Executive Director

ACLU of Missouri
St. Louis
Mission Statement: 

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a nonprofit organization whose stated mission is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States."

Position Description: 

The Client The ACLU of Missouri (ACLU-MO), a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, defends civil liberties and the principles of equality and justice in Missouri through its litigation, legislative and public education programs. The ACLU of Missouri is one affiliate in a network of offices located across the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The network of ACLU offices is coordinated by a national office in New York and aided by a legislative office in Washington that lobbies Congress. As an affiliate, the ACLU of Missouri operates in and takes on cases in Missouri. For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and the laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country. Whether it’s achieving full equality for LGBT people, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age of widespread government surveillance, ending mass incarceration, or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach. The ACLU was founded in 1920 as the first public interest law firm of its kind and is recognized as the country's foremost advocate of individual rights. The work is based largely on the Bill of Rights—the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution—which, along with local, state and federal laws, protects certain fundamental rights of individuals against the power of the government and will of the majority. The ACLU works to extend protection to segments of our population who have traditionally been denied these rights. They include racial minorities, sexual minorities, prisoners, soldiers, people with disabilities and children in the custody of the state. ACLU-MO is comprised of two nonprofit entities, a 501(c)4 that serves as the non-tax-deductible membership arm that funds the lobbying and legislative work and the foundation, a 501(c)3 through which its legal advocacy, litigation and publication work is carried out. With offices in St. Louis and Kansas City, ACLU-MO operates with a combined annual budget of $2.1 million and 11 staff. The organization is overseen by a 15-person Board of Trustees To learn more about the history of the ACLU, click here To learn more about the ACLU of Missouri, click here       The Position Reporting to the Board of Trustees, the Executive Director provides the leadership, vision, and strategic planning necessary to address civil liberties/civil rights issues in Missouri as they emerge and to advance these liberties and rights in the decades to come. The Executive Director will secure the resources and provide the leadership and planning necessary to ensure ACLU-MO’s continued growth and impact. In collaboration with the Board and staff, the Executive Director will lead the organization’s statewide advocacy agenda. The Executive Director’s primary responsibilities include the following: Leadership and Vision

  • Create and implement strategies that advance civil liberties/civil rights in the context of a challenging state and national political climate;
  • Champion best practices for effective organizational management, including practices that assess the effectiveness of projects undertaken by ACLU-MO, as developed and tested by other ACLU affiliates and similar advocacy organizations;
  • Build relationships with peer organizations and organizational leaders to develop strategic partnerships that advance ACLU’s core mission;
  • Develop and maintain collaborative relationships with senior staff at the National ACLU and other affiliates;
  • Advance and leverage the use of integrated advocacy by which civil liberties/civil rights issues are addressed in a cross-disciplinary approach that embraces litigation, lobbying, and public education;
  • Exhibit courage and clarity when addressing highly controversial and complex issues including leading the Board through thoughtful consideration of conflicting positions on those issues;
  • Guard the organization’s integrity, credibility, and non-partisanship by emphasizing these qualities in all aspects of ACLU-MO’s work.

 Fund Development

  • Lead the staff and the Board in furthering a robust and diversified fundraising program that ensures the financial viability of ACLU-MO;
  • Initiate funding opportunities with individual donors and foundations that ensure a constant new stream of financial support that builds long-term stability;
  • Anticipate funding needs and engage staff to ensure they have the resources needed to be successful and to maintain the continuity of important initiatives;
  • Inspire, cultivate, steward, and solicit a dedicated group of major donors to the organization.


  • Oversee fiscal planning, program execution, and human resources;
  • Ensure day-to-day operations are professionally administered and in a state of continuous improvement to conform to evolving best practices;
  • Champion and value diversity, equity and inclusion on the Board of Directors and staff as the organization increasingly strives to reflect the communities it serves;
  • Ensure that the Board is kept fully informed on the condition of the organization and that Board meetings and board committees operate effectively and efficiently.

 Staff Leadership

  • Inspire and motivate a cohesive staff, ensuring that there is strong internal communication, coordination, and accountability while fostering an environment of continuous learning and improvement;
  • Supervise, lead, inspire, and mentor staff to meet priorities, achieve strategic initiatives and fulfill the organization’s mission;
  • Cultivate a supportive team-oriented environment where independent thinking is encouraged, and staff are held accountable to specific metrics and goals;
  • Attract, recruit, lead, and mentor a diverse staff that serves civil liberties/civil rights with enthusiasm and deep understanding of the mission of ACLU-MO;
  • Create an open, transparent, inclusive culture that invites conversation, enables staff to bring their true selves to work, and ensures personal growth and development.

 Public Representation

  • As one of the official representatives of the  organization, represent ACLU-MO to the press and public, articulating the organization’s positions and communicating its mission to increase the organization’s visibility and public’s understanding of the work;
  • Formulate and articulate clear and accessible messaging of ACLU-MOs strategies, goals, and positions on issues;
  • Foster relationships with legal and social science scholars, educators, activists, civil liberties/civil rights and social change advocates so that the Board and staff have the expertise and knowledge they need to address a wide range of policies and challenges;
  • Build and maintain relationships with members of the press and the social media community;
  • Lead a communications strategy that values a diverse set of voices to represent the organization’s positions on its work.



Professional Requirements The ideal candidate will be an experienced executive with strong organizational development and interpersonal skills, outstanding judgment and exceptional critical and strategic thinking ability. The new Executive Director will have experience creating and implementing strategic plans and leading teams to achieve strategic goals and outcomes. S/he/they will bring the following qualifications to ACLU-MO: ·         Leadership and management experience, ideally in positions of increased responsibility;·         Demonstrated fundraising and financial management experience;·         Organizational and staff development expertise including demonstrated success building strong teams and cultures defined by excellence, professionalism, trust and respect;·         Prior experience working with a nonprofit board and a demonstrable understanding of board governance and best practices;·         A successful track record in creating and implementing programs that advance organizational priorities and achieve shared performance outcomes;·         Proven experience creating partnerships and collaborations that ensure fiscal health and stability, balance the interests of constituents, and maximize the organization’s influence;·         An effective and engaging communicator with excellent public speaking skills and the ability to convey the mission and activities of the ACLU to a variety of constituents and the broader public;·         An authentic commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and evident cultural competency;·         A deep understanding of how litigation, education and advocacy strategies are employed to defend and extend civil liberties;·         A bachelor’s degree is required. Personal Characteristics The new Executive Director will be a servant leader firmly committed to advancing the mission and values of the ACLU and will possess the conviction to put organizational principles before personal politics. They will be a creative, results-oriented self-starter with a strong work-ethic. They will be organized, comfortable under pressure, and able to effectively multi-task. The ideal candidate will be collaborative and transparent with a strong ability to build confidence and trust among staff, board and stakeholders. Above all, with growing threats to the civil liberties of Missourians, ACLU-MO’s new leader will anticipate and judiciously act on events, and strategically leverage the resources and expertise of the ACLU to protect the constitutional rights of the residents of Missouri.

Application Deadline: 
Monday, June 10, 2019
Application Instructions: 

Please submit a thoughtful cover letter and résumé as attachments via e-mail to: Michelle Kristel, Managing PartnerMcCormack+Kristel1740 Broadway, 15th FloorNew York, NY 10019Phone: 212.531.5003 | Fax: 212.203.9599    Email: search [at] mccormackkristel.com | Website www.mccormackkristel.com Please note that your education, dates of employment and otherinformation will be verified prior to an offer. The ACLU of Missouri complies with federal and state laws regarding non-discrimination in employment. Applicants for employment are considered for employment and employees shall hold their employment without discrimination because of their race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identification, disability, and military or marital status. 

Position Level: 
Michelle Kristel
Country/US Territory: 
United States