Executive Director

Executive Director

PRISM

Location Flexible, USA   |   August 26, 2020

About Prism

Prism is a BIPOC-led non-profit news outlet that centers the people, places, and issues currently underreported by our national media. We’re committed to producing the kind of journalism that treats Black, Indigenous, and people of color, women, the LGBTQ+ community, and other invisibilized groups as the experts on our own lived experiences, our resilience, and our fights for justice.

Our journalism focuses on a range of issues and the many intersections between them, including electoral justice, gender justice, workers’ rights, criminal justice, racial justice, and immigration. Working with both staff reporters and freelance writers, we provide a platform for BIPOC journalists and community members to tell their own stories in their own words. Meanwhile, Prism’s senior fellowship program offers emerging community leaders the chance to refine and amplify their voices in a supportive environment that includes mentorship and comprehensive editorial support.

No matter the subject, Prism’s editorial content is rigorous, fact-based, and starts from the ground up by centering the perspectives of impacted people, community leaders, and grassroots organizers. Through our original reporting, analysis, and commentary, Prism challenges dominant, toxic narratives perpetuated by the mainstream press and works to build a full and accurate record of what’s happening in our democracy.

Along with the work of our full-time staff reporters, Prism has developed several additional programs to ensure people with direct, lived experiences have a platform to tell their stories:

Freelance Program: We have published over 70 writers and community leaders from around the country during our first year of operations and look forward to ensuring people who are closest to the problems help drive our narratives. We pay $.40/word for writers and prioritize lifting up BIPOC voices. We accept pitches and also proactively commission pieces for both our day to day coverage and our many series published throughout the year.

Contributing Writers: In 2020, we are launching the contributing writer program for our gender justice and workers rights verticals. Contributing writers publish 1-2 pieces monthly, capped at 18 pieces per year, at up to 1000 words per piece. This program allows us to develop longstanding relationships with reporters and writers who will round out our coverage. Contributing writers focused on reporting will work in a number of different formats, including feature-style stories, Q&As, profiles, shorter news briefs, explainers, and news analyses. Contributing writers who focus on opinion and essay-writing will be national thought leaders experienced in producing well-researched, well-reasoned, and thought-provoking commentary and analysis.

Senior Fellowship: Senior Fellows are established thought leaders who utilize their direct experiences to share unique perspectives, compelling ideas, and solutions to the complex, systemic issues facing our country. They have led community organizations, run for office, started social movements, rallied citizens to action, and/or made notable contributions to our communities on the local, state, or national level. Senior Fellows help set the tone of the conversation for each of our areas of focus, be it criminal justice, electoral justice, workers’ rights, or gender justice.

Live Video Storytelling: We produce live video discussions to help our readers more deeply engage in the narratives we’re shaping, and to generate conversation with people most impacted by the issues we cover. These panels and interviews allow our readers to meet people doing the work, while bringing that work to life and increasing the visual representation of voices and leaders often left out of mainstream journalism. In addition, Prism hopes this form of storytelling will help build our reach to a more diverse readership and increase our audience and following.

For more information on Prism, please visit www.ourprism.org.

The Opportunity

Prism seeks a dynamic, dedicated individual as its next Executive Director (ED). Reporting to the Board of Directors, the ED will be an experienced, visionary, and collaborative leader with a solid background in nonprofit leadership and fundraising who can successfully and passionately represent Prism and advocate for the importance of centering BIPOC voices in national media.

The ED must be an experienced fundraiser with existing relationships within philanthropy and a track record of securing funds from diverse sources, including foundation grants and individual donors. Their relationships should extend to nonprofits across sectors, including media, and the ED must be capable of building strong relationships in multiple industries. The ED will be the public face and advocate for Prism and confidently speak on and sell Prism’s value proposition to various audiences across a variety of mediums, from TV to radio and podcasts, as well as social media.

Accordingly, the ED must have a sophisticated understanding and appreciation of the importance of journalism to narrative change, familiarity with the journalism and media industries, and fluency in the major issues facing those industries today.

The ED must be able to communicate a strong vision to the Board of Directors, keeping them engaged and informed as well as utilizing them as an asset and resource for Prism.

The ED will be responsible for the following two key priorities:

  • Managing and growing our diverse funding strategy through stewarding existing and new major foundation grants and cultivating individual donors to ensure Prism continues to grow and thrive and has a financial plan for success. Must understand how best to package Prism’s work in a variety of ways to engage both media-focused donors and those who work on narrative change across other sectors
  • Serving as an external spokesperson for Prism, ensuring that the outlet is well represented and has a strong voice, including knowing when another community or staff member may be the most effective spokesperson.

Additional responsibilities include:

  • Providing hands-on leadership to a highly engaged, passionate, 10-person editorial and administrative team, with a focus on inspiring and growing individual and team capacity, ensuring the team is able to bring their “whole selves” to the work and maintain a healthy work-life balance, while directly supervising two staff who lead the editorial and finance and operations departments.
  • Encouraging and modeling a culture of transparency, diversity, and inclusiveness, with a focus on Prism’s commitment to building the preeminent platform to tell stories from people who are most impacted by our nation’s systemic problems.
  • Providing strong partnership, collaboration, and leadership to the Board, ensuring open lines of communication, high levels of engagement, and the advancement of Prism’s mission.
  • In partnership with the Board and staff, establishing a clear vision for Prism’s next chapter as well as a road map for this strategic vision.
  • Working in close partnership with the Operations Director and the Board to design and implement fundraising and communications strategies that increase Prism’s visibility and funding.
  • Developing and maintaining strong relationships with other publishers and Executive Directors and ensuring Prism is at the right tables, leading the national conversation about the importance of centering BIPOC voices in the news.
Candidate Profile

Strong candidates will have experience leading a nonprofit and an understanding of the current media landscape, with the  ability to publicly advocate for and describe our work and push Prism to national prominence in this critical time in our nation’s history.  Successful candidates will bring deep knowledge of the issues Prism covers, exceptional public speaking skills, seasoned fundraising skills and broad networks in philanthropy, as well as a demonstrated passion for Prism’s mission, vision, and purpose.

Desired skills and experiences include the following:

  • Experience fundraising and growing revenue with private sector donors, including individuals and foundations
  • Deep knowledge of the history, policies, and systems that have established and maintained deep racial and other inequities; a desire to challenge toxic national narratives by centering BIPOC voices and those with direct, lived experiences to lift up new narratives grounded in the stories of people who are closest to the challenges, problems, and solutions we cover
  • Comfort speaking about a multitude of issues from criminal justice, gender justice, workers’ rights, electoral justice, and the importance of centering BIPOC experiences and voices in order to change toxic, dominant mainstream media narratives
  • Strategic about building the reputation of Prism and carving out a unique identity and value proposition in an increasingly competitive media space; ability to forge strategic partnerships with dozens of local, regional, national, and identity-based outlets who support Prism’s mission and will help amplify our stories, collaborate on series, or partner in other critical ways that help fulfill our mission
  • Innovative, entrepreneurial, creative approach to growth and impact, willingness to take risks on new ideas and the ability to design programs to support that innovation, as well as an ability to embrace failure as a teacher and pivot when program models don’t work
  • Ability to hold the larger, strategic vision for Prism and be its primary ambassador to the public, funders, partners and other key stakeholders, letting the executive team handle the day-to-day management of the organization
  • Excellent leadership and management skills, including the ability to manage a diverse, engaged staff and Board
  • Deep social justice values and competencies, including a belief in community-driven change, diversity, equity, and inclusion; understanding of the BIPOC experience in journalism and the importance of Prism in setting a new model for journalism
  • Dynamic and effective interpersonal and communications skills; outstanding ability to develop rapport and build collaborative relationships with staff, partner outlets, key stakeholders, and funders

In addition, strong candidates will offer the following personal qualities and characteristics:

  • Deep care for each individual staff person and an understanding that our people are the most important part of our organization.
  • The ability to provide long-term, inspirational vision while simultaneously creating pragmatic solutions to day-to-day problems
  • Bring a lived BIPOC experience, deep passion for Prism’s mission and values; commitment to building and maintaining a BIPOC staff
  • Track record of audience growth and/or scaling a new venture
  • Ability to maintain calm and steadiness during times of crisis or complication
  • Resilience, flexibility, and a sense of humor
Compensation

The annual salary range for this role is between $120,000-$140,000 based on experience and location, commensurate with qualifications and experience. Prism also offers an extremely generous and comprehensive benefits package including 100% employer-sponsored medical, vision, and dental insurance; six weeks paid vacation; paid sick leave and holidays; employer-matching 401(k); quarterly home office stipend; and individual professional development funds. 

Contact

Koya Leadership Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Molly Brennan and Amber Brown are leading this search. To make recommendations or to express your interest in this role, please visit this link HERE. All nominations, inquiries, and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Prism is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from Black, Indigenous and people of color, persons with disabilities, women, LGBTQ+, and other underrepresented applicants.

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 www.koyapartners.com.