Job Announcement - Executive Director


Western Justice Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to building a more civil, peaceful society where differences are valued. Western Justice Center was founded in 1987 by a group of visionary judges, lawyers and civic leaders led by the Honorable Dorothy W. Nelson, judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Housed in Pasadena's historic Maxwell House, Western Justice Center was established to develop creative programs to teach students, educators and members of the community ways to resolve conflict peacefully by utilizing and integrating Court system-developed alternative dispute resolution (ADR) techniques*. Programs are designed and implemented to change the way people think about and respond to differences and conflicts. Their programs raise awareness, build skills and increase the possibility of just communities and schools.

In 2014, Western Justice Center merged with ENCOMPASS, a non-profit youth development organization devoted to reducing prejudice and bias-related conflicts. As the first youth development organization created by experts in inter-group relations, ENCOMPASS furthered this mission by involving thousands of youth in interactive human relations programs that reduce prejudice and conflict. The merger between Western Justice Center and ENCOMPASS builds upon the strengths, methodology and community partnerships of each organization.

In addition to the conflict resolution and anti-bias programs, Western Justice Center operates a four building campus that houses a dozen non-profit organizations. One building, the historic Pasadena Maxwell House, is a popular special events venue that holds more than 50 weddings and other events each year.


Reporting to a the Board of Directors, the Executive Director is responsible for the organization's consistent achievement of its mission and financial objectives. The Western Justice Center employs six full-time staff, eight part-time or contract staff, and about a dozen volunteers and has an annual budget of $1.5 million.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  1. Financial Performance and Viability: Ensure that the annual budget is funded and that Western Justice Center has adequate cash flow.
    Manage within budget and ensure the organization is operating in a sound fiscal basis, keeping the Board regularly informed of the financial status of the organization.
    Plan and implement a revenue strategy that ensures positive cash flow and the resources to sustain and grow the organization.
  2. Board Governance: Work with the Board in order to fulfill the organization's mission.
    Lead Western Justice Center in a manner that supports and guides the organization's mission as defined by the Board of Directors.
    Facilitate the Board's operations by communicating regularly with the Board and providing, in a timely and accurate manner, all information necessary for the Board to function properly and to make informed decisions.
    Contribute to the identification, selection and recruitment of new Board members.
  3. Mission and Strategy: Assure that the organization has a long-range strategy to further the mission through high quality and effective programs.
    Provide motivational and visionary leadership to ensure that the organization's policies, procedures and activities are congruent with the mission and vision.
    Define the strategic direction of Western Justice Center. Lead strategic planning processes to ensure that Western Justice Center can successfully fulfill its mission into the future.
  4. Fundraising and External Relations:
    Serve as the primary spokesperson and advocate for Western Justice Center to promote the mission by clearly articulating its programs and impact on the community.
    Develop and implement a fundraising plan and act as the organization's chief fundraiser, emphasizing donor movement and stewardship.
    Establish and maintain positive working relationships among donors, public and private grantors and foundations.
  5. Management and Operations. Together with the Associate Executive Director, oversee and implement a positive work culture that attracts, keeps and motivates a diverse staff.
    Provide oversight of all operational functions of the organization, including program development, management and administration, financial management, community relations, fund development, human resource management, volunteer leadership, facilities management, and infrastructure growth.
    Lead the team to strengthen and support the programmatic, financial and operational goals of Western Justice Center including attracting, retaining, developing, and motivating qualified staff.


Leading candidates will demonstrate passion for the mission of Western Justice Center and invest themselves in the vision and goals of the organization. The Executive Director will have strong critical thinking skills and will display integrity, good judgment, and value transparency. Ideally, the successful candidate will have the ability to lead a recently merged organization, with two distinct histories and organizational cultures. In addition, the leading candidate must have a comfort level working effectively with individuals and organizations from the legal field, as well as the creative arts field.

Valuing diversity, the Executive Director should be able to develop strong rapport and have the ability to work with the Board as well as with diverse staff and client populations. The successful candidate will have an inclusive leadership style that endorses collaboration and open communication. The Executive Director will accomplish goals through motivation, the delegation of authority, and the use of systems that are designed for effective planning, evaluation and accountability. The successful candidate will be a good listener who is accessible and who possesses the ability to adapt and respond effectively to change, while continuing to lead and mentor the team. This individual needs to be a coalition-builder who can work on multiple levels with a wide variety of constituencies to implement programs and processes, and facilitate change when required.

Effective communication skills, written, oral and listening, are essential, as the Executive Director will represent Western Justice Center to its various constituencies. Strong public speaking skills, including the use of respectful and inclusive language is expected. Ideally, this person will have a passion for the mission and be on a constant search to enhance and improve the organization. Comfort with leading fundraising efforts, making asks, and devising strategies for cultivating donors is essential.


The successful candidate will have five or more years of senior nonprofit management experience. Demonstrated successful experience and skills in fundraising, program development and board relations will be highly valued. The ideal candidate will have strong donor relations skills and success at cultivating donors, asking for and obtaining major gifts. Familiarity with the field of conflict resolution and its practices, including mediation and facilitation would be highly desirable.


A bachelor's degree required; advanced degree preferred.


Annual compensation will be competitive and relocation assistance, if needed, is negotiable. A comprehensive benefits package will be provided.

*In its early years, the Western Justice Center services included the traditional areas of ADR, but with the comprehensive integration of ADR into the legal system and the success of the commercial providers of ADR, Western Justice Center no longer works in that area.