Executive Director

Executive Director

People’s Action Institute and People’s Action

Remote, USA   |   August 13, 2021

About People’s Action Institute and People’s Action

People’s Action Institute (PAI) and People’s Action (PA) are national progressive organizations that build the power of poor and working people, in rural, suburban, and urban areas to win change through base and power building, issue campaigns, and elections. Our work is centered on racial, gender, and economic justice, and we are a uniquely democratic organizing network that is largely governed by our member organizations.

With offices in Chicago, Ill., and Washington, D.C., and remote staff across the country, our network supports and advances state-based and national fights for a People’s Green New Deal, Medicare for All, A Homes Guarantee, Ending the Overdose Crisis & the Drug War, and more. Our member organizations, a network of 40 organizations across 28 states, improve lives by running state and local level issues and electoral campaigns, leading statewide coalitions, and taking collective action to change national policy and politics. PAI and PA have a deep commitment to base building and the fundamentals of organizing, reaching beyond the choir through deep canvass, and organizing in areas often overlooked by most progressive organizations. We run the largest deep canvass program in the country, a highly effective persuasion method backed by rigorous academic research and testing in the field. Our impact bridges rural, suburban, and urban divides, reflecting a deep commitment to base building.

Our member organizations have won important victories at the national, state, and local levels, including health insurance for millions and the reversal of health care laws that discriminate based on citizenship, stopping Wall Street banks from selling predatory payday loans to their customers, and historic legislation like the Community Reinvestment Act. and the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  We take our members to the front doors and boardrooms of the worst actors in American life; from racist politicians to bank CEOs. We have been successful in electing community leaders at all levels of government and run the largest national rural program. We contributed to the recent historic investment through the American Rescue Plan and are advocating for the massive human and physical infrastructure packages.

We work to defeat the “business as usual” politics endemic to all parts of our political system. We elevate people-power over-concentrated wealth, replace milquetoast talking points with bold solutions to radically transform and democratize our economy and government, and put the fight for racial, gender, other abled people, and economic justice at the center of the public conversation.

For more information on PAI and PA, please visit https://peoplesaction.org/ and/or review PAI and PA’s Long Term Agenda.

The Opportunity

People’s Action Institute and People’s Action (PAI/PA) seek an Executive Director to lead the organization in advancing transformative change in the lives of people, communities, and the planet. This is an incredible opportunity to assume leadership of a dynamic, fiscally sound organization with a strong reputation of leading and winning campaigns and delivering incredible impact through its own work and network of affiliates.

The ideal candidate will be committed to organizing, base building, and leadership development, as well as uniting diverse leaders from urban, rural, and suburban areas to build power to scale so we are able to win what the people we represent need and deserve. They will lead the largest deep canvass program in the country and expand the newly formed Deep Canvass Institute. They will be committed to racial, gender, and economic justice and be able to communicate ideas that drive participation and collaboration internally, with affiliates, and across the movement through organizing, movement politics, and base building.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Develop overall vision and strategy with member organizations, Boards of Directors, and national staff;
  • Lead PAI/PA’s fundraising strategy and initiatives, building fundraising capacity across the organization and ensuring a network of committed, engaged supporters;
  • Lead by example and ensure all levels of management work to deepen and strengthen a culture of inclusion and equity across the entire organization;
  • Continue PAI/PA’s work to advance its commitment to racial and gender equity internally and externally; provide inspirational and compassionate leadership and maintain a participatory, inclusive, and collaborative culture that ensures that PAI/PA is a place where talented, mission-driven people can come, stay, and do their best work;
  • Maintain excellent and deeply authentic relationships with PAI/PA affiliate organizations;
  • Guide the network in assessing how to increase its impact and mapping where to expand in order to achieve the power needed to implement the organization’s priorities;
  • Provide strong partnership, collaboration, and leadership to the PAI and PA Boards of Directors, ensuring open lines of communication and high levels of engagement;
  • Provide supportive and empowering leadership for a democratically-led, member-led, people-powered organization;
  • Serve as the external ambassador and lead spokesperson for PAI/PA and its affiliates with the media, donors, elected officials, and other external stakeholders.
Candidate Profile

The Executive Director will be a passionate, politically astute leader with a demonstrated ability to hold together a multi-racial coalition and embrace the fact that the organization intentionally organizes in urban, suburban, and rural communities.  They will be committed to PAI’s mission and will have the skills required to drive the organization’s vision and impact through collaborative strategic planning and leadership grounded in humility.

Leading candidates will have most, if not all, of the following personal competencies and characteristics:

Strategic and Visionary Leadership

The Executive Director will bring a member-organization-first mentality and proven experience operationalizing a vision and ensuring that strategy, structures, systems, and processes are aligned and functioning for maximum impact. In addition, they will have experience with the progressive movement and its strategies, and a history of centering the people and issues too often excluded from political power. The Executive Director will have at least 10 years of experience as an organizer.

Fundraising, External Affairs, and Passion for Relationship Building

As the leading fundraiser for PAI/PA, the Executive Director will be responsible for fundraising for PAI/PA including regrants for affiliate organizations. They will bring a demonstrated track record in fundraising, ideally with knowledge of and existing relationships with relevant and aligned funders. They will have equal experience or ability in developing relationships with movement partners, political leaders, supporters, and other important stakeholders.

Inclusive and Engaged Leadership and Management Approach

The Executive Director will bring experience building effective relationships and fostering collaboration across a complex organizational structure, ensuring programs and teams are communicating, partnering, and working in concert toward a broader vision and set of goals. The Executive Director will be a strong leader and an experienced collaborator who is skilled at listening to, and learning from, staff and affiliates and applying a proactive and transparent approach. The Director will lead with a lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and will be able to foster an environment that is welcoming and inclusive of people of different perspectives, backgrounds, generations, and cultures. They will understand the importance of building and maintaining a strong staff and effective cross-movement relationships. They will be enthusiastic to partner with the organization’s Management Team in developing the strengths and leadership of the staff.

Public Leadership

The Executive Director will be comfortable representing the PAI/PA network in public, with philanthropic partners, in earned and social media, with affiliates and in cultural organizing spaces, as well as with elected officials. They will bring experience advancing and disseminating an organization’s mission and seeking out opportunities to participate in public forums, movement spaces and press outlets. The Executive Director is responsible for maintaining a regular public presence through writing, public speaking, and events that expand PAI/PA’s reach and make its work highly visible.

Compensation & Benefits

Salary will be determined according to a salary scale which takes into account years of experience, job category, and other factors but is expected to be $175,000 to $190,000. Benefits include: Employer paid Health Insurance, Dental Insurance, and Vision Insurance, for the employee and their family. Medical and Dependent Care Flex Spending Account, 401(k) plan, Long-Term Disability Insurance, Life Insurance, 11 paid holidays plus the last two weeks of the year that include Christmas Eve/Christmas Day as well as, New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day, and two weeks of vacation during the first year of employment.


Trisha Sutrisno and Amber Gomes of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your cover letter and resume here or email [email protected] and [email protected]. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.


People’s Action Institute and People’s Action are an Equal Employment Opportunity employer and actively recruits Black, Indigenous, (and) People of Color, women, people with disabilities and members of the LGBTIQA+ community.

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.