The ACLU seeks applicants for the full-time position of Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) in the Executive Department of the ACLU’s National office in New York, NY.

The CSO position is housed in the Executive Department of the ACLU, the critical nerve-center of a 600-person+ national nonprofit with an operating budget of over $350 million, and 1.64 million supporters. The Executive Department stewards the strategic vision for a 100+-year-old legacy institution whose mission is to create a more perfect union – beyond one person, party, or side – to realize the promise of the U.S. Constitution for all and expand the reach of its guarantees. The ACLU advances liberty and justice in the courts, in the legislatures, in the streets, and at the ballot box. Defending and advancing these fundamental rights and core values requires an exceptional executive function, led by the Executive Director. 

Reporting to the Deputy Executive Director for Strategy and Culture, the Chief Strategy Officer will serve as the lead architect of the ACLU’s strategy, combining the appropriate legal, electoral, organizing, and strategic communication tactics needed to achieve our priorities. The CSO will be a multi-disciplinary thinker, who serves as the connective tissue between our departments, their strategies and the resources that support them. The CSO will also be the principal futurist of the ACLU, constantly scouting the horizon for nascent civil liberties threats and opportunities where the ACLU is uniquely positioned to lead, and elevating these to Senior Leadership. Further, while core responsibilities will be internal, the CSO will also identify and maintain strong relationships with peer organizations and funders to maximize partnership opportunities for increased impact.


The Chief Strategy Officer will be a forward-thinking, collaborative, consultative leader - adept at change management and able to coordinate collective assets of the ACLU for maximum impact. Specifically, the CSO will:
Lead strategic planning for the ACLU
The CSO will lead the organization-wide strategic planning process and be the lead champion for an integrated advocacy approach to the most pressing issues on which the ACLU works. To that end, the CSO will implement a level of strategic rigor and consistency across the organization by:
  • Developing, proposing and implementing a collaborative, transparent system to establish and review organizational priorities; and to monitor and evaluate progress against them. The system will weave in Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (EDIB) and Disability, Accessibility and Inclusion (DAI) principles
  • Consulting with Department Heads, senior leadership team members, programmatic experts, and the Affiliate network as a peer and thought partner to coordinate and develop organizational goals and strategies
  • Developing and overseeing the annual strategic planning process and ensuring the budget process aligns with and supports organization-wide priorities

Monitor and assess risks to civil liberties

  • The CSO will monitor the horizon of civil liberties threats and opportunities to determine areas where the ACLU should be leading and marshalling resources to, and elevating those areas to the Senior Staff
    • This includes overseeing the ACLU’s “innovation fund” which identifies and incubates new capacities, leaders, and pilot projects. Three million dollars have been set aside to capitalize the fund for the fiscal year 2023

Build and manage the department

  • The CSO will build a department (The Strategy Office) to support cross departmental strategic coordination
    • This department will initially contain 2 – 3 “Strategy Leads” who report to the CSO and who will aid them in the day-to-day management and facilitation of cross departmental strategy for the ACLU’s priority issues. The department will reflect the values of integration, collaboration, and alignment

In addition to: 

  • Engage in special projects and other duties as assigned
  • Center principles of accessibility, equity, inclusion, and belonging in all work, embedding the values in program development, policy application, and organizational practices and processes
  • Commitment to the mission of the ACLU
  • Demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion within the office using a personal approach that values all individuals and respects differences in regard to race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, disability and socio-economic circumstance
  • Commitment to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts


The ideal candidate is a strategist adept at planning, prioritizing, organizing, and leading a team to execute high-impact plans.

  • Visionary leadership and a proven track record of creating and managing change and delivering impactful programs in support of civil liberties or other related advocacy campaigns
  • Significant experience in a senior leadership role in a comparable advocacy organization or nonprofit
  • Outstanding track record of facilitating diverse stakeholders around a common agenda
  • A seasoned and effective manager with a record of developing and maintaining a highly talented and diverse staff and deploying financial resources toward key program goals
  • Proven experience in organizational and staff development, promotion of accessible, equitable and inclusive work practice, strategic management, and strengthening relations among affiliate and, or regional offices
  • Ideally, demonstrated and proven leadership experience operating successfully in an organization with a federated structure with multiple chapters, affiliate offices, and coalition partners in diverse communities
  • Solid understanding of the legal and philosophical principles underlying civil liberties
  • A good listener who inspires trust and confidence, remains open to the ideas of others, and is not threatened by input and feedback
  • Excellent organizational and interpersonal skills, including exceptional attention to detail, the ability to resolve disputes, and maintain a high degree of discretion and confidentiality
  • A management style that is accessible, flexible, decisive, and inclusive
  • A team builder who inspires staff to work together in pursuit of a shared mission and holds them accountable for the accomplishment of objectives
  • Ability to negotiate conflict and maintain constructive working relationships with people at all levels within and outside of the organization
  • Unimpeachable integrity, self-confidence, a high level of energy, and a sense of humor
  • Ability to work across multiple disciplines and to more directly engage coalition partners, donors, and activists in ACLU’s programs
  • Adaptability and an ability to adjust and operate in ambiguity
  • An ability to work calmly and effectively under pressure and to transmit that composure to others
  • Outstanding communication skills demonstrated ability to handle controversial issues, respond rapidly to crises and translate complex information for broader audiences
  • Provides clear direction, delegates well, and assumes ultimate responsibility


The ACLU is committed to providing compensation that is competitive and equitable. The expected salary range for this position is $281,000 to $337,000.

This salary is reflective of a position based in New York, NY. This salary will be subject to a locality adjustment (according to a specific city and state), if an authorization is granted to work outside of the location listed in this posting. Note that most of the salaries listed on our job postings reflect New York, NY salaries, where our National offices are headquartered.


For potential consideration or to suggest a prospect, please email ACLU@BoardWalkConsulting.com or call Crystal Stephens, Patti Kish or Lysondra Sommerville at 404-262-7392.


The ACLU dares to create a more perfect union – beyond one person, party, or side. Our mission is to realize this promise of the United States Constitution for all and expand the reach of its guarantees.

For over 100 years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Whether it’s ending mass incarceration, achieving full equality for the LGBTQ+ community, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach.

Equity, diversity, and inclusion are core values of the ACLU and central to our work to advance liberty, equality, and justice for all. We are a community committed to learning and growth, humility and grace, transparency and accountability. We believe in a collective responsibility to create a culture of belonging for all people within our organization – one that respects and embraces difference; treats everyone equitably; and empowers our colleagues to do the best work possible. We are as committed to anti-oppression and anti-racism internally as we are externally. Because whether we’re in the courts or in the office, we believe ‘We the People’ means all of us.

The ACLU is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status and record of arrest or conviction, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. Black people, Indigenous people, people of color; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex people; women; people with disabilities, protected veterans, and formerly incarcerated individuals are all strongly encouraged to apply.

The ACLU makes every effort to assure that its recruitment and employment provide all qualified persons, including persons with disabilities, with full opportunities for employment in all positions.

The ACLU is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need assistance applying online, please email benefits.hrdept@aclu.org. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

The Department of Education has determined that employment in this position at the ACLU does not qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.


Apply for this Job

* Required
resume chosen  
(File types: pdf, doc, docx, txt, rtf)
cover_letter chosen  
(File types: pdf, doc, docx, txt, rtf)

Voluntary Self-Identification

For government reporting purposes, we ask candidates to respond to the below self-identification survey. Completion of the form is entirely voluntary. Whatever your decision, it will not be considered in the hiring process or thereafter. Any information that you do provide will be recorded and maintained in a confidential file.

As set forth in ACLU - National Office’s Equal Employment Opportunity policy, we do not discriminate on the basis of any protected group status under any applicable law.

Race & Ethnicity Definitions

If you believe you belong to any of the categories of protected veterans listed below, please indicate by making the appropriate selection. As a government contractor subject to the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA), we request this information in order to measure the effectiveness of the outreach and positive recruitment efforts we undertake pursuant to VEVRAA. Classification of protected categories is as follows:

A "disabled veteran" is one of the following: a veteran of the U.S. military, ground, naval or air service who is entitled to compensation (or who but for the receipt of military retired pay would be entitled to compensation) under laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs; or a person who was discharged or released from active duty because of a service-connected disability.

A "recently separated veteran" means any veteran during the three-year period beginning on the date of such veteran's discharge or release from active duty in the U.S. military, ground, naval, or air service.

An "active duty wartime or campaign badge veteran" means a veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. military, ground, naval or air service during a war, or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized under the laws administered by the Department of Defense.

An "Armed forces service medal veteran" means a veteran who, while serving on active duty in the U.S. military, ground, naval or air service, participated in a United States military operation for which an Armed Forces service medal was awarded pursuant to Executive Order 12985.

Form CC-305

OMB Control Number 1250-0005

Expires 05/31/2023

Voluntary Self-Identification of Disability

Why are you being asked to complete this form?

We are a federal contractor or subcontractor required by law to provide equal employment opportunity to qualified people with disabilities. We are also required to measure our progress toward having at least 7% of our workforce be individuals with disabilities. To do this, we must ask applicants and employees if they have a disability or have ever had a disability. Because a person may become disabled at any time, we ask all of our employees to update their information at least every five years.

Identifying yourself as an individual with a disability is voluntary, and we hope that you will choose to do so. Your answer will be maintained confidentially and not be seen by selecting officials or anyone else involved in making personnel decisions. Completing the form will not negatively impact you in any way, regardless of whether you have self-identified in the past. For more information about this form or the equal employment obligations of federal contractors under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) website at www.dol.gov/ofccp.

How do you know if you have a disability?

You are considered to have a disability if you have a physical or mental impairment or medical condition that substantially limits a major life activity, or if you have a history or record of such an impairment or medical condition.

Disabilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Autism
  • Autoimmune disorder, for example, lupus, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, or HIV/AIDS
  • Blind or low vision
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular or heart disease
  • Celiac disease
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Deaf or hard of hearing
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Gastrointestinal disorders, for example, Crohn's Disease, or irritable bowel syndrome
  • Intellectual disability
  • Missing limbs or partially missing limbs
  • Nervous system condition for example, migraine headaches, Parkinson’s disease, or Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Psychiatric condition, for example, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, or major depression

PUBLIC BURDEN STATEMENT: According to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 no persons are required to respond to a collection of information unless such collection displays a valid OMB control number. This survey should take about 5 minutes to complete.