Phoenix, Arizona



About ACLU of Arizona
For over 100 years, the ACLU has been at the forefront of every major civil liberties fight in the country’s history. The ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties issues to defend all individuals from government abuse and overreach. With ACLU affiliate offices in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, the ACLU fights tirelessly to defend our rights in the courts, influence public policy, and empower communities to advance rights for all. The ACLU of Arizona, founded in 1959, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, public interest organization dedicated to the defense and expansion of civil liberties and civil rights in Arizona. The ACLU of Arizona is a passionate, highly motivated group looking for exceptional talent to join their team.

The ACLU is deeply committed to racial equity and social justice and is driven to act on these core values. Applicants must be able to recognize ways different identities intersect and play out in the work, especially with communities that the ACLU of Arizona serves, and must demonstrate the cultural competency to work with a diverse team and effectively partner with historically marginalized communities.

For more information on the ACLU of Arizona (ACLU-AZ), please visit its website.

The Opportunity
ACLU-AZ is seeking an experienced, strategic, and visionary Executive Director to lead the organization’s statewide advocacy agenda during this important moment when civil liberties and civil rights are front and center across the nation and in Arizona. The Executive Director must have a proven track record of incorporating equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB) principles in all aspects of an organization, building and maintaining partnerships with communities most impacted by civil liberties and civil rights injustices, strong fundraising and organizational acumen, and a proven track record of team building, developing staff leadership and creating a brace space to mediate differences. As the Executive Director, you will play a pivotal role in guiding the organization towards its mission by ensuring a harmonious and productive work environment.

The position requires that the Executive Director be a collaborative and driven leader with a broad range of knowledge and significant commitment to the furtherance of civil liberties and civil rights.

Position Overview
The Executive Director will serve as the chief executive officer of the ACLU-AZ, managing the organization’s day-to-day activities and operations, with primary responsibilities including:

Leadership and Vision

  • Build on past successes by inspiring the creation and implementation of new strategies that advance civil liberties/civil rights in the context of a challenging state political climate.
  • Serve as the lead fundraiser and spokesperson for the ACLU-AZ’s mission and programs.
  • Grow and expand the ACLU-AZ’s reputation and influence; provide clear vision and direction to guide programs.
  • Work closely with the Board and staff to develop and periodically update the organization’s priorities, strategies and policies, and to design and implement campaigns that support the successful achievement of strategic goals.
  • Continue and build on the use of integrated advocacy by which civil liberties/civil rights issues are addressed in a cross-disciplinary approach that embraces litigation, lobbying, and public education.
  • Exhibit courage and clarity when addressing highly controversial and complex issues and lead the Board through thoughtful consideration of conflicting positions on those issues.
  • Guard the organization’s integrity, credibility, and non-partisanship by emphasizing these qualities in all aspects of the ACLU-AZ’s work.

Staff Leadership

  • Motivate and maintain a cohesive staff, ensuring that there is strong internal communication, coordination, and accountability. 

  • Mediate and resolve conflicts between team members, departments, and other stakeholders, fostering a culture of open communication and understanding.
  • Work with staff members to establish goals for their respective departments and encourage and motivate the staff to focus on the organization’s mission. Ensure that the staff has the resources needed to accomplish their goals. 
  • Foster an environment of continuous improvement, learning, and effectiveness.
  • Foster a supportive team-oriented environment where independent thinking is encouraged, and staff are held accountable to specific metrics and goals.
  • Engage in honest, thoughtful conversations with a trauma-informed approach that accepts feedback openly, emphasizing learning and healing, while balancing accountability.

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (EDIB) Leadership

  • Champion and value EDIB on the Board and staff as the organization increasingly strives to reflect the communities it serves.

  • Exhibit a high level of cultural competency to work with a diverse team and effectively partner with historically marginalized communities.
  • Provide a personal approach that values the individual and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and socioeconomic circumstance.
  • Create a work environment that recognizes and respects the diversity and individuality of each employee.
  • Regularly assess how the ACLU-AZ is incorporating EDIB principles and best practices internally and externally.

Fund Development

  • Lead the staff and the Board in furthering a staff-driven, robust fundraising program that ensures the financial viability of the ACLU-AZ through face-to-face solicitations and cultivating important relationships in-person, by phone, and in writing.

  • Initiate funding opportunities with individual donors and foundations that ensure a constant new stream of financial support that builds long-term stability. 
  • Anticipate funding needs and engage program staff as needed to ensure that staff have the resources they need to be successful and to maintain continuity of important initiatives.
  • Inspire, cultivate, steward, and solicit a dedicated group of major donors to the organization.
  • Identify, pursue, and manage grants that financially support the ACLU-AZ’s strategic priorities, including overseeing the execution of grant deliverables by key staff members. 

Organizational Management

  • Implement best practices for effective organizational management, including practices that assess the effectiveness of projects undertaken by the ACLU-AZ.

  • Oversee financial operations, including financial controls and budgetary planning, and human resources.
  • Ensure that revenue streams are diverse and replenished.
  • Ensure that the Board is kept fully informed on the condition of the organization and that Board meetings and Board committees operate effectively and efficiently.

Public Representation

  • Represent the priorities of the ACLU-AZ as the lead official representative of the organization to the press and public, articulating the organization’s positions and communicating its mission to increase the organization’s visibility and public’s understanding of the work.

  • Formulate and articulate to the membership, Board, staff, and the media a clear and accessible understanding of the ACLU-AZ’s strategies, goals, and positions on issues.
  • Maintain and encourage relationships with members of the press and the social media community.
  • Lead a communications strategy that values a diverse set of voices to represent the organization’s positions on its work.

Board Partnership and Communication

  • Partner with the Board President to plan for Board meetings and updates, providing ongoing reporting on overall organizational performance and initiatives. 
  • Collaborate with key Board committees on a range of strategic initiatives, including identifying and orienting new Board members, fundraising, and supporting governance activities. 
  • Inform staff of Board policies and decisions and ensure that they are implemented in a timely and consistent manner.

Qualifications & Characteristics
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 Executive Director will understand the history and the importance of the ACLU-AZ’s programming in the areas of legal, policy, and advocacy; the Executive Director should have experience in at least one of these areas of programming in an issue area aligned with the ACLU-AZ’s priority issue areas. 

They will possess many, if not all of the following Qualifications and Characteristics. 


  • Commitment to the mission and principles of the ACLU-AZ.

  • Ten years of professional experience required with prior nonprofit experience preferred; legal degree is not required, but is a plus.
  • Proven fundraising and financial management experience with a solid track record of success.
  • Proven track record of operationalizing EDIB principles in all aspects of organizations; champion and value anti-racism with the ability or willingness to lead the ACLU-AZ in defining and implementing these principles into the work of the organization internally with staff and Board as well as externally. 
  • Proven experience in conflict resolution and executive leadership roles.
  • Strong understanding of organizational dynamics and the ability to navigate complex interpersonal relationships.
  • Exceptional communication and mediation skills.
  • A history of communicating effectively in writing and verbally, including excellent public speaking skills; ability to represent the ACLU-AZ to a broad public.
  • A record of success working in partnership with a Board and staff of diverse personalities and talents. 
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically, creatively problem-solve, exercise good judgment, and lead change; ability to transparently and honestly make and communicate decisions that advance the mission of the ACLU-AZ even when they are difficult.
  • Strong work ethic and the ability to interact effectively with volunteers from divergent geographical and socioeconomic backgrounds. 


  • Personally committed to advancing the ACLU-AZ’s values, mission, goals, and programs, with an understanding of the range of civil liberties issues and their implications.

  • A dedicated leader and representative who can translate vision into action; someone who is passionate about networking and representing the organization to critical constituencies, including ACLU-AZ members, the public, government, and the media.
  • A person who is inspiring, able to conceptualize and express ideas, and anticipate and act on events that may create opportunities for the ACLU-AZ.
  • A leader who is adept at understanding their strengths and areas for growth with a willingness and ability to lean on and take direction from staff who may have expertise in areas they do not. 
  • An entrepreneur who is creative, strategic, resourceful, and politically astute; and someone who understands the value of creating partnerships with other organizations as a way of accomplishing the ACLU-AZ’s goals.
  • An energetic person who can handle and prioritize multiple activities and responsibilities and who is a self-starter and finisher.
  • A team player who inspires collaboration and functions decisively; flexible and well-organized; with a keen understanding of their role as Executive Director in decision-making,  conflict management, and communication.
  • A person who is straightforward, shares information easily, listens as well as gives advice, and respects the abilities of others.         

Trisha Sutrisno and Amber Gomes of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials here or email tsutrisno@koyapartners.com and agomes@koyapartners.com directly. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

The ACLU of Arizona is an equal opportunity employer. It values a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status and record of arrest or conviction. 
The ACLU undertakes affirmative action strategies in its recruitment and employment efforts to assure that persons with disabilities have full opportunities for employment in all positions. It encourages applicants with disabilities who may need accommodations in the application process to contact Amber Gomes of Koya at agomes@koyapartners.com
About Koya Partners
Koya Partners, a part of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world. 

For more information about Koya Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.