The Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) is seeking a collaborative and inspirational Executive Director (“ED”), to lead the organization through its next stage of growth. SACNAS is the largest network of diverse students and professionals in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics). Its next leader will have ambitious and bold ideas for scaling the organization so that it continues to proactively increase and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM careers.
This leader will be committed to achieving True Diversity in STEM, where all STEM fields, including positions of leadership, accurately and proportionately reflect the demographics of the U.S. population. The ED will be a true collaborator and will bring strategic thinking along with proven leadership and management capabilities to operationalize the organizational vision into action within a nonprofit setting. The ED will manage and support a diverse and passionate staff, and will partner closely with a Board that represents a vast array of professional backgrounds, to advance the SACNAS mission and support its growing membership.
Over the course of its 49-year history, SACNAS has changed lives. The organization serves as a model for inclusion that centers populations that have been historically excluded in STEM. The next Executive Director will be charged with translating this individual impact into large-scale impact, by not only creating a critical mass of STEM leaders from communities nation-wide that are underrepresented in STEM, but also helping institutions create inclusive environments that will recruit and retain talent. The Executive Director does not need to be a trained scientist but should have a strong appreciation or experience in academic leadership that will resonate with the Board.
For the last 49 years, SACNAS has worked to ensure that those from groups underrepresented in STEM have the support they need to be successful in their fields. SACNAS is an inclusive organization dedicated to fostering the success of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans, from college students to professionals, in attaining advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership in STEM. It is the largest multicultural and multidisciplinary scientific society in the country, with the largest diversity-in-STEM conference, the largest multicultural and multidisciplinary national student chapter network, and the largest cohort of diverse emerging STEM leaders.
While SACNAS was founded to serve the fastest growing and most marginalized groups in the U.S., it is open to all who might benefit from its resources and services.
America’s population demographics are changing. It is projected that by 2060, Hispanics and Native Americans /Alaska Natives will comprise 29% of the U.S. population. The STEM workforce is not keeping pace with these demographic shifts. Without a concerted effort to diversify who earns STEM degrees in the U.S., America’s competitive edge and a huge amount of potential in STEM fields will be lost, because research shows that diverse voices bring creative solutions to the world’s most pressing scientific problems.
SACNAS is uniquely positioned to help ensure the future STEM workforce is reflective of and tackles questions relevant to the entire population of the U.S. To this end, it runs a variety of programs each year including:
The National Diversity in STEM Conference (NDiSTEM): Each October, SACNAS hosts the largest multidisciplinary and multicultural STEM diversity event in the country. This three-day conference serves to equip, empower, and energize participants for their professional paths in STEM through immersion in cutting-edge scientific research and professional development sessions, one-to-one mentoring, motivational keynote speakers, a Graduate School and Career Expo Hall, multicultural celebrations, and an inclusive and welcoming community of peers, mentors, and role models. The conference also provides students with the opportunity to share their research findings, obtain feedback from mentor judges, and seek out career advice. Hosting this conference is a key priority for the organization, connecting the staff and Board to its broader community and mission throughout a deeply moving and inspirational week. See this page for more details.
Leadership Institutes: Since 2009, SACNAS has trained over 300 STEM leaders from academia, industry, government, and nonprofits through Leadership Institutes tailored to different career levels. See this page for more details.
National Chapter Network: SACNAS has over 130 chapters representing students and professionals across 41 states and territories. These chapters provide year-round regional support and community for their members. Student chapter members are emerging self-identified leaders who elect their own officers, plan their own activities, and meet with other chapters at the annual conference and the Chapter Leadership Institute. See this page for more details.
CAREERCON: SACNAS launched the CareerCon event to support STEM students and jobseekers to learn more about jobs within industry, build skills for future job searches, connect directly with employers and to get information for the next step within their career. The event provides trainings, networking, and an opportunity to meet with STEM employers.
SACNAS aims to help create a culture in STEM that values the perspectives of people from widely different backgrounds. It is our goal at SACNAS to have programs that create communities where our members can bring their whole self to science and not compartmentalize pieces of their identities in order to succeed in STEM.
SACNAS is committed to leveraging the knowledge it has cultivated throughout its history to inform and influence public policies and funding that will support the communities it serves. SACNAS leaders are a respected source of expertise and information on how to recruit and retain Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans/Alaska Natives in STEM fields, and the organization itself serves as a model for inclusion by demonstrating how science, culture, and community intersect. SACNAS works closely with their partners, ensuring that diversity, inclusion, and evidence-based policy decisions remain a critical piece of STEM advocacy and the national conversation on science.
For more information on SACNAS, please visit our website.
The Executive Director will be a collaborative, inspiring, visionary, and engaged leader with a genuine passion for promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (“DEI”) in STEM. The ED will be invested in building relationships with staff, Board, partners, funders, and SACNAS’ vast and accomplished membership base. The ideal candidate will have significant experience leading fiscal management and operations in a nonprofit setting with a DEI lens, effective organizational and operational practices, a strong track record of managing and developing high performing teams, a knowledge of federal grant funding mechanisms, and a capacity for pursuing strategies that maximize resources. Moreover, they will engage with members, making the ability to connect with diverse constituencies important.
Authentically identifying with SACNAS’ membership and constituents, the ED will have a keen understanding of the college to professional pathway as it relates to the STEM field. In 2021, SACNAS developed a five-year strategic plan that the ED will be expected to help implement and operationalize; details can be found here.
The Executive Director will have capacity to highly function and lead in a virtual environment, and travel to potential hubs/Washington D.C. as needed.
In addition, successful candidates will have the following core competencies, personal qualities, and characteristics:
Alignment with Mission and Values
The Executive Director will embrace and have a passion for SACNAS’ mission and values. This individual will bring humility and cultural competency to the organization’s leadership, ensuring alignment with SACNAS’ core values. They will also bring proven experience working with or serving Indigenous and Latinx communities, and a deep understanding of the structural and historical racism, barriers, and inequities they face. In addition, they will have an understanding of what marginalized people encounter in pursuing educational and professional pathways.
Seasoned Leader and Manager
The SACNAS ED will be an experienced leader who develops and supports team members throughout the organization and who deepens functional expertise as well as personal and professional development in all team members. The successful candidate will create and champion effective internal processes characterized by transparent decision-making, coordination among teams, and an inclusive work environment. They will use data to measure impact, inform decisions, and advance the work of SACNAS.
Inclusive, Collaborative, and Visionary Leadership
The Executive Director will be a driven and collaborative leader with a vision for SACNAS’ ongoing growth. As a natural consensus-builder, the ED will create a culture where staff and Board are invested in a cohesive vision and can communicate that vision effectively to the organization’s membership and various stakeholders. The ED will partner closely with the Board to establish this vision and direction for SACNAS, with careful attention to SACNAS’ team-based culture.
External Presence and Relationship Building
The Executive Director will partner with SACNAS’ President and Board Members to be a bold, outward-facing voice of SACNAS, helping to authentically communicate SACNAS’ message to its distinct stakeholders, expanding the organization’s profile in the broader STEM community. The ED will be highly skilled at building and sustaining relationships across a wide group of internal and external constituents including SACNAS members as well as current and former Board Members. The CEO will have a strong voice and will work in partnership with a diverse team of Board Directors, staff members, donors, and members. The ED will possess the professional maturity to listen and engage with stakeholders.
Resource and Fund Development
The Executive Director will be an experienced fundraiser with a measurable track record of success in advancement and development. This person will have the expertise and credibility to open doors and build strong relationships with current and potential donors, foundations, government agencies, community leaders, constituents, and other supporters.
The SACNAS Board of Directors comprises high-profile leaders of color in various STEM fields nationally. The ED will use exceptional nonprofit management skills to capitalize on the subject-matter expertise of Board Members, while helping them think more expansively about achieving SACNAS’ mission and vision by utilizing nonprofit and business best practices in addition to approaches from academic and government institutions.
Data-Driven and Results-Oriented Approach
The Executive Director will have a strong track record of defining clear outcomes, establishing data processes and infrastructure to track progress, and using data to help teams course-correct to achieve those outcomes. The ED will be able to set priorities, make decisions, and assess risks in a timely manner while keeping the best interests of the organization in mind.
Financial and Business Acumen
The Executive Director will have a thorough understanding of best-in-class nonprofit management practices and will excel at building the infrastructure required to help SACNAS prepare for the future. The right candidate will have deep expertise in budget management and compliance. This individual will be experienced with financial and budget management, assessment and refinement of staff roles and responsibilities, and the implementation of systems and practices designed to expand the impact of nonprofit organizations.
Compensation & Benefits
The starting base salary for this position is $170,000. This is a permanent, full-time, exempt position and is eligible for SACNAS’s comprehensive benefits package that includes paid time off, paid holidays, acupuncture, chiropractor, health, dental, vision, and life insurance plans, and 401 retirement options.
It is the policy of SACNAS not to discriminate against any individual employee, group of employees or prospective employee for reasons of race, color, religion, creed, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, sex, pregnancy or related medical conditions, age, marital status, ancestry, sexual orientation, physical or mental or sensory disability, genetic information, military status, or any other consideration protected by applicable federal, state, or local laws.
SACNAS is committed to providing equal opportunities in all employment-related activities including, but not limited to recruiting, hiring, advancement, compensation, training, benefits, transfers, and terms of employment. SACNAS promotes equal opportunities for all employees and applicants for employment. Further, SACNAS will fully comply with all applicable equal employment federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Michelle R.S. Bonoan and Christy Farrell are leading this search. To make recommendations or to express your interest in this role, please visit here or email firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. All nominations, inquiries, and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.
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About Koya Partners
Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.
For more information about Koya Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.