Executive Director

Executive Director

Freelancers Union

Brooklyn, NY   |   October 7, 2019


For 25 years, Freelancers Union has been the leading voice and resource for independent workers nationwide, through policy advocacy, insurance offerings, and community building.

With 450,000 members across all 50 states, Freelancers Union serves the interests of a fast-growing and increasingly diverse workforce of nearly 57 million people. It has fought for and won protections for freelance workers, including the Unincorporated Business Tax reform, and has successfully advocated for new health care models. In 2016, Freelancers Union led a successful campaign to enact first-of-its-kind “Freelance Isn’t Free” legislation in New York City, giving freelancers unprecedented protections against nonpayment and underpayment. Freelancers Union builds on strong relationships with political leaders, labor partners, and the business community to support its members.

Membership is free and open to freelancers across the economic spectrum, from contract and temp workers to solo entrepreneurs and moonlighters. Our members’ occupations are likewise varied, ranging from graphic designers and consultants to midwives and bookkeepers.

Freelancers Union offers:

  • Policy advocacy and support, including spearheading the Freelance Isn’t Free campaign and co-commissioning the annual Freelancing in America survey
  • Insurance policies, including health, dental, term life, disability, liability, and accident and illness
  • Community, including Freelancers Hub in NYC and monthly SPARK meetup events in more than 20 cities
  • Resources, including contract templates, tax guides, and the #1 blog for freelancers

Freelancers Union is primarily funded through revenue-generating businesses that create sustainable income streams, with opportunities for growth in private philanthropic funding. Based in New York City, Freelancers Union has built its members into a powerful political constituency to successfully pass policy reforms in New York and influence the national conversation on the future of work.

Beyond its mission and its impact on behalf of independent workers, the organization and team are passionate about and proud of the culture and work environment they have created. They believe every team member has an important contribution to make toward achieving the organization’s goals, both through collaborative teamwork and independent initiative.

Freelancers Union has its offices in the Made in NY Media Center in Brooklyn, NY, where it also offers free coworking space, workshops, and networking events.

The Opportunity

Freelancers Union seeks a strategic and visionary Executive Director to guide the organization into its next chapter of growth. The Executive Director will lead a nimble and committed team of staff members, in addition to various consultants and contractors, in building and overseeing a strategic vision that speaks to the distinct and evolving needs of freelancers. To do this effectively, the Executive Director will develop and enact a meaningful advocacy agenda, continue and expand an innovative revenue generation model offering valuable community-driven resources to freelancers, and maintain a community of creative and engaged union members.

Today’s freelance workforce is notable for its professional, geographic, racial, socioeconomic, and age diversity. The Executive Director will apply a unique combination of advocacy, innovation, and leadership skills to benefit this broad group of independent professionals in New York State and nationwide.

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

Providing Strategic Vision and Leadership

  • Craft and apply understanding of freelancers’ needs to a strategic plan for the organization to guide its work, impact change, usher in valuable resources, and increase its membership.
  • Bring a compelling and credible voice to the diverse and multifaceted body of freelancers working across the economic spectrum throughout the country.
  • Apply knowledge of local, state, and federal legislative changes to Freelancers Union strategy and activities on an ongoing basis.
  • Understand and anticipate how the landscape of freelance work is changing, including through digital platforms that are creating new opportunities and vulnerabilities for independent workers.
  • Build the Freelancers Union brand and serve as a representative and promoter of the organization’s mission in public settings of all sizes with partners, political leaders, press, and other stakeholders.

Guiding Revenue Generation and Financial Management

  • Increase, diversify, and secure resources for Freelancers Union through revenue-generating business partnerships and other appropriate sources of income.
  • Support and oversee the organization’s financial health and growth.
  • Provide fundraising support and grant oversight to nurture current grants and develop future grants and other public/private opportunities and foundation opportunities.
  • Direct organizational operations, including financial decision-making and management.

Leading Advocacy and Organizing

  • Establish a policy agenda based on freelancers’ needs and engage members to advocate for political change.
  • Apply a nuanced understanding of the political landscape to enable Freelancers Union to chart its political strategies and successfully build the power of freelancers in New York and nationally.
  • Ensure that grassroots membership of freelance workers is central to campaign and program development, focused on developing a strategy to organize freelancers into a powerful political constituency and building consciousness to raising important issues.

 Providing Organizational Leadership

  • Lead all elements of staff management, including the management of key vendors and contractors; work to ensure a creative, collaborative workplace and energetic organizational culture; and provide empowering and supportive leadership.
  • Focus on thoughtful and intentional organizational development with a commitment to professional growth for team members at all levels, and invest thoughtfully in staff development and cohesion.
  • Cultivate a strong working partnership with the Board and leverage their skills and relationships to increase the capacity of the organization and meet the organization’s financial and programmatic goals.
Candidate Profile

This position calls for a multifaceted leader who is deeply committed to building a community that supports and advocates for the needs of the freelance workforce. Ideal candidates will bring a diverse set of professional experiences with meaningful understanding of freelance workers’ needs. Potential backgrounds may include labor, local or state government, grassroots community organizing and nonprofit or arts management.

The organization seeks an innovative leader with the ability to identify and seize opportunities, while also building and moving towards long-term goals. The Executive Director will have demonstrated organizational leadership and management skills, outstanding external relations skills, enthusiasm for making a major impact in freelancers’ lives, and a belief in the power of unions to create change.

The Executive Director should bring the following competencies and characteristics:

Strategic Leadership and Advocacy

The Executive Director will understand and be passionate about engaging members around a shared agenda focused on serving freelancers’ needs. This individual will be ready to establish strategic goals to take the organization forward with compelling programming and a clear advocacy framework, applying a multidimensional lens to the work. Knowledge of labor law and benefits structures, as well as city and/or state politics, will provide a helpful foundation for the Executive Director’s leadership. 

Revenue Generation, External Affairs, and Passion for Relationship-Building

As the lead ambassador for Freelancers Union, the Executive Director will have the ability to develop and leverage strong relationships with supporters, political leaders, and other important stakeholders. Familiarity with New York City or State government is a plus. Outstanding communication skills will also be key, as the Executive Director may have frequent and high-level speaking engagements, media appearances, and other opportunities to advance the Freelancers Union mission and engage the public. Applying a creative lens to revenue generation, the Executive Director will build on existing partnerships and identify new opportunities for financial growth for the organization. 

Visionary Leadership

The Executive Director will be committed to bold leadership with vision, creativity, and approachability. The new leader will understand the importance of cultivating a strong staff and organizational culture that is based in kindness and integrity, as well as developing meaningful relationships with the diverse body of freelance workers that comprise the Union membership. The Executive Director will be enthusiastic in developing the strengths and leadership of an idealistic and committed staff. The new leader will be ready to oversee fiscal management and the development of the organization’s management capacities.


Freelancers Union has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume to Molly Brennan and Shelby Woods here.

Freelancers Union is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate against any individual based on any non-merit factor and is committed to an equitable workplace where everyone is treated as a respected and valued member of the team. Freelancers Union actively seeks to build and maintain a diverse staff with regard to race, culture, ethnicity, class, religion, physical ability, age, gender, and sexual orientation.

Freelancers Union is committed to fostering the leadership and elevating the voices of women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and people with disabilities. Individuals from these communities are encouraged to apply.

About Koya Leadership Partners

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