New York Civil Liberties Union

Chief of Staff

To Apply

The NYCLU has retained the services of Harris Rand Lusk to conduct this search.  Inquiries, nominations, and applications may be directed in confidence to:

Jack Lusk, Founder and CEO or
Anne McCarthy, Senior Director and COO
Harris Rand Lusk
122 E. 42nd Street, Suite 3605
New York, NY 10168


Please place ”NYCLU – COS” in the subject line of your emailed application

The New York Civil Liberties Union, the best known and most highly regarded nonprofit organization defending constitutional freedoms and civil rights in New York, has a unique opportunity for someone with excellent skills, intelligence, commitment and passion to join the organization as its first Chief of Staff.

The NYCLU is New York’s strongest voice for civil liberties and civil rights. Founded in 1951 as the New York affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, the NYCLU is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan organization with more than 80,000 members statewide. The NYCLU’s agenda is bold and wide ranging – including systemic reform in education and the criminal justice system, advancing racial justice and equality of opportunity; as well as ongoing initiatives that defend and uphold rights of speech and association, reproductive rights, immigrants’ rights, LGBTQ rights, and personal privacy.

The Position:
The NYCLU is hiring its first Chief of Staff in order to increase collaboration and accountability across departments, facilitate strategic thinking, and develop management systems and procedures. The Chief of Staff will report directly to the Executive Director and is a member of senior management team. They will serve as a confidante and advisor to the Executive Director and as a collaborative and strategic thought partner to the senior leadership team.  They will also oversee finance and administration, operations and infrastructure, and human resources functions.

Bringing passion to the role, the Chief of Staff will be a strong coach and problem solver, diplomatic change agent, and an expert in understanding organizational dynamics while helping to create structures and processes that address challenges that are inherent in a geographically, culturally and functionally diverse organization.  The Chief of Staff plays a critical role across all NYCLU departments in helping to ensure NYCLU achieves its mission and embodies its values. This includes working closely with NYCLU management and staff in the day-to-day affairs of the organization and special projects. The Chief of Staff provides support at every level, serves as a trusted advisor and resource, and fosters communication and knowledge sharing throughout the organization. The Chief of Staff will supervise designated staff, liaise with external vendors and outside counsel, and advance effective board governance.

The Chief of Staff project manages strategic planning and other change initiatives; promotes fairness, equity and inclusion; builds collaboration and communication across functional and departmental lines; and ensures operational effectiveness through the organizations human, fiscal, technology and physical resources.

They ensure the regular and ongoing monitoring of and alignment between mission/values, strategy, structure and organizational culture, by, among other things: building a robust HR function and committing to tangible and measurable equity, diversity and inclusion goals. They will support the organization and its workforce by strengthening bonds and working relationships; recognizing and leveraging interdependency and diversity; and encouraging shared leadership and accountability.

The ideal candidate will handle complex situations and multiple responsibilities simultaneously, mixing long-term projects with the urgency of immediate demands. They must also have the demonstrated ability to deal with confidential information and act as a liaison between the Executive Director and other constituencies, both internal and external. They must exhibit the skills to collaborate with and achieve actionable results through others, the ability to build strong and sustainable relationships and the capability to interact within all levels of the organization.

The COS must be a highly intelligent self-starter who demonstrates a commitment to the organization’s core mission. This individual must be able to understand, clearly articulate and operationalize the Executive Director’s ideas, thoughts and perspectives as they relate to the organization’s internal purpose and objectives. They should have proven ability to foster diversity, equity and inclusion; manage growth; demonstrate significant accomplishments and past successes; be a strategic thinker and a hands-on planner and problem solver; and be comfortable leading and sustaining change.

Excellent communication and negotiation skills are critical. They must be able to work closely with the active and engaged Board as well as with an experienced and committed staff. The COS must communicate in a transparent and honest fashion that promotes inclusiveness, cooperation and teamwork.  In addition, they will be fast learners, diplomatic, analytical, of the highest integrity, and possess sound judgment as well as a sense of humor.


The NYCLU Chief of Staff will have extensive experience as a senior manager and leader, preferably in the nonprofit setting.  The ideal candidate will be process and systems oriented and take pride working behind the scenes to build a stronger organization.  The successful candidate must believe in the core values of the New York Civil Liberties Union and embrace its mission.

Additional attributes include:

  • At least 10 years of progressively responsible experience directly related to the position
  • A proven track record of consistently making sound and sometimes difficult decisions through a combination of analysis, wisdom, experience, and judgment; high level of business acumen including financial management, technology management and human resources management; the ability to balance the delivery of programs against the realities of a budget; and problem solving, project management, and creative resourcefulness
  • Experience with capacity building—ability to effectively build organization and staff capacity, developing a top-notch workforce and the processes that ensure the organization runs smoothly
  • Strong yet collegial management style reflecting the ability manage and lead people and groups, develop leaders and teams, and build organization and staff capacity and promote individual and organizational success.
  • Solid educational background—undergraduate degree required; JD or advanced degree in business, public administration, non-profit management or other related field highly desired

The NYCLU is proud to be an equal opportunity employer and encourages all applicants regardless of race, color, sex religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information or any other protected characteristic.  We are committed to having a workforce that reflects the diversity of the population that we serve at all levels within the organization. The NYCLU is proud to be an affirmative action employer and encourages applications from women, people of color, persons with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

Salary is commensurate with experience.  For more information on the NYCLU, please visit their website at www.nyclu.org


122 East 42nd Street, Suite 3605, New York, NY 10168