10% (increases during conference planning)

Total: 100%

The ideal candidate will be:

  • A mission-driven executive with relevant nonprofit leadership experience in directing staff, leading strategic initiatives, and building diverse coalitions or partnerships.
  • A forward-looking thinker who can lead multi-year strategic planning, translate strategic guidance into specific goals, and manage and prioritize tasks to meet those goals effectively
  • An effective team-builder and collaborator who is able to inspire participation, idea-sharing and collaboration across the organization; build consensus across diverse stakeholders; and work closely with the president and board to grow JAWS and its impact
  • A well-organized project manager with the ability to evaluate, prioritize and make progress on multiple short- and long-term projects at the same time
  • An excellent communicator, both in speech and in writing (visual communication skills a plus), and a superlative listener skilled at managing internal and external relationships and partnerships
  • A confident decision-maker who is resilient, resourceful, calm under deadline, driven by integrity and energized by complexity
  • An experienced change manager who will bring a solutions mindset to transforming and evolving a legacy organization
  • Well versed in current issues around diversity, equity and inclusion, and passionate about driving progress in these areas.

The ideal candidate will have:

  • A relevant bachelor’s degree or related experience
  • A deep understanding of women’s issues and how they relate to journalism
  • A track record of successfully developing and implementing member recruitment, engagement, and retention strategies
  • Experience in fundraising, budgeting and organizational operations, including managing volunteers, strategic partnerships and donor/sponsor/funder relationships
  • Experience ensuring compliance with the letter and spirit of applicable laws, professional guidelines and operational protocols to maintain the highest levels of performance and accountability
  • Experience working remotely, including a high level of comfort leading, managing and influencing via virtual platforms such as Zoom, Slack, social media, email and phone calls
  • Experience with association management, campaign management, membership and social media platforms is a plus.

Benefits include:

  • Salary of $70,000 to $80,000 for first year, commensurate with experience; potential for increases, subject to performance review
  • Flexible paid time off
  • Full-time remote work (some travel required)

To apply, send cover letter and resume to the search committee at ]

Applications must be received by Jan. 6, 2023.

JAWS is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3), and provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws. JAWS  is committed to providing access, equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities in employment, services, programs and activities. To request reasonable accommodation, contact J. Kyle Foster at .