Executive Director

Winona, Minnesota
Jun 03, 2021
Jul 03, 2021
Position Type
Full Time
Experience Level


Engage Winona is pleased to announce an immediate opening for its Executive Director.

This opening comes at a time of exciting growth and opportunity. Engage Winona is transitioning from its founding director, is in a strong financial shape with fully-funded programs ahead, and has an active, supportive working board. The new executive director will also have the ability to hire a second full-time staff member.

The process of reviewing applications will begin immediately, with priority applications accepted until July 2. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

To apply, send a resume and either a cover letter or a recorded video or audio of 5-10 minutes to jobs AT engagewinona.org. 

In addition to outlining your qualifications and skills for this position, your cover letter or video/audio submission should speak to your familiarity with the Winona area and desire to work in this community.


Engage Winona believes:

  • In an equitable process that supports and meets candidates where they are
  • That there’s no such thing as the perfect candidate, but instead a rich diversity of right people with the right skills and approaches 
  • Relevant experience and expertise comes from both work and life
  • Values, presence and approach are as important as core skills


Engage Winona’s mission is to drive equitable civic action and social change by working to ensure everyone has access, voice and power in community planning, decision-making and changemaking in the Winona, MN area.

Engage Winona’s vision is of a community where everyone is welcomed, heard and included; sees themselves as leaders and changemakers; and has the tools and resources to create change that supports a resilient, inclusive community.

Engage Winona was launched as a volunteer project in 2016 by a group of community leaders seeking to change whose voices were heard and at the table when it came to community planning and decision-making. In early 2017, driven by community interest and support, it became a full-time nonprofit. Engage Winona has since grown into a widely and deeply trusted convener, facilitator, trainer, and leader in community change efforts, with state and regional recognition for innovative place-based programs and community leadership.

Engage Winona is supported by a healthy mix of grants, contracts and donations, staffed by a full-time executive director, and supported by contracted and volunteer program supporters.

Engage Winona’s programs operate in three broad areas:

  • Community engagement: We design and facilitate conversations, events, dialogues, and creative ways to get the full community involved in imagining and creating their future.
  • Empowering leaders: Our core work is our immersive cohort leadership programs. We also provide accessible activities, workshops and events.
  • Guiding groups: We facilitate coalitions and provide project and people management to community groups working to address challenges and opportunities through organizing, direct action, advocacy, and service.

Our programs are vibrant and dynamic. Some, like Lived Experience Leaders, are homegrown and core to our mission. Others ebb and flow to match long-standing and emerging community energy and needs.


"Good people are easy to find here."

A resident made that comment in one of our very first events - we've never forgotten it, and have found it to be true across all of our work.

Winona (the village of Keoxa on Dakota homelands) is a city of about 28,000 residents located on a Mississippi River island in southeast Minnesota within the striking bluffs and topography of the Driftless area, two hours from the Twin Cities.

Winona is well-known for its arts, outdoor recreation, and social and cultural opportunities. Winona is also known for education, nonprofits, and a diverse economy that includes K-12 and higher education, manufacturing, retail, and several homegrown companies.

Winona has a long history of civic, social and political engagement. Culturally, Winona has always celebrated doing things a little differently - we like to develop our own ideas and visions, to work creatively with each other to solve our own challenges. This entrepreneurial energy and we-own-our-own-community participation is what drives Engage Winona, with many residents caring deeply about many issues and actively working to create change. 


The executive director is the leader, face and voice of Engage Winona. A strong candidate is capable of:

  • Developing, funding, guiding and evaluating programs that deliver meaningful value to the communities they serve
  • Nonprofit management, including core administration, operations, and financial oversight; and guiding a working board and active committees
  • Development and fundraising, primarily through grant writing and individual donors
  • Storytelling and communication across platforms as a vehicle to drive program participation, raise organizational awareness, seek funding, and most importantly center the voices and experiences of participants
  • Inclusive community leadership that continues to position the organization as the go-to convener and change leader on community issues and challenges
  • Cultivating trusted relationships with broadly diverse communities

An ideal candidate will have significant experience in nonprofit leadership and in facilitating people-driven civic engagement and social changemaking efforts on a community level, either in a nonprofit setting or mission-driven organization. An ideal candidate will understand this work includes but is not centered in organizing and activism, nor is it about leading on any specific issue; instead, Engage Winona serves as a neutral convener, facilitator, and backbone support system for those in the community to lead change efforts, working at both the individual and systems levels.

The ideal candidate will have a deep understanding of the issues and opportunities rural communities face, and an understanding of the unique cultural and social landscape of the greater Winona community, or can speak to comparable work in similar communities.

The new executive director will have the benefit of receiving mentorship and support from a highly engaged, active working board; from community leaders who appreciate and actively support the organization; and, as they desire, from the founding executive director.

This work requires a wide range of abilities, and folks are encouraged to apply who may have mastery and expertise in some areas, and are passionate about developing skills in other areas.

Desired skills, qualifications, and experience

  • Program leadership: Building, funding, leading, and evaluating successful programs in the areas of broad community engagement, building capacity in and training community leaders, and guiding coalitions and groups
  • Nonprofit management: Core administrative and financial operations, including program-based budgeting, and leadership and guidance of a board and committees
  • Supervision: Recruit, select, and guide volunteers, interns, and staff
  • Grantwriting + development: Seek, write and receive grants, including working with major state and regional funders; ability to cultivate giving relationships with individual donors and funders
  • Equity + justice: Strong cultural competency, anti-racism, and diversity, equity and inclusion knowledge and demonstrated experience; understanding of the structural and systemic barriers diverse communities face, especially in rural communities; and skills and abilities to work across differences with ease
  • Storytelling: Using social media, email newsletters, annual reports and print publications, local media relationships and other avenues to tell stories of progress and success
  • Group facilitation: Planning and leading engaging, interactive events, ranging from fun public engagement to high-stakes conversations involving conflict
  • Project management: Using tools and strategies to guide internal programs, and to teach and assist groups leading community projects
  • Community leadership: Continuing a consistent presence in community leadership circles by attending events, serving on groups, boards and committees, and participating in civic and social organizations
  • Connecter + network-builder: Cultivate and grow a wide network of community relationships across broad issues, areas, and sectors


The salary range is  $45,000-$60,000/year and additionally provides a modest monthly benefits reimbursement.