MIRA – President and CEO Position Guide
Position: President & CEO
Reports To: Board of Directors
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
One in six Massachusetts residents, and one in five workers, is foreign-born. Immigrants and refugees come to this country with a wide range of skills and ambitions, and as they make America their home, they enrich our economy and strengthen our democracy. Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) works to protect and support the most vulnerable, especially those at risk of deportation, but also strives to expand opportunities for all foreign-born people and their children so that they can make the most of their talent and labor. MIRA encourages green card holders to become U.S. citizens and naturalized Americans to vote and become civically engaged.
MIRA was founded in 1987 in response to the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which allowed 3–5 million undocumented immigrants to become permanent residents. The goal was to not only advocate for the rights and integration of those immigrants, but also build a diverse, member-driven coalition to advance the interests of all foreign-born people.
At the same time, similar coalitions developed in other states with large immigrant populations, such as Illinois, New York, Texas and California. As these groups built a nationwide network, MIRA joined forces to become effective advocates in Washington as well as at home. Thus, from the start, MIRA has been able to combine strong local knowledge with a national perspective.
Still, for much of its first decade, MIRA was mainly a “policy shop,” with a very small staff. This changed after the welfare reform law and the Illegal Immigrant Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, whose new restrictions on immigrants demanded a renewed political response. By the time founding director Muriel Heiberger departed in 2000, MIRA had grown to a dozen staff members, with a strong voice at the local, state and federal levels.
Over time, Massachusetts’ immigrant and refugee population has grown significantly, to nearly 1.2 million, about half of whom arrived after 2000. MIRA’s work has greatly expanded as well, with a large and diversified membership and through high-profile organizing work, such as the establishment of the annual Immigrants’ Day at the State House, which has brought together as many as 1,500 people at a time to Beacon Hill to advocate for immigrant rights. The Coalition is highly divergent and critical to ethnic and regional organizing. MIRA is a primary organizer of these institutions and movements, providing policy, legal and logistic resources. Over 130 member organizations work together.
MIRA has also played a key role in highlighting major policy challenges via various reports, including Democracy On Hold, which illustrated the problems of the naturalization backlog, and has been instrumental in the establishment of state programs and budget lines to support immigrant integration, such as funds to support naturalization. The organization has also worked towards passage of a federal immigration provision that allowed many families to reunite, as well as state legislation requiring interpreters and creating numerous safety-net programs, including one for domestic violence victims.
By its 20th anniversary in 2007, MIRA had redoubled its efforts. Twenty years after President Reagan’s partial immigration overhaul, the organization became a leading voice in a new national movement for comprehensive immigration reform backed by the crucial support of U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy. Around the same time, MIRA founded and supported the Student Immigrant Movement (SIM, now an independent organization), opened a sister office in New Hampshire and contributed to significant policy changes in the wake of devastating raids in New Bedford in 2007.
In its third decade, MIRA undertook several major initiatives from English for New Bostonians (now independent) and English Works, two major efforts seeking to improve English learning opportunities for adult immigrants, to producing the Commonwealth’s New Americans Agenda, the most comprehensive study on immigrant integration in the nation. The Agenda not only shaped Massachusetts state policies but also served as a model for national policies adopted under President Obama. Additionally, MIRA was a co-founder of the National Partnership for New Americans, which was established in 2010 to give a more prominent voice to state immigrant and refugee advocacy coalitions in Washington, D.C.
In 2018, Eva Millona, MIRA’s President and CEO at the time, founded the Massachusetts Business Immigration Coalition (MBIC). The organization brings together business leaders from across the Commonwealth to be a voice for federal and state policies that ensure companies have the talent they need at all levels. MBIC advocates for policies that foster complete economic integration of foreign-born talent and sustained prosperity for all. MBIC is committed to the success of immigrants in our economy as workers, consumers, entrepreneurs, residents, investors, and citizens and serves as a vital partner with MIRA.
Today, as MIRA faces an executive leadership transition and the consequences of one of the most hostile environments for immigrants in our history, the organization is committed to serving as a strong, unifying force, connecting immigrants and refugees, service providers and a wide array of allies to fight together for a just and inclusive society.
MIRA is nationally known and called upon as a subject expert and leader in the field of refugee resettlement and immigrant services. MIRA is seeking its next President & CEO at a pivotal yet highly motivating time in its history. The current environment provides a critical opportunity to speak out on behalf of refugees and members of the coalition and to serve as a voice for immigrants and refugee groups at the regional and national levels.
The next President & CEO will take on the challenge of how to best sustain and increase the resilience of MIRA through an examination of its program and service mix as well as through increased philanthropic dollars.
The role of the President & CEO is a remarkable opportunity to join this well-established organization and apply visionary leadership so that MIRA can embrace its next stage of service with strength, ensuring continual long- term impact and relevance as society and community needs rapidly change. MIRA welcomes a leader who is comfortable with change and navigating ambiguity and will embrace the challenge of prioritizing a management style based on empowerment with shared responsibility and accountability.
Reporting to MIRA’s Board of Directors and supervising all senior staff, the President & CEO is responsible for:
Strategic Vision & Leadership:
- Leading the crafting of strategic goals and long-term strategic direction, ensuring the mission, vision and core values are aligned for greatest impact.
- Providing inspirational leadership and direction to ensure the continued development and effective management of a professional, efficient and inclusive organization.
- Empowering a diverse, engaged and inclusive workforce, and developing leaders and talent at all levels to further the mission.
- In partnership with the Board, helping build a diverse, inclusive and highly engaged Board, which is willing to leverage and secure resources.
Advocacy & Communications:
- Ensuring that MIRA continues to serve as a recognized thought leader and leading advocate on immigration and refugee resettlement issues.
- Cultivating and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders and elected officials to broaden MIRA’s base of support and impact.
- Supporting and leading a highly diverse coalition of 130 agencies and furthering the work of institutional organizing.
- Building MIRA’s capacity to lead and support advocacy efforts at the local, state and federal levels that result in policy change.
Organizational Development & Operations:
- Building an equitable and sustainable organizational culture that promotes the wellbeing of all staff and members. Guiding and mentoring employees by leading with care, tenacity and passion. Maintaining a strong and diverse team through inclusive and transparent personnel practices.
- Assuring the delivery of high-quality programs while managing for current and future growth; increasing efficiencies and consistency by developing and implementing systems that will support a creative culture and seamless service delivery.
- Overseeing the financial status of the organization, monitoring the budget and ensuring sound financial controls.
- Ensuring the formulation and execution of comprehensive marketing, branding and development strategies that enhance opportunities for support from major donors, foundations and corporations.
- Forging and maintaining strong relationships with current and potential funders.
- Building and maintaining relationships with MIRA’s local members and national partners.
MIRA seeks an inspiring and strategic leader who is passionate about creating opportunities for immigrants and refugees to thrive. The next President & CEO will bring a unifying identity to the organization and will be informed by lived personal and professional experiences that reflect the communities MIRA serves. A highly effective communicator, masterful storyteller and bridge builder, the candidate will position MIRA as a connector, convener and mobilizer for immigrant organizations and their members.
This person will be a/an:
- Values-driven Executive Leader with an inspiring strategic vision while attending to day-to-day operations, services and activities. The candidate will lead a committed staff with a shared vision and sense of purpose, working closely with them to foster cohesiveness with an understanding of how best to delegate. The next President & CEO will be a thought leader and innovator and will value a strong working partnership with the Board of Trustees, bringing forth their best ideas and efforts in support of the organization. MIRA’s next leader must have a successful record of proven leadership, managerial, problem solving and strategic planning capabilities, and commensurate fiscal acumen as an executive in a growth-oriented nonprofit organization, government agency or business. A strategic thinker and problem solver, the President & CEO must move MIRA forward without seeking or desiring to solve every challenge personally.
- Innovator and Opportunity Generator with the drive to collaboratively set and achieve strategic growth for the organization. The President & CEO must be a creative and confident risk-taker, with the ability to identify opportunities to innovate and expand MIRA’s impact. They will have the confidence to break free from established structures and try new approaches to solving problems, to have a belief that anything is possible and the ability to get it done.
- Strategic Fundraiser with experience activating government, corporate, individual and foundation support. The President & CEO will cultivate relationships to achieve MIRA’s mission, reflecting present needs and widening the circle for future opportunities. They will continue to build MIRA’s visibility and reputation as a vital community advocate, organizer and resource, maintaining strong relationships with current donors and funders, and looking for ways to forge new opportunities to enhance revenue. They will build upon the organization’s strong culture of philanthropy, in which Board, staff and supporters serve as ambassadors and engage in relationship building.
- Collaborator, Connector and Partner who understands the challenges and opportunities of community partnerships that include members, other community-based organizations and leaders. The President & CEO will bring strong listening skills and an approachable and transparent style in order to engender trust in community relationships. The candidate will have demonstrated experience in structuring and growing partnerships and will be guided by a deep level of respect for others in working with constituents from all walks of life. The next leader will be a champion for a positive, equitable and inclusive organizational culture, both within MIRA as well as among their partner organizations, that is grounded in a shared vision and supported by mutual respect and an unrelenting pursuit of equality. The President & CEO will use these principles to guide advocacy, community engagement, program development and outreach, member development and support, work with regional businesses to enable immigrant integration, and all other organizational strategic initiatives. They will support and advocate for the members of the coalition to strengthen them in their work of direct service to refugees and new immigrant communities.
- Passionate and Persuasive Advocate and Communicator with a track record of policy and advocacy efforts aligned with MIRA’s mission. Politically savvy and an astute navigator in the legislative and policy arena, the next President & CEO must build upon the organization’s reputation as a leader in advocacy and legislative efforts at the local, state and federal levels that result in policy change. The President & CEO will be a sought-after thought leader and expert on issues related to immigration and refugee resettlement. The candidate will be comfortable with conflict and crisis and ensure that MIRA’s reputation for transformative work is sustained.
- Team Builder and Ally with a commitment to developing and sustaining high-performing collaborative teams. The President & CEO will be an empathetic relationship builder and will guide the MIRA team to shared success. The candidate must be a facilitative and inclusive leader, with a deep respect for others, linking arms with colleagues, and comfortable with giving and receiving feedback. The President & CEO will use these values to guide program development, community engagement and outreach, member support, and all other organizational strategic initiatives. Leading by example, the President & CEO will bring out the best in others and promote continuous organizational improvement and innovation as community and member needs continue to evolve. Committed to hearing all voices and known as a transparent consensus builder, the candidate will make tough decisions when necessary; they will possess deep emotional intelligence and political sophistication to deal effectively with multiple constituencies. With a focus on equity and diversity, MIRA’s next leader will be a resource, guide and partner.
Candidates with diverse backgrounds and lived personal and professional experiences that reflect the work of MIRA and its member organizations and communities are strongly encouraged to apply. Demonstrated experience in legal/policy/advocacy work that has included promoting and protecting immigrant and refugee rights/nonprofit leadership preferred. Candidates for this position will have a bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university. Bilingual or multilingual is a preferred skill for the position.
MIRA is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to a community where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. MIRA actively welcomes candidates from a wide range of lived and learned experiences to lead this dynamic organization.
To confidentially apply, please submit a current resume and letter of introduction to Susan Barry at Kittleman & Associates at https://bit.ly/3mumFGv (click on the Apply button at the bottom of the page).