Yes, Pride Toronto has been recruiting a new executive director

Since November 9 at the latest, in fact.

Pride Toronto’s “statement” after the August 30 town-hall meeting told us this:

In the near term, Pride Toronto must begin the DRP process, working with BLMTO to present their concerns, appointing officers, and providing all feedback received to date on the issue for consideration. We will recruit a new Executive Director to the organization, using what we’ve heard to inform the search.

The thing to focus on there is not that Pride is actively helping Black Lives Matter Toronto file a complaint under what is supposedly an arm’s-length process. It is Pride’s insistence on going full steam ahead to hire a new executive director. Mark Smith is among those who have questioned why such a person is even necessary, especially given how badly the last few executive directors have turned out.

§34(1) of the Pride bylaws states that “[t]he Board of Directors may, from time to time, employ an Executive Director. The Board of Directors may delegate to her” various powers. (“Her.”) The Board is not obligated to hire an executive director.

Pride’s own documentation

Somewhat hidden on the Pride Toronto Web site is a call for applications (ending in original):

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director of Pride Toronto will lead the team of staff and volunteers through the implementation of the five-year strategic plan. Beyond 20/20 [sic], with the goal of continuing to elevate the organization and Pride Festival to a world-class level [sic]. While Pride Toronto has grown exponentially since its grassroots beginning, the new Executive Director will need to work closely with a variety of not-for-profit‑, public‑, and private-sector partners and forge new alliances to facilitate initiatives that deliver on Pride Toronto’s mandate and strategies

You are then linked to a PDF (local version) that gives the job description (lightly edited here):

Executive Director – Pride Toronto

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director of Pride Toronto will lead the team of staff and volunteers through the implementation of the five-year strategic plan. Beyond 20/20 [again sic], with the goal of continuing to elevate the organization and Pride Festival to a world-class level [again sic]. While Pride Toronto has grown exponentially since its grassroots beginning, the new Executive Director will need to work closely with a variety of not-for-profit‑, public‑, and private-sector partners and forge new alliances to facilitate initiatives that deliver on Pride Toronto’s mandate and strategies.

The Ideal Candidate

This position requires a unique combination of skill sets, as the Executive Director is a widely respected community partner – a true custodian of consultation, collaboration, and bridge-building[,] a proven change manager, and an insightful leader. Your peers regard you as a visionary and builder, a mentor and coach, and a professional with excellent knowledge and understanding of the communities that Pride Toronto serves. You have successful progressive experience in senior leadership roles and proven experience managing a team of qualified and dedicated staff. You have business acumen and financial management experience as well as experience with media and government relations and board governance. In addition, you believe in and are driven to support the mandate of Pride Toronto and the important work it does in celebrating and honouring the history, courage, diversity and future of Toronto’s LGBTQ+ communities.

Responsibilities

The key areas of responsibilities for the Executive Director include:

  • Communications, media and community relations
  • Human resources management
  • Strategic leadership and board governance
  • Revenue development and financial management

Qualifications

The successful candidate will have the following:

  • An academic degree, ideally at the graduate level, or equivalent work‐related experience.
  • A minimum of five years of senior management or leadership experience in a similar capacity.
  • Excellent teamwork and interpersonal skills, including the ability to work respectfully and inclusively with diverse populations and multiple stakeholders.
  • Experience leading and managing a significant change-management exercise.
  • Knowledge of organizational development, talent management, team development, process redesign and training.
  • Proven experience reporting to and working with a voluntary Board of Directors and an in‐depth understanding of Board governance issues.
  • Experience in creating and presenting compelling proposals and/or grants to donors that result in increased revenue.
  • Ability to work with community groups, government and business leaders, and corporations effectively and collaboratively.
  • Public relations/media relations (i.e. experience that demonstrates the ability to interview and be the face/spokesperson of Pride Toronto).
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively manage and maintain long‐standing constituent relationships.
  • Proven ability to meet financial and program goals within prescribed timelines.
  • Experience working with volunteers and volunteer committees in a wide range of capacities.
  • Excellent organizational skills and demonstrated ability to prioritize multiple and changing demands.
  • Proven ability to exercise diplomacy and good judgment.
  • Exemplary attention to detail with excellent planning, organizational and time management skills.
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality.
  • Knowledge of the not-for-profit and voluntary sector is considered an asset.

Pride Toronto is strongly committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion and encourages applications from LGBTQ+ persons, racialized persons/persons of colour, women, indigenous/aboriginal people of North America, persons with disabilities, and others who may contribute to the diversification of ideas. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply, but Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

To apply, please submit your current CV and a covering letter outlining your reasons for interest to [this] address. Nomination information and general queries can be sent to pridetorontoed@odgersberndtson.com.

Recruiter page

The executive recruiting firm has a mouthful of a name: Odgers Berndtson. Try dictating that over the phone. Here is its own job description:

Pride Toronto – a not-for-profit organization – operates with a mission to bring people together to celebrate the history, courage, diversity and future of people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions. Pride Toronto showcases Toronto’s LGBTQ+ community on the world stage with vibrant creativity. June 2016 marked Toronto’s first-ever Pride Month, culminating with the 36th annual Pride Parade. This year’s festival was also one of the largest Pride celebrations in the world, with an estimated attendance of over two million people.

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director of Pride Toronto will lead a team of staff and volunteers through the implementation of the five-year (2016–2021) strategic plan, Beyond 20/20 [sic], with the goal of creating a meaningful festival supported by a sustainable organization. The Executive Director will need to work closely with community members as well as foster relationships with a variety of existing and future not-for-profit‑, public‑, and private-sector partners to facilitate initiatives that deliver on the organization’s mission and vision.

This position requires a unique combination of skill sets. The Executive Director is a widely respected community partner – a true custodian of consultation, collaboration, and bridge-building[,] a proven change manager, and an insightful leader. Your peers regard you as a visionary and builder, a mentor and coach, and a professional with excellent knowledge and understanding of the communities that Pride Toronto serves. You have progressive experience in senior leadership roles and proven experience managing a team of qualified and dedicated staff. You have business acumen and financial management experience as well as experience with media and government relations and board governance. In addition, you believe in and are driven to support the mandate of Pride Toronto and the important work it does in celebrating and honouring the history, courage, diversity and future of Toronto’s LGBTQ+ communities.

Pride Toronto is strongly committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion and encourages applications from LGBTQ+ persons, racialized persons/persons of colour, women, indigenous/aboriginal People of North America, persons with disabilities, and others who may contribute to the diversification of ideas. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply, but Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

Jane Griffith, a partner at Odgers Berndtson, is the author of the PDF. I’m trying to get her on the blower, but, having said that here, she’ll probably dodge my calls.

Headhunter: “I have no comment”

I asked Jane Griffith the following questions by electronic mail, while also admitting it would be better to talk on the phone. (She’d just have hung up.)

  1. Since it was established by experts like Mark Smith that Pride could and should re‑examine even the idea of appointing an executive director, did your firm discuss that scenario with Pride Toronto? Did you recommend they follow community advice here, or did you just obviously and automatically say yes to a contractual arrangement in which your firm hunts for a candidate and at some point gets paid for that work?

    To say this another way, even though it might run counter to your firm’s interests, did you acknowledge community interests and tell Pride Toronto it might consider not hiring a new executive director?

  2. Given that all of the last three executive directors have brought scandal to the organization, how are you going to ensure that your recommended candidate avoids a fourpeat?

  3. What role does Salah Bachir have in this process, if any?

  4. If you or Pride Toronto nominate anyone who isn’t a QPOC, an acronym you are surely familiar with, how exactly will your firm deal with the ensuing accusations of racism and transphobia? Remember: Black Lives Matter can and will picket your office, and their fans have threatened violence before.

  5. Just how exactly do you really believe there exists, hiding in plain sight, a universally respected leader from the community you could slot into this job? Do you not understand that, due to factionalization and other effects, what one sector of the “LGBTQ+” community considers a hero another faction considers an enemy?

Griffith: “I have no comment in response to these questions.”

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