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Executive Director Search

New leadership is needed for new times, but it will not come from finding more wily ways to manipulate the external world. It will come as we who serve and teach and lead find the courage to take an inner journey toward both our shadows and our light – a journey that, faithfully pursued, will take us beyond ourselves to become healers in a wounded world.
̴ Parker J. Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness

Seeking Executive Director, Seattle, WA

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Organization Overview

The Center for Courage & Renewal (CCR) works to create a more just, compassionate, and healthy world – and sustain the leadership we need for such a world – by nurturing personal and professional integrity and the courage to act on it. Founded by prominent educator, author, and activist Parker J. Palmer, CCR helps leaders and professionals of all kinds bring their integrity and humanity to the places where they work, serve, and live. We do so through programs based on our Circle of Trust® approach, a set of principles and practices that “reconnect who we are with what we do” in order to build self-awareness and relational trust. Equipped with these skills, leaders are better able to sustain themselves and inspire others for the long haul, working together to transform the institutions and communities they serve.

CCR is at the hub of a growing worldwide network of Courage & Renewal facilitators who bring the Circle of Trust approach to individuals, organizations, and communities across a range of professions. In retreats, programs, and other settings, our global network of trained facilitators create a safe space in which participants can connect to their core identity and values; strengthen their resilience so they can continue to act as forces for positive change; learn reflective and contemplative practices that allow them to be more intentional in their work; experience ways of building community based on trust, mutual respect, and connectedness; and cultivate the courage to act with integrity and inspire others to do the same.

CCR’s mission is becoming more important every day, as we see distrust, stress, isolation, and burnout causing once-committed people to lose their sense of purpose and passion, grow disillusioned and disengaged, and eventually distance themselves from those they serve. Courage & Renewal practices allow people to experience what becomes possible when they bring integrity and humanity to the places they live and work. Through our network, we have been able to share the transformative nature of Courage & Renewal practices with increasing numbers of individual participants, who then bring this perspective to the communities and organizations they lead, growing the impact of our work exponentially. CCR’s strategy for raising awareness and changing behavior to promote a more just, compassionate, and healthy world is threefold:

  • We equip our facilitators to use our approach with practitioners across many fields, multiplying their impact on the communities they serve.
  • We engage people to experience and practice our approach through a variety of resources and programs, including CCR facilitator-led retreats, workshops, team coaching, customized consulting, speaking presentations, and program series.
  • We connect people to other practitioners, facilitators, programs, and resources to continue deepening their practice and organizing purpose-driven communities.

In every aspect of our work, we are guided by key principles and practices, and by our core values of integrity, authenticity, diversity, community, courage, love, hope, and renewal.

To learn more about how Courage & Renewal is changing the lives of individuals and communities, please view stories of transformation here.

History and Current Context

Originally established in 1997 as a program of the Fetzer Institute, the organization was first known as the Center for Teacher Formation and focused on helping teachers connect their personal identity and purpose with their work, rekindling their passion for educating the whole student. The organization’s Circle of Trust approach quickly grew in popularity both within the teaching profession and across other professional sectors. The organization was established as an independent nonprofit organization in 2003 and renamed as the Center for Courage & Renewal in 2005 in order to reflect its broader offerings for leaders across education, healthcare, religious congregations, nonprofits, business, and community settings, and for individuals yearning to become more authentic and self-aware in their life and work. 

Today, CCR operates as the hub of a wide-reaching network, consisting of nearly 300 facilitators worldwide who practice the Circle of Trust approach in their communities and have shared Courage & Renewal practices with more than 75,000 program participants to date. CCR’s work is driven by 9 committed and talented staff members and a 12-member international Board of Directors, and the organization operates with a $2.2M annual budget consisting of donations, grants, and earned income. CCR benefits from the ongoing thought leadership of Parker J. Palmer, who has reached millions of people through his writing and speeches, and who continues to introduce Courage & Renewal work to new audiences across the world.

Position Summary

As the current Executive Director prepares to retire after a successful tenure of seven years, CCR is seeking a new Executive Director to build on our mission and strong organizational foundation to lead our ongoing growth. This position will require a seasoned, collaborative, and inclusive leader who invites others into CCR’s work, engages the perspectives of a broad array of stakeholders, and drives forward CCR’s impact. The Executive Director will bring organizational leadership and management experience, including programmatic and fundraising experience, in combination with interpersonal skills and the ability to build a high degree of relational trust within the context of a complex global network.

In order to advance CCR’s mission, the Executive Director must draw on a deep belief in the critical importance of CCR’s work and demonstrate a reflective leadership style and personal approach that aligns with CCR’s core values, principles, and practices. The Executive Director will model integrity, intentionality, and compassion, as well as the ability to navigate through transition and change.

Key Responsibilities

  • Work with the Board to set a bold vision for CCR’s aspirational growth, and engage 9 staff, 20 consultants, and approximately 300 facilitators worldwide in advancing the mission of CCR
  • Build and execute a strategy that will allow the Center to achieve its vision and manifest an ever-broadening impact
  • Embody the organization’s principles, practices, and core values in all interactions
  • Ensure that CCR engages actively with its global network of facilitators to enhance its role as an effective guide, support, and resource for an increasingly diverse and widespread constituency
  • Foster collaboration across the staff team and ensure that team members are positioned for success in their roles and in support of CCR’s broader goals
  • Act as a key external representative of CCR and its work and serve as a thought leader who broadens its impact and reach
  • Lead fundraising strategy and key relationship-building, including cultivation and stewardship of individual and foundation supporters
  • Partner effectively with founders to ensure their continued and important contributions to CCR through a period of organizational evolution
  • Lead CCR in living out its commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity in order to ensure that Courage & Renewal is accessible across a range of communities nationally and globally
  • Ensure that the organization is continuously learning and growing, reflecting on its performance, impact, and potential, and creating appropriate supports and structures and modeling a continuous learning orientation
  • Position CCR within the evolving landscape of leadership and personal development organizations
  • Identify potential strategic partnerships that could bring Courage & Renewal to new audiences and communities and lead efforts to cultivate such relationships
  • Oversee financial strategy and management


Professional Experience

  • Proven success in an externally-facing executive-level leadership role within a nonprofit and/or mission-driven, values-based organization; preferably as ED/CEO
  • Experience managing change and leading through growth and transition, preferably within a complex and network-based organization
  • Fundraising experience, with a successful track record in building relationships with a diverse range of individual and institutional supporters
  • Experience with cultural competence and demonstrated success in implementing best practices in diversity, inclusion, and equity
  • Background in overseeing and managing departmental/organizational budgets and finances
  • Prior success in guiding staff teams within a culture of kindness, transparency, and trust
  • Experience partnering effectively with a Board or similar governance structure

Personal Characteristics

  • Believes deeply in the critical importance of CCR’s work in connecting individuals to their core identity and values and providing support to leaders working toward a more just world
  • Embodies CCR’s core values, including high professional and personal integrity
  • Leads thoughtfully and intentionally, gathering input, acting on feedback, making appropriate decisions, and demonstrating maturity and sound professional judgment
  • Demonstrates cultural competence and a global perspective
  • Builds authentic relationships, drawing on a high degree of emotional intelligence and the ability to develop and sustain relational trust
  • Communicates in a compelling, inspirational manner and displays a commitment to openness, transparency, and listening deeply to others
  • Demonstrates comfort and effective, collaborative leadership within ambiguous situations
  • Models a commitment to continuous learning and engages in reflective leadership practice, with the humility needed to recognize areas for growth and seek support as needed
  • Possesses strong organization, prioritization, and time management skills

Other Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience
  • Ability to travel on CCR-related business

Experience or familiarity with Courage & Renewal practices and programming is preferable. Candidates who do not have this experience can work with the Search Committee to identify appropriate opportunities to engage with and experience CCR’s work.

To Apply

Using the link below, please upload a resume and thoughtful cover letter, outlining how your skills and experience meet the qualifications of the position and addressing how you have approached questions of meaning, purpose, identity, and integrity in your own life and work. Please submit both documents in either Word or PDF format, and address your cover letter to the Center for Courage & Renewal Search Committee:


Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Final interviews will be held in March 2017. The Executive Director will assume leadership in the spring/summer of 2017.

The Center for Courage & Renewal offers a competitive salary and benefits, commensurate with experience and skills.

The Center for Courage & Renewal is an equal opportunity employer.


About Commongood Careers

The Center for Courage & Renewal has partnered with Commongood Careers to conduct the search for an Executive Director. Commongood Careers is a mission-driven search firm that supports the hiring needs of high-impact nonprofits. With an approach that leverages robust talent networks, recruitment and search management expertise, and a deep understanding of our clients’ missions and cultures, we help organizations secure the talent they need to create greater social impact. Since our founding in 2005, Commongood Careers has led more than 700 searches at 275 organizations in 33 states, making us one of the most experienced and dedicated nonprofit search firms in the country. Learn more about nonprofit job opportunities at Commongood Careers.