ABOUT ACCESS LIVING
Access Living is a center of service, advocacy, and social change for people with disabilities led and run by people with disabilities.
We ignite disability power and pride, provide critical services, and break down systemic barriers to create a stronger, more inclusive society.
We envision a world free from barriers and discrimination – where disability is a respected and natural part of the human experience and people with disabilities are included and valued.
Reporting to the Executive Vice President and serving as a member of the leadership team, the Director of Independent Living is responsible for upholding the mission of the organization to promote independent living for people with disabilities in Chicago. The position will manage all components of Access Living’s Independent Living Department. Specifically, the position directs services for individuals, upholding all the core services of a center for independent living. The position guides the overall strategic direction of the Independent Living Department, including program development and evaluation of annual goals and objectives, budgeting and planning, and staff management.
The Director of Independent Living manages a team of approximately 25 people in three teams: Community Supports, Community Reintegration, and the Youth Institute. Community Supports connects people with disabilities to services to increase their independence. Community Reintegration provides support to people as they transition from institutions, such as nursing homes, into the community. The Youth Institute provides learning and connection opportunities to youth with disabilities as they transition from high school to higher education and employment through a series of programs, mentoring, and workshops. The Director of Independent Living’s peers include the Directors of Advocacy, Communications, Development, and Finance & Administration. With a passionate and engaged team, the Director of Independent Living is a leader who understands the challenges that disabled persons face and is committed to empowering that community.
The Director of Independent Living will have the following primary responsibilities:
- Conducts annual programming and budgeting and oversees the programming and budgeting related to service provision.
- Ensures compliance with Access Living policies in human resources, administration, finance, and programs, as well as local, state, and federal laws.
- Stays current on independent living and related disability trends and developments that pertain to Access Living’s services locally and nationally.
- Develops and maintains good relationships with Chicago area service providers.
- Co-leads, with other department Directors, efforts to synergize work between departments.
- Assists, at Director of Development’s request, with grant submissions and other fundraising activities.
- Creates and implements strategic plan initiatives related to Access Living’s services.
- Ensures timely submission of department reports, including the relevant section of the PPR report.
- Assists the Executive Vice President and President/CEO in determining new service needs to benefit disabled people and their families.
- Ensures that clear policies, practices, and procedures that relate to Access Living’s service delivery and information and referral programs are established and upheld.
- Works closely with the Director of Advocacy to ensure Access Living’s systems change efforts are tied to service delivery barriers.
- Ensures services are reaching underserved populations.
- Works closely with the Communications Director to ensure accurate and compelling public representation of Access Living services.
- Develops, implements, and improves mechanisms that ensure proper client file management and maintenance of required databases.
- Implements strong interagency referral mechanisms and assists in providing technical assistance to other agencies to improve the effectiveness of service delivery to people with disabilities citywide.
- Monitors and evaluates outcomes and quality of program services and recommends and implements improvements.
- Recommends to the Executive Vice President and President/CEO the type of workforce and staffing necessary to conduct the activities authorized by the Board.
- Communicates to the staff and Board how their work connects to Access Living’s mission and strategic plan.
- Works to maintain high morale and low burnout for the Independent Living Department.
- Ensures Access Living hires qualified staff that are trained, directed, coordinated, and managed to effectively conduct and implement the organization’s programs, including onboarding processes that set staff up for success.
- Ensures that an annual job performance appraisal is conducted for each staff member in the Independent Living Department by the immediate supervisor on a timely basis.
- Provides staff leadership and coordination for four to five Program Committee meetings annually.
- Attends all meetings of the Board of Directors.
- Provides qualitative and quantitative information to the Board and Program Committee to measure department progress and performance-based outcomes.
In the first 12 to 18 months, the Director of Independent Living is expected to meet the following objectives:
- Ensure programs operate safely at maximum effectiveness given COVID restrictions.
- Streamline procedures, particularly as it pertains to compliance with government funding requirements.
- Create and implement plans to expand recruiting for programs such as the Youth Institute.
- Develop necessary relationships, both internally and externally, in order to further organizational and departmental initiatives.
The Director of Independent Living will bring the following qualifications:
- 8 years of progressive nonprofit management experience, ideally with a comparably sized, human services organization with direct services
- Demonstrated knowledge and experience with disability communities and independent living is strongly preferred
- Management experience with inspirational leadership skills that develop individual, team, and organizational capacity
- Strong interpersonal skills, with the ability to gain trust and credibility from fellow staff members at all organizational levels
- Ability to respond to upset consumers diplomatically and effectively
- Demonstrated cultural competency and experience working with underrepresented and marginalized communities
- Experience in program planning, implementation, reporting, and evaluation
- Excellent organizational and operational skills, with experience managing budgets
- A highly collaborative approach to leadership
- Ability to travel, mostly within the City of Chicago
- A bachelor’s degree in a related field is required; a master’s degree would be an advantage