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President & CEO


How to Apply

Please visit our website to apply:

SEARCH INSTITUTE:  For over 60 years, Search Institute has been a leader and partner for organizations around the world in bridging research and practice to help all young people be and become their best selves. Our research, resources, and expertise help our partners in organizations, schools, and community coalitions solve critical challenges in the lives of young people. 


POSITION SUMMARY: The President and CEO is the chief executive officer of the Search Institute and is responsible to the board of directors for the overall leadership of the organization and its programs.  The President and CEO works with the board and senior leadership to develop strategy, policies, research and project directions and budgets.  The President and CEO ensures effective staff leadership and management, high-quality applied research, effective products and services, impactful partnership development, successful grants development and fundraising, and sound financial management.  The President and CEO represents Search Institute frequently at conferences, conventions and other academic, research or information-sharing settings.  Search Institute’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan.

Areas of Responsibility: 

Be the strategic, visionary leader of Search Institute

  • Embody the vision and mission of the organization.  Exhibit passion about the work of Search Institute both inside and outside the organization.  Drive, develop, and promote a positive focus on achievement of the vision, mission, goals, and objectives of Search Institute.
  • Develop and recommend strategic directions and the plans and policies to guide the work of the organization.  Collaborate with the board of directors and senior leadership in making strategic, financial, funding, and new business decisions in a timely and efficient manner.
  • Strengthen the work of Search Institute by thinking strategically about the organization’s impact and how knowledge is generated, how partnerships are formed, and how products and services are created, marketed and delivered to advance Search Institute’s mission and strategic priorities.
  • Ensure the long-term sustainability of the organization through development and refinement of a business model that delivers growth of revenues by improving the commercialization of products and services, increasing foundation and government grants, and increasing the overall profitability of client contracts.
  • Pursue new ways of partnering with organizations to conduct and apply research that promotes positive youth development and advances equity.


Lead the smooth and efficient operation of the organization

  • Ensure the creation and execution of plans, processes, and procedures that enhance and grow the financial stability and strength of the organization.
  • Oversee the development and monitoring of budgets, and supervise administration of the financial and business operations of Search Institute. Also oversee pricing and resource allocation towards ensuring financial sustainability.
  • Build and supervise a high-performance senior leadership team.  Provide guidance, coaching, and development to assist staff in achieving their organizational objectives as well as their personal developmental goals.
  • Set a positive tone of leadership throughout the organization and work to build an inclusive, engaging, and collaborative organizational culture.
  • Invest in staff excellence.  Attract, develop, and retain a diverse and high-performance team with passion for the mission and the people we serve. Work to engage and empower staff in the best interest of the organization. Invest in creating and maintaining a culture that attracts and retains staff and achieves the mission.


Elevate the profile of Search Institute

  • Build on and enhance the organization’s strong partnership with key thought leaders and important organizations in the youth development field.
  • Develop and utilize staff expertise to also represent the organization and bring diverse perspectives and faces to the public.
  • Grow and enhance Search Institute’s capacity to produce and disseminate applied and theoretical research and to develop research-based tools and insights that inform, motivate, and engage researchers, partners, practitioners, and the public (including parents) to invest in the positive development of children and youth,
  • Collaborate with other organizations, both public and private, as a way to improve opportunities for youth success.
  • Represent Search Institute on boards, panels, and conferences where the President and CEO’s involvement enhances the organization’s presence in the national spotlight.
  • Act as a primary liaison to the board of directors and the executive committee and ensure that the staff support all other committees as is appropriate.

Other—Perform other related duties, as assigned by the board of directors.


Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


Education & Experience:

  • Doctorate degree required, or candidate may be actively in the process of obtaining.
  • Minimum of 10 years of experience as an established, visionary and strategic leader, 15 years preferred.

Leadership and Management Experience:

  • Proven executive leadership:
    • Prior experience as CEO, President or Executive Director preferred, non-profit experience valued.
    • Lives the values of the organization, attracts, retains, empowers staff around the shared vision, and builds an effective organizational culture.
    • Strong commitment to the professional development of staff; successful track record of recruiting, retaining, developing and mentoring a diverse team.
    • Able to integrate all of Search Institute into one cohesive team of research and practice.
  • Management experience for a team or organization. Staff supervision and organizational development, planning and goal setting, financial management, knowledge development, product development, program development, organizational communications, partnership development and management, marketing, fundraising, and board relations preferred.
  • Ability to successfully manage through periods of significant change and/or crisis.
  • Deep understanding of product strategies and implementation as a means of achieving broad impact from applied research.  Proven track record of successful sales to individuals and organizations.
  • Proven competence in strategic visioning, and experience in the development and implementation of a strategic plan.
  • Demonstrated success in growing mission impact, whether through new products, new services, or innovations while ensuring financial sustainability. 
  • A successful track record of unrestricted fundraising and fund development programs, methods, techniques and planning would be valued.


Research Experience and Passion:

  • Demonstrated passion for youth development and for the mission, vision and values of Search Institute.
  • Knowledge, experience and keen interest in the field of youth development. Reputation for excellence, integrity, and scholastic and/or academic credibility. Understands applied social science research and academic publishing.  Knowledge of current thinking and emerging models in the field of youth development and prior experience leading a research team.
  • Track record of successfully cultivating, soliciting and managing grants and contracts from individuals, organizations and foundations, as well as government and corporations in support of an organizational mission. 

Communication and Presentation Skills:

  • Exemplary interpersonal communication and presentation skills.  The ability and commitment to envision and describe the long-term future of an organization in a way that inspires and motivates key stakeholders.
  • Great listener, and willing to solicit and accept input and divergent viewpoints.
  • The ability and commitment to be an engaging ambassador and advocate for Search Institute, through speaking and writing, with key constituents such as community and government leaders.  A charismatic speaker who can influence and engage people and organizations of all types.



  • A dynamic leader who exudes both confidence and care for others, builds relationships and a culture of trust, and is a model of authenticity, credibility, and ethical conduct.
  • Demonstrates a high level of cultural competence.
  • Demonstrates a deep understanding of and commitment to equity with the ability to infuse it into the work.
  • Demonstrates a deep understanding of and commitment to inclusion as a means to invigorate staff.
  • Celebrates and embraces diversity in all its forms to help drive innovation. 
  • A visionary and entrepreneurial spirit, willing to propose, strategize and execute new ways of delivering applied research in the form of products and services that solve challenging problems in the youth development field.
  • An inquiring person who is knowledgeable about the wide range of research, consulting, and knowledge dissemination in the youth development field.
  • A thoughtful leader who is committed to honor and integrate the historic and ongoing contributions of Search Institute to bring new ideas and approaches to the organization.
  • A citizen of the world who is oriented towards the greater good of society.
  • Possesses a high degree of emotional intelligence and is skilled at communication and collaboration.
  • Listens, anticipates concerns, and proactively responds to staff, the board of directors, and stakeholders.
  • Ability to frequently travel locally, nationally, and internationally.


Search Institute strongly encourages diverse candidates to apply.  




COMPENSATION:  Commensurate with experience and qualifications

BENEFITS:  Search Institute is proud to offer our employees a great benefit package including medical, dental, life insurance, disability insurance, health savings account, 403b retirement savings account with employer match, holiday pay, a generous PTO accrual and paid parental leave.

How to Apply: 

Please visit our website to apply:

Organization Info

Listing Stats

Post Date: 
Jun 10 2021
Active Until: 
Jul 9 2021
Hiring Organization: 
Search Institute