Organization: Tri-Faith Initiative

Location: Omaha, NE

Express Interest

About the Tri-Faith Initiative:

The Tri-Faith Initiative (Tri-Faith or the Initiative) is an unparalleled, new kind of ‘neighborhood’ where three Abrahamic faith groups, Jewish, Christian and Islamic have chosen to be in relationship together as neighbors on one campus. Tri-Faith is committed to practicing respect, acceptance and trust. The Initiative is actualizing an extraordinary evolution of interfaith relationships that moves beyond dialogue to fostering collaboration, communication and education between three faith communities.

Launched in 2006, Tri-Faith is an unpredecented manifestation of hope that conflict between religions is not inevitable. The Initiative, funded by a tremendous outpouring of donations, is a $65 million project that has brought the intentional colocation of these three faiths to the world for the first time. By forging lasting relationships, this community is stepping into unchartered territory and exposing the world to a new frontier in interfaith cooperation, unity and partnership.

The core purpose of the Tri-Faith Initiative is to show the world that active engagement, cooperation and collaboration between faiths is not only conceivable – it is attainable. As the Initiative develops, it will continually enrich, engage and change lives.

The Tri-Faith Commons, located in Omaha, Nebraska, houses a Jewish synagogue, Christian church, and Muslim mosque. Each building is an architectural marvel. The Commons has transformed the Omaha landscape with the construction of each place of worship. The Commons is home to these faith communities:

Temple Israel: Founded in 1871, Temple Israel is Omaha’s Reform Jewish Congregation.  With over 700 families, it is the largest Jewish congregation in the city.  It has a long heritage of acclaimed Rabbinic leadership. Rabbis Aryeh Azriel and Sidney Brooks served the Congregation for roughly 60 of the last 65 years; each was a national thought leader, a rabbi to rabbis, and among the most sought after advisers to area business and political leaders.  The Congregation is led by an unending series of strong and progressive lay volunteers, and participates with many other Omaha communities in Tikkun Olam projects.  Temple Israel opened the  first building in the Tri-Faith neighborhood in 2013 – a fully funded, state of the art modern synagogue.

Countryside Community Church:  The church was founded in Omaha in 1949 and is a part of the United Church of Christ, which is known as the oldest denomination in the United States (going back to the Pilgrims). Countryside Community Church continues with the planning and design process for becoming the Christian presence on the Tri-Faith Commons. Construction began in June of 2017 and will be completed in late 2018.

Countryside Community Church is an inclusive, open and affirming family of faith, welcoming all to God’s table of love and acceptance. Its members are diverse, yet united by Christ’s example, caring for one another, supporting one another and challenging one another to become all that God creates us to be.

We believe:

  • in the love and graciousness of God. We practice teachings of Jesus and the Bible, and we rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit;
  • that God is still speaking to us. Our work is to make the ways of God relevant today That there are many paths to God. We invite people to journey with us on their spiritual quest;
  • in the power of people of faith and good will working together to improve our community, nation, and the world; and
  • in an inclusive church where all are welcome to come to discern, belong and grow.

Many in our congregation have found that the Phoenix Affirmations resonate with their faith experience. The Phoenix Affirmations are twelve principles of Christian faith, developed by pastors, laypeople, theologians and biblical scholars across many denominational traditions, which are organized around the Three Great Loves identified by Jesus: love of God, neighbor, and self. The Phoenix Affirmations are not a creed, and therefore make no claim to determine ”authentic” from ”inauthentic” Christian belief. They are simply a set of affirmations that many have found helpful on their spiritual journey. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_Affirmations)

American Muslim Institute (Formerly AIISC): The American Muslim Institute’s (AMI) mission is to promote a better understanding of Islam in the Western world. The AMI’s educational, religious and social programs are grounded in faith and the core values of Islam: acceptance, compassion, equality, justice and peace.

Founded in Omaha in 2006, the AMI is a local, non-denominational, autonomous nonprofit organization. A mosque on the Tri-Faith Commons will serve as a worship space and Islamic institute for Omaha’s growing Muslim population. Construction began in 2015 and the stunning mosque and cultural center was completed in May of 2017.

Opening by 2020, the shared Tri-Faith Center on the Tri-Faith Commons will serve as the heart of the ‘neighborhood’, a hub for scholarship, convocations, and social life. The Center will welcome people of all faiths and model peaceful co-existence that builds on America’s promises of religious freedom, education, peace and brotherhood.

As an international nerve center for scholarship and cross-cultural, multi-faith interaction, Tri-Faith is poised to create a lasting, historic legacy. Tri-Faith has established and is modeling transformational, deeply-rooted bonds between communities of different faiths for the world to witness, engage with and learn from.

Governed by a local Board of Directors of faith partners and community leaders, Tri-Faith is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Since its inception, Tri-Faith has consistently been recognized as a faith thought leader and innovator by national media, including NPR, CNN and The Huffington Post.

For more information on Tri-Faith Initiative, please visit www.trifaith.org. For more information on Omaha, please visit www.cityofomaha.org.

The Opportunity:

As Tri-Faith completes the 3rd and 4th buildings on its campus, the organization is ready to enter its next chapter and is seeking its first Executive Director (ED). The ED will have a sincere passion for interfaith relationships and exchange. S/he will understand the significance of this unique opportunity. S/he will have the leadership and ability to convey the organization’s vision into relationships for its constituents. This is an important and exciting inflection point for Tri-Faith and its future.

Reporting to and partnering with the Board of Directors, the ED will set a clear vision and provide thoughtful, strategic direction for organization. The ED will implement plans and goals for the future that include oversight of the planning and building of the Center. S/he will be responsible for setting direction to fulfill the organization’s mission and commitments to the community of Omaha while establishing a global presence as a pioneer and leader in interfaith relationships.

Leveraging the work of the Initiative’s founding Board of Directors, faith leaders and the larger community, the ED will catalyze research, reflection, discussion and action that further elevates Tri-Faith as the leading model of peaceful, flourishing co-existence and interfaith interdependence.

The ED will have the essential character, confidence and deep knowledge necessary for success in this highly visible and collaborative role. The ED will be respected and valued as a thought leader and trailblazer with a high aptitude for fostering close-knit communities built on shared learning and development.

The ED and will provide leadership and vision to multiple sets of stakeholders, including:

  • The three faith groups on the Tri-Faith campus: Each of the faith groups has its own building, its own governance and its own faith leader. The ED’s first priority is to serve these three faith groups and facilitate mutual reliance among the groups’ clergy, lay leadership and members. The success of the Initiative is dependent upon the ability of the three faith groups to successfully co-exist and model respect and acceptance for the world.
  • Stakeholders within the Omaha community: The ED will first represent Tri-Faith to the Omaha community. This responsibility includes being an ambassador for the Initiative, along with partnerships with key stakeholders. These critical relationships include donors, the religion departments at the University of Nebraska Omaha and Creighton University, various faith communities, social justice entities such as the Anti-Defamation League and ACLU, and institutions that will help attract visitors to the campus.
  • National and international stakeholders: The ED’s work will initially focus on Omaha before expanding domestically and around the world. The ED must develop or bring with him/her national and international relationships in the interfaith community, including a depth of knowledge that engenders respect and appreciation across faiths and cultures.

The ED will have a solid, theological understanding of the three Abrahamic faiths. S/he will have unquestioned credibility when working with faith leaders and religious scholars, with the ability to attract, manage and provide resources to advance their study.

The ED will be instrumental in achieving Tri-Faith’s aspirational objectives. Key metrics for success of this new role include:

  • Cultivating strong and effective relationships with the Board of Directors and faith leaders to assure open and transparent communication;
  • Achieving revenue goals and strong fundraising success for Tri-Faith by increasing major donors, partners, and key stakeholders, including foundations;
  • Developing innovative programming with a deep international reach;
  • Partnering and providing leadership to the Board of Directors to assure effective governance and engagement;
  • Taking a collaborative approach in working with other organizations and institutions;
  • Recruiting and retaining qualified staff to implement stated objectives; and
  • Creating an environment and internal communication systems that foster high performance, growth and learning.

Candidate Profile:

The Executive Director of The Tri-Faith Initiative will possess the following professional and personal qualities, characteristics and skills:

Leading Through Influence and Relationship Building

The ED will be skilled at building effective relationships at multiple levels within a complex environment, particularly between the three Abrahamic faiths, the Omaha community and beyond. The ED will have a strong aptitude for generating and sustaining support from all stakeholders. S/he will have a high level of emotional intelligence and be able to build trust in order to develop productive and fulfilling relationships with the Board, donors, other key partners and new stakeholders moving forward. S/he will be a strong leader, communicator and collaborator who is skilled at listening to and learning from constituents. S/he is a persuasive negotiator, able to achieve consensus amongst differing opinions. The ED will possess a strong sense of confidence and a style that resonates within the Omaha community and on the international stage. S/he will have a strong working relationship with key leaders and be a proactive communicator at all times.

An ‘Ambassador’ for The Tri-Faith Initiative

The ED will work tirelessly as an ‘Ambassador’ for Tri-Faith. S/he will be able to build rapport and promote Tri-Faith with its many constituents. S/he will be a dynamic, energetic and credible leader, which will be conveyed both internally to the organization and externally to the community. As an external voice of Tri-Faith, s/he will have the skills to articulate and broaden the vision of the organization to its current supporting community, future staff and key stakeholders. S/he will have the character necessary to effectively develop rapport with people of varying philosophies, backgrounds and cultures. The ED will have the ability to work closely with the Board and faith leaders to maintain existing donor relationships and cultivate new opportunities.

Strategic & Visionary Leadership

The ED will be an entrepreneurial visionary and results-oriented leader, experienced at articulating and implementing strategies. The ability to inject new ideas into existing systems will be critical for the organization to reach its full potential. The ED will have demonstrated the ability to provide fresh, strategic leadership to business, being creative and innovative yet fiscally responsible. In partnership with the Board, the ED will envision, clearly define and then project Tri-Faith’s importance to key stakeholders. S/he will also understand the strategies needed to implement the vision. The ED will naturally inspire the faith leaders, staff and Board to develop deeper interfaith relationships, leading the charge by example. S/he will possess a deep drive and passion for remaining at the forefront of the interfaith sector, continually motivated to develop new and unique opportunities to serve the mission.

Passion for the Mission

The ED will have a sincere, demonstrated passion for the mission of Tri-Faith and a commitment to remaining focused on the goals of the organization. S/he will have a solid, theological understanding of the three Abrahamic faiths. S/he will be energized by the foundation and the future of Tri-Faith, understanding this initiative will resonate far beyond the Tri-Faith campus and Omaha community. S/he will have the ability to develop a powerful sense of shared purpose in others and motivate them to engage the opportunities and challenges ahead. A vibrant and charismatic leader, s/he will have a collaborative spirit and treat others with respect. S/he will be an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics and values; someone who can be trusted without reservation.

A Bachelor’s degree in relevant field or equivalent experience required; an advanced degree is preferred.

About Omaha, Nebraska:

Omaha is a city with strong reputation as a hub for civic leadership, entrepreneurial spirit and engagement. Currently the 42nd largest city in the United States, the metropolitan area is home to over 900,000 people who welcome visitors with open arms and authentic Midwestern hospitality. Omaha has a storied history, serving as a home to Native American Indian tribes, pioneers, railroad laborers and meat packers since its founding in 1854. Everyone who has come to call Omaha home has helped shape its current cultural diversity, hard work ethic and friendly demeanor.

Named after an American Indian Tribe, Omaha means “Those going against the wind or current.” Omahans proudly continue to live up to the name.

The city offers world-renowned cultural and artistic institutions, including: the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, exquisite museums, and historic shops. The Omaha community invites visitors to climb aboard history at The Durham Museum, explore 100 acres at Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha’s Botanical Center and discover priceless works of art at the Joslyn Art Museum.

Downtown Omaha is a central hub of entertainment in the city, featuring live music, art, history, and sporting events. It’s home to TD Ameritrade Park, Omaha’s 24,000-seat downtown stadium which hosts the NCAA baseball College World Series each summer. At the heart of downtown is the historic Old Market Entertainment District – cobblestone streets lined with unique boutiques, galleries, home-grown restaurants, pubs, and street performers – all distinctly Omaha. Midtown Omaha is relaxed; lovers of beer, scotch, wine, and chocolate will especially feel right at home.

In recent years, the Omaha riverfront and downtown area have experienced tremendous growth with over two billion dollars in new development. A one-of-a-kind $22 million pedestrian bridge S-curves its way across the Missouri River, the signature, cable-stayed Bob Kerrey Bridge is one of the longest pedestrian bridge projects ever constructed, giving Omaha visitors a breathtaking view of the ever changing skyline.

CenturyLink Center Omaha, the city’s convention center, and arena, attracts big name talent while providing a spacious technology-rich venue for conventions. The 346,000 sq. ft. facility is complimented by the two-million-dollar public art project, “Illumina”. The colorful display features more than 40 sculptures inspired by the 13th Century Carnival of Venice and was created by artist Matthew Placzek. It’s just a small sample of the creative public art that sprinkles the city.

Contact:

Alison P. Ranney, Marissa Martin and Chartise Clark of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search firm that works exclusively with mission-driven clients. To express your interest in this role please email Marissa and Chartise directly at koyachicago@koyapartners.com.  All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

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