The Right Question Institute (RQI) seeks a collaborative and strategic Executive Director to lead the RQI team in executing its mission to make democracy work better by teaching a strategy that allows anyone, no matter their educational, income, or literacy level, to learn to ask better questions and participate more effectively in decisions that affect them. The new leader will collaborate closely with RQI’s program leaders, founding co-directors, and board to set the strategic direction of the organization and to ensure its financial and organizational sustainability.
The Right Question Institute occupies a unique place in the landscape of nonprofit organizations. Over the past 30 years, RQI staff have created and continue to refine a transformative educational strategy that makes it possible for all people to learn to ask better questions and participate more effectively in key decisions that affect them.
The Right Question Institute provides simple, dynamic, and powerful methods for improving teaching and learning, increasing voter engagement, fostering self-advocacy skills in a range of settings including the legal system, and strengthening patient participation in their own health care. RQI’s methods are used across a wide range of fields by thousands of schools, nonprofit programs and services. RQI has received strong funding support from small and large foundations, consulting earned income, book royalties, and generous private donors.
RQI’s innovative methods are delivered through educational institutions, service organizations, public agencies, community-based organizations, and health care providers all over the country and across the world. RQI’s materials, trainings, web-based resources, and consulting services provide a remarkably cost-effective way for organizations to strengthen the ability of people they work with to make their voices heard and advocate effectively for themselves, their families and their communities.
RQI envisions a vibrant democracy in which all citizens– even those farthest from power– can effectively advocate for themselves, their families, and their communities. Individual citizens confidently participating in their common and ordinary encounters with public agencies and services will produce examples of what RQI calls “Microdemocracy,” a new starting point for democratic action and the cornerstone of a strong foundation for a more just society.
Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, RQI has an annual budget of $1.4M. RQI employs a core staff of nine and is supported by a cross-sector, nine-person board of directors, college and post-graduate interns, consultants, and other professionals in the field. RQI values its intentional and thoughtful organizational culture, which is characterized by collaboration, inclusivity, openness, mutual respect, and a shared commitment to innovative, iterative thinking centered on learning and continuous improvement. RQI strives to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace.
The hiring of a newly-created Executive Director role represents an important moment in RQI’s history. RQI is a strong organization that has a proven track record and significant recognition for its work. Staff members are experienced, highly competent self-starters who share a passion for RQI’s mission and genuinely enjoy working together. The board of directors is also deeply passionate about RQI and invests significant time and financial resources to support the mission and programs.
Having built and sustained the organization for three decades, co-founders Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana are eager to step back from organizational management so that they can fully focus on advancing the thought leadership and public argument for RQI’s groundbreaking ideas and practical methods for creating a more just and equitable democracy. RQI believes that in order to create a healthier democracy we need to ensure that all people can make their voices heard and have a say in decisions that affect them. The work begins with more students learning to think for themselves in the classroom and continues with strengthening the ability of all people, no matter their level of education or income, to advocate for themselves and hold decision-makers accountable. Dan and Luz are excited for the upcoming transition, and they look forward to welcoming a new leader who will bring the skills and capabilities that RQI needs to ensure long term sustainability.
This is a unique opportunity for an energetic, collaborative, and strategic leader to play an important role in advancing the shared vision for RQI and the impact it can have in communities around the world. Through a focus on strategic planning, fundraising, business development, and organizational growth, the incoming Executive Director will add their complementary skill set to RQI’s existing strengths and assets to help the entire organization set and achieve its shared goals.
The Executive Director (ED) will bring a balanced approach to leadership, combining an understanding of, and connection to, RQI’s core work with key strengths in organizational growth, strategy, and development. The ED will be inspired and motivated by RQI’s mission and able to speak in a compelling way about the work and impact, while also bringing strategic focus and business acumen to the organization. The ideal candidate is a collaborative and team-oriented leader who values process and relationship building and seeks input at all levels in planning and decision-making.
Reporting to the board of directors, the Executive Director will be responsible and accountable for overall management of the organization. They will oversee operations and drive strategy, framing, and focus, while preserving and nurturing RQI’s culture of personal growth and mutual support. Using a collaborative, inclusive, and responsive approach to staff supervision, the ED will work with RQI’s senior staff team to jointly establish goals and provide resources and needed support to achieve results. Similarly, the ED will work in partnership with the co-founders to successfully navigate their transition from broad organizational leadership to new roles focused on theory development and program delivery and to ensure the success of the ED in the role as RQI’s organizational leader.
This executive search is being conducted by TSNE MissionWorks with consultants Jodi Dowling and Katie Barnett. Electronic submissions are preferred. All submissions will be acknowledged and are confidential within the search committee.
Candidates should include a resume and a cover letter that describes how their qualifications and experience match the needs and mission of RQI, along with salary expectations and how they learned of the position. Applications will be accepted until the position has been filled. The approximate salary range for this position is $115,000 - 135,000. RQI also offers a generous benefits package that includes medical, dental and vision insurance, long term disability, paid time off, and a retirement savings plan.
RQI actively seeks a diverse pool of candidates and welcomes people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds, abilities, gender identities, religions, ages, and sexual orientations to apply.
RQI will not discriminate in its employment practices due to an applicant’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin or ancestry, age, sexual orientation, gender identification, genetic information, veteran or disability status or any other factor prohibited by law.