Executive Director

Executive Director


Flexible Location, USA   |   November 19, 2021

About Girlstart

Girlstart aspires to be the national leader in designing and implementing innovative, high quality, evidence-based STEM education programs that inspire girls to transform our world. The world’s greatest challenges need new STEM ideas and insights; yet half of the world’s potential ideamakers—women and girls—are discouraged from developing vital STEM ideas. We believe that more girls with more ideas will create more solutions to benefit us all. At Girlstart, we cultivate a culture where risk is rewarded, curiosity is encouraged, and creativity is expected. Girlstart girls are connected, brave, and resilient. Participation in Girlstart makes girls more successful and inspires them to take on the world’s greatest challenges.

Through its comprehensive programming, Girlstart provides a year-round, intensive suite of STEM education programs for K-12 girls, with a focus on the critical 4th through 8th grade years, that includes after-school programming, summer camps and an annual conference, among other options. With headquarters in Austin, TX, the organization is currently operating programs in Texas, Massachusetts and California in addition to satellite programming in other locations as well as virtual programming. Research has shown that participation in Girlstart programming has significant, positive outcomes for participants. Girlstart plans to continue to expand its reach nationally to ensure that all girls have access to this programming, regardless of location. Girlstart’s core programs foster STEM skills development, an understanding of the importance of STEM as a way to solve the world’s major problems, as well as an interest in STEM electives, majors, and careers.

For more information on Girlstart, please visit http://girlstart.org and to hear directly from our participants, please watch this inspiring video.

The Opportunity

Girlstart seeks a dynamic, passionate and experienced leader to serve as its Executive Director and to guide the organization’s next chapter of work and growth.  This is an unparalleled opportunity to inspire a dedicated team of 16 and to significantly increase the organization’s scale and impact in the years to come.  The Board of Directors will look to its next Executive Director to think creatively and strategically about the current opportunities and challenges facing the organization and propose ways that Girlstart can scale in order to increase its national influence in the coming years.

The Executive Director leads and directs the advancement and fulfillment of the mission of the organization. The Executive Director is responsible for the achievement of all strategic and operational goals, including fundraising and donor development, fiscal management, grants, programming, board relations, staff oversight, community relations and administrative matters.

Key responsibilities of the next Executive Director include:

Team and Organization:

  • Enthusiastic commitment to and embodiment of the values and mission of the organization;
  • Inspire and motivate others to action, leading through influence;
  • Build, lead, partner with, mentor and inspire a talented, lean, and highly engaged staff;

Growth and Impact:

  • Raise the visibility of the organization as a leader in the STEM space nationally;
  • Lead efforts to grow the reach of the organization; work directly to ensure continued commitment of current contributors and the engagement and stewardship of new and prospective donors;
  • Position the organization for national growth and expansion, leading through change management principles.
  • Oversee program work, including leading continuous learning and improvement and consideration of innovative ways to increase impact;


  • Be a visible representative of the organization in ways that enhance its image and increase awareness of its activities;
  • Develop strategy, aligning organizational goals and objectives to be consistent with the mission and vision of the organization;
  • Provide operational leadership for all aspects of the organization including overseeing financial integrity and ensuring compliance with all applicable legal, accounting and reporting regulations;
Candidate Profile

The Executive Director of Girlstart will possess the following attributes and competencies:

External Effectiveness

Cultivating Networks & Partnerships

  • The Executive Director will initiate and maintain strategic relationships with stakeholders and potential partners inside and outside the organization who are willing and able to provide the information, ideas, expertise, and/or influence needed to advance organizational goals.

Strategic Influence

  • The Executive Director will serve as a powerful ambassador for the organization’s mission, able to inspire trust, confidence and participation in the work among stakeholders that will advance the organization’s mission and scope. Through interpersonal diplomacy, the Executive Director will build trust and ensure mutual understanding.

Business Management Skills

Building Organizational Talent

  • The Executive Director will establish systems and processes to attract, engage, and retain talented individuals, creating a work environment where staff can realize their full potential. They will champion internal staff development and emphasize retention and career satisfaction to ensure organizational capability and satisfaction.

Business Savvy

  • The Executive Director will demonstrate a keen awareness of nonprofit operations and the organizational levers that drive sustainable growth. They will bring a keen focus on marketing/communications principles as a driver for growth and experience growing programs and/or organizations in the past.

Establishing Strategic Direction

  • Working with the Board of Directors and using relevant information and data, the Executive Director will determine strategic priorities and craft a strategic plan for future growth.

Personal Effectiveness


  • The Executive Director will gain other’s trust through demonstrating openness and honesty, behaving consistently, and acting in accordance with moral, ethical, professional, and organizational guidelines. They will act with integrity, acknowledge strengths and vulnerabilities, and be open to giving and receiving candid feedback.


  • The Executive Director will proactively confront difficult issues, making valiant choices and taking bold action in the face of opposition or fear. They will take a stand and be comfortable diplomatically challenging popular opinions and decisions to ensure the best course of action for the organization.

Leadership Impact

Driving Innovation and Execution

  • The Executive Director will create a culture that inspires novel solutions with measurable value for existing and potential partners; they will encourage experimentation and seize opportunities that result in unique and differentiated solutions. Additionally, the Executive Director will be adept at translating strategic priorities into an operational reality that is measurable and sustainable.

Energizing the Organization and Inspiring Excellence

  • The Executive Director will motivate increased employee effort by communicating a compelling narrative of the organization’s purpose and its future state in a way that makes others understand the importance of their contributions. They will be adept at building and harnessing momentum that corrals energy and a sense of urgency toward desired objectives.

Leading Teams and Developing Others

  • The Executive Director will develop, motivate, and guide the team to attain successful outcomes and business objectives through creating shared purpose, celebrating success, and promoting team processes. The Executive Director will provide feedback, instruction, and developmental guidance to help others excel in their current or future job responsibilities.
Inclusivity Statement

At Girlstart, we take our role as educators very seriously. We believe that education is a human right. Girlstart always seeks to promote access, equity, and inclusiveness, and seeks to discourage discrimination that denies the essential humanity of all people.

Girlstart will only provide programs and accomplish its mission in a manner that does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, age, weight, height, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, disability, or other defining characteristic that may or may not be protected by law.

Our mission is to serve those who identify as girls, who might be discouraged from studying, exploring, or otherwise uninvited to participate in the STEM world. Our programs welcome people who identify as non-binary or gender nonconforming and want to be in a female-identified environment. We are committed to ensuring a safe place for every student as they explore their evolving identities.

Girlstart is further committed to providing a professional environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Each individual has the right to work in a professional atmosphere that promotes equal employment opportunities and prohibits discriminatory practices, including harassment. Therefore, Girlstart expects that all relations among staff, board, and community members will be business-like and free of bias, prejudice, and harassment. No member of this organization is exempt from this policy.

Compensation & Benefits

The compensation package is competitive and commensurate with experience. Benefits to include: Medical, Vision, and Dental Insurance; Short/Long Term Disability and Life Insurance paid 100% for employee; 401(k) with 3% match; paid holidays and 24 days of PTO/Wellness.


Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume to Erin Reedy here.


Girlstart is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of 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.