Seeking an Exemplary Leader: DRW Executive Director

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DRW is seeking a fierce strategic leader and advocate with lived experience to lead with compassion, ensure justice, inspire, and influence results-oriented priorities and aspirations for the organization. The Executive Director (ED) will champion the critical work of our agency, fighting for the rights of people with all disabilities. The Executive Director serves as the civic image for DRW while inspiring operational vision and oversight. The ED will ensure organizational strength and financial viability and cultivate strong partnerships to move initiatives forward while sustaining and expanding funding to continue to enhance resources.

View the accessible position announcement here (PDF).

Position Responsibilities

Leadership, Fund Development, Public Policy, Commitment to the DRW Mission, Vision and Core Values –

  • Be the primary public face for DRW by clearly articulating the mission of DRW and the issues facing people with disabilities.
  • Support and engage with the Board of Directors in carrying out the responsibilities of strategic goals for the organization and staff.
  • Strengthen functional relations with funders, coalitions, and organizational partners while cultivating new relationships with diverse cultural communities, organizations, and funders to advance DRW’s mission. Uphold DRW’s relationships with the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN).
  • Strong commitment to listening, creating space for diverse perspectives, and advancing the pursuit of inclusive and just outcomes.
  • Oversee and set funding levels for DRW’s overall operations. Actively manage resource development activities to ensure funding levels budgeted are administered as planned.
  • Competently manage grants and other funding, ensuring governmental compliance with reporting and application requirements; continually seek sources of funding that further the mission of DRW and those we serve.
  • Vigorously work to boost unrestricted dollars to support the energies of public
    policy work.
  • Foster internal confidence in team collaboration, reciprocated support agency-wide,
    and solidarity among staff.
  • Manage and inspire key leadership staff across the organization.
  • Oversee ethical and proper adherence to agency regulations, funder requirements, financial compliance, and internal policies.
  • Actively present oral and written public policy addresses to legislative bodies and organizations to gain continual awareness and intensity to report on the needs of
    those with disabilities.
  • Enduring development and strengthening of cooperative working relationships with advocacy groups, service providers, and organizations that will partner to advance the objective of improving the lives of individuals with disabilities.


  • Experience working with persons with disabilities, especially from diverse communities, backgrounds, and perspectives. Lived experience preferably.
  • Prefer three to five years of leadership experience in an organization engaging in strategic planning, management of personnel, budget development and oversight, grant and contract compliance, and managing change that a P&A agency embraces.
  • Direct knowledge raising funds from private sources including foundations and individual donors, as well as federal and state government sources.
  • Demonstrated experience and understanding of litigation and other legal activities, which are integral components of our Protection & Advocacy agency. This could include possession of a Juris Doctor degree but not required. Additionally, an undergraduate degree in a field that adds value to DRW’s work could be favorable, but not required.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate with a broad range of audiences and stakeholders.
  • Public policy efforts include advocating with legislators and public officials on behalf of public policy initiatives that benefit individuals with disabilities along with testifying in front of the state legislature.
  • Demonstrated record of experience and/or leading a non-profit and/or successful business operation.
  • Ability to lead with integrity, and fairness and conduct effective decision-making which encourages power sharing amongst staff. Proficiency to articulate decisions while continuing the nurturing characteristics of DRW and all we stand for.

About the Work Location

The Executive Director position is headquartered in the Madison, WI office with time split with the Milwaukee, WI office, about an hour away. Remote work is not an option at this time — Candidates should have the ability to travel statewide as required / needed for maximum effectiveness. At times, evenings, weekends, or extended hours may be necessary. The Executive Director reports to the DRW Board of Directors.

How to Apply

Application materials should be submitted electronically. (If you require accommodation with this or any portion of the application/interview process, please email below as alternate formats are available.)

  • Candidates should send a current resume and reflective cover letter outlining how their expertise and experience match our opening.
  • Only selected individuals determined by the Executive Search Committee will be invited to participate in a formal interview process.

Applications are accepted through May 5, 2023.

Learn more about key responsibilities and qualifications for the Executive Director below:

If you have a question that you would like answered before applying for employment, please forward them to