Chief Executive Officer

April 5th, 2022
Chief Executive Officer

Chief Executive Officer

  • Full Time
  • Senior Level
  • Applications have closed
Job Category: Executive
Location: Manhattan
Job Sectors: Other

Chief Executive Officer


True Colors United






About True Colors United




In 2008, Cyndi Lauper, Lisa Barbaris, Jonny Podell, and Gregory Lewis founded True Colors United (formerly the True Colors Fund). True Colors United implements innovative solutions to youth homelessness by focusing on the unique experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Through an array of training & education, advocacy, and youth collaboration programs, True Colors United is ensuring that every LGBTQ young person, wherever they live, is celebrated for being their authentic selves.




In the United States, 4.2 million youth experience homelessness each year, with LGBTQ youth 120% more likely to experience homelessness than their non-LGBTQ peers. True Colors United is committed to changing that.




Communities and youth homelessness service providers want to be safe and welcoming for LGBTQ youth, but often don’t have the knowledge or resources to do so – creating barriers for these youth to get the support they need. True Colors United fills that space by offering free training and resources on how to meet the needs of LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness. True Colors United also advocates in government and media to help ensure critical funding and services for all youth, and creates opportunities for youth who have experienced homelessness to be key leaders in the effort to end the problem.




For more information on True Colors United, please visit




The Opportunity




True Colors United is a vibrant and inclusive organization that works to create a world where every LGBTQ young person, wherever they live, is treated with dignity and respect, and celebrated for being their authentic selves. True Colors United implements innovative solutions informed directly by the youth homelessness population to make the systems and solutions work for them by meeting people where they are at. True Colors United is one of the most diverse nonprofits in the youth homelessness space known for their authentic engagement of youth with lived expertise.




At this critical time in True Colors United’s history, we are seeking an inspirational, innovative, and humanistic leader to be its next Chief Executive Officer to uphold and build upon the organization’s rich 14-year history of advocacy, technical assistance, training, and youth leadership. This is a unique opportunity for a highly motivated professional to assume a critical leadership role for an organization with a strong foundation and a solid financial position. This individual will be inspired to lead the strategy to solidify True Colors United’s bold and leading voice in the movement and to further expand True Colors United’s reach through programs and policy to address the crisis of youth homelessness particularly in the LGBTQ community.




This is an exciting leadership opportunity for an individual who is authentically committed to racial equity and justice with a real intention around building, supporting, and developing individuals to be better versions of themselves. With proven leadership skills, the CEO will recognize the talents of its diverse staff and will empower them by identifying opportunities of leadership aligned with their expertise. Guided by an anti-racist and justice-oriented approach, they will be inspired to lead this fast-growing, highly respected organization that is a significant voice for equity-based approaches to ending youth homelessness.




The CEO will be an empathetic and transformational leader who will be a natural collaborator and a skilled relationship builder to broaden True Colors United’s network nationally and internationally. Working closely with the Board of Directors, the CEO will be strong in fiscal management, seeking new and innovative ways to diversify the organization’s revenue streams and building on the organization’s successful track record of fundraising. Looking ahead, True Colors United’s will continue being in the forefront for all areas impacting the youth homelessness movement while propelling work forward of achieving impact and progress.




The CEO will manage operations for the NYC headquarters and the Washington, D.C. satellite office. They will help lead a team of 19 and oversee financial operations for an organization with an annual budget of $3.2M.




Candidate Profile




The CEO will be a courageous, vulnerable, and authentic leader with demonstrated commitment to racial and social justice and experience creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive organizational culture. As an experienced collaborative leader, they will promote transparency and accountability among the staff while being comfortable and confident to make decisions as needed. Fluent in the language of equity and justice, decolonization, diversity, and inclusion, the CEO will also be well versed in LGBTQ issues and the transgender, genderqueer, and non-binary experience. Committed to bringing their whole authentic self to work, they will hold space for others to do so as well. The CEO will actively build a culture that values empowerment, creativity, and equity.




With a strong track record of operational excellence, the CEO will have demonstrated business and financial proficiency and a thorough understanding of nonprofit management. They will be experienced with budgeting, reporting, and financial planning. They must be attentive to monitoring the diverse revenue streams of the organization and ensure that there are adequate business protocols in place to meet internal and external needs. The CEO will lead the strategic direction of the organization through strengthening critically important support functions.




In addition, the CEO of True Colors United will possess the following attributes and competencies:




Passion for the Mission with a Commitment to Leading an Anti-Racist Organization




The CEO will have a genuine connection and passion for True Colors United’s mission to ending youth homelessness with a deep understanding of the unique needs and experiences of LGBTQ people in the housing crisis. The CEO will understand the systemic issues that contribute to homelessness and will have an interest in contributing to solutions to eradicate it. The CEO will not only live True Color United’s values (Equity, Empathy, Collaboration, Creativity, and Community), but will lead them within the organization and assist the team in the fulfillment of the organization’s mission.




This individual will effortlessly demonstrate an unambiguous commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging both internally and externally to further the organization’s commitment to anti-racist policies and advocacy. They will have a deep understanding of white dominant practices and a commitment to actively working to dismantle them, particularly those rooted in inequity and systemic injustice. Additionally, the CEO will be empathetic, compassionate, and accessible while exhibiting understanding and respect for the wide range of social experiences, cultural values, and beliefs of the youth, staff, and Board.




Visionary and Strategic Mindset


Working closely with staff and the Board of Directors, the CEO will be a strategic leader with the capacity to align a diverse group of stakeholders to articulate and implement an inspiring, holistic, and unifying vision and plan for the organization’s next chapter. The CEO will play a critical part in strengthening the existing culture and infrastructure of the organization. They will have a strong understanding of homelessness programming and the goals and priorities of True Colors United while providing the longer-term vision necessary to ensure the sustainable growth of the organization.




The CEO must have the ability to think, plan, and act in a cross-functional, collaborative, and integrative way. The CEO will have an ability to diagnose critical areas for attention, build shared understanding, and implement clear strategies. Also, the CEO will have innovative ideas and thoughts on how to expand and leverage the Board of Directors specifically related to fundraising and advocacy efforts.




Relationship Building & Exceptional Communication Skills


The CEO will be a natural relationship builder with excellent interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to work constructively and collegially. The CEO will build bridges and sustain meaningful relationships with internal and external stakeholders. The CEO will be an engaged and active listener and will value transparent communication across all levels of the organization. The CEO will possess a strong record of community engagement and will be an exceptional communicator who engages with and builds community by uplifting the voices of others, particularly youth with lived expertise.




Confident and humble, this individual will have the political acumen to adapt and adjust flawlessly to different audiences from elected officials and other leaders in the movement to individuals who are directly affected by True Colors United’s advocacy efforts. The CEO will have the ability to build and cultivate relationships at many levels in distinct spaces like government agencies (e.g., U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development), service providers, funders, and other housing justice organizations. Ideally, this individual will bring to the role a vast network at the local, state, and federal levels to bolster True Colors United’s legislative and policy initiatives. This leader will be keenly aware of what is happening at the federal level to determine how it impacts youth with lived expertise in local communities throughout the U.S.




Fundraising Expertise


The CEO will be an authentic and effective storyteller of True Colors United’s unique history and role in the youth homelessness movement to the funding community and supporters nationally. The successful candidate will be a proven fundraiser and able to effectively engage and communicate with prospective and existing donors of True Colors United’s to garner continued and additional financial and institutional support. Working closely with the Board, they will seek out ways to diversify revenue streams and identify new donors and funding sources from individual donors, corporate sponsors, and foundations. This individual will also seek support from state and federal agencies while working on policy and advocacy initiatives.




Collaborative Leadership and Adaptive Management


Eager to lead a team of individuals dedicated to social justice, informed by lived expertise, and committed to racial equity and inclusion, the CEO will be passionate about creating a human-centered culture that is empowering and inclusive for all employees while sustaining the organization’s warm and welcoming environment. With an inclusive and transparent leadership style, this individual will have the skills and sensitivity to tap into the strengths that each member of the team brings to prevent and end youth homelessness.




A natural collaborator, the CEO will be committed to continuous learning and earning trust to build and strengthen relationships with all True Colors United’s staff, Board, and constituents. They will have strong facilitation skills to bring together multiple stakeholders to help drive decisions and outcomes. Engendering trust in the staff, the CEO will create a culture of accountability for themselves and for team members. They will have demonstrated success in attracting, developing, and retaining talented staff with a diverse set of skills and lived experiences. The CEO will strive to cultivate an inclusive and productive work environment while providing professional growth opportunities.




Change and Transformational Leadership


The CEO will bring an understanding of what it means to lead an organization during a time of transformation and change. They will understand the potential and power of True Colors United to lead by example and will identify new and unique opportunities to advance its mission around the country while being a bridge between the LGBTQ and Youth Homelessness movements. The CEO must have expertise in bringing together various teams to harmonize and integrate processes, practices, and procedures. The CEO will need to take a consultative approach by aggregating feedback, establishing priorities, and empowering staff to accomplish strategic goals.




This leader will have the ability to actualize a new reality for the youth homelessness movement together with the staff and Board, building on True Colors United’s mission and vision for the future. Fundamentally, the successful candidate will be an ‘agent for change’ with the ability to assure True Colors United’s reputation as a bold and leading voice in the movement nationally and internationally.




Compensation & Benefits




The annual base salary for this role will be based on a range, starting at $180,000 and commensurate with the successful candidate’s skills and experience.








Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Michelle Bonoan and Christy Farrell of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express interest in this role, please submit your materials, or email [email protected] and [email protected] All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.




Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email [email protected] If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.




True Colors United is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants.




About Koya Partners




Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.




For more information about Koya Partners, visit

True Colors United

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