Chief Executive Officer

Crisis Connections
Seattle, Washington State
Greater than $100,000 per year, based upon experience. Competitive compensation and vacation package
Jan 04, 2021
Feb 03, 2021
Focus Areas
Human Services
Position Type
Full Time
Degree Level
Experience Level

Chief Executive Officer

Background & Programs

Crisis Connections, formerly known as Crisis Clinic, connects people in physical, emotional and financial crisis to resources that can help them. Based in the Greater Seattle area, the agency provides a vital link between community members who are struggling and the critical behavioral health and community services they need. All services are provided free of charge, and translation is available in over 150 languages.

Founded by community members in 1964, Crisis Connections is one of the oldest Crisis Lines in the nation, and home to five programs focused on serving the emotional and physical needs of individuals across Washington State:

  • 24-Hour Crisis Line is a confidential help line staffed around the clock every day of the year offering immediate assistance to anyone in crisis. Individuals call for a wide variety of reasons: they may be considering suicide, or experiencing grief, anxiety, depression or violence, among other issues. The Crisis Line has operated in King County for 56 years, and in early 2020 the agency began serving crisis lines for eight additional Washington counties.
  • King County 2-1-1 is the designated dialing code for information and referrals to health and human services in King County. Whether dialing, texting, emailing, or chatting, individuals get help finding food, shelter, rent/mortgage assistance, legal help, free or low-cost healthcare, and much more.
  • Teen Link is the only program in King County devoted exclusively to youth suicide prevention education and offering a teen-answered help line. The program provides a safe and confidential way for teens to talk about any issue, big or small.
  • WA Recovery Help Line is a statewide resource for those struggling with substance abuse, problem gambling, and mental health issues. Staff and volunteers are available 24/7/365, providing callers with emotional support, information, and referrals to services.
  • WA Warm Line is a peer support help line for people living with emotional and mental health challenges. Calls are answered by specially-trained volunteers who have lived experience with mental health issues. They have a deep understanding of what callers are going through and are able to provide emotional support, comfort, and information.

While there is always a significant need for crisis services, that need has increased drastically during the COVID-19 pandemic. The outbreak has had a disproportionate impact on vulnerable populations such as low-income families, people of color, those with behavioral health challenges, undocumented immigrants, domestic violence victims, and people experiencing homelessness – all of whom are served by Crisis Connections. In 2019 the agency responded to an average of 780 calls per day. Since the onset of the pandemic, that number has averaged more than 2,280 calls per day. Crisis Connections is a critical community resource, and its work has never been more important.

Organizational Structure & Position Summary

The CEO reports to a seven-member Board of Trustees and is accountable to the Board for the successful operation of Crisis Connections. Specifically, the CEO is responsible for ensuring that Crisis Connections works toward achieving its mission and goals with the highest integrity and operational standards while adhering to those standards and expectations adopted by the Board of Trustees.

The CEO oversees a budget that has grown rapidly from $7M to over $11.5M in the past two years, including significant investment in Crisis Connections due to COVID.  Looking ahead, there may be some budget shrinkage after the pandemic.  The CEO manages a staff of over 157 full time and part time members, and is part of a six member Executive Leadership team, with direct reports with functional responsibilities for business operations, finance, clinical operations, development, and an executive assistant.  Crisis Connections also benefits from over 350 active volunteers who provide nearly 40,000 volunteer-hours per year, equivalent to over 20 additional full time staff members. 

In collaboration with the Board, the CEO leads the development of the organization’s long- and short-term strategies. The CEO works through the Executive Leadership Team to ensure the daily operation of Crisis Connections effectively serves the community. The CEO negotiates contracts, ensures compliance contractual obligations, and ensures that the organization's work is provided in a framework and culture of equity and inclusion.

Position Priorities

Crisis Connections is seeking a collaborative Chief Executive Officer who can develop the resources, partnerships and organizational capacity to support the rapidly increasing demand for the organization’s services.  Key priorities in the CEO’s first 18-24 months are:

  • Play a leading role in expanding and growing relationships with funders and partners to ensure that Crisis Connection’s vital services are contractually and financially well supported and integrated with community services across the state. One goal of this strategy is to diversify funding.
  • Collaborate with other Executive Leadership Team members to build a positive, mutually-supportive organizational culture, and ability to build great teams, including frequent, transparent and two-way communications and processes that are supportive of staff, and that serve as a vehicle for thoughtful, viable long-term growth of the organization. 
  • In partnership with the Senior Director of Operations, continue the initiative to build, develop and support a strong operational leadership team, which is empowered (with authorization and budget) to implement scalable information systems, technology and service protocols as appropriate for the expected service volumes over the next 5-10 years.
  • Continue to play a key role in the development of a Community Information Exchange (CIE) and the roll out of 988 (National Suicide Hotline) so that Crisis Connections is poised to take a long-term leadership role in these services which provide vital supports for communities statewide.
  • Work with the Board and Executive Leadership Team to develop and implement a plan for diversity, equity and inclusion across the entire organization such that it strengthens the internal culture.
  • Play a collaborative role in developing the Board of Trustees into an effective governing body by growing the Board and developing a mutual understanding of the appropriate level of detail needed to govern and provide policy guidance.


The ideal candidate has a passion for the mission of Crisis Connections, unquestioned integrity, a strong sense of accountability, and a long-term perspective. The ideal candidate has a track record of exercising good judgment, and has a practical ability to get things done.  S/he brings a fair and thoughtful approach to management, combined with the flexibility and courage to shift direction and experiment with new initiatives. A reflective and listening style of communication, an ethic of openness and transparency, and a sense of humor are also desired.  Essential qualifications also include:

  • At least seven years of executive level experience as a successful leader of a related nonprofit organization, including a proven track record of growing organizational capacity and programmatic impact.
  • A Master’s degree in public, nonprofit or business administration or management, behavioral health or another related field preferred. Bachelor’s degree required.
  • Experience with programmatic issues relevant to Crisis Connections such as a leadership position in an organization providing call center services, behavioral health services, and/or information referral services.
  • A successful track record of program creation, program development and leading and sustaining organizational growth.
  • Experience in fostering an environment of mutual accountability and collaboration, healthy work relationships and partnerships, and inclusivity among organizational staff in order to maintain a positive and collaborative work environment.
  • Proven abilities and experience in fiscal oversight and working with the Board of Trustees to develop and approve a complex budget.
  • Demonstrated success in building relationships with government officials, partners, and funders to foster broad community support.
  • Outstanding verbal and written communication skills, and proven ability to work well with media, staff and the community.

Job Requirements

  • Willingness to travel locally and nationally.
  • Must be able to pass criminal background check.

Working Conditions

Work is performed typically in an office environment and a variety of settings among diverse stakeholders and audiences. A considerable amount of time will be spent in meetings, at a computer screen for extended periods, at Crisis Connections events, and speaking before public audiences. Frequent use of phones and e-mail will be required to communicate with stakeholders. Frequently works outside normal working hours and will need to travel due to work performed with donors and other stakeholders in the community. Occasional travel out of town and out of state will be required.

Compensation:  Competitive compensation and vacation package commensurate with experience. Benefits include health insurance coverage, dental and vision coverage, employee assistance program and flexible benefit plan. Life insurance and long and short term disability insurance are available as options.

Application Process

To apply, interested candidates should e-mail their cover letter and resume directly to:

E-mail applications with a cover letter are required. The position is open until filled.

Equal Employment Opportunity and Non-Discrimination

Crisis Connections (CC) is committed to equal opportunity for all employees and applicants. CC does not discriminate with regards to hiring, assignment, promotion or other conditions of staff employment because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, veteran status, disability, genetic information or any other status protected under local, state or federal law. 

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, upon request, reasonable accommodations may be made to enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of our positions.