Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Washington Office on Latin America Seeks Executive Director

The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) – a leading research and advocacy organization advancing human rights in the Americas – seeks a visionary Executive Director. The Executive Director is responsible for setting the strategic direction and overseeing the program and operation of the organization in support of WOLA’s mission. The Executive Director must work closely with the human rights, religious, academic, media, artistic, and foreign policy communities in Washington, DC, across the U.S. and Latin America, and around the world.

WOLA is a vibrant and growing organization where the staff is knowledgeable and motivated, goal-oriented, connected to colleagues in the region, and passionate about the mission. The Executive Director leads and supports the staff with a culture of innovation, collaboration, and excellence. WOLA has been recognized twice by Washingtonian Magazine as one of DC’s “Best Places to Work” and byThe Washington Post as one of DC’s best-managed nonprofits.

WOLA’s office has a paid staff of twenty-four, plus seven interns and seven Senior Fellows.

Job Purpose
The Executive Director is responsible for the successful leadership and management of the organization, working closely with the Board of Directors. S/he oversees a management team of four Directors (Program, Development, Finance/Operations, and Communications), along with issue/regional-specific program, development, communications, and operations staff. The Executive Director has an Executive Assistant.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities
The Executive Director performs some or all of the following:


  • Reports to the Board of Directors on the organization’s activities.
  • Represents WOLA and maintains positive working relationships with a broad range of actors, including policymakers, funders, and partners in the U.S. Congress and administration. Also maintains a network of relationships throughout the Americas and around the world through private engagements, public forums and events, conferences, and other meetings as appropriate.
  • Educates policy elites, advocates, colleagues, and the general public in the U.S. and the hemisphere on the purpose and role of WOLA and the impact of WOLA’s work.
  • Guides the Board of Directors in reviewing and updating WOLA’s vision.
  • Provides stewardship to the Board and ensures that Board meetings are well organized and well executed.
  • Takes the lead in organizing and implementing the annual planning process and executing and, when appropriate, updating the organization’s strategic plan.


  • Provides strategic leadership for organizational fundraising with both WOLA staff and its Board of Directors.
  • With WOLA fundraising staff, develops and implements strategies to secure philanthropic support for WOLA’s priorities and leads the development of new strategic fundraising initiatives to increase WOLA’s individual donor and foundation funding base.
  • Builds and maintains relationships with institutional donors and individual major gift donors.
  • Oversees the Director of Development and the execution of the annual fundraising strategy.


  • Oversees the planning, implementation, and evaluation of WOLA’s programs, working closely with the Program Director.
  • Sets priorities on current and future program work with senior staff.
  • Ensures that all programs contribute to the mission of WOLA.
  • Develops and maintains effective systems for program development, including responsible budgeting and staffing for all programs.
  • Participates in WOLA programming according to the candidate’s own interest and expertise.


  • Provides strategic leadership on communications strategies, assessing new investments in communications tools and capabilities.
  • Helps assess and oversee the organization’s digital properties.
  • Works with the Director of Communications and appropriate program staff to develop, update, and implement the various communications strategies—from the project to the program to the institutional levels.
  • Acts as a principal institutional spokesperson, participating actively in outreach and impact activities.


  • Works with Finance/Operations Director, staff, and the Board (Finance Committee) to prepare a comprehensive budget.
  • Ensures that sound bookkeeping and accounting procedures are followed.
  • Directs the prioritization of undesignated funds.

Human Resources

  • Designs and evaluates organizational structure; determines staffing requirements.
  • Hires appropriate staff to execute the organization’s mission.
  • Ensures an organizational culture that attracts, keeps, and motivates a diverse, top-quality staff.
  • Implements a personnel performance evaluation process for all staff.

Candidates should have energy and enthusiasm, coupled with mature judgment, absolute integrity, and a history of working with Latin America. The Executive Director should have the following characteristics:

  • Adaptability: Demonstrate a willingness to be flexible, versatile, and tolerant in a changing environment while maintaining effectiveness and efficiency, including the willingness to work evenings and on weekends when necessary, and a willingness to travel, particularly in Latin America.
  • Communication: Speak, listen, and write in a clear, compelling, and timely manner, using appropriate and efficient communication tools and techniques.
  • Creativity and Entrepreneurialism: Able to find creative ways to improve the organization’s programs and operations; an instinct and ability to seek new resources to execute WOLA’s programs and initiatives, and secure the organization’s ongoing work.
  • Optimism and Tenacity: Social change takes time and persistence; WOLA’s Executive Director will need to be able to persevere to achieve the organization’s goals.
  • Collegiality: WOLA works in collaboration with many organizations, individuals, and sectors to achieve its goals. The Executive Director must be a team player.
  • Sense of Humor: This is hard work. A sense of humor helps.


  • A demonstrated commitment to human rights and social justice in the Americas.
  • An understanding of the changing dynamics in the region and in U.S. relations with the region.
  • Extensive experience in advocacy and U.S. foreign policy processes.
  • Demonstrated success in fundraising from individuals and foundations.
  • English fluency required. Minimum requirement of Spanish conversational proficiency. Knowledge of Portuguese a plus.
  • Experience working or living in Latin America.
  • Experience working with the legislative process.
  • Management experience, including staff supervision.
  • Strong analytical and writing skills required.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects and meet tight deadlines.
  • Strong interpersonal, leadership, and communication skills.
  • Ability to produce and lead in a fast-paced, collaborative setting.

Salary: Competitive and commensurate with experience. Full health, dental, vision, long-term disability, and life insurance; four weeks annual vacation.

To Apply: Please send a cover letter and CV/resume to:

To Nominate a Candidate: Please send a note including the nominee’s name, contact information, and qualifications to

Application Deadline: July 1, 2016

Preferred Start Date: December 2016

– No phone calls please –
WOLA encourages application by minority candidates and is an equal opportunity employer.
Applications will be held in the strictest of confidence.

Contact IJDH

Institute for Justice & Democracy In Haiti
15 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02116

Telephone: (617) 652-0876
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