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Executive Director

Chicago Debates

Job Description

The Executive Director is responsible for providing strategic oversight to and overall executive leadership for Chicago Debates. Reporting to an engaged Board of Directors, the selected candidate will provide direction for all organizational affairs in accordance with Chicago Debates’s mission as defined by its by-laws, mission statement, guiding principles and policies established and approved by the Board.

Additionally, the Executive Director will be charged with building and nurturing strong relationships with complex key stakeholders, tracking relevant initiatives and trends related to education, mentorship, and youth achievement, and implementing best practices in realizing mission priorities. A key component of the new Executive Director’s success will be to grow the organization’s budget by working with the new Director of Development to identify new revenue streams, both earned and contributed. The dynamic leader will maintain and strengthen relationships with Chicago Debates’s primary partners, including the CPS system it serves, and other community partners, funders, and stakeholders.

Chicago Debates is a strong and stable program that has set the standard for urban debate leagues across the country. It has weathered the last two years remarkably well and now, as it celebrates its 25th anniversary, is at a key point in its lifecycle. The new Executive Director will be stepping in at this key moment when educators, students, volunteers, and the rest of the world seeks to find a “new normal.” As Chicago Debates transitions back to in-person debates, there is a unique opportunity to reignite passion around Chicago Debates’s mission, vision, and values. The Board expects the Executive Director to navigate Chicago Debates through its next phase by strengthening the program, continuing to expand an overall presence in the educational sector, and increasing funding so that more underrepresented students at more schools may debate.

The Executive Director leads the team from an office in the Chicago Loop. The staff currently includes a Senior Director of Programs, four Program Officers, a Volunteer and Outreach Manager, an Associate Manager, a Director of Development and a Development Associate. Currently the staff works in a hybrid model, both in the office and some from home offices with a large amount of time out of office, engaging with students and coaches, strategic partners, and organizational stakeholders.

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