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Salary: $73,000 - $95,000

Location: Chicago, IL (Austin, TX candidates will also be considered)


“Because I have the power to influence my fate.” - Maleeha, Pakistan

Girls Like Us, Vol. 3


Founded in 2011, GirlForward is a community of support dedicated to creating and enhancing opportunities for girls displaced globally by conflict and persecution. Headquartered in Chicago, IL, GirlForward (GF) operates its programs at its center in Chicago, IL, and through school-based partnerships in Austin, TX where the organization has seen continued opportunities for growth and expansion. Over the years, we have served over 600 girls and are currently serving 200 girls ages 14-22 through mentorship, education, and safe spaces programs.  Girls in our community have come to the US through refugee resettlement, asylum processes, or other immigration channels, and represent over 30 countries of origin.


Here’s a little more about what makes GF unique.

  • Our impact is evident. Girls' minds and lives are being transformed every day.

  • So many amazing girls have grown and launched into the world, many now returning as alumni to mentor the next generation.

  • Our phenomenal staff, board, mentors, and tutors go above and beyond to demonstrate the deep commitment that they have to girls’ success.

  • There is tremendous opportunity and need for our girl-centered community to be supported, and our program model to be expanded.

Visit and our organizational values here to learn more.



We are seeking a new Executive Director to lead GirlForward into its next chapter. Over the past twelve years, GirlForward has grown from a fledgling volunteer-run project into a successful and acclaimed organization currently serving over 200 girls in Chicago, IL and Austin TX with an annual budget of $750,000. Our new ED will be responsible for driving GirlForward’s continued success, continuing to develop a talented team of professionals,  nurturing a collaborative mission-centered culture, and ensuring high quality programming, while leading the organization on a path that is aligned with our mission and centers the experiences of the young people we serve.


The ED will be based in our Chicago office and can expect to travel to Austin several times a year. An Austin-based ED candidate will also be considered. Across cities, the ED will lead a growing team of 10 staff members, partnering with the programming and fundraising leads, as well as the board to foster a community of engagement and support around the girls served, their families, mentors, and tutors.


We are searching for an experienced leader with demonstrated skills in fundraising, communication, operations, and people leadership.  Our leader must be able to demonstrate strategic decision making that is grounded in a deep belief in fostering and engaging in the deep wisdom found in others, including and especially young people. Teamwork and relationship-building are critical to GirlForward’s work. Our team is passionate, dynamic, collaborative, and eager to learn. In addition to these characteristics, we are looking for an ED who is dedicated to supporting staff in their professional development and possesses a roll-up-your-sleeves/can-do attitude. It is essential that our ED be able to lead a diverse team and build a supportive and inclusive organizational culture.


We are looking for an Executive Director who can lead in the following areas and be a:


Mission and Culture Steward

  • Values-based, mission-driven, and people centered leader who leads with empathy, compassion, and curiosity.

  • Community developer who builds a culture of care centered around the girls we serve.

  • Committed champion of social justice who can lead in multicultural settings with humility, flexibility, agility, and a growth-mindset, and who is committed to learning and understanding the population(s) we serve in Chicago and Austin.

  • Leader experienced in working with adolescent girls and/or refugee/immigrant populations.

  • Chief spokesperson, representing and sharing GirlForward’s mission, values, and benefits with key stakeholders, including program participants, funding institutions (philanthropic and corporate), individual supporters, community partners, and the media.

  • Growth-minded leader with foresight, strategic thinking, and planning abilities who boldly considers new ideas, assesses feasibility, and takes calculated risks.

  • Advocate around issues affecting immigrants and refugees.

  • Collaborator with a talented and engaged Board and Advisory Board, many of whom also served as mentors or are alumnae of GF.


A Chief Fundraiser and Financial Steward

  • Fundraiser who will leverage a deep understanding of non-profit financial sustainability to mobilize the board of directors and funders.

  • Developer of organizational and/or program budgets, who can manage audits, ensure the implementation of proper financial controls, and report to the board, outside agencies, and funders as needed.

  • Strong financial and business steward for the organization.


People Developer and Relationship Builder

  • Mentor and coach to provide professional development opportunities to early-career professionals as well as building a future talent pipeline.

  • Leader who appreciates and nurtures a shared leadership approach rooted in mutual respect, trust, shared accountability, and the empowerment of the team.

  • Relational lead who can maintain effective working relationships as well as a supportive and inclusive culture with the Board of Directors, community groups, donors, and other related entities.


Operations Leader

  • Strategic leader who can balance the realities of day-to-day, unanticipated issues.

  • Thoughtful builder of effective evaluation and improvement systems for organizational performance to ensure high quality, relevant, and responsive programming.

  • Overseer of agency functions, including facilities, IT, marketing, and communications.

  • Collaborator and guide to the Board of Directors to leverage their skills and contributions as an operational board.

  •  Equity focused developer of and communicator about organizational policies and structures.


GirlForward is looking for our next Executive Director to bring experience in many of the above areas and to bring the following background and experience:

  • A minimum of five years of experience in a senior leadership role, preferably in a non-profit organization.

  • Bachelor’s degree or post-secondary international equivalent.

  • Educational studies or equivalent experience in refugee resettlement, youth development, social work, or a related area is desired.

  • Excellent English written and oral communication skills.

  • Excellent organizational skills and ability to focus on the big picture and details.

  • Ability to make and stand by difficult decisions.

  • Ability to travel and work some evening hours to be present for after school programming.


Note to Potential Candidates: We know that not all strong candidates will have every skill we list but we welcome you to apply anyways. Our commitment to the growth and development of our staff extends to our leaders as well. If you believe that this mission aligns to your personal mission, the role aligns to your goals, and the spirit of GirlForward resonates, we want to hear from you.


Compensation & Benefits

GirlForward is pleased to offer a salary in the range of $73,000 - $95,000, commensurate with experience. Additional benefits include unlimited PTO, a comprehensive insurance package, a retirement plan, an ongoing hybrid office schedule, and annual professional development and training support.

To Apply

This search is being supported by Meredith Horton and Callie Carroll of CLC Endeavors. Please send a cover letter and resume to Priority will be given to applications submitted by April 1st, though applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled.

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