Mar 25, 2024

Executive Director

  • GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)
  • Boston, MA, USA
Full-Time Executive Management (CEO/ED)

Job Description

Executive Director


GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)

Location Flexible- Northeast preferred


“These are extraordinary times, but we cannot shy away from the challenges before us. GLAD is charting a bold new path to pursue the promise of freedom, equality, and justice for all.” GLAD’s Justice for All Strategic Plan (2022)


Nationally recognized for our unmatched litigation efforts and legal expertise in advancing LGBTQ+ rights for over 45 years, GLAD is at the leading edge of the historic fight for full LGBTQ+ equality and justice. Through impact litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, GLAD works regionally and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination on the basis of gender identity, HIV status, and sexual orientation.




A Victorious History

Here at GLAD, we don't just envision change—we make it happen ( Since our founding in 1978, we broke ground with key movement victories, from establishing HIV protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act to securing transgender rights in groundbreaking legal battles. Twenty years ago, we won a landmark ruling establishing a constitutional right to marry for same-sex couples from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, cementing GLAD’s impact in national conversations around LGBTQ+ rights that led to arguing in front of the United States Supreme Court in 2015 and securing marriage equality across the country. GLAD has led national coalitions to fight back against oppressive policies targeting the transgender community, including the transgender military ban and healthcare bans in states across the country.


While GLAD’s success in fighting for marriage equality is nationally recognized, our effectiveness and reach extend far beyond this cornerstone of the LGBTQ+ movement. Our legal experts and public education advocates are not only leaders and visionaries, but strategic tacticians skilled at winning victories for the entire LGBTQ+ community—both in the courts and the court of public opinion. Through offensive and defensive strategies, we are prepared to secure rights for all LGBTQ+ Americans, ensuring progress and protection for all.


A Steadfast Commitment to Racial Justice

GLAD is focused on ensuring that our legal strategies to advance LGBTQ+ equity and equality acknowledge intersecting oppressions and advance interlocking social movements, particularly racial and economic justice. We honor intersectionality in advancing LGBTQ+ equity and recognize the interconnectedness of social justice movements and racial equity. Our efforts encompass mitigating harm within systems that disproportionately affect LGBTQ+ people of color advocating for systemic reform. We address inequalities in healthcare access and the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. Through strategic legal challenges, partnerships with LGBTQ+ communities of color, and coalition-building with allied movements, we strive for systemic change across all justice movements while ensuring our organizational culture reflects these values.


Why Now?


Nearly fifty years after our founding, the LGBTQ+ community is facing increasingly hostile attacks and vitriol towards our lives, families, and future. As a nonprofit law firm with national reach and respect, GLAD’s legal advocacy, legislative work, and policy influence is needed more than ever before. With increasing political hostilities threatening the safety of our community, we seek an Executive Director who dreams big, who honors and respects the entirety of our movement, and who is unafraid to lead a dedicated team of LGBTQ+ leaders, staff, and legal experts.


GLAD has been at the forefront of defending and expanding LGBTQ+ rights for decades—and that won’t stop now. As the battle for inclusion and equality grows increasingly urgent, our forward-thinking Justice for All Strategic Plan ( endeavors to deepen our national leadership and impact, expand our legal capacity, protect a multiracial, pluralistic democracy, invest in organizational infrastructure, and sustain an antiracist and intergenerational movement.


A Message from the Board President


“The gravity of the times we are currently living in cannot be understated. We are seeing unprecedented attacks on the livelihoods and rights of the LGBTQ+ and allied justice communities in legislatures and courts across the country, and democracy is also under immense threat. GLAD’s next leader will help guide one of the most effective impact litigation organizations into its next phase. This is a tremendous opportunity for a clear-eyed, principled, thoughtful leader to work with a talented and committed staff and board to protect, defend, and advance the rights of this community. The board is excited to partner, in collaboration with our staff, with our new Executive Director in the years ahead. We encourage candidates from many different backgrounds to learn more about GLAD and express an interest in this exciting role!”


-Shane Dunn (he/him), President, Board of Directors


Learn more about GLAD at


The Executive Director Opportunity


• Following a highly successful nine-year tenure from GLAD’s previous Executive Director (ED), we are searching for our next leader during a momentous time in our movement’s and nation’s history. The new ED will join an organization with stable finances, dedicated multigenerational staff, strong fundraising headwinds, and solid plans for organizational growth and sustainability. To support a successful transition, GLAD has hired an experienced Interim Executive Director, Richard Burns, to prepare the organization for new leadership and provide our next ED with the transition and onboarding support critical to successfully move the organization forward.


• GLAD has always been a frontline responder in the battle for LGBTQ+ rights—now, we need a trailblazing ED to lead the charge. As legislative attacks threaten to roll back protections on our community, we seek a dynamic visionary to lead our $5M+ organization and grow our capacity, financial resources, impact, scale, and presence.


• As a key public-facing representative of GLAD’s mission, values, and work, the next ED will lead a powerhouse team of 35+ staff and interns, including a Legal Team comprised of some of the nation’s most highly regarded LGBTQ+ and human rights litigators. The next ED will join this historic group of leaders and pioneers in defending our hard-won victories, spearheading bold new initiatives, and continuing our relentless pursuit of LGBTQ+ equality at a critical juncture for the movement.


Reporting to a committed Board of Directors (, the ED serves as GLAD’s chief ambassador, fundraiser, and spokesperson, working in close partnership with movement partners, funders, and other key stakeholders to amplify our voice, ignite change, and fight for every member of our community. The ED will provide equitable leadership to deepen and extend our coalition of allies, partners, and co-conspirators; rally support from every corner; secure new funding to fuel our planned growth; and grow an inclusive culture in which everyone can thrive.


This is more than just a job—it’s an opportunity to help a nationally renowned organization grow its impact at a critical moment for our community. As we rally the movement, the ED will play a crucial role in spearheading GLAD’s current strategic priorities, which include:


• Expanding and deepening GLAD’s national impact and presence.

• Growing our legal capacity.

• Ensuring an equitable and inclusive workplace.

• Further building a hybrid workspace for greater, more flexible online collaboration.


The Executive Director’s key responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:


Strategy & Leadership

• Engage the staff, Board of Directors, and other key stakeholders in advancing a shared vision and direction for GLAD.

• Create short- and long-term plans to implement GLAD’s current strategic priorities that create shared accountability and clear milestones.

• Pursue, steward, and secure strategic relationships and partnerships that strengthen GLAD’s reputation, visibility, and impact.

• Deepen diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and antiracism across all parts of the organization to foster an inclusive, equity-forward culture.

• Serve as an external leader in the national movement, pursuing opportunities for collective impact and advancing a shared vision.


Funding & Resource Development

• Serve as a persuasive and inspirational major gifts fundraiser for GLAD, working in collaboration with the Development Team and Board Development Committee to set, pursue, and secure ambitious and sustainable fundraising goals.

• Secure new sources of funding and diversify existing revenue streams to strengthen GLAD’s financial position.

• Maintain, develop, and enhance positive relationships with key current funders while identifying, cultivating, and securing new donors.


Organizational and Team Management

• Champion efforts to strengthen an equitable organizational culture for 35+ employees and interns and 15-20 board members.

• Lead and guide the functions of the Senior Management Team (SMT) with direct management responsibilities over four senior leaders: Development, Finance and Operations, Legal, and Public Affairs and Education.

• In partnership with the SMT, facilitate staff professional development, promote recruitment and retention best practices, facilitate effective performance management and evaluation systems, provide coaching, and expand career advancement pathways to build best-in-class teams.

• Provide strong organizational development leadership, including the development and improvement of organizational infrastructure (such as processes, systems, tools, and protocols) to maximize efficiency and support future growth.


Community Engagement and Strategic Alliances

• Continually scan the advocacy landscape to identify strategic alliances and coalitions within and beyond the movement that amplify organizational impact, foster collaboration, and drive collective progress towards achieving shared goals of equality and social justice, particularly for communities of color.

• Provide compelling storytelling about GLAD’s mission, programs, and accomplishments with the public forum.

• In close partnership with GLAD’s Public Affairs & Education and Legal Teams, deepen and nurture relationships with community leaders, government agencies, partner organizations, local businesses, elected officials, and other external stakeholders to deepen collaboration, engage new constituencies, and expand community presence.


External Relations and Presence

• As GLAD’s principal spokesperson, engage diverse audiences through earned media and public platforms to bolster funding, elevate GLAD's presence in the market, increase GLAD’s political influence, and garner robust support for GLAD's mission.

• Drive brand visibility and recognition through strategic oversight of organizational communications, encompassing messaging, branding initiatives, and donor communications.

• Assess opportunities to represent GLAD in public forums, delegate strategic opportunities to organizational leaders, and orchestrate public speaking and media engagement opportunities that amplify GLAD's national presence, profile, and voice on a national stage.


Financial and Operational Management

• Work with the CFO and Finance & Audit Committee of the Board to provide transparent fiscal stewardship of GLAD and proactively manage financial resources to ensure its long-term financial health.

• With the support of the CFO and the SMT, prepare annual budgets that responsibly steward the financial health of the organization.

• Deploy nonprofit best practices to ensure that responsible policies and risk management procedures are in place to keep the organization viable and sustainable.

• Work closely with key infrastructure leaders to identify opportunities to streamline operations, implement best practices, and optimize resources, and maximize organizational efficiency.

Hiring Organization

GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)


Candidate Profile


GLAD has a commitment to justice and lived equality; inclusion, equity, and mutual respect; anti-racism, and collaboration, and has defined these as the core values that are integral to fulfilling our mission. These organizational values ( apply to all levels and positions in the organization and each employee is encouraged to find ways to integrate the core values into their day-to-day work.


GLAD’s next Executive Director does not need to be a lawyer or come directly from the LGBTQ+ legal advocacy space, though both of those experiences would be beneficial. An authentic commitment to LGBTQ+ advocacy and civil rights is critical, as are the leadership, strategic, and visionary skills required to help GLAD successfully meet the challenges of this moment in history.


We encourage interest from candidates from all backgrounds, especially those who are transgender, disabled, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color). GLAD is committed to fostering an inclusive and diverse workplace where all individuals are valued and respected. While not every candidate will have experience in all the responsibilities outlines in the position profile, successful candidates will be guided by these core competencies:


Alignment with GLAD’s Mission

Deeply committed to GLAD’s values, you feel compelled to amplify GLAD’s national presence and quest to defend and expand LGBTQ+ rights. You lead with humility, kindness, and compassion; demonstrate integrity and transparency; and exhibit a genuine passion for our mission, values, and work. A patient and empathetic listener, you address organizational challenges with transparency and open communication and are a champion for including diverse representation, particularly for those with marginalized and multiple marginalized identities, at all levels of seniority. You see this as an opportunity to leverage your leadership skills to elevate GLAD’s impact and influence on a national stage, drive meaningful progress in LGBTQ+ rights, and recognize that GLAD’s litigation, legislation, policy advocacy, and collaboration are crucial to securing strategic legal victories and advancing equality for the LGBTQ+ community across the country.


Fundraising and Resource Development

Captivated by the excitement of fundraising for a cause, you thrive on seizing opportunities to attract donor attention and cultivate new revenue streams. You bring an understanding and curiosity of the competitive fundraising landscape, how and where GLAD can gain new forms of financial support, and know how to leverage generational transfers of wealth as you engage donors to bolster financial stability. Through persuasive storytelling and deep personal connections, you foster meaningful donor relationships to ensure sustainable funding and pave the way for organizational growth and success. An ambitious leader, you bring either a demonstrated track record of fundraising success closing gifts from individuals or institutions or are open, committed, and ready to learn quickly and become an outstanding relationship-driven fundraiser.


Strategic Planning and Execution

A strategic thinker, you adeptly navigate increasingly politicized social landscapes to drive measured growth and impact. You work through consensus to maximize capacity, overcome internal and external challenges, and work collaboratively to ensure smooth adaptation to change. With a penchant for ambitious goals, you foster alignment with organizational objectives and inspire confidence among teams. Through collaborative partnerships and effective leadership, you set and execute strategic priorities, empower your teams to achieve impactful outcomes, build capacity for long-term sustainability, and navigate both internal and external challenges with transparency and grace. As a leader and advocate, you understand how to develop and implement strategic frameworks within a multi-stakeholder environment or organization.


External Presence and Relationship Building

A deeply relational and connected leader, you embrace and lift up local and national advocacy partners to achieve impact and recognition. You are a skilled storyteller who creates impactful narratives that incite calls to action, coalesce key stakeholders, and inspire the belief that our movement is stronger together. As the external face of an organization, you have a track record of successfully increasing name recognition, engaging a diverse range of audiences and collaborators, and forging strategic partnerships within civil rights and LGBTQ+ advocacy to advanced shared goals of equality and social justice for all.


Leadership and Organizational Development

A motivational leader, you commit to fostering inclusive workplace cultures where staff feel empowered to achieve their full potential and embrace change. You prioritize staff well-being by facilitating strong operations, partnering with senior leaders to develop clear career pathways for junior staff, and invest in technology to support a fast-paced, agile organization. You honor and emphasize staff support, recognition, and appreciation to maintain a healthy organizational culture, support strategic hiring, and foster organizational agility. Above all else, you invest in emerging leaders and firmly believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion are integral for the movement’s success.

Industry/Service Area





Location, Compensation, and Benefits


GLAD’s office is based in Downtown Boston and operates under a hybrid schedule that is flexible by department. Although Boston-based candidates or candidates in the Northeast region of the US are preferred, it is not required. We welcome interest from candidates outside of Boston and the Northeast who consider this an extraordinary leadership opportunity to positively impact the LGBTQ+ community. We want to get to know you!


Regardless of location, the Executive Director will commit to regular presence in GLAD’s Boston offices and support connection and collaboration in a hybrid organization. Regular travel to convenings and meetings in other locations across the country is also required.


Salary for the role is anticipated to range from $215K-$250K, commensurate with experience. GLAD provides excellent benefits including three weeks of paid vacation, covering 100% of individual health and dental insurance for single employees (60% for employee plus spouse/family), a 401(k) with employer contribution, and disability insurance.


Note that the final salary will reflect internal equity and the selected candidate’s individual experiences and qualifications.

Application Instructions

Search Timeline, Interview Process, and Contact


Koya Partners l Diversified Search Group has been exclusively retained for this engagement, which is being led by Molly Brennan and Malissa Brennan. Candidate reviews will be conducted on an ongoing basis by our search partners. The interview process will consist of Search Committee Interviews, a minimum of one in-person interview day in Boston, and an in-person interview with GLAD Board Chair, Shane Dunn.


GLAD aims to extend an offer in June and will work with the finalist candidate to establish a mutually beneficial start date for Summer 2024.


To express interest, please submit a compelling cover letter and resume by filling out Koya Partners | Diversified Search Group's Talent Profile: All inquiries are strictly confidential.


Koya Partners l Diversified Search Group is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.


GLAD challenges discriminatory systems, policies and practices; engages in intentional, sustained partnerships with LGBTQ communities of color; and works to build and maintain coalitions with allied social justice movements. We pay equal attention to our organizational culture, practices, and staff and board composition to ensure that they reflect these values. An equal opportunity employer, GLAD and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants.


About Koya Partners l Diversified Search Group


Koya Partners, a Diversified Search Group company, is the nation’s premier search firm dedicated to mission-driven leadership. Since its founding in 2004, Koya has had an exclusive focus on mission-driven clients and was founded on the belief that the right leader can transform an organization and have a deep and measurable impact on our world. Koya works with nonprofits & NGOs, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.


Diversified Search Group is consistently recognized by Forbes on its top 10 list of “America’s Best Executive Recruiting Firms” and is an industry leader in recruiting transformational leaders for a changing world. The firm is deliberately different in its approach, with best-in-class teams who have decades of experience in cultivating inclusive leaders, understanding the dimensions of diversity, and building equitable teams.


Learn more about Koya Partners l Diversified Search Group via the firm's website:

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