President and Chief Executive Officer

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC)
January 22, 2018
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Post Type
Experience (minimum)
10+ Years
Education (minimum)
Travel Required?
Base Salary
Above $180,000


Job Tile: President and Chief Executive Officer



The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) is a human rights and social justice organization headquartered in Cambridge, MA. UUSC traces its roots to 1938 when Unitarian minister Waitstill Sharp and his wife Martha answered a call from the American Unitarian Association to go to Prague on a mission to help Jewish refugees attempting to escape the impending Holocaust. From this beginning, UUSC has had a distinctive history of supporting and partnering with those who are most imperiled by reason of their identity, centering their ideas and leadership, helping build alliances among groups facing similar oppressions, and being effective allies in advocating for systemic change.   It has a proud history of responding to identity-based persecution early, nimbly identifying effective partners and leaders on the ground, and being early investors in promising strategies.

Today, UUSC works with partner organizations in the United States and throughout the world, adding value to their collective work by:

  • Providing direct and robust support in the form of funding, technical assistance and alliance-building support among partners;
  • Conducting issue research, communications support and amplifying advocacy; and
  • Promoting justice education and leadership development to strengthen the impact of Unitarian Universalists and other activists as effective allies.

Position Summary

UUSC is seeking a President who has an unswerving commitment to social justice and human rights and who will inspire a broad-based, deeply felt commitment to the advancement of UUSC’s mission. The new President will have an appreciation for UUSC’s unique assets and capabilities in the context of its Unitarian Universalist constituency-- their values, their history of social activism and their active work for justice in congregations and communities around the country. The President will be a visionary leader possessing superior executive skills who is able to advance UUSC’s mission by inspiring a highly talented staff as well as donors, members, congregations and allies. S/he will have an orientation toward collaborating with other organizations-- UU institutions and human rights allies-- to amplify UUSC’s impact wherever possible. The President will model values consistent with a culture that is based upon respect for the inherent worth and dignity of all people, encourages collaboration within the organization and without, holds to the highest ethical standards, and has an abiding passion to make a difference in the world.

The primary charge to the new UUSC President will be to continue the organization’s work to improve and deepen its impact, building on its historic strengths to develop some stand-out capabilities, and mobilizing broad-based support among supporters, activists and allies for UUSC’s agenda as outlined in the strategic plan for 2016-20 and subsequently refined.

Reporting to the Board of Trustees, the President will have broad responsibility for the planning, implementation, administration, and management of all UUSC programs, services, and systems. S/he will serve as an advisor to the Board on all organizational matters and can expect the active involvement and support of Board members. The President will be called upon to effectively lead, inspire and support the staff in their work with partners and allies to increase UUSC’s impact, continuously broaden the vital network of supporters who fund its work, and be a skilled and active spokesperson for UUSC in the many diverse settings where its voice needs to be heard-- an advocate for those we serve with the media, policymakers, activists and congregations.

Working with the leadership team, the President will be accountable to the Board for ensuring that UUSC achieves the organization’s program impact and performance goals. S/he cultivates relationships that lead to funding and provides leadership in soliciting support for its operating and capital needs. With the leadership team, the President is accountable for the human resource and fiscal health of the organization, overseeing UUSC’s operating and capital budgets and maintaining fiscal control over expenditures.

Major Responsibilities

The new President will:

  • Be accountable to the Board for ensuring that UUSC’s activities achieve the organization’s impact and performance goals.
  • Work with senior leadership and executive team to refine and implement UUSC’s strategic plan.
  • Have overall responsibility for the planning, implementation, administration and management of all UUSC programs, services, and systems:
    • With the Chief Program Officer, developing maximally effective programs of growing impact;
    • With the Chief Development Officer, serving as principal fundraiser with major donors and the Stewardship Circle[1].
    • With the Chief Administration Officer, overseeing UUSC’s operating and capital budgets and maintaining fiscal control over expenditures and the general fiscal health of the organization.      
  • Hire and develop talent that is best-in-class in the human rights field.
  • Serve as Chief Spokesperson for the organization to the media and general public as well as to members and Unitarian Universalist constituencies.
  • Ensure that the UUSC maintains and cultivates its collaborative relationship with the Unitarian Universalist Association and other UU entities.
  • Effectively lead the senior executive team comprised of the Chief Program Officer, Chief Development Officer and Chief Administration Officer.
  • Partner with the Board of Trustees to achieve the UUSC mission.

Ideal Experience

The President must have the team leadership skills and impact orientation required to ensure UUSC programs are responsive to the dynamic, changing needs of those UUSC serves and that the methods and resources employed are among the most effective in the sector. The ideal candidate will have demonstrated a superior track record as an organizational leader, leading organizations to higher levels of impact; will have experience working in the field of social justice, human rights, advocacy and organizing and/or related areas; and will have an appreciation of our Unitarian Universalist constituency and history as strategic assets. The President must have the experience, passion and demonstrated personal skills required to expand and inspire UUSC’s community of donors.

An advanced degree in management, public policy, human rights, international affairs, development, law, ministry or other related disciplines is strongly preferred. Experience working with grassroots partners in social justice work, particularly those comprised of historically oppressed peoples or those in the global south, is an additional asset.


Critical Competencies for Success

Visionary Leadership: In an organization that aspires to be the premier social justice organization of its size, the next leader:

  • Is a strategic thinker who, in collaboration with the board and staff leadership, creates a clearly defined set of priorities within the framework of the strategic plan and develops a plan to execute the priorities.
  • Continues to cultivate the organization’s highly effective grassroots efforts, encourage partnerships, and drives scalable efforts that have been UUSC’s hallmarks.
  • Commands respect for his or her accomplishments.       Is well connected and has extensive experience in social justice, human rights and advocacy, including working with and influencing local, national, and international policymakers, grant-makers and leaders. Can inspire others and engage in collaborative leadership.
  • Strives to create a culture of collaboration and teamwork with colleagues across UUSC’s shared perspective, imagines impactful programs, creates a common agenda, and works together with stakeholders to bring to fruition.
  • Introduces an environment committed to continuous improvement, reflection, and accountability. Measures and understands the impact of UUSC’s work, and applies findings to the evolution of the organization.
  • Has a clear vision for advancing opportunities for UUSC and for deploying the board, staff, volunteers, donors, activists, other supporters, policymakers, and the media to realize this vision.
  • Is creative and imaginative. Has a proven ability to attract outstanding and diverse talent. Is resilient and has the ability to stick to a plan and lead it through to completion.
  • Has a sophisticated understanding of the health, environmental, political, social, technological, and educational issues confronting contemporary society in the United States and worldwide, particularly in the Global South.

Proven Executive Leadership: In a complex, global organization with multiple programs, global operations, and a diverse staff, s/he will ensure that UUSC’s resources — people, funding, time — are continually improved for greater impact. The next leader:

  • Builds a cohesive, high performance team, attracts top talent, and sets clear goals and impact expectations.
  • Possesses a proven track record managing staff, finances, and a complex organization in a manner that is progressive and consistent. Is experienced in program development and implementation.
  • Oversees the administration of the organization with the goal of creating a high-performance operation that values collaboration, flexibility and accountability.
  • Interacts effectively with all employees, including union and non-union staff, and works to create an environment where all are focused on institutional ambitions.
  • Is thoughtful, yet decisive, and deals with complexity and ambiguity and making complex and/or tough decisions in timely manner.
  • Sets a high standard of professional behavior, promoting UUSC’s desired values and culture, and working every day to celebrate and inspire staff.
  • Is a skilled practitioner in navigating issues of power, oppression, and cultural sensitivity; embraces diversity of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, and sexual orientation; and has a demonstrated track record of developing and sustaining diversity in the workplace.

Outstanding Communication, Development, and Relationship-Cultivation Skills: In an organization with aspirations to expand its constituent base and communicate clearly about its accomplishments, the next leader:

  • Brings outstanding communication skills, engages naturally and authentically with people, and is an inspirational speaker and articulate writer.
  • Establishes credibility and trust within the UU community, donor and partner organizations.
  • Actively builds collaborations with a broad, diverse set of partners.
  • Demonstrates superior verbal and written communication skills and is capable of serving as the primary spokesperson for the organization, while directing and inspiring Board leaders, senior management, program staff, and volunteers to effectively represent the organization in their areas of expertise.
  • Is skilled as a fundraiser and capable and comfortable in the role of lead fundraiser for the organization with a special emphasis upon maintaining a positive relationship for UUSC with the members of the Stewardship Circle.
  • Leads an ambitious fundraising effort. Cultivates and stewards current UU donors and expands the base beyond the traditional UU supporters to include millennials and others committed to social justice / human rights.
  • Is a savvy user of traditional and new media to raise the profile of the organization Creates a strong partnership with the Board of Trustees in governance and resource mobilization efforts.
  • Is conversant with Unitarian Universalism and comfortable with UU congregations and culture or is quickly able to become so. Understands how UUism has undergirded and strengthened UUSC’s mission and past successes and its potential to propel its growth and future advocacy and programmatic successes around the world.

Other Personal Characteristics

  • Energy and stamina
  • Creativity and curiosity
  • Humor and low ego needs
  • Honest broker, transparent
  • Affinity for the values of Unitarian Universalism
  • Ability to travel at least 30-40% of the time — primarily domestic and some international travel

Non-Discrimination and Equal Employment Opportunity

UUSC is highly committed to the principle of equal opportunity in employment. People with disabilities, people of color, and people from minority communities are encouraged to apply.

To Apply

Please email a cover letter addressed to UUSC CEO Search Committee along with a resume and any supporting materials to this confidential address:   If you have questions about the position or application process, please send them to this address and we will contact you.   Applications must be received by March 1, 2018.


Unitarian Universalist Seven Principles and Six Sources

Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote seven Principles, which they hold as strong values and moral guides. They live out these Principles within a “living tradition” of wisdom and spirituality, drawn from sources as diverse as science, poetry, scripture, and personal experience.

1st Principle The inherent worth and dignity of every person; 2nd Principle Justice, equity and compassion in human relations; 3rd Principle Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations; 4th Principle A free and responsible search for truth and meaning; 5th Principle The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large; 6th Principle The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; and, 7th Principle Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

These are the six sources UU congregations affirm and promote:

  1. Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
  2. Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
  3. Wisdom from the world's religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
  4. Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God's love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
  5. Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit; and,
  6. Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.

The seven Principles and six Sources of the Unitarian Universalist Association grew out of the grassroots of these communities, were affirmed democratically, and are part of who the UU congregations, written in the UUA Bylaws.

[1] The Stewardship Circle is a group of over 280 people who, individually or as a couple, each contribute a minimum of $5000/year to UUSC and are the “backbone” of UUSC support. Many of them also contribute to multiyear campaigns that allow us to deepen programs and build stronger capabilities.

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