Organization: Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Location: Chicago, IL

Express Interest

About Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance:

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) provides hope, inspiration, support and education to improve the lives of people who have mood disorders. Founded in 1985, DBSA is the leading peer-directed national organization focusing on the two most prevalent mental health conditions, depression and bipolar disorder.

DBSA’s record of accomplishments is extraordinary. The organization’s network of support is led by and created for individuals living with a mood disorder. National DBSA facilitates the work and development of more than 250 affiliate chapters that offer nearly 650 support groups. The organization reaches millions through extensive online and print resources as well.

DBSA is nationally recognized for its Peer Specialist training services, mental health advocacy work, extensive peer support network, and significant expertise in mood disorders. These achievements are largely possible because DBSA’s leadership, staff and Board members share an abiding passion for its mission. More than half of the DBSA staff and Board members live with a mood disorder and DBSA support groups are facilitated by peers.

Envisioning wellness for people living with depression and bipolar disorder, DBSA supports individuals with in-person and online peer support as well as online and print education materials. DBSA firmly believes in the value of peer-based, wellness-oriented and empowering services and resources that are available when people need them, where they need them, and how they need to receive them—online 24/7, in local support groups, in audio and video casts, or in printed materials distributed by DBSA, their chapters, and mental health care facilities across America.

Across the country, DBSA’s work is aligned with four foundational pillars:

  • Empower Wellness through education, tools, outreach, and hope for everyone with depression and bipolar disorder;
  • Cultivate Connections among all stakeholders to create powerful communities of shared experience and support;
  • Inspire Understanding to dismantle stereotypes, end discrimination, and change the conversation about mood disorders; and
  • Catalyze Transformation of the systems that drive access to and determine the quality of mental health care.

DBSA’s vision is intentionally ambitious: influence positive change in the mental health landscape where a vast network of diverse interests works harmoniously to ensure an integrated approach to help people with mood disorders lead full, meaningful lives. Under the leadership of a nationally recognized Board of Directors and dedicated DBSA staff, the organization is well poised for its next leader who can continue the trajectory and guide its success.

With a goal of ensuring continued growth and success, DBSA was reorganized in December to create a nimble environment that is increasingly responsive to its many stakeholders and partners. The primary change involved in the organizational restructuring consolidating the positions of President and Executive Vice President into the new role of a Chief Executive Officer. In addition, DBSA created the new position of Executive Vice President, External Affairs. Envisioning a near future where DBSA is recognized as the foremost advocacy organization for people experiencing the effects of mood disorders, the Board and staff are committed to enhancing the organization’s work to better serve its affiliate chapters.

For more information about DBSA, please visit

The Opportunity:

As DBSA enters this exciting phase of ambitious growth, the CEO will continue to inspire a national constituency to realize the importance of support and education and transform the definition of wellness across the healthcare system for people living with mood disorders. S/he will bring creative and visionary leadership to all areas of DBSA’s operations and expand its footprint locally and nationally.

The Board recently completed a 2017-2018 strategic plan that is an adaptable, data-driven framework for achieving measurable outcomes within DBSA’s three strategic choices: Peer Focus—helping people who have mood disorders lead full, meaningful lives; Advocacy—influencing positive change in the way the world views mental health; and Organizational Effectiveness—fulfilling current commitments and overarching vision with impact, accountability, and integrity.

The new CEO will lead DBSA’s efforts to advance this plan by:

  • Expanding DBSA’s role and reputation as an advocacy leader in the mental health space;
  • Driving the conversation on mental health and mood disorders in the United States;
  • Enhancing knowledge of DBSA among mental health providers;
  • Increasing public awareness of mental health challenges, particularly inadequate access to effective care; and
  • Providing consistent, high-quality support and education with measurable results.

DBSA seeks a compelling and proven strategic leader who will direct the organization through an exciting time of transformative growth. Partnering with the Board of Directors and overseeing a talented staff of 15, the CEO will lead the development and implementation of strategies to ensure the operational and financial health of the organization as it evolves to a scale enabling even greater impact.

This is a remarkable opportunity for an outstanding leader to join a well-regarded organization and lead a group of passionate and talented stakeholders in important efforts to transform the mental health landscape for people living with highly prevalent mental health conditions.

Key responsibilities include:

  • Setting organizational vision; developing and implementing plans and goals in partnership with the Board and the senior leadership team;
  • Ensuring programs and initiatives are conceived and delivered at the highest level of quality and are rigorously monitored and evaluated, meeting all financial goals and achieving optimal levels of operational and programmatic performance;
  • Enhancing and galvanizing DBSA’s base of support by communicating its vision and mission with passion and authenticity to a wide audience;
  • Collaborating with existing national and international partners while cultivating new relationships;
  • Representing DBSA as a leader at the local, state, and national levels among mental health and mood disorder advocacy organizations, alliances and associations; and
  • Instilling a culture of high performance by serving as a coach and mentor with an inspirational and consultative approach.

Candidate Profile:

The ideal candidate will have the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:

A Strategic Leader

The CEO will be a strategic leader who, with the Board, will set and articulate a vision for the organization’s transformative growth.  The CEO will have demonstrated ability to provide refreshed strategic leadership to business. S/he understands the importance of a robust partnership with the Board and will ensure fiduciary responsibility, sound financial management practices and accountability while remaining creative and innovative. S/he will understand and implement best practices for nonprofit management, including compelling communications, effective marketing strategies, and ensuring that overall day-to-day operations are aligned with strategic goals. An engaging and supportive leader, the CEO will have a track record of leveraging individual strengths and motivating teamwork to meet organizational goals. Fundamentally, the CEO will be capable of pulling the strategic levers to drive the organization with the right focus in the right areas.

A Business-Minded Executive

The CEO will be a confident leader with a track record of success in transformational organizational management. S/he will bring experience building and leading teams of the highest degree of professionalism and guiding team members’ growth and development. S/he will have an abiding commitment to a diverse and inclusive team environment, one that can establish priorities, goals, and timelines to achieve quantifiable and qualitative outcomes. The CEO will also possess the knowledge and ability to ensure that the Board is achieving its primary responsibilities of best practice governance.  S/he will be a strong verbal and written communicator capable of leveraging multiple media platforms to advance the organization’s mission and articulate its value proposition to a wide range of constituents.

An Effective Ambassador and Fundraiser

An articulate and informed executive, the CEO will assure DBSA’s eminence as a thought leader in the mental health sector. In partnership with external facing DBSA leaders, s/he will provide leadership and guidance to ensure DBSA’s mission and priorities are effectively conveyed to staff, Board and a broad range of constituents including the affiliate chapters, donors and other key stakeholders. S/he will be skilled in leading and deploying teams to enhance strong brand recognition and awareness. The CEO will also understand the critical elements of effective fundraising initiatives and will provide executive guidance to support a successful development team.

A Relationship Builder and Communicator

The CEO will possess the ability to promote among all stakeholders a powerful sense of shared purpose and engagement in the future of DBSA.  S/he understands the importance of developing robust partnerships with key internal and external stakeholders that include the Board, staff, affiliate chapters, donors, clinicians, health care organizations, and the mental health community. An inclusive and consultative leader by nature, the CEO will be adept in persuasively guiding this multidimensional, big tent organization to serve the varied voices and needs of all individuals living with mood disorders.

A Commitment to the Mission

The CEO will have a sincere interest in mental health.  She/he will appreciate the diverse impact of mood disorders on individuals and their loved ones, and strive to combat discrimination and stigma through education and awareness.  Committed to DBSA’s mission, s/he will embody the values of DBSA.  Moreover, the CEO will possess unquestioned integrity, ethics and values and be trusted by DBSA’s large network of stakeholders without reservation.


Koya Leadership Partners has been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please email Marissa Martin and Chartise Clark directly at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with mission-driven organizations, institutions of higher education, and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information, visit