Job Announcement: Executive Director

A yellow paper against a blue background says We Are Hiring

Organization: Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)
Organization website:
Job Type: Full-Time
Reports To: Board of Trustees
Location: Washington, DC
Salary Range based on experience: $120,000 – $150,000
Soft Closing Date: February 16, 2024

This announcement is available as docx here.

Organization Overview

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization run by and for autistic people. ASAN is a national grassroots disability rights organization for the autistic community. We work to make sure autistic people are included in policymaking, so that laws and policies meet our community’s needs. Our members and supporters include autistic adults and youth, cross-disability advocates, and non-autistic family members, professionals, educators, and friends.

The Opportunity

ASAN is seeking an experienced autistic leader who embraces and embodies ASAN’s mission. The ideal candidate has experience overseeing the day to day administrative and operational functions of a non-profit or advocacy organization and deep roots in the autistic community. The Executive Director’s responsibilities include managing ASAN’s staff of approximately 20 people, coordinating with ASAN’s Board of Trustees, and providing leadership for ASAN’s fiscal/program management and public policy work. This is an exciting role that includes partnerships with other leaders of national disability and civil rights organizations in advocating for disability rights, neurodiversity, and the values of inclusion and self-determination. The new Executive Director will partner closely with the Board of Trustees to continue the implementation of ASAN’s work while charting ASAN’s future growth and strategic responses to a dynamic and ever-growing autistic self-advocacy movement. 


Essential Requirements:

  • Ability to travel when necessary.
  • Ability to manage and supervise a team.
  • Ability to manage a $2.6 million annual budget, raise funds and manage donor relationships.
  • Ability to communicate effectively on behalf of an organizations to a wide range of audiences including policymakers and the media.
  • Ability to design and lead strategic advocacy campaigns.
  • Ability to occasionally work long hours and/or weekends when necessary.

Underlying Expectations/Values

The Executive Director must embody and advocate zealously for ASAN’s values, including our commitment to dignity, self-determination, inclusion, and respect for all autistic people.

The Executive Director must understand and advance the organization’s role and strategic positioning within the neurodiversity movement; the self-advocacy movement; the cross- disability rights movement; and the broader civil rights community.

The Executive Director must value strategic policy advocacy and be skilled at embedding ASAN’s first principle of Nothing About Us, Without Us throughout all areas of ASAN’s work, providing autistic people with the tools and resources we need to (1) understand and speak up for our rights in our day to day lives; (2) participate in civic, policy, and research conversations affecting our community; (3) engage in meaningful leadership at the local, state, and federal level; and (4) ultimately drive systemic change for our community.

In partnership with the Board of Trustees, the Executive Director develops ASAN’s organizational vision and overall strategy.  The Executive Director is responsible for implementing that vision, overseeing ASAN’s operations with a big picture view of the organization, its brand, the needs of autistic people, and ASAN’s unique role in society.

In consultation with the board, the Executive Director is further responsible for the development of ASAN’s strategic and equity plans.  The Executive Director oversees their implementation and guides ASAN’s day to day work with them in mind.

The Executive Director brings ASAN’s staff together to achieve organizational goals.  The Executive Director must make and be the face of difficult decisions, manage and lead diverse teams, ensure ASAN is a good place to work, and take their responsibilities to the ASAN staff seriously.

The Executive Director proactively identifies, evaluates, and manages strategic risks and opportunities across all areas of ASAN’s work.

Core Areas of Work

Board Responsibilities

  • Attend all meetings of the Board of Trustees and its committees and support the work of those meetings as appropriate.
  • Communicate with the Board of Trustees regularly regarding progress toward established goals, the needs of the organization, programmatic updates, and emerging trends, risks, and opportunities.
  • Prepare the annual organizational budget for board approval, and regularly report the financial status of ASAN to the Board of Trustees
  • Support the Board of Trustees in building capacity and developing structures to strengthen and sustain the Board’s overall health and functioning.

Fiscal Responsibilities

  • Develop and sustain sufficient resources, including personnel, to effectively enable ASAN to carry out its goals and objectives. 
  • Actively seek out new funding sources to further the goals and values of ASAN. 
  • Negotiate contractual agreements with government contractors and other funding sources and subcontractors.
  • Monitor and control the financial affairs of the organization including the development of the annual budget of ASAN.
  • Operate the organization’s finances with transparency, embrace best practices for fiscal management of a nonprofit of this size and ensure accurate records are kept and frequent reporting is made per the terms of any funder, contractual or legal requirement. 

Management Responsibilities

  • In partnership with senior staff, oversee the development of new projects, programs, policy initiatives, and funding to meet identified and emerging advocacy priorities.  Ensure ASAN’s work is streamlined, strategic and aligned with ASAN’s mission and values.
  • Continually evaluate all aspects of ASAN’s work to ensure it is high quality, maximally effective and strategic, and advancing ASAN’s goals and mission.  Make difficult decisions about how to best accomplish ASAN’s mission with limited resources, including time, personnel, and money.
  • Hold responsibility for ASAN’s internal equity work, including leading the development of a new equity plan when necessary.
  • Cultivate a management team with deep expertise in their areas of work, with the ability to hold themselves and their team to high standards of quality and provide the Executive Director with strategic guidance and meaningful advice.  Provide the management team with the tools and support they need to effectively supervise people and projects and further develop their own management and leadership skills.
  • Build out and steward the necessary internal infrastructure to support ASAN’s work and organizational growth.
  • Ensure ASAN’s workplace culture honors ASAN’s values, disability rights and culture, and common accessibility needs for autistic people.  Continually cultivate a workplace culture in which staff are encouraged to develop new skills and capacities; take on new responsibilities and propose new initiatives; and progress in their advocacy and their careers.  Model and facilitate open communication, transparency, and knowledge-sharing as core practices amongst staff of all levels.
  • Continue to ensure ASAN’s ongoing financial stability, such that staff are assured of basic job security, and that staff are fairly compensated for their work.  Ensure that staff can exercise the benefits and rights outlined in the ASAN employee handbook, and that ASAN is in full legal compliance with all relevant employment laws.  Continue to prioritize further advancing the working conditions, compensation, and total benefits package offered to employees.

Representational Responsibilities

  • Serve as the main public face of the organization, successfully representing ASAN to a wide range of external audiences.
  • Navigate the complex history and dynamics of the broader autism world to effectively communicate ASAN’s priorities and perspectives to different stakeholders, including self-advocates; non-autistic family members; autism researchers; service providers; other autism organizations; relevant governmental bodies; the media; and the general public.
  • Promote and maintain effective working relationships with other disability and civil rights organizations; civic leaders; media; political leaders; relevant state and federal agencies; foundations and corporate partners; allied researchers and service providers; and other partners.


  • Identify as an autistic person.
  • Have demonstrated understanding of the values of the organization and the complexity of the history and needs of the cross-disability and autistic communities.
  • Have demonstrated management expertise including but not limited to knowledge of fiscal management, personnel management, and organizational development and strategic planning process.
  • Have demonstrated knowledge of the federal/state legislative process and experience in educating policy makers on disability issues, especially those impacting autistic people.
  • Have demonstrated ability to train personnel, delegate responsibility, and evaluate staff performance.
  • Have demonstrated ability to organize and prioritize complex tasks in a fast-paced and constantly changing advocacy environment, including both their personal workload as well as the overall work of an organization or team.
  • Have demonstrated relationship building skills and experience working in coalition with other organizations.
  • Have demonstrated commitment to the self-advocacy of autistic people and to ensuring the full autistic community is included in disability rights advocacy, including people with significant communication challenges, support needs, and intellectual disability.
  • Have demonstrated commitment to the civil and legal rights of all people, especially those in the autistic community who are traditionally underrepresented and/or underserved.

Salary & Benefits

Salary will depend on experience but is anticipated to be between $120K-$150K/year. ASAN offers a comprehensive insurance plan and other benefits including a retirement plan, commuter benefits for office-based employees and up to 5 weeks of paid time off.  

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Applications will be reviewed as they are received. Serious candidates should submit applications on or before February 16, 2024. Applications should contain a resume and thoughtful cover letter, outlining how your skills and experience meet the qualifications described above.

Email application to Christine Griffin at with “ASAN Executive Director Search” in the subject line. Please include how you heard about the search.

Only a select number of highly qualified individuals will be invited to participate in a formal interview process. This is a confidential process and will be handled accordingly throughout all phases of the recruitment and selection process. Accessibility accommodations for any portion of the application or interview process are available by emailing your request to Christine Griffin at

ASAN is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, veteran, age, disability, marital status, gender identity or sexual orientation. We strongly encourage autistic people of color, AAC users, members of the LGBTQ community and autistic people with personal experience in special education and other public service systems to apply.