May 03, 2021

Executive Director

  • DRG
  • New York, NY
Full-Time Executive Management (CEO/ED)

Job Description


Women’s Prison Association (WPA) is the nation's first organization for women impacted by incarceration. Our approach is personal. We address the root causes of systems involvement, know the data, and are focused on the needs and nuances of individuals. We believe women are the experts in their own lives. We partner with women to use our collective voice and experience to drive change that positively impacts families, communities, and society. We envision a society where our reliance on incarceration has been replaced by constructive, community-driven responses.

WPA has developed innovative programming, been at the forefront of groundbreaking advocacy efforts, and promoted forward-thinking strategies that always ask, “what about women?” As the need for WPA remains and even grows, we are steadfast in our commitment to empower women as they redefine their lives in the face of injustice and incarceration.


Building on 175 years of success, WPA is seeking an Executive Director to provide vision, leadership and management of all aspects of the organization. WPA is at a pivotal juncture in its journey, presenting the opportunity to become a major force and thought leader in gender-responsive programming for women impacted by the criminal legal system. 

The Executive Director will work collaboratively with the Board of Directors in analyzing the existing strategic plan and overseeing a new strategic plan, and refining and communicating the mission, vision, values and purpose both internally and externally. This person will have ultimate responsibility for the performance of the growing organization currently comprised of 119 staff, 3 facilities, and overall revenues of $8.2 million. They will oversee and lead all agency operations, including supervision of the Executive Team, oversight of WPA’s finances, advancement of resource development, and program innovation, development, and implementation. 

As the professional leader, this person will foster a welcoming and safe work environment for all, uphold WPA’s commitment to advancing equity, and ensure that program services are both inclusive and hold systems accountable for the cultural, racial, and other prejudicial barriers clients face within the criminal legal system. The ideal person for this role is a visionary with a strategic mindset who can lead with empathy and vulnerability. They are a strong unifier and people-connecter who can lead and empower a team and knows how to communicate with transparency and authenticity.


Strategic Vision & Leadership

  • Analyze the existing strategic plan and oversee a new strategic planning process that will maximize impact in program services, increase mission visibility, and position WPA as a national thought-leader.

  • Cultivate a strong and transparent working relationship with the Board and staff at all levels. Ensure open communication around the measurement of financial, programmatic, and impact performance against stated milestones and goals.

  • Provide vision for creativity and innovation in program services, ensuring that programs continuously evolve and adapt to reflect changes within the criminal legal system and the needs of clients.

  • Partner with the Nominating Committee to build a diverse and inclusive Board representative of the community that is highly engaged and willing to leverage and secure resources.

  • Develop, mentor and coach a high-performing Executive Team, defining clear metrics for success and establishing pathways for personal and professional growth.

  • Continue building and maintaining a high-performing diverse and inclusive culture of transparency, trust, collaboration and fun where all employees feel welcomed, appreciated and have equal access to opportunity including people from intersectional and marginalized experiences and groups.

  • Unfailingly model the desirable attributes of the culture, passionately advocate for them, and exhibit an understanding, sensitivity, and responsiveness to the differences in cultures and lived experiences present amongst staff.

Infrastructure, Operations & Program Delivery

  • Assume ultimate oversight and responsibility for the effective management of staff and infrastructure including optimizing policies, practices and systems required to manage financial resources and the growing operating budget, and ensuring clarity and consistency in roles, structures and processes.

  • Promote a positive, inclusive and empowering work environment that upholds a shared understanding of the mission, consistency throughout employee and client experiences, and standards of excellence & accountability in achieving goals.

  • Facilitate cross-departmental collaboration and strengthen avenues of communication between staff throughout the organization.

  • Oversee the financial status of the organization including developing long and short-range financial plans, monitoring the budget and ensuring sound financial controls are in place; set financial priorities accurately to ensure the organization is operating in a manner that supports the needs and values of the program and staff.

  • Ensure that the delivery of services are appropriate & culturally sensitive to the unique needs of clients.

  • Oversee the modernization, renovation and technological upgrade of all facilities and operations.

Development, External Relations & Advocacy

  • Serve as the chief spokesperson of WPA, acting as the primary driver in donor and partner cultivation, solicitation and stewardship.

  • Position WPA for national leadership and impact and attract support and awareness for WPA’s work.

  • Pursue innovative streams of income and partnerships to diversify sources of support, ensuring that there are resources to support the expansion and innovation of programs, and that funds are allocated properly to reflect present needs and future potential. Partner with the Board and the Development team to build a culture of philanthropy within the organization.

  • In collaboration with staff, build the advocacy arm of the agency to positively influence policies & legislations surrounding women impacted by incarceration.

  • Effectively communicate WPA’s mission externally and build partnerships and coalitions with stakeholders, funders, community leaders, and like-minded mission-oriented organizations within the space.

Hiring Organization

Women’s Prison Association



  • A visionary, strategy-oriented leader with a track-record of success leading an organization of similar size and complexity providing direct services. 

  • A transparent and responsive leader with proven success in building, developing & empowering teams.

  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

  • Change management expertise related to organizational structure, processes and culture.

  • Demonstrated activism, professional experience and/or interest in the criminal legal system is a must; experience with gender-responsive and trauma-informed programming a plus.

  • A seasoned fundraiser with a track record of cultivating and soliciting major gifts and diversifying fundraising revenue.

  • Knowledge of government grants/contracts.

  • A confident and energetic leader with superior communication skills and proven success in building relationships and coalitions across a variety of internal and external stakeholders.

  • Experience overseeing facility management, renovation and acquisition.

  • A media-savvy leader with a deep understanding of market dynamics and platforms.

This position description is based upon material provided by Women’s Prison Association, an equal opportunity employer. We strongly encourage those with lived/personal experience in the criminal legal system to apply.

To apply to this position please visit -

Yasmine Coccoli, Associate Search Consultant

Lori Clement, Senior Talent Consultant

Industry/Service Area

Crime/Legal, Human Services, Other



Application Instructions

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