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Civil Rights: People with Disabilities

Become the next President/CEO of Disability Rights Advocates

DRA Background & Overview

DRA was led by founders until 2018 and emerged in the last two years with a strong mission-driven staff and leadership team totally devoted to continuing to bring and win the most-cutting edge battles facing people with disabilities across the nation. With the filing of more than 500 significant cases over 27 years, DRA continues to increase its reach and impact. Now, while continuing to build power and challenge the status quo, DRA is utilizing this leadership transition period to invest in organizational development, community outreach, strategic planning for the future and extending its ability to partner with other disability advocacy organizations. 

For more information about DRA go to

The Opportunity 
The mission of Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) is needed now more than ever.  People with disabilities are up against unending challenges – increased economic inequity, ineffective communication access despite advances in technology, unnecessary institutionalization, lack of accessible housing options, incarceration due to lack of mental health services - in short, discrimination against people already pushed to the margins.

The new leader will inherit a financially stable, mission-driven organization with a strong culture that is living its disability rights values and actively working to improve its diversity, equity and inclusion practices.  The work of DRA’s 20 attorneys, many of whom have disabilities, span multiple practice areas including education, employment, emergency planning, health care, access to public and private facilities and services, technology, telecommunications, transportation, and housing.  Tied together by a deep passion for human rights and social justice, DRA’s staff place a high value on a leader who is self-aware, committed to disability and racial justice, open to shared learning and genuinely kind.

This is an exceptional opportunity for a strategic, compassionate and visionary leader to build on almost three decades of innovative disability rights advocacy to realize a world where all people with disabilities are treated equally.

Organization History

DRA was founded in 1993 by visionary attorneys and disability advocates Larry Paradis and Sid Wolinsky in the birthplace of the disability rights movement, Berkeley, California.  In the organization’s 27-year history, DRA has taken on more than 500 cases, achieving dramatic improvements for people with disabilities seeking health care, employment, transportation, education, disaster preparedness planning, voting and housing.

Position Summary 

Seeking a candidate with exceptional leadership, management, and relationship building skills to lead a national cross disability non-profit public interest legal center.  DRA specializes in high impact civil rights litigation to achieve positive change for social and economic equality for people with disabilities. 

The right candidate will bring the strategic vision and collaborative approach needed to enable the organization to continue to lead and drive the disability rights movement as the national standard bearer.  Demonstrate persuasive, effective communication and presentation skills.  Be an articulate and passionate ambassador and revenue generator for the organization in a broad range of settings to diverse audiences. 


DRA’s mission is to advance equal rights and opportunity for people with all types of disabilities nation-wide.  DRA protects and advances the civil rights of people with all types of disabilities, ranging from mobility and sensory to learning and psychiatric, in all areas of life including access to public accommodations, public services, employment, transportation, education, voting, technology and housing. 


Currently, in response to public health guidelines concerning COVID-19, DRA’s staff is working remotely.  It is expected that they will continue working remotely at least through spring of 2021.  Ideally, when restrictions are lifted and congregant workplaces are deemed safe, the new President/CEO or will work, at least part-time, on-site in the New York or Berkeley office. 

Seeking a Senior Level Disability Rights Leader with Demonstrated Skills in:


·       Leadership

·       Litigation Oversight

·       Relationship Management 

·       Strategic Planning

·       Communications

·       Fiscal Development & Management

·       Administration & Operations Management

President/CEO Position

Collaborate with leaders of some of the most notable disability and civil rights groups at a time when civil rights for all people, including those with disabilities, are under attack. 

Work closely with the DRA board of directors to lead the organization in a manner consistent with its core mission. Develop and communicate a compelling vision for the organization.  Lead the DRA team with a positive, results-oriented style that inspires staff and broadens the circles of support for DRA’s work.  Foster and promote the professional development of staff. 

With staff, board, donors, advisors and stakeholders, the new President/CEO will develop a strategic plan that defines DRA’s role as the litigation arm of the disability rights movement.

Serve as a passionate ambassador and revenue generator for the organization in a broad range of settings to engage stakeholders including clients and donors.  Advance the organization’s mission through innovative and creative use of media.  Apply fundraising strategies and maintain and advance donor relations. 

Oversee DRA’s litigation management team in fulfilling their roles and consult with them regarding overall firm-wide litigation strategy.  Provide potential new case leads through partnerships with donors, foundations and stakeholders.

Supervise and oversee national organization with a staff of 30.  Manage organizational operations and budget. Demonstrate the highest ethical standards and operate with integrity and transparency in conducting the business of the organization. 

Compensation & Benefits

Commensurate with the experience and qualifications of the selected candidate, the salary range for the position is $250,000 – $300,000 annually.  In addition to generous paid time off, DRA provides an excellent benefits package including medical, dental, vision; with 100% paid employee premiums, Life/AD&D, short-term disability, long-term disability, and long-term care insurance for employees at 100% paid premium coverage, flex spending account, and a 401(k) savings plan with employer match. 

Reimbursement of basic relocation expenses will be considered for the exceptional candidate.

DRA has retained the executive search firm and certified disability-owned business enterprise, Bender Consulting Services, Inc. to conduct this search,

DRA is an equal opportunity employer and values a diverse workforce and inclusive culture. DRA encourages applications from all qualified individuals and does not discriminate in employment opportunities or practices on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital or familial status, veteran status, disability, AIDS/HIV status, medical condition, or any other characteristic protected by law.

This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.

DRA is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities.




Must be a passionate, accomplished leader with proven practical and substantive experience in a disability or legally-based non-profit environment.  Demonstrated ability to manage a dynamic and evolving legal organization.  Senior level management experience with a proven track record of effective strong organizational management skills.  Demonstrated ability to supervise and oversee a bi-coastal office with a staff of 30 persons, including ability to travel as needed.  Ability to manage all operations, including human resources, IT, administration, budgeting and finance.

Strong and effective interpersonal and communication skills with the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders and donors.  Knowledge and experience of development and implementation of fundraising strategies.  Past success working with a nonprofit board and a demonstrable understanding of board development, governance and decision-making.

Personal Characteristics

The new President/CEO must be a fierce disability leader with an uncompromising commitment to advancing the rights of all people with disabilities.  The successful candidate must demonstrate that they are an innovative, transparent, adaptive leader with a commitment to building strong and effective teams, employee development and a drive to mentor, coach, and support all DRA staff.  The ideal candidate will have lived experience and deep roots in the disability community.  The successful individual should have the emotional intelligence to engage in honest self-reflection and receive constructive feedback, as well as the humility to share power and make thoughtful decisions.  Proven success creating cultures defined by accountability, trust and respect are critical.



To Apply: 
Application Process

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.  Applications will be reviewed as they are received.  Serious candidates should submit applications, on or before, October 30, 2020.  Applications should contain a resume and thoughtful cover letter, outlining how your skills and experience meet the qualifications of the position.  Email to Christine Griffin, with DRA President/CEO Search in the subject line.  Please include how you heard about the search.


Submission Deadline: 
January 11, 2021
Organization Information: 
Disability Rights Advocates
4001 Center Street Office in New York City is an option too
Berkeley, CA 94704
United States
Phone: 978-609-2516