Jobs: Executive Search

Executive Director, Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development

Boston, Mass.
Jun / 1 / 2018

About the Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development

The Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development Inc. (Women’s Institute), a highly regarded affordable and supportive housing developer, is seeking an executive director. The Women’s Institute is rather unique among nonprofit housing and community development organizations: it is a mission-driven developer that works regionally by partnering locally, and is deeply committed to creating affordable housing that prioritizes supportive programs and community building. Its next leader will be an articulate and knowledgeable housing development professional with a passion for promoting the well-being of individuals and families in need.

The Women’s Institute was formed in 1981 to enhance the quality of life for families and individuals throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut, increasing their opportunity and economic stability through the development and preservation of safe, affordable, and supportive housing. Over the decades, the Women’s Institute has successfully produced or preserved over 1,800 units of affordable and supportive housing across 80 properties through its direct development, training, and consulting work.  It has a pipeline over the next four years of an additional 1,300 units in the mid-sized market, located in over 40 communities.  The Women’s Institute is a regionally known leader in the development and preservation of inclusive housing communities and strives to meet local housing and community needs with high quality development expertise and management capacity. It highly values its partnerships with local organizations, community groups, and local leaders to create inclusive housing and preserve at risk and aging affordable housing.

The Women’s Institute is a nimble and financially stable organization, with an annual operating budget of approximately $1.6 million, current property budgets totaling $3.7 million, and overall organizational assets nearing $100 million. The organization is led by a small, engaged board of six professionals and 11 dedicated, experienced and resourceful staff.  It is a fun, family-like, creative place to work, and the staff are deeply connected to the mission. The current board is particularly noted for its ability and willingness to technically advise the staff on projects. Its offices are in Boston, Mass. and Hartford, Conn.; the new executive may be based in either location.

Strategic Opportunities and Challenges

The following targeted priorities will be the responsibility of the next executive director to oversee and manage.

  • Deepen financial stability and diversify revenue streams for the organization.
    • Lead new business development in primary business lines of Direct Real Estate Development and consulting which may include real estate development, technical assistance with community partners, asset management with existing partners, and/or education and training.
    • Drive the business modeling and financial assessment of new or prospective real estate enterprises. 
    • Utilize the Women’s Institute programmatic strengths towards creative, new revenue generating activities.
    • Cultivate individual, corporate, and foundation donors to fund the initiatives of the organization.
  • Establish and drive the strategic direction of Women’s Institute both externally and internally.
    • Increase the supply of affordable housing available to individuals and families at a range of incomes and needs.
    • Stabilize and preserve at risk, aging, or deteriorating affordable housing.
    • Combine affordable housing developments with access to services and resources that individuals and families need to foster greater economic security and independence.
    • Strengthen the physical and financial performance of the Women’s Institute’s portfolio.
  • Work with the board to grow and sustain board membership, broadening the skill set of members to include fund development.
  • Maintain the talented staff team in ways that unifies the multi-state offices and ensures cohesion between them, all the while honoring independence, flexibility and autonomy with which the staff functions best. Utilize their input, skills, interests, and tools to effectively meet the Women’s Institute’s opportunities.
  • Increase investments in marketing and communication to improve the Women’s Institute’s ability to tell a positive story of impact.

The Ideal Executive Director Candidate

The executive director is the organization’s primary representative to the broader community: brokering partnerships with government, nonprofit and for-profit organizations and advocating for its vision at the local, regional, and national levels.  The new executive director will build on the Women’s Institute’s organizational strength and reputation as a flexible and creative partner to create additional housing opportunities throughout the region.  He/she/they should bring strong management skills and a passion for community-based development.

The executive director will make the biggest impact in her/his/their role with the following skills and experience:

  • Demonstrated commitment to the mission of providing affordable homes and supportive services to low and moderate-income households.
  • Keen understanding of the affordable housing and community development field.
    • Strong working knowledge of all phases of real estate development, including structuring, negotiating and bringing deals to closure.
    • Proven ability to anticipate, identify, and analyze opportunities and issues in real estate development.
    • Knowledge of agencies, institutions and financing programs involved in affordable multi-family housing development; knowledge of both Massachusetts and Connecticut environment will be considered a plus.
  • Demonstrated collaboration and partnership experience with staff and diverse communities:
    • Keenly understands the importance of approaching the work through partnerships and locally leveraged resources.
    • Able to work with and motivate people of varied backgrounds and to understand the needs of low and moderate-income residents.
    • Able to transition between roles of developer, consultant or community partner.
    • Has the energy to participate in and manage multi-state initiatives.
    • Politically savvy and experienced in building relationships with public officials and funders.
  • An experienced entrepreneur and strategic thinker who can demonstrate confidence, willingness and comfort with taking calculated risks.
  • Nonprofit acumen and management:
    • Solid financial acuity.
    • Experience with diversified funding opportunities in a housing development context.
    • Able to manage simultaneous and competing activities and demands.
    • A focused and strong manager who can support and inspire staff in their work.
    • A creative problem solver.
  • A communicator and listener:
    • Proven ability to build strong relationships both internally and externally.
    • Articulate and convincing, and a good writer.

Candidate Guidelines

This search is being conducted by TSNE MissionWorks’ Executive Transitions Program with Transition Consultant Nancy Jackson. All submissions are confidential.

Interested candidates should submit materials online.

Click here to apply online.

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. All applications will be reviewed and acknowledged as they are received.  We seek to fill this position no later than September 2018.

Salary is commensurate with experience, within the framework of the organization’s annual operating budget.

See for more information about the organization.

Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development is an equal opportunity employer. People from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.