Executive Director

Executive Director


New York, NY   |   December 8, 2020

About DataKind

This is, without hyperbole, a historic time for humanity.  Mobile phones, sensors and new software have created an abundance of data that can be mined, understood, and harnessed to gain new insights about our world and transform almost every sector. The same algorithms and techniques that companies use to boost profits can be thoughtfully leveraged by mission-driven organizations to improve the world, from battling hunger to advocating for child well-being and more.  However, most social change organizations don’t have the budget or staff to take full advantage of the data revolution and most data scientists don’t realize just how valuable their skills can be.

This is where DataKind comes in.

DataKind is a global nonprofit dedicated to harnessing the power of data science and artificial intelligence (AI) in the service of humanity. Named one of Fast Company’s 2017 top 10 innovative nonprofits, DataKind brings high-impact organizations together with talented pro bono experts from academia and industry to collaboratively design innovative solutions to tough social challenges. Our work helps organizations develop evidence-based decision-making, increase efficiency and enhance their data literacy. It also introduces data scientists to the Data-for-Good movement and provides an opportunity for them to share their skills.

A revolution like this is about more than harnessing data – it’s about bringing together amazing people. In fact, our work depends on it. Our programs build upon one another and are designed to meet organizations where they are. From evening or weekend events to multi-month projects, all are designed to provide social organizations with the pro bono data science innovation team they need to tackle critical humanitarian issues in the fields of education, poverty, health, human rights, the environment and cities.

Our work is guided by the following principles:

  • We are 20,000 strong: DataKind volunteers hail from almost every country across the world, representing a community of technologists and social changemakers who believe in using data science and AI for a stronger planet and a more just and prosperous world.
  • We have served 300+ projects around the world: From using satellite imagery to measure crop yields to automating the fight against hate speech online, our volunteer community has shown up to support a range of humanitarian needs.
  • People are at the center of our process: The most advanced machine learning algorithms are useless if they’re not designed for real people’s problems. DataKind celebrates human centered design principles that focus on the “why,” the “for whom,” and the “should we” long before we ever get going on the “what.”
  • “AI for Good” will only succeed if it’s “AI for All”: We will continue our work until all people and all communities can use digital technology for the outcomes they want to see. We support not just the tech communities of today, but anyone in any community who wants to lead in how data technologies serve their needs fairly.

Jake Porway, a machine learning and technology enthusiast and current Executive Director, founded DataKind in 2011 in the hopes of creating a world in which every social organization has access to data capacity to help achieve their missions. His contributions to the organization and the field have been immeasurable and as he steps down to pursue new ways to advance his passion, DataKind is seeking an extraordinary leader to bring the organization to its next phase of impact.

For more information on DataKind, please visit www.datakind.org.

The Opportunity

As DataKind enters this next chapter, it seeks an exceptional Executive Director (ED) to lead the organization to even greater levels of impact. This is an opportunity for a visionary leader to build upon the founding values and successes and forge a strategic path forward for the organization focused on growth and impact.  With strong analytical abilities, the Executive Director will identify and elevate DataKind’s greatest assets and competencies and match them against the current market need in a way that ensures impactful and sustainable organizational outcomes.

The Executive Director will bring exceptional leadership and strategic abilities, a proven ability to identify and secure resources in support of a mission, and an unshakeable belief in the power of data to effect change. As the shepherd of DataKind’s mission, the Executive Director will adeptly engage partners, volunteers, staff, and funders alike to support the organization and its growing impact across both national and global communities.

The ED will be responsible for DataKind’s organizational strategy and carrying out DataKind’s consistent achievement of its mission, strategic vision, and financial objectives. The ED will provide oversight of the organization’s operations, culture, values, talent and financial performance. Reporting to the Board of Directors and leading an extraordinary staff, the ED will spearhead the development and implementation of strategies and programs to ensure the operational and cultural health of DataKind as it evolves to enable even greater impact.

The Executive Director’s specific responsibilities include:

  • Working with the Board of Directors and the staff, provide forward-looking strategic leadership to DataKind ensuring the organization continues to adapt and innovate to best meet the current and future needs of the community.
  • Inspire trust and confidence by developing and strengthening new and existing partnerships with key stakeholders and constituencies, particularly funding organizations.
  • Ensure that all programmatic work is of high quality, conducted efficiently and is in service to the mission of increasing impact.
  • Drive growth of programs in a methodical and sustainable manner.
  • Provide inspirational, supportive and empowering leadership for a diverse range of extraordinarily passionate, committed, and skilled staff members; foster a culture of openness, transparency, and collaboration
  • Ensure the implementation of measures that advance the organization’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Ensure a first-rate experience for volunteers globally who are the lifeblood of the organization.
  • Serve as a compelling and persuasive spokesperson for DataKind by effectively representing its mission, goals, and services to the Board, staff, and both current and prospective partners and supporters, including DataKind’s dedicated base of volunteers across its global chapters.
Candidate Profile

The successful candidate may come from a variety of different backgrounds but will possess the following professional competencies and personal characteristics:

A Visionary & Strategic Leader

The Executive Director will be a strategic and results-oriented leader who, in partnership with the Board, Executive Team and staff, will develop and execute on the vision for DataKind’s next chapter. The successful candidate will have the ability to set priorities decisively, delegate responsibilities, assure accountability and allocate resources to ensure results. An engaged leader with a strong ability to inspire, the Executive Director will have experience leading through periods of growth and transition and demonstrate an ability to ‘think big’ while ensuring both sustainability and operational excellence.

Business Acumen, Operational and Change Management

The Executive Director will be a confident leader with a track record of success in organizational management, including deep managerial and operational expertise with a deftness to guide an organization through change. This decisive leader will bring experience retaining, building and leading teams of the highest degree of professionalism and guiding team members’ growth and development. The successful candidate will have the ability to develop a robust partnership with the Board and ensure fiduciary responsibility, sound financial management practices and accountability while remaining creative and innovative. The Executive Director will be a catalyst for the organization, implementing best practices for nonprofit management and ensuring attainment of strategic goals.

Fundraising and Communications Expertise

The Executive Director will be a compelling communicator who will serve as an ambassador for DataKind. The candidate will be able to effectively articulate and convey DataKind’s mission and priorities to a range of constituents including donors, partner organizations, the Board of Directors, staff and volunteers. This leader will have familiarity with a wide range of fundraising channels, including individual giving, corporate and foundation support. The Executive Director will have an inspirational approach to building collaboration and buy-in and generating support for the organization, continually innovating to help expand brand and reach externally while cultivating a culture of philanthropy among DataKind Board, staff and volunteers. As the voice of the organization, this leader will possess excellent oral and written communication skills and must be a confident public speaker. The ideal candidate will be equally skilled in engaging potential funders and volunteers alike while building DataKind’s presence across the global data for social good landscape.

Passion for the Mission

The Executive Director will be a dynamic and relational leader with a passion for the mission of DataKind as well as a demonstrated commitment to social impact and the power of community-driven engagement. They will bring an understanding of data science and technology and a strong belief in its potential to positively impact society’s greatest social challenges. Their personal values will reflect DataKind’s values: humble, sensitive and thoughtful, approachable and fun, transparent and open and committed to excellence and diversity. This individual will be a mission-driven leader with a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and an advocate for an explicitly anti-racist organizational stance.

Relationship Building & Collaboration

The Executive Director will connect, build bridges, and sustain excellent relationships with existing and potential partners to help further DataKind’s mission. This skilled leader will drive results across these stakeholder groups through a model of collaboration and partnership and will proactively establish relationships with organizations that contribute to the Data-for-Good cause. The Executive Director will be an inclusive leader who builds and supports a culture of collaboration among the Board, staff, and volunteers. Using well-honed facilitation skills, this individual will be consultative in promoting open dialogue with the staff and Board to identify best practices and ensure alignment. The Executive Director will be experienced in managing up and building positive Board relationships to help drive strategic organizational goals.


Erin Reedy and Marisa Chock at Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.


DataKind is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants.

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.