Hiring: President & CEO

Founded in 1981 by a small group of disability advocates, Disability Network Southwest Michigan educates and connects people with disabilities to the community resources they need to live independently while advocating social change. Much of our advocacy work is focused on creating communities that value disability as human diversity, free of attitudinal barriers, where all people benefit with full access and inclusion. 

We are a nationally recognized Center for Independent Living; this distinction makes us unique from other community-based nonprofit organizations.  We believe that people with disabilities know best the disability experience; therefore, more than 51% of our staff and Board of Directors are people with disabilities.  Our services are cross-disability; we serve people across all disabilities and ages.  We believe all people with disabilities should be able to thrive and grow at home, in the workplace, and in their community.  Our services are customer-driven; customers have the power to set their own goals, and staff assists them in reaching those goals. 

Our services consist of five main core areas – Information & Referral, Advocacy, Peer Support, Independent Living Services, and Transition – that impact not only people with disabilities but the communities they live and work in.  Examples of our services include: advocating for accessible transportation and housing, building ramps to improve access to the community, connecting individuals to resources to prevent institutionalizations, and preparing youth for post-secondary experiences, such as employment, college, or living on their own.

We serve people in Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph & Van Buren Counties. 

Our mission is to educate and connect people with disabilities to resources while advocating social change.

Our vision is a community that values disability as human diversity, free of attitudinal barriers, where all people benefit with full access and inclusion.

The President & CEO is a full-time, exempt position under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Disability Network Southwest Michigan offers a competitive salary and a generous benefits package (benefits listed below).

Hiring Process

Telephone screens will begin immediately, with those selected for Zoom interviews notified in late June or early July. Final interviews with the board will occur during July. Disability Network Southwest Michigan is eager to have the selected candidate begin work on September 1, 2021. 

Position Summary

The President & CEO of Disability Network Southwest Michigan is a key leader in the independent living and disability rights movement.  They are supervised by the board of directors, are the delegated representative of the board, and are responsible for oversight of all agency programs, services, and policies.

Essential Responsibilities and Duties

Is responsible for managing the performance and employee life cycle of Directors, and the Executive Assistant

Oversees, develops, or delegates:

  • Agency budget, financial reports, and internal financial controls
  • Agency programs and services
  • Resource Development Plan
  • Quality assurance
  • Recommend staff changes based on business needs                           
  • Assignment of liaison responsibilities with agency and committees, community partners, and legislators
  • Public policy advocacy
  • Agency work plans and reports
  • Funding contracts
  • Agency messaging and branding
  • Community engagement that reflects the agency’s Mission and Vision

Serves as liaison between the board of directors and the agency, including:

  • Communication, collaboration, and staff representation
  • Policy development and implementation
  • Budget and financial reporting disclosure and accountability
  • Executes all other duties, as assigned

Ensures that all programs, services, and activities, as well as the agency culture and morale, are consistent with and fully supportive of the following:

  • Independent Living (IL) Philosophy
  • Agency’s Mission, Vision, Beliefs and Values
  • Agency’s Diversity Policy
  • Agency’s Strategic Thinking process
  • Federal, State, and Local rules and regulations

Ensures representation of the agency in the Centers for Independent Living (CIL) Network

Active participation in monthly CIL Network Director meetings and share CIL Network updates with the board of directors

Develops the annual CEO Work Plan and provides monthly progress reports to the board of directors


  • Lived experience with disability is highly desired
  • Preferred qualifications include a master’s degree in Public or Business Administration, Social Services field, Human Services field, or a related field; OR a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in such a field
  • 6-8 years of experience in progressive leadership-level experiences leading up to a senior-level role
  • Demonstration of interpersonal relationship skills that drive creativity and intrinsic motivation of employees
  • Demonstrated firsthand experience with nonprofit governance, including transparency with the board
  • Successful management of a multi-million-dollar budget
  • A clear understanding of the intersectionality of people with disabilities related to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Commitment to organizational diversity and providing culturally responsive programming
  • Proven track record in resource development and community engagement
  • Extensive experience with management of a Center for Independent Living or other disability rights organizations
  • Experience with developing and managing human services programs
  • Extensive experience in developing positive relationships and collaborations with internal and external stakeholders (i.e., other nonprofits, legislators, grantors, major donors)
  • Experience with outreach activities in rural communities/counties
  • A strong advocate for people with disabilities in public policy
  • Ability to make critical and strategic decisions in a fast-paced work environment
  • Ability to adapt well to external change impacting upon agency operations 
  • Experience in assessing risk management
  • Experience with Microsoft Office and database software applications
  • Ability to travel throughout Southwest Michigan
  • Ability to pass a background check

Benefits & Salary

A minimum starting salary of $95,000

A comprehensive benefits package beyond salary is provided and includes the following:

  • Medical / Dental / Vision Insurance
  • 403(B) Retirement Plan with Employer Contribution of up to 4% of Wages
  • Paid Time Off
  • Paid Holidays
  • Paid Bereavement Days
  • Long Term Disability Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Flexible Spending Plan
  • Optional Short-Term Disability Insurance

(Disability Network Southwest Michigan reserves the right to change benefits at any time)


Please forward a cover letter and resume:   Apply Here

All individuals who apply will receive communication about the receipt of their application materials.

Requests for accommodations are welcomed. Please contact Rose Street Advisors via email at NFrazier@rosestreetadvisors.com.

Individuals with a disability are encouraged to apply.

Disability Network Southwest Michigan is an Equal Opportunity Employer