PULSE Executive Director – PULSE (Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience) – Pittsburgh, PA

Mission and Organization:

Since 1994, PULSE has been cultivating a community of young service-minded leaders to transform Pittsburgh. PULSE utilizes a three-pronged model to further its mission:

  • SERVE – NONPROFIT PARTNERSHIP – Invite talented university graduates to partner with nonprofits for a year of service and leadership.
  • LIVE – COMMUNITY LIVING – Cultivate community by having fellows live together and share meals, household tasks, finances, and learning experiences.
  • GROW – TRAINING/DEVELOPMENT – Train and equip fellows to become leaders in Pittsburgh by providing regular personal and professional development opportunities.

PULSE’s unique model has created lasting change in the lives of thousands of individuals and organizations.  For the past 25 years, over 350 PULSE Fellows have partnered with more than 175 Pittsburgh nonprofits, contributing some 500,000 hours of service to Pittsburgh and its residents.

Position Overview:

PULSE seeks a thoughtful, energetic, and strategic leader who is eager to engage with young adults.  Our next Executive Director (ED) will possess an understanding and appreciation for the unique qualities of recent college graduates, as well as a passion to develop and inspire the next generation of leaders early in their professional paths.  The ideal candidate will be people-centered and visionary.

Reporting to a Board of Directors, the ED is externally focused and must excel in relationship building and resource development.  With a budget of approximately $800K and a staff of 6, PULSE operates with a lean, but high-performing team.  This requires a collaborative leader who will empower both staff and PULSE Fellows to excel in accomplishing organizational goals.  The ideal candidate will also possess a deep understanding of the operational needs of a nonprofit in order to ensure consistent, high-quality execution of PULSE’s mission.

The new ED will be expected to continue PULSE’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.  Recruiting and retaining diverse and high-potential Fellows, staff, and board members is of the utmost importance.

The ED is primarily responsible for the following:

Leadership and Management

  • Oversee day-to-day operations, fiscal management, and resource development.
  • Manage the staff with transparency, sensitivity, and respect. Lead by example, actively supporting professional and personal development.
  • Provide strategic leadership of the Fellow experience: oversee Fellow recruitment, selection, and placement; manage ongoing evaluation and development of 30-35 Fellows during program year.
  • In collaboration with board and staff, assure the organization has a long-range strategy which achieves its mission, and towards which it makes consistent and timely progress.
  • Assess the effectiveness of organizational programs through qualitative and quantitative evidence and share data with appropriate stakeholders.
  • Continually evaluate organizational and community needs, relevant program trends, as well as the needs of current and future fellows to increase program strength and relevance.
  • Appreciate and strive for programmatic innovation.

Financial Management and Revenue Generation

  • Develop and maintain sound financial policies and practices.
  • Cultivate relationships with current and potential philanthropic and programmatic partners.
  • Develop and implement a fundraising plan; implement innovative ideas to generate support from foundations, community organizations, government, corporate, and community leaders.
  • Prepare grant proposals and relevant reports in collaboration with staff and board members.

Partnership and Collaboration

  • Serve as PULSE’s key external ambassador, deepening existing relationships and building new ones (e.g. with donors, elected officials, community leaders, partner organizations, etc.).
  • Implement marketing/public relations strategy that will allow PULSE to cultivate and enhance meaningful relationships with targeted, high-level external audiences, including the media and key influencers.
  • Build strategic partnerships with other nonprofits and community organizations to work on larger, systemic issues within the nonprofit sector.
  • Work collaboratively with a diverse set of stakeholders.
  • Cultivate and steward high level corporate and university partners to recruit and engage fellows and volunteer mentors.

Board Relations

  • Develop, maintain, and support an effective and increasingly diverse Board of Directors.
  • Act as primary liaison to the Board of Directors, engaging board members in the current and future needs of the organization, ensuring the board is able to fulfill its oversight responsibilities.
  • Participate in board recruitment and collaborate with board leadership to promote governance best practices in order to maximize board involvement.
  • Ensure effective systems exist to track progress, and regularly evaluate program components, so as to measure successes and challenges that can be effectively communicated to the board, funders, and other constituents.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

All candidates should have proven fiscal and relationship management experience, as well as demonstrated success as a leader.  The ideal candidate will possess the following qualifications:

  • Management experience, including driving revenue, external relations, and leading people.
  • Ability to serve as the external voice for PULSE and desire to serve as the organization’s primary fundraiser; track record of fundraising success in nonprofit or private sector strongly preferred.
  • Commitment to and experience with community service, national service and/or the development of young people as leaders.
  • High level of interpersonal and communication skills, with a track record of building strong relationships with a diverse group of individuals at all levels.
  • Experience working with a board of directors. Knowledge and understanding of how to successfully collaborate with a board of directors.
  • Values an inclusive work environment and can demonstrate cultural competence. Track record of creating and sustaining an organizational culture that fosters diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Experience overseeing budgets, with the capability to allocate resources strategically and manage spending effectively.
  • Adept at building effective teams and motivating others. Working style that is transparent, encouraging, and collaborative.

Short-Term Performance Objectives:

Within six months, the ED will be expected to continue to deliver outstanding outcomes while successfully addressing and meeting the following:

  • Through a review of the current strategic plan and in collaboration with the Board of Directors, set priorities and action-oriented goals for finalizing and advancing the PULSE 2020-2025 strategic plan.
  • In collaboration with staff, successfully launch the 2020 Fellow Program Year beginning 8/29/20.
  • Complete personal outreach to and initial evaluation of all current program and fundraising partners in order to deepen understanding of current community relationships, both funding and programmatic.


This position offers a competitive compensation package, including a salary range of $80K-$90K and a complement of health and retirement benefits.

How to Apply:

PULSE has retained Nonprofit Talent to assist with this important organizational change process. Specific questions related to the position may be emailed to Lauren Julius, Senior Search Specialist, at Applications are not accepted at this email address. Please direct all inquiries related to this position to Nonprofit Talent, and do not contact PULSE.

Resume, position specific cover letter, and salary expectations may be uploaded here:

APPLICATIONS ARE DUE BY 5PM on January 27, 2020.

PULSE is an equal opportunity employer.