Director, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Director, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology)

Flexible, USA   |   May 27, 2020


For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST)® is the world’s leading youth-serving nonprofit advancing STEM education and the development of holistic skills to prepare young people for the future. For 31 years, FIRST has combined the rigor of STEM learning with the fun and excitement of traditional sports and the inspiration that comes from community through programs that have a proven impact on learning, interest and skill-building inside and outside of the classroom. This legacy and opportunity are as strong and dynamic as ever, as FIRST creates the people who will change the world – today and tomorrow. 

FIRST is on a mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

A vital part of the strategic intent of FIRST strategic intent is to serve an inclusive and diverse audience, reflecting the population of the communities we serve—and even going beyond through targeted, new community outreach. FIRST understands the broader societal context of economic, educational, and social factors historically leading to disproportionate access and outcomes. Leveraging cross-sector and industry collaborations, FIRST is actively engaged in developing strategies that remove barriers and ensure greater access to FIRST programs so that all youth can participate.

Please visit here, to read more on the approach of FIRST to reaching underserved communities.

FIRST® Core Values:

  • Discovery: We explore new skills and ideas.
  • Innovation: We use creativity and persistence to solve problems.
  • Impact: We apply what we learn to improve our world.
  • Inclusion: We respect each other and embrace our differences.
  • Teamwork: We are stronger when we work together.
  • Fun: We enjoy and celebrate what we do!

While FIRST is headquartered in our Manchester, NH office, we are open to a flexible remote option a few days per week. For more information on FIRST, please visit

The Opportunity

FIRST seeks a collaborative and strategic Director, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion (Director) who will be an authentic and thoughtful leader both internally and externally. The Director will view all things through the lens of Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion (EDI), driving ongoing, productive EDI strategic initiatives across the organization and with external partners to improve EDI in FIRST programs. The Director will be a content expert and thought leader for the organization as they think through how to best weave EDI into the fabric of FIRST initiatives.

Reporting directly to the President and member of the senior leadership team, the Director will manage a high-performing team, and oversee idea generation and strategy development to ensure FIRST programs are inclusive and accessible for all youth. The Director will be an experienced professional in the EDI space, with knowledge of EDI standard methodologies, the state of the profession, and current research to support the programmatic work of FIRST.  They will serve as a thought-leader, leveraging research and evaluation to assess strategy, generate data, and provide insights on impact.

Once travel is resumed, the Director is expected to travel 30% – 40% of the time.

Candidate Profile

Ideal candidates will have significant experience advancing an equity, diversity, and inclusion strategy for stakeholders across all levels of the organization. Deeply invested in fostering an equitable and inclusive working environment, they will have an understanding of, sensitivity to, and respect for diverse academic, socio-economic, ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds as well as identities – gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, etc.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Advance the FIRST mission and core values by cultivating an environment that celebrates all forms of diversity
  • Develop and implement a meaningful and impactful D&I strategy that addresses the organization’s Pillar of Increase Diversity, as part of the strategic plan;
  • Maximize, leverage, and influence both internal and external resources
  • Build a close and collaborative, cross-departmental partnership with FIRST leaders and key stakeholders to meet the D&I goals identified in the strategic plan;
  • Represent FIRST by soliciting, developing, and maintaining strategic partnerships with outside diversity organizations, including determining and stewarding partnerships;
  • In partnership with the Development team, steward key sponsors and strategic partners by presenting EDI strategy to internal and external stakeholders, representing the organization at critical meetings, and providing timely, accurate, and data-driven reporting on D&I goals and outcomes;
  • Position FIRST as a leader in EDI in peer STEM programs by providing exceptional thought leadership, representing FIRST at EDI conferences, and actively identifying opportunities to market FIRST’s work through white papers, articles, blogs, etc;
  • Partner cross-functionally to drive the design and delivery of inclusive messaging and processes, using data to support successes and identify areas for improvement;
  • Design and implement EDI training for the FIRST community, including employees, volunteers, coaches, and program participants;
  • Ensure that decision-making for organization-wide goals, programs, products, and strategic plans are inclusive of the diverse range of voices, experiences, and perspectives of the FIRST community;
  • Manage bias incident reporting from parents, youth, volunteers, coaches, and mentors;
  • Serve as the primary point of contact for discrimination and harassment prevention policies to provide a safe, alternative pathway for employees to report allegations of discrimination and/or harassment;
  • Partner with Youth Protection team on all incidents and complaints that require EDI expertise

In addition, strong candidates will offer:

  • Exceptional interpersonal and communication skills that effectively build trust, leverage internal and external networks, and achieve positive results;
  • The ability to effectively translate complex and nuanced information across diverse audiences, including youth participants, sponsors, parents, volunteers, and leaders;
  • Strong facilitation and training skills with experience delivering external trainings for a variety of stakeholders;
  • Exemplary understanding of inclusive decision-making, non-profit business strategy and how to link diversity and inclusion to business priorities and initiatives;
  • Ability to thrive in an environment of ambiguity and change;
  • Strong attention to detail, guided by intellectual flexibility;
  • Track record of effective team management and leadership, with strong focus on emotional intelligence;
  • Experience in STEM, education, and/or youth programs preferred; and
  • Minimum of an undergraduate degree.

Koya Leadership Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Alicia Salerno is leading this search. To express your interest in this role please visit this link here. All nominations, inquiries, and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.


Thriving on our core values, celebrating the uniqueness of our employees and committed to inclusion, FIRST is proud to be an equal opportunity employer.

About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners, a member 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 Leadership Partners, visit