Interim Executive Director

Interim Executive Director

DNA People's Legal Services is a non-profit legal services provider celebrating 50 years of service with approximately 25 attorneys delivering legal services to an underserved population in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.  DNA is accepting applications for the position of Interim Executive Director.  DNA is seeking the skills of a highly-experienced leader to give strong effective but temporary leadership to an organization experiencing a leadership gap. The successful candidate will revitalize the organization, set the direction for the future and give the organization time to resolve issues prior to hiring a permanent executive director.  Based upon knowledge and experience, the DNA Board will consider an individual who seeks to remain on the job for 18 to 24 months with the specific goal of stabilizing the organization.

Location:  Flexible. DNA covers a large service area in three states (Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico). The principal office is located in Window Rock, Navajo Nation, Arizona. The Interim Executive  Director  may  locate  his  or  her  primary  office  in  one  of  the program offices, but the position will require travel between all of the program offices.

Reports to:  DNA Board of Directors


The Interim Executive Director has overall responsibility for the leadership and operation of DNA, including general administration of the program; working with Senior Management in Litigation, Administration, Finance, Development, IT, and Facility Maintenance; personnel management; implementing programmatic policies; providing necessary litigation support; and working with the Board of Directors.


Applicants must be admitted to practice law in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah or the Navajo Nation or must be eligible for admission by reciprocity in one of these jurisdictions; must have a B.A. or B.S. degree from an accredited university; a business degree and a J.D. degree are preferred; must have a minimum of seven (7) years progressive management and supervisory experience (including supervision of lawyers and legal professionals), excellent communication skills, excellent skills and supervisory experience in budgeting, financial management and raising funds. Previous experience at a legal aid office is preferable with demonstration of the following: direct work with a  board  of  directors,  breadth  of  organizational  experience,  honored administrative skill set and time tested wisdom, demonstration of the ability to be unafraid to address hard issues head on and make tough decisions, and strong recommendations.


Competitive and negotiable depending on experience.  This is a contract position negotiated with the DNA Board of Directors.  DNA has an excellent benefits package including generous leave benefits and employee insurance coverage (medical, dental, vision, life).

CLOSING DATE: Open until filled.


Persons interested in being considered for this position should upload their letter of introduction, resume, and a list of references to: or send to: 

Judith M. Dworkin, Esq. Sacks Tierney P.A.

4250 N. Drinkwater Blvd., 4th Floor

Scottsdale, AZ 85251



1. Work as a change agent and attend to the “special needs” of the client organization during the transition process and thereafter. 

  • Pay attention to stakeholder anxieties about the transition and the future of the organization
  • Target communications with wary funders and other supporters/stakeholders
  • Enable the Board to stay focused on its transition and Board responsibilities
  • Create excitement about fresh possibilities for the organization’s future

 2. Maintain the standard executive arena by overseeing finances, keeping fundraising goals on track, monitoring the program operations, supporting the managers, and attending to normal board and staff/team member needs.

 Responsibilities include 

  • Providing the overall management of DNA;
  • Planning and coordinating client services;
  • Maintaining and improving DNA's relationship with LSC, including timely submission of all required material;
  • Providing for Staff development, including the development and compliance with personnel policies;
  • Managing program finances, including supervising staff with financial responsibilities, ensuring the Board receives quarterly reports prior to the scheduled quarterly Board meetings, ensure that the program is annually audited by an independent auditor and responding to the audits including adopting remedial measures, and informing the Board of financial problems as they arise;
  • Ensuring preparation of draft annual budgets per grant and overall budget for the program and, a budget for each DNA office and providing oversight of the approved budgets;
  • Conducting regular visits to all DNA offices and communicating with the field staff regarding Board actions and collecting information from the field staff to report back to the Board; 

 3.  Build and maintain positive relationships with the Board of Directors and staff/team members; including: 

  • Address relevant Board issues and challenges
  • Deal with the Board and staff’s sense of urgency while providing level of stability
  • Work with the staff/team members to boost morale
  • Ensure organizational stability in all areas of operations and structure 

 4.  Set up the organization for future success; including: 

  • Perform an organization assessment; identify key areas for attention
  • Perform a financial assessment
  • Address the critical organizational issues
  • Make any repairs needed in the organization’s system
  • Define the expectations, help the Board plan for the successful transition with the Board and staff and, if applicable, the incoming permanent Executive Director 

 5.  Quickly establish rapport, develop relationships, and build trust with the Board of Directors, staff/team members, funders, and other stakeholders. 

  • Establish and maintain parameters of assignment with the Board
  • Allow the Board to focus on its role and responsibilities
  • If applicable, give the organization the space, time, and the structure it needs to choose new leadership wisely
  • Apply broad range of skills to bring stability to potentially successful situation
  • Foster a team environment
  • Lead, nurture, and energize staff leaders
  • Communicate in a thoughtful, respectful, and appropriate manner 

 6.  Cope with Uncertainty and Change.

  • Provide steady, unifying presence in time of transition
  • Demonstrate a level of comfort in managing in an emotionally charged environment
  • Turn potential for crisis into an opportunity for positive change, renewal, and orderly transition of leadership
  • Assist the Board of Directors and staff/team members in focusing on positive change, renewal, and orderly transition of leadership
  • Assist the Board of Directors and staff in focusing on positive organization outcomes though the transition process and building/reinforcing stakeholders’ confidence in the organization’s future

 7.  Understand the Organization’s Operations, Culture, and Stakeholders.

  • Listen actively
  • Hear the concerns of staff and Board
  • Quickly assess situations, identify problems, and hit the ground running
  • Effectively evaluate organization’s funding streams and financial health

 8. Commitment to helping the nonprofit organization thrive.

  • Singular focus on core purpose/mission
  • Help Board clarify direction
  • Prepare for future direction and change

 9.  Ability to Succeed as Team Leader or Member.

  • Thrive as a manager of staff/team and as ex-officio member of the Board of Directors
  • Ability to let it go at the end of your service as an Interim Executive Director, if applicable
  • Support the transition to a new permanent Executive Director, if applicable

 10. Performance of Other Duties Assigned by Board.