Executive Director, Common Ground America

  • Full Time
  • Washington DC
  • Applications have closed

Website Search for Common Ground

Please cite PCDN as the source of the posting in your application.

The Executive Director, Common Ground America will be responsible for setting the vision for Search’s new “start-up” Common Ground America entity. The Executive Director will define the overall strategy from launch to scale by developing and implementing scalable and efficient strategies to ensure measurable results and growth. S/he will operationalize pilot programming in three areas – facilitating community-based approaches to reduce the threat of violent extremism; supporting youth-led collaborative advocacy and coalition building; and producing media for social change – while determining and leading any necessary strategic reorientation. As we pursue this strategy, the Executive Director, Common Ground America will play a central leadership role in the coordination between Programs, Global Affairs and Partnerships (Policy), Finance and Marketing, Development and Communications to strengthen and sustain Common Ground America’s partnerships and profile in the United States.

The Executive Director, Common Ground America, will lead the development of initiative(s), including resource development, cultivating and managing funding from government, corporations and foundations; high political connections; partnerships; and business networking consistent with Search Values and strategy. S/He leads the mobilization of internal and external resources (people, money, and relationships) attracting, retaining and developing top talent; cultivating a high-performing and agile team culture; spearheading Common Ground America’s strategic positioning and influence, especially with media and centers of policy/influence; driving day-to-day operations; aligning resources to achieve key business goals; contributing to Search’s efforts in promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; and, reporting updates to the Board of Directors regarding progress on strategic goals. The Executive Director is the interlocutor, who combines high political and networking relationships with social entrepreneurship to achieve the intended impact of Search’s efforts.

Scope of Role

Reports to: This position will report to the President of Search for Common Ground with dotted functional lines to the CEO, CDMO and SVP-Program.

Position(s) directly reporting to this position: Program Manager, Business Development Associate

Working relations: CEO, President, CDMO, VP, Global Affairs, SVP, Program, VP,Strategy President, VP, HR and Administration, and VP Finance

Budget Managed:

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Leadership and Management

  • Leverage Search’s global experience, leadership and assets to establish Common Ground America (working title) as a major force for conflict transformation in the United States. This will require mobilizing resources, partnerships and talent to operationalize the pilot programming articulated in the strategy/concept concurrently with a parallel process of verifying Search’s comparative advantage to enable a strategic reorientation as necessary.
  • In collaboration with the CDMO and staff, develop and enable effective smart branding of the overall initiative and sub-projects with key stakeholders.
  • In collaboration with the CEO, CDMO, and VP-Global Affairs; develop a list of target audiences that represent centers of influence and funding and implement a plan to cultivate and convert them. This includes Board mobilization.
  • In collaboration with the SVP-Program and the VP-Strategy; develop and implement an integrated plan of action to execute the pillars articulated in the strategy/concept. This entails identifying and adapting/adopting relevant existing content, methodology, and designs from across the organization.
  • In collaboration with the CEO, CDMO, and VP-Global Affairs, establish a domestic advisory body whose diversity, profile and networks facilitate partner cultivation, resource mobilization, and program implementation.
  • In collaboration with the President and VP-HR and Administration; finalize the core operational structure for the Common Ground America program (organization, competency mix, accountability matrix, and surge capacity from Search units to support startup)
  • In collaboration with the President, CDMO, and VP-Finance; develop and implement a system for revenue recognition, budgets, and private resource recognition and allocation.
  • Provide effective leadership, coaching, and management to Common Ground America staff, nurturing a supportive atmosphere, strong team-work, and a culture of accountability.

External Relations & Partnership Development

  • Maintain and build relations with Common Ground America’s primary donor-partners – cultivating deeper strategic partnerships where relevant to advance the organization’s strategic goals.
  • Provide external representation with peer organizations in the field of peacebuilding and other relevant communities.

Qualifications and Skills Required


  • BS/BA Degree in a related field (Master’s Degree preferred)


  • Minimum of 10 years relevant experience in fundraising and business development with a “start-up” company
  • Proven successful experience in developing new business for multi year program funding;
  • Strong networking skills across diverse political and ethnic lines
  • Experience managing and leading teams in a matrix organizational structure;
  • Experience managing US grants and liaising with grant officers;
  • Strong knowledge of institutions, dynamics, and thematic priorities in the international development or humanitarian sectors
  • Existing network of key figures within dialogue facilitation/conflict resolution; social justice advocacy; bi-partisan coalition building; security/extremism policy; youth support/mobilization; and social impact entertainment/humane technology;
  • Experience working collaboratively with a broad range of stakeholders, local government, officials, and donors;
  • Spoken and written fluency in English;
  • Willingness and ability to travel;
  • Excellent communication and relationship-building skills;

Soft Skills

  • Dynamic and flexible self-starter with entrepreneurial spirit
  • Ability to manage political and social pressures to make important and sound decisions;
  • Sufficiently experienced to command the respect of current leadership and external peers and partners;
  • An excellent team-builder and manager of people;
  • Ability to demonstrate managerial courage and decision making;
  • Resourceful and able to find cost-effective creative solutions to address complex challenges and strengthen the organization’s operational capacity;
  • Ability to value and consider the perspectives of all parties and to work across diverse cultures;
  • Ability to integrate Search’s vision, mission and core values throughout all organizational and business practices and lead by example.
  • Experience and familiarity with the peacebuilding field a plus

Search Competencies

  • Working with People. The ability to respect the views and contributions of other team members; shows empathy, listens, supports; consults others and shares information and expertise, builds team spirit and adapts to the team.
  • Flexibility. The ability to adapt to changing circumstances and priorities, to tolerate ambiguity, to adapt personal style to different people and situations.
  • Drive for Results and Efficiency. The ability to set quality standards, monitor and maintain quality of work, and set goals to achieve continuous improvement.
  • Relationship Management. The ability to manage interactions, to provide service and to support the organization while building an effective internal and external network.
  • Consultation (for managers and up). The ability to provide guidance to organizational stakeholders while applying creative problem-solving to address business needs.
  • Leadership and Navigation. The ability to manage and contribute to initiatives and processes within the organization while making progress toward change and continuous improvement.
  • Communication. The ability to effectively exchange information with others, to effectively deliver critical information, to gather information and communicate with others.
  • Global and Cultural Effectiveness. The ability to value and consider the perspectives and backgrounds of all parties and be able to work cross-culturally.
  • Ethical Practice. The ability to integrate Search vision, mission and core values, integrity and accountability throughout all organizational and business practices.
  • Critical Evaluation (for managers and up). The ability to interpret information to make business decisions and recommendations based on keen analysis, best practices and an understanding of preferred outcomes.
  • Business Acumen. The ability to understand and apply information to contribute to the organization’s strategic plan.
  • Developing others (for people manager). The ability to provide support to enhance performance and professional growth.
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