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                                     Job Announcement

Title:                            Executive Director

Organization:             TLDEF, the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund

Reports to:                 Board of Directors

Location:                    New York, NY


Despite the significant progress made in some areas of the LGBTQ equality movement, transgender people still experience a disproportionate level of prejudice, violence, and denial of access to services and facilities. And although there has been a significant shift in public awareness of the legal and societal issues facing the transgender community in recent years, transgender people continue to be subject to pervasive discrimination that has kept them and their struggles hidden from public view. The recent rise in transgender visibility – and the growing, positive impact of advocacy efforts – has been accompanied with a harsh backlash. In 2016 alone, more than 40 bills targeting the transgender community were introduced in 16 states, with two becoming law in North Carolina and Mississippi. This frightening trend may continue in the 2018 and 2020 election cycles.

The Transgender Legal Defense & Educational Fund (TLDEF) is committed to ending discrimination based on gender identity and expression and to achieving equality for transgender people through public education, test-case litigation, direct legal services, and public policy efforts. Along with its signature Name Change Project, which provides free legal name change services to community members through partnerships with some of nation's premier law firms, TLDEF's legal programs bring test-case litigation with wide impact in all areas of transgender equality.

From changing laws and policy though impact litigation, to the national expansion of the Name Change Project, to training a growing cohort of pro-bono lawyers to be front-line advocates, TLDEF is working tirelessly for transgender civil rights. The transgender community and its allies deserve nothing less.

Founded in New York City in 2003, TLDEF currently has a budget of approximately $800,000 and a staff of 6 full- and part-time employees. The organization is governed by an eight-person national Board of Directors. It is unique both in its New York location and its singular focus on protecting and defending transgender legal rights. TLDEF finds itself today in a dynamic place of transition and renewal with compelling growth opportunities in programming, fundraising, and education/ outreach areas. TLDEF is seeking an Executive Director who is both visionary and operational and who can lead the organization to a new level of success and mission fulfillment.

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New York, NY


The Executive Director reports directly to the Board of Directors. She/He/They will oversee a staff of five, including a Name Change Program Coordinator, Staff Attorney, Office/Administrative Manager, Program Assistant, and Development Assistant.


The Executive Director will assume responsibility for day-to-day leadership and operation of TLDEF’s programs and services, fundraising, finance, and administration functions, as well as staff supervision. In partnership with the Board of Directors, she/he/they will work to ensure that TLDEF remains a visible, impactful, and sustainable nonprofit leader in the fight for full lived and legal equality for trans and gender non-binary people.

The Executive Director will be tasked with developing and implementing a vision to cement, communicate, and expand TLDEF’s unique place in the transgender advocacy movement with a particular focus on the following strategic priorities:

  • Elevate the TLDEF brand and visibility and increase public understanding of its work and mission.
  • Grow financial resources by means of a robust, diverse fundraising effort.
  • Strengthen organizational structure and professionalize systems, policies, and procedures.
  • Expand education and outreach efforts individually, as well as in collaboration with movement partners (ACLU, Lambda, NCTE, etc.).
  • In collaboration with Board and legal staff, refine litigation direction and strategy.
  • Leverage and expand law firm partnerships and collaboration.


While no single candidate is likely to have equal expertise in all of these categories, the following are the Core Competencies for this Executive Director position. The successful candidate will possess a compelling combination of strengths in some areas, and the self-awareness and leadership skills to manage and/or leverage other resources in areas where she/he/they lack personal depth of experience.

Organizational Leadership

  • Lead the organization in evolving a strategic vision and advancing the work and mission of TLDEF;
  • Oversee and expand programmatic, education, and fundraising activities;
  • Strengthen the overall organization structures, systems, and policies and procedures;
  • Identify current and emerging issues affecting the transgender community and determine where TLDEF’s participation and/or leadership will be most beneficial.

Staff Supervision

  • Hire, train, supervise, and develop all full- and part-time staff;
  • Develop and implement performance metrics with clear accountabilities and measures for success;
  • Recruit additional staff as appropriate/necessary;
  • Encourage teamwork, coordination, and focus in the staff team.



  • Identify and maximize potential fundraising opportunities;
  • Manage and help to expand funding relationships with current and potential law firm partners;
  • With development staff and Board, design and implement development initiatives to ensure success in individual giving, corporate and foundation support, and special events;
  • Maintain positive, personal relationships with key individual and institutional donors.

Relationship Management

  • Establish and maintain positive, productive, and transparent working relationship with TLDEF’s Board of Directors;
  • Proactively build collaborative relationships with partner organizations in transgender rights, the broader LGBT and legal services communities, and allied civil rights movements;
  • Act as a public advocate and spokesperson for the organization, raising awareness of its mission and its work in the transgender community;
  • Improve external communications, messaging, and connection to constituents to elevate visibility.

Financial Management

  • Act as fiscal steward, overseeing all financial activity to ensure the immediate and long-term fiscal integrity of the organization;
  • Insure transparency and provide the Board with regular information about the financial health of the organization;
  • Administer funds of the organization according to the budget approved by the Board;


The new Executive Director of TLDEF will be an energetic, passionate, and mission-driven leader with proven commitment to justice and equality for transgender individuals and the broader transgender community. This person should have an inclusive and transparent management style and the ability and desire to lead an organization – and its staff, constituents, and stakeholders – through a dynamic time of transition and renewal. Successful candidates will also have the leadership and visioning skills to identify growth and change opportunities for TLDEF, particularly in the context of the increased visibility and the remarkable public conversation society is now having about the transgender community.

Desired skills, experience, and personal characteristics include:

  • Minimum of 5 years’ management experience, preferably including nonprofit organization leadership as an executive or Board member;
  • Deep personal understanding and lived experience of the social and legal issues and challenges facing individuals across the spectrum of the transgender community;
  • Track record of involvement in advocating for, or activism in support of, the rights of transgender and gender non-binary individuals;
  • Fundraising knowledge and experience, including working with members, donors, and external partners to bolster an organization’s development efforts, reputation, and reach;
  • Financial and budget management experience;
  • Combination of big picture, strategic visioning skills and hands-on, operational expertise;
  • Attention to detail and highly organized without losing sight of larger objectives;
  • Ability to build productive and collaborative working relationships across broad communities of diverse people;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to make impactful connections with a wide range of constituencies – including groups that may be hostile to the advance of transgender rights;
  • Ability to effectively representing the organization in all settings, including policy, programs, advocacy, public education, development, and media;
  • Experience working effectively and collaboratively with a volunteer Board of Directors or similar governing body is strongly desired;
  • Experience in a legal, direct service, or policy/advocacy context is also desired.


This position provides an opportunity to join an organization whose mission is to support and represent the transgender community and transgender individuals themselves, some of whom are the most marginalized members of our society. The ideal candidate will be able to leverage TLDEF's brand and resources in making a direct impact on the lives of transgender individuals. The Executive Director will interact with a talented and passionate team of staff and volunteers to ensure members of the transgender community are legally recognized, valued by society, and afforded equal opportunity to thrive. TLDEF provides a team-based work environment and values the benefits of a diversified workplace.


Bachelor’s degree required. A J.D., while not required, could be beneficial in this role.


Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund is offering a comprehensive compensation package inclusive of salary (commensurate with experience) and full benefits. Benefits include: three weeks of paid vacation, 12 paid holidays, retirement plan, and medical and dental insurance.


Kevin Chase Executive Search Group has been retained to lead this recruitment effort on behalf of Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund. We are pleased to answer any questions or supply further information. Inquiries, nominations, or applications (including a cover letter and resume/curriculum vitae) should be directed electronically and in confidence, to:

Catie DiFelice, Senior Associate

Kevin Chase, Managing Partner

Kevin Chase Executive Search Group

1800 Hi Point Street Los Angeles, CA 90035 (323) 930-8948