The CWR Board of Directors is taking steps to implement its new strategic plan, unveiled at the annual conference in Albuquerque last fall. Hiring a new full-time executive director was contingent on the organization receiving a grant for funding, and CWR announced last month that the Hilton Foundation had awarded a $1.5 million grant that will help fund the strategic plan initiatives for the next three years. The CWR Board has created a new ad hoc Strategic Plan Implementation Committee, and one of the committee’s first steps was to work with P.J. Lynch & Associates, an executive search firm, to refine the proposed job description for the executive director, and handle the hiring for the new position. The board encourages CWR members to read the job description and consider applying for this new position or consider sharing it with qualified colleagues. The deadline to apply is Feb. 29.

Executive Director

Communicators for Women Religious
Chicago, Illinois

Candidate Information

Communicators for Women Religious (CWR) began in 1993, when three communicators—two Catholic sisters and one lay woman—met and formed an informal coalition to provide mutual support and collaboration in facilitating communications for their individual congregations of Catholic sisters. Twenty three years later, CWR has evolved into a professional organization of almost 200 members representing 140 congregations of women religious in the United States, Canada, Ireland, Australia and Italy. Membership is comprised of approximately 80 percent lay individuals and 20 percent women religious.

CWR’s mission is to provide members with the communication tools necessary to promote understanding of women religious, enhance their image and advance their mission; to serve as a leader, providing resources and support to organizations serving women religious; and to serve as a resource for media and the wider public about the diversity and changing role of women religious in the 21st century.

CWR’s organizational growth has created the need for professional leadership and coordination to ensure future growth and support their strategic goals. Supported in this initiative by a grant from the Conrad Hilton Foundation, the organization seeks an Executive Director, who in conjunction with the Board of Directors will lead the next level of growth. The individual we seek will have an extensive leadership track record for a not-for-profit organization and will possess communication, fundraising and mission driven focus and skills.

Reports to: Board of Directors

Location: Chicago, Illinois.

Position Description:
The Executive Director (ED) is the key management leader of the organization known as Communicators for Women Religious (CWR). The Executive Director is responsible for overseeing the general administration, operational budget, programs and strategic plan of the organization. Other key responsibilities include fundraising, marketing, and community outreach. The ED is appointed by the CWR Board of Directors and, as such, the position reports directly to the Board.

General Responsibilities

Leadership and Management:
The Executive Director works with the Board in order to fulfill CWR’s mission. In this capacity, the ED is responsible for:

  • Providing leadership to CWR in a manner that supports and guides CWR’s mission as defined by the Board and inherent in the Strategic Plan and governing policies.
  • Communicating effectively with the Board on a regular basis, bringing immediate concerns forward for consultation, recommendations and implementation following Board interaction.
  • Sharing, in a timely and accurate manner, all the information necessary for the Board to carry out its oversight responsibility and make informed decisions to further the mission and works of CWR.

CWR Mission and Strategy:
The Executive Director works closely with CWR’s Board and ancillary staff to ensure that the mission is fulfilled through its programs, strategic plan, and other community outreach endeavors. Along with the Board, the ED is responsible for:

  • Implementation of CWR’s programs, including the annual conference, that carry out CWR’s mission.
  • Supervision and implementation of the 2016-2019 Strategic Plan, such that it continues to lead CWR forward into the future.
  • Being a visible presence for and of CWR in the community and working closely with other professional, civic and private organizations that align with the mission of CWR.
  • Publicize the activities and programs of CWR using appropriate vehicles of communication. Represent CWR programs and activities to other agencies, organizations and the general public in a manner that highlights and supports CWR’s mission.

Financial Performance and Long-term CWR Viability:
The Executive Director makes every effort to develop and cultivate resources sufficient to ensure the financial health of CWR. Working with the Finance Committee, the ED is responsible for:

  • Creating and submitting to the Board an operational national office budget.
  • Providing financial statements on a regular basis that accurately reflect the financial condition of CWR.
  • Ensuring that CWR is operating within the approved budget and is capitalizing on available resources to supplement the budget by providing maintenance of the budget such that CWR remains in a positive financial position.
  • Fundraising initiatives that support CWR’s mission to include securing new avenues of financial support and grant submissions.
  • Conducting official correspondence of CWR and jointly with Board approval, execute legal documents.

Internal CWR Operations:
The Executive Director oversees and implements appropriate resources (financial and personnel) to ensure that CWR’s internal organizational structures remain on a solid footing. In conjunction with Board approval, the ED is responsible for:

  • Effective administration of all CWR operations.
  • Hiring and retention of competent, qualified ancillary staff in order to meet the goals and objectives of the Strategic Plan and the larger Mission of CWR.
  • Engaging in evaluative responsibilities with ancillary staff.
  • Making recommendations for salary adjustments for staff, based on evaluative processes, current market salaries indicators and the financial state of CWR.
  • Signing all appropriate agreements and/or new partnerships entered into and on behalf of CWR and the Board.
  • Working in a collaborative manner with standing and/or ad hoc CWR committees.

Skills, Knowledge and/or Abilities:

  • Superb written/verbal communication skills
  • Significant not-for-profit management experience including strategic planning, budgeting and operations
  • Entrepreneurial and recognizes the needs of a start-up organization
  • Intense listening skills and able to include diverse constituencies in policy and communication
  • Comfortable with all audience types and knowledgeable in all mediums of communication
  • Thrives in a fast-paced working environment
  • Ability to work without direction as well as to work collaboratively with colleagues
  • Experience with website management and social and electronic media platforms
  • Knowledge/familiarity with the Roman Catholic Church and its teachings

Educational and Experience Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Non Profit Management, Public Relations, Communications or related field, is required
  • 10 years progressive management experience in mission driven not-for-profit organization
  • A vision that encompasses the changing philosophy of communications fundraising in today’s society as related to religious organizations as well as a vision to inspire others
  • Evidence of a sensitivity to and understanding of diverse academic, socioeconomic, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds

Travel and Schedule: Position requires some nights and weekends for events and conferences.

Compensation: $90+K

Benefits: Comprehensive health insurance and other plan benefits available at time of interview

Deadline for Application: February 29, 2016

For consideration please email: Patrick Lynch at with resume.