Chief Operating Officer

Lambda Legal
New York
Mission Statement: 

Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people and everyone living with HIV, through impact litigation, education, and public policy work. Since 1973, Lambda Legal has used impact litigation and other advocacy tools to decriminalize same-sex relationships, fight HIV discrimination, win marriage equality, and advance the rights of transgender people, among other key issues impacting the lives and wellbeing of LGBTQ people. Contributions from supporters nationwide enable a current budget of approximately $19M, with plans for growth over the next three years to $25M. Clients are not charged for legal representation or advocacy and Lambda Legal receives no government funding.Rachel B. Tiven joined Lambda Legal in 2016 as CEO and is bringing an ambitious and forward-thinking approach to leading the organization’s social justice mission during an extraordinarily heightened period of vulnerability for the communities served by the organization.Under this new leadership, Lambda Legal is undergoing positive and substantial organizational change that is fixated on increasing impact in every facet of the organization. With laser-focus on the urgency of its mission, Lambda Legal is evolving to enable staff growth, implement more efficient budgeting, and pursue an expanding strategy.As the most critical force in defending civil rights, the Lambda Legal staff is top priority. The staff is comprised of a passionate group of 115 people in six offices, including attorneys and support staff. Lambda Legal is more dedicated than ever to ensuring a diverse and inclusive work environment for the organization. Implementing thoughtful change that engages staff is paramount and will create greater effectiveness, learning, and harmony.“Our beautiful, slowly improving, two-steps-forward-one-step-back country took a giant step backward. We will fight back in our beautiful diversity and without compromise.”– Rachel B. Tiven, CEO, Lambda Legal, November 9, 2016 

Position Description: 

Based in New York City, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) will serve in a new position designed to guide the organization’s national growth to $25M in operating revenue over the next three years. As the trusted right-hand to the CEO, the COO will be a change leader who enables Lambda Legal to achieve its plans for expansion and increased impact during a key period of organizational transition. The COO will be the go-to person on the Executive Team for ensuring effective and efficient day-to-day operations and identifying solutions to emerging problems. The COO will play a critical role across all departments and offices in helping the organization achieve its mission and embody its values, building collaboration and communication across functional and regional lines, and ensuring operational effectiveness.Lambda Legal’s national scale and single-minded focus on LGBTQ and HIV issues is unique. The organization’s challenge and opportunity is to create a matrix of functional departments and regional expertise that works. The COO will bring the skills to help each office deliver maximum value for its local and regional communities, while leveraging and expanding the resources of a tight-knit national organization. Key Responsibilities

  • Build the organization’s infrastructure to scale: manage finance, human resources, information technology, and the physical plant of an established, financially stable organization in a period of growth and transition
  • Act as a thought partner to the CEO and serve as a motivational coach and guide to staff
  • Evaluate and drive organizational development, change management, and race equity transformation within the organization:
    • Oversee skills-building for all employees and build training into the Lambda Legal culture
    • Develop effective mechanisms to manage performance and accountability to goals
    • Co-create a culture in which race equity is a primary lens and excellence is a constant expectation
  • Assess and design a successful management structure for Lambda Legal’s six national offices
  • Maintain responsibility for Lambda Legal’s budget and financial planning; oversee and evaluate current operational spending, areas of savings and risk, developing aligned strategies to address each

The COO will be a creative and determined problem solver, diplomatic change agent, and an expert in understanding organizational dynamics inherent in a geographically and demographically diverse organization. This is an excellent opportunity for a proven leader to join a mission-driven team at a critical time in the organization’s growth and the nation’s history. Required Professional Experience

  • Minimum 15 years of leadership experience in strategy and operations for mission-driven organizations or government agencies
  • Strong expertise in driving organizational change, capacity-building, and organizational development, including effectively managing organizational growth and sustainability
  • Demonstrated knowledge of best practices and experience in building diverse, inclusive, and engaged workplaces
  • Management acumen with experience building and leading a team of high-capacity senior executives and employees at all levels of an organization
  • Deep project management experience with ability to take a concept to fruition and to execute for success
  • Experience playing a leadership role in organizations with remote offices and staff

Ideal Personal and Professional Characteristics

  • Commitment to the mission and values of Lambda Legal (specific LGBTQ/HIV rights background is preferred but not required)
  • Exceptional emotional intelligence and professional maturity
  • Cultural awareness and sensitivity with a lens on race equity; comfort working in a gender-fluid environment and with diverse constituencies
  • Enthusiasm and optimism regarding organizational change processes
  • Collaborative workstyle that enables partnership and engagement with others at all levels of the organization, as well as with key external stakeholders
  • Comfort demonstrating confidence and appropriate assertiveness as an organizational leader, with the ability to make hard decisions and convey them to staff and stakeholders
  • Ability to effectively communicate with, listen to, and engage staff at all levels of the organization, in large and small meetings, as well as one-on-one
  • Exceptional communications skills, including interpersonal and written communication
  • Ability to travel domestically (about 30% of the time)
Application Deadline: 
Sunday, December 31, 2017
Application Instructions: 

Lambda Legal has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume to Melissa Madzel here

Position Level: 
Melissa Madzel
Country/US Territory: 
United States