The Opportunity

We are in a moment. We have entered an era of unprecedented gains and burgeoning opportunity for the LGBTQ community. We have cultivated thriving cultural communities in a time of ever more urgent creative expression. Yet LGBTQ people continue to confront daunting challenges. In part as backlash to the gains we have achieved, there has been a resurgence of government measures designed to constrain our rights; our free expression is being threatened, undermined, and suppressed; and violence against trans people—especially trans women of color—escalates every day. Our country is ensnared in extraordinary and divisive political and cultural upheaval, the impact of which will be felt for generations.

Now more than ever, we need to ground ourselves in the power of our words, nurturing our individual and collective creativity and artistic capacity as a means to fuel and sustain our communities, preserve and expand our rich creative legacy, and resist the forces that continue to try to undermine us. Centering these goals remains a radical act.

Enter Lambda Literary, the most comprehensive LGBTQ literary nonprofit in the US, which serves writers at every stage of their careers, and readers of every age. At Lambda Literary, we believe lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer literature is fundamental to the preservation of our culture, and that LGBTQ lives are affirmed when our stories are written, published, and read.

Lambda Literary traces its beginnings to 1987 when Lambda Rising Bookstore in Washington, DC, published the first Lambda Book Report journal of LGBTQ book reviews. The Lambda Literary Awards were born in 1989 to identify and celebrate the best LGBTQ books of the year. Lambda Literary Foundation was incorporated as a nonprofit in 1997. The Lambda Literary Awards Gala (aka “The Lammys”) has become a signature event for the LGBTQ literary world, attracting hundreds of book submissions, over 500 attendees, and national attention for the work of LGBTQ writers.

In 2007, Lambda founded its Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices, a nationally recognized residency designed to cultivate and catalyze the talent of new LGBTQ writers. The Lambda Literary Review (LLR) serves as the organization’s most significant interface with readers, writers, agents, booksellers, publishers, editors, educators, and librarians, publishing more than 200 book reviews and some 50+ interviews and feature articles annually, with a monthly readership of 50,000. Our Writers in Schools program brings LGBTQ authors into K-12 classrooms for readings, study, and discussions, and has been steadily expanding via strategic partnerships with school districts in New York City and Los Angeles. In March of 2017, working in collaboration with multiple community partners, Lambda presented the first ever city-wide, week-long LGBTQ literary festival, Lambda LitFest Los Angeles. We have also begun publishing original creative work, including the e-journal Nepantla: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color, and an anthology by Writers Retreat fellows, Emerge.

Lambda Literary has a vibrant and engaged national Board of Directors and a diverse and dedicated donor community comprised of individuals, foundations, corporations, and the public sector. We are proud of what the organization has achieved so far, and we are energized by the possibilities ahead.

The Ideal Candidate

Lambda Literary is seeking an experienced, visionary, strategic, inspirational Executive Director with the track record, skills, and energy to lead us on the next stage of our journey. They will partner with the Board to set forth a vision for our future and devise a strategy to enact our efforts, and they will manage a talented and dedicated staff in developing and executing a plan to realize our goals. The ideal candidate will be a skilled, persuasive communicator capable of dynamic engagement with a diverse array of stakeholders, partners, and constituents. They will have a strong record of achievement in fund development, and will lead the organization in crafting and delivering a fund development plan that not only sustains our needs but also enables us to achieve our aspirations.

The ideal candidate will be tenacious, adaptable, empathetic, patient, diplomatic, and unpretentious. They will have a personal connection to the LGBTQ reading/writing communities. They will have the capacity to support and lead effective advocacy, and a deep understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities that come with working within oppressed and marginalized communities.

This is a Los Angeles-based position.

The Details

The Executive Director is responsible for the overall leadership and management of Lambda Literary. Specifically, the Executive Director is charged with achieving the following:

Board Relations/Governance

  • Develop strong, positive working relationships with the Board of Directors. Partner with the Board to articulate an organizational vision, goals, and key strategies.
  • Support Board leadership in advancing the work of the Board, including new member recruitment, team building and engagement, and individual Board member performance management and support.
  • Inform the Board regularly of progress, developments, and significant events.

Programs/Staff Management

  • Supervise a decentralized, national staff of five and a cadre of consultants to deliver on the programs we offer and the promises we make to our constituents and donors.
  • Lead the Board and staff in a process to continue to refine and expand successful programs, and to conceive, design, and launch new programs and initiatives to further amplify our impact and reach.
  • Lead a process to explore the potential for Lambda Literary to develop the capacity and a strategy to engage in targeted advocacy work on issues that impact our constituents.
  • Serve as lead staff to ensure the success of the annual Lambda Literary Awards Gala, our signature and main fundraising event.

Financial Management

  • Maintain sound financial policies and practices.
  • Produce monthly financial reports.
  • Prepare annual budget for Board approval; manage revenues and expenses to that budget; forecast and adjust to variances as they occur to maintain financial stability.
  • Ensure compliance with applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, as well as accurate, informative reporting as required by the Board, our constituents, and by law.
  • Manage the Los Angeles-based Lambda Literary central office.

Fund Development

  • Develop and execute a comprehensive fund development strategy and plan to secure adequate resources to sustain our efforts, and to support strategic, planned growth. The annual budget for the organization has been growing steadily for several years, and is currently $750,000. We expect this growth to continue in line with our strategic goals.
  • Oversee key fund development efforts, including (but not limited to) major donor cultivation and stewardship, seasonal appeals, grant preparation and reporting, backing from corporations and nonprofits, and Lambda Literary Awards sponsorship campaigns.

Communications/External Relations

  • Develop and execute strategies to elevate the visibility of Lambda Literary’s work and of the contributions of LGBTQ writers.
  • Serve as a spokesperson on behalf of the organization; cultivate Lambda Literary as a go-to resource for media and public commentary on pertinent issues affecting our constituents.
  • Maintain relationships with peer organizations and major stakeholders.
  • Develop and execute advocacy campaigns around issues affecting Lambda Literary communities.
  • Cultivate strategic partnerships with other organizations and key stakeholders to advance our mission and goals.

Results and Impact

  • Develop ways to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of Lambda Literary’s programs to allow for course correction and inform our planning.

How to Apply

Lambda Literary will be accepting applications for the Executive Director position until 5:00pm PST on Friday, February 9, 2018. To apply, please send a cover letter and resume to jobs@lambdaliterary.org.

Lambda Literary is an equal employment opportunity employer. We strongly encourage people with multiple marginalized identities to apply, including people who identify as queer or trans, people with disabilities and/or people of color. Lambda Literary does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religious creed, sex (including pregnancy), gender, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, age, medical condition including genetic characteristics, mental or physical disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity (including transgender status), weight, height, linguistic characteristics (such as accent and limited English proficiency, where not substantially job-related), citizenship status, or any other basis prohibited by law.


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