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Executive Director

Hilltop Artists is seeking the next leader to carry on the organization’s inspired mission “using glass art to connect young people from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds to better futures.” As an organization that is respected regionally and beyond, with a track record of success and excellence, we are seeking highly qualified candidates who are passionate about the intersection of youth development, equity, social justice and art.

The application period for the Executive Director position has now closed.  If you have questions, please contact Dawn Chirwa at




A Visionary, Inspirational, Values-Driven Leader
The Executive Director will lead an organization that is dedicated to the essential uniqueness of each student and their potential for success. The Executive Director plays a pivotal role in creating and supporting a community that honors youth voice, that values and advocates for the role of the arts as an intervention and a solution for student challenges, and which sees creating broad-based support for closing the opportunity gap as an essential responsibility.

The Executive Director provides dynamic vision and emotionally intelligent leadership to Hilltop Artists, working in partnership with its Board of Directors and community stakeholders and inspiring and supporting a strong, talented, motivated and resourceful staff team. The Executive Director ensures a deep and broad community-based focus, collaboration across established community networks, and works to foster new collaborations as the opportunities arise. The Executive Director believes strongly in, and has proven dedication to, social justice, the importance of quality education, equity, the arts and youth development.


A Strategic Thinker and Innovator
The Executive Director for Hilltop Artists will build upon a strong organizational foundation to strategically grow the organization in innovative ways to achieve positive impact for young people in our community. The Executive Director will also provide strategic, innovative leadership that continues to foster organizational excellence within Hilltop Artists.

A Top-Tier Manager
In addition to providing inspirational vision, the Executive Director:

  • Guides the daily operations of the organization;
  • Rigorously manages the organization’s fiscal resources with integrity and trust;
  • Motivates, cultivates and empowers all staff while providing clear, consistent direction that fosters a highly-engaged team-based culture;
  • Is an excellent, thoughtful delegator;
  • Works actively with the Board of Directors to fulfill its governance function by formulating and implementing policies approved by the Board, and helping set ongoing strategic direction;
  • Works with the team to create and implement the development strategy.

A Dynamic Face of the Organization
Importantly, the Executive Director acts as a key spokesperson and advocate for Hilltop Artists, promoting the visibility of Hilltop Artists as a long-standing asset to our community and a respected collaborator in improving the lives of young people and support their aspirations.

The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors.



As a highly skilled and dedicated leader, the Executive Director:

  • Assumes responsibility for achievement of Hilltop Artists’ mission and provides strategic direction in achieving our organizational goals;
  • Champions a clear vision for Hilltop Artists;
  • Manages and inspires all the people working in the organization with respect, empathy, accountability, and clarity around direction, roles, and responsibilities;
  • Is dedicated to, and deeply understands issues of, social justice, education, equity, and the value of the arts in building the emotional and intellectual development of our youth;
  • Operates with the highest level of integrity and ethics;
  • Has a strong community focus and sensitivity;
  • Collaborates authentically with Hilltop Artists’ robust community network and works to maintain and continue to build healthy vibrant relationships across our community;
  • Maintains and builds strong, productive relationships with key stakeholders and engages them in innovative ways;
  • Supports and facilitates a strong relationship with the Board, including:
    • helping to ensure the Board exercises their leadership responsibilities through collaboration, communication and education around relevant issues;
    • engaging the Board through regular meetings;
    • encouraging and supporting Board members as advocates for the work; and,
    • helping provide a through-line of communication, where appropriate, between Board and staff;
  • Ensures the financial sustainability of Hilltop Artists and works with board and staff to accomplish sustainability goals.

Internal Management
The Executive Director is responsible for:

  • Hiring, managing and evaluating the Hilltop Artists team and for overseeing strong, consistent supervisory systems to accomplish this role;
  • Building and supporting a broadly diverse team, through:
    • continuously coaching, mentoring and motivating staff on a consistent basis;
    • maintaining a positive and strong organizational culture that attracts and retains highly qualified people — both full and part-time staff and volunteers;
    • managing with an approachable and flexible spirit;
    • providing clear direction in a way that is flexible and empowers and lifts-up a talented, creative team;
    • overseeing effective and high quality personnel training and development;
  • Ensuring rigorous fiscal stewardship;
  • Developing and overseeing a budget utilizing staff budget planning that reflects Hilltop Artists’ priorities;
  • Ensuring compliance with all relevant laws and regulations.

The Executive Director:

  • Provides leadership to the Board and staff in continuing to develop creative and sustainable ways to ensure the organization has sufficient resources to meet its annual and long-term goals;
  • Leads staff in developing and implementing fundraising goals and fund development strategies;
  • Identifies, cultivates and stewards donors to maximize retention and create vibrant relationships;
  • Guides content and reviews all grants submitted to funders;
  • Makes connections with people and organizations that can help Hilltop Artists carry out its goals and long-term strategies;
  • Engages community stakeholders from parents to business leaders to broaden the base of committed support and to create a strong source of volunteers;
  • Always seeks collaborations that may increase funding and leverage key elements of collective impact on behalf of students, accessible community-wide arts, and equity.



The successful candidate will be a highly motivated and successful professional who possesses the following knowledge, skills, abilities, and other attributes:

  • Able to think creatively and strategically;
  • A proven ability to bring a community-based focus and a genuine passion for social justice and equity and a keen understanding of the central role education and arts plays in achieving a just society;
  • Comfortable with strong staff leadership and the ability to guide from the side as well as lead a highly independent and creative team;
  • The highest level of integrity and ethics;
  • A dedicated belief in and commitment to Hilltop Artists’ values;
  • Strong background in youth development and the arts;
  • A dedication to diversity and inclusion in all aspects of Hilltop Artist’s work;
  • Able to develop a shared vision with the Board and manage that vision to successful outcomes;
  • Able to lead, inspire, and motivated Board, staff and community in support of the goals of the organization;
  • A proven dedication and sensitivity to the role of a non-profit organization like Hilltop Artists in a community and to continuous, positive impact for vulnerable youth and families;
  • Proven experience in leading a similar organization, with 5+ years as a non-profit Executive Director and 5+ years of additional non-profit leadership at a management level is considered a key qualification;
  • Superior verbal, written, digital communication skills, including an ability to engage eloquently via multiple platforms with diverse audiences;
  • Capable and proficient in using a variety of technology;
  • Active listening skills;
  • Ability to operate thoughtfully and nimbly in an environment of ambiguity where needed;
  • A highly collaborative mindset;
  • Demonstrated high-level fundraising skills, from donor relationships to grant-writing;
  • Ability to develop and maintain strong, healthy relationships with internal and external audiences and stakeholders;
  • An open, approachable, non ego-driven temperament;
  • A sense of humor and ability to sustain fun in a creative and intense working environment.

This position is based in Tacoma, Washington.  Preference will be given to candidates that live in Tacoma/Pierce County or are willing to relocate.



The salary of the Executive Director will be competitive and commensurate with the new Executive Director’s qualifications, experience, and work history.



If you wish to apply for this position, please email a cover letter and a resume to Dawn Chirwa at The Giving Practice, which is supporting the search process, at the contact information below.  You may also nominate individuals by submitting names and any supporting materials to the the same contact.

Dawn Chirwa
Senior Advisor, The Giving Practice

This position will remain open to new applicants until February 21st or the position is filled.


This is an equal employment opportunity. Hilltop Artists recognizes, respects and appreciates the value and benefits of diversity in the workplace. People who share this belief and/or reflect a diverse background are encouraged to apply.