Harness was started by America Ferrera, Wilmer Valderrama, and Ryan Piers Williams as a gathering of friends in a living room in response to the 2016 presidential election and the following period of tremendous social upheaval. Since its founding, Harness has grown into a national, intersectional community of high-influence artists, activists, and entertainment industry leaders that amplify the experiences of historically disinvested communities to reach millions of people.
With a vision of a world where human rights are protected by the power of the people, Harness educates, inspires, and activates an interdependent community of Cultural Organizers to use the power of storytelling to imagine and create a more equitable world. Harness seeks to advance racial justice, gender justice, and civic justice by applying an intersectional lens to all its work and centering the priorities and needs of those most impacted by injustice.
Harness’ programs and campaigns have catalyzed wide-scale support, prominent media coverage, inclusion in pop culture storylines, and transformative partnerships for frontline leaders from historically disinvested groups. In addition to its artist engagement, industry impact, and community building programs, Harness incubates several timely culture change and civic engagement initiatives: Protect the Sacred, Culture Surge, and Poderistas.
Harness Values (excerpts):
- We harness the power of an interdependent community of Cultural Organizers to facilitate education, inspire co-creation, and catalyze action to shift culture and create a more equitable world in which all can thrive.
- Social Justice
- We practice anti-racism in our public work and internal operations. We center diversity, equity, and inclusion, and intersectionality in our decision-making, programmatic design, and community-building strategies. We work to dismantle white supremacy and systemic imbalances that exclude historically disinvested communities. We reimagine and help create a world where human rights are protected by the power of the people.
- Active Learning
- We facilitate learning opportunities and prioritize the personal and professional development of our staff and Harness Community to foster imagination, stimulate growth, and nurture interdependency.
- We work with integrity to deliver measurable impact through programs, culture change campaigns, field building, leadership development, and systems change. We are accountable to the Harness Community and partners by implementing network-driven evaluation and impact tracking processes.
- We invest in the whole-person health and well-being of our staff and Harness Community to empower long-term culture change rooted in joy, creativity, safety, and mutual care. We encourage self-care to strengthen community care. We strive to operate in ways that protect and honor the land and communities in which we are present.
- To learn more about Harness, please visit: iwillharness.com.
About the Opportunity
Harness is seeking a passionate, dedicated, and visionary professional to assume leadership of the organization by serving as the next Executive Director. The Executive Director (ED) is responsible for fulfilling Harness’ mission by providing leadership, direction, and oversight to all areas of the organization. The Executive Director will oversee the strategic plan (including reviewing operations, communications, marketing, and community outreach), make key strategic decisions, oversee programmatic strategy, and ensure financial stability and growth, managing high-level relationships. This full-time salaried position reports directly to the Chair of the Board of Directors. The preference is for this position to be based in LA County; however, the Board of Directors is open to candidates based in other locations in the US.
Essential Responsibilities and Functions
- Oversee organizational growth, including finalizing the underway transition to 501(c)3
- Develop and implement organizational strategy, identify yearly goals and objectives
- Lead priority initiatives through strategic thinking and collaboration
- Establish and maintain Harness’ reputation and standing with a diverse audience by being active and visible in the national cultural change field (with funders, the entertainment industry, and peer organizations)
- Ensure timely development and execution of impact evaluation
Governance and Board Relations
- Communicate effectively with the Board and provide, in a timely and accurate manner, information necessary for the Board to function properly, make informed decisions, solicit feedback, and secure commitments
- Responsible for the operations of the Board of Directors, supporting Board member recruitment, training, and development
- Manage quarterly Board meetings: set the tone, direction, and agenda for each meeting
- Develop individual fundraising plans with each Board member to secure annual commitment; work with the Board Chair to ensure each Board member fulfills their goal
- Work with the Board of Directors to develop organizational priorities through a collaborative and transparent process
Development and Financial Management
- Responsible for the fiscal health, management, and sustainability of Harness: submit an annual 24-month budget and quarterly financial statements to the Board
- Lead the cultivation of new fundraising prospects in philanthropy, corporate partners, individual donors, and major gifts, as well as the growth of existing funder relationships
- Grow the Development team, including hiring of a full-time Development position
- Steward, in partnership with identified staff, high-level funder relationships
- Approve the annual development plan and ensure the successful execution of the plan
- Explore fee-for-service models as both an area of programmatic growth and to provide self-generating sources of revenue for the organization
- Lead the development of the annual programmatic strategy; manage the Program team to design program models and plan annual calendar
- Oversee the execution of high-quality, mission-aligned programs
- Cultivate, manage, and steward high-level relationships with community leaders, artists, entertainment industry partners, and peer organizations
Staff Supervision/Management and Operations
- Build and retain a competent, qualified, and passionate team of staff and select contractors
- Ongoing management and development of direct reports
- Approve significant legal agreements and negotiate terms of contracts
- Approve administrative policies and procedures for daily operations
- Advise on and implement tools and technology supportive of operations, with a focus on privacy and security
- Approve the annual Communications plan
- Ensure external communications uphold Harness brand, tone, and quality standards
- Promote Harness’ programs and thought leadership through media relations, public speaking, and digital content
The successful candidate will be a champion of Harness’ mission and goals, a steward of organizational values, and a capable leader of staff and Board. They will possess the following essential qualifications:
- Preferred senior management experience in the social justice/nonprofit sector. Significant experience working in or with the entertainment industry, ideally in a social impact or diversity, equity, and inclusion role.
- Experience managing high-level/high-profile relationships with artists, corporate leaders, funders, and movement leaders preferred.
- Excellent organizational management skills with the ability to coach, manage, and develop high-performing staff.
- Experience cultivating and supporting a Board of Directors.
- Proven ability to set and achieve strategic objectives.
- Experience developing and monitoring an organizational budget. Working knowledge of nonprofit financial systems.
- Demonstrated ability to develop and implement creative and comprehensive approaches to fundraising.
- Deep knowledge of racial equity and social justice principles and practices, with experience in organizational implementation.
- Critical thinking ability for high level planning, analyzing, and problem solving.
- Excellent communications and interpersonal skills.
- Action-oriented, entrepreneurial, adaptable, and innovative approach to business planning.
- Relationship-focused. Ability to effectively listen and collaborate with diverse groups of people.
- Joyful. Positive attitude with a sense of humor.
- Passion, idealism, integrity, mission-driven, and self-directed.
Compensation and Benefits
The salary range for the Executive Director position is $150,000 - $160,000, along with a robust and competitive benefits package.