Chautauqua Institution

Director of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility (IDEA)

Job Locations US-NY-Chautauqua
Posted Date 2 months ago(2/16/2020 12:25 PM)
# of Openings
President's Office


Chautauqua Institution is a not-for-profit global convener of dialogue on the most significant issues of the day through engagement across four pillars of the arts, education, religion and recreation. The Chautauqua community is located on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in Southwestern New York State and comes alive each summer with a unique mix of visual and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship/programs and recreational activities.  The Institution has just recently passed a strategic plan, 150 Forward, that endeavors to expand its reach to year-round programming and to harness its brand for continuous impact.  A new Washington, DC, office has opened to allow the Institution to play an ongoing role in the cultural conversations of the nation.


Chautauqua Institution prioritizes making Chautauqua an inclusive, diverse, equitable and accessible experience for all. Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) work is a cross-cutting imperative of the 10-year strategic plan approved by Chautauqua’s Board of Trustees in May 2019. The plan emphasizes the importance of IDEA work in calling it and other imperatives “important organizational capabilities needed to achieve Chautauqua’s mission.”


This position grows out of months of listening and learning. Recent efforts have included conducting a “Future Backward” exercise, collecting survey data, holding nine weekly open forum listening sessions during the 2019 summer assembly season, and convening focus groups to gain a better understanding of how IDEA works (or does not work) in those groups’ experiences. The most important learning from these efforts was that truly embedding IDEA into Chautauqua Institution’s culture will require a fulltime position that is financially and administratively supported.


Position Summary

The Director of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) will collaborate with staff, patrons, and other stakeholders of Chautauqua Institution to infuse IDEA principles throughout the Institution and into the planning and development of all its programs across the four pillars of the Arts, Education, Recreation and Religion. The Institution is transitioning from a relatively siloed organizational structure to a cross-functional model. This position will play a key role in building alignment and interdependences among groups and minimizing barriers to collaboration.


The ideal candidate will have a strong commitment to continuous learning with dedication to understanding the history and context of Chautauqua Institution overlaid with the current events its stakeholders examine. The successful candidate will bring knowledge and skills that can help identify opportunities for change at Chautauqua Institution. The successful Director will have a deep understanding of the systemic and structural challenges across the United States, and be willing to deepen an understanding of how those challenges manifest at Chautauqua Institution and are barriers to it being the inclusive, diverse, equitable and accessible community it always strives to be. We seek someone with not only technical knowledge of the field, but also the talent, instincts and lived experience to lead institutional/cultural change with a diverse array of partners.


Duties and Responsibilities

  • Conduct ongoing research of best practices regarding IDEA work and collaborate with leaders throughout the Institution to infuse transparency and other cultural structure necessary to create an environment where ethical and equitable policies are understood and lived out by all.
  • Participate fully in the implementation of Chautauqua Institution’s strategic plan to bring an IDEA focus to that work, including helping to prioritize tactics and strategies, particularly focused in the immediate term on making Chautauqua accessible to all who wish to experience it, including but not limited to physical and digital accessibility.
  • As aligned with the strategic plan, develop, execute, monitor and evaluate a multi-year IDEA plan that includes a range of goals and objectives, indicators of success and measures of accountability.
  • Develop well-designed programs and practices that are successfully implemented across the organization in conjunction with competing demands. Lead fundamental changes in organizational and community culture toward establishing an environment where everyone has an opportunity to fully participate and where each person is valued for their distinctive skills, experiences and perspectives. Evaluate and execute programs by rolling out communications, training, support and strategies while measuring results and formulating improvements.
  • Act as a coach, trusted partner and confidant in helping staff and patrons build IDEA acumen through personal curiosity, immersive experiences and topical training. Curate internal education pertaining to IDEA, including topics focused on eliminating biased behaviors, up-stander training, and other needs.
  • Provide updates and serve as a key adviser to senior leaders and the Board of Trustees regarding IDEA efforts.
  • Collaborate closely with the Director of Human Resources to address elements of change relevant to the employee experience, particularly with regard to policies/procedures, communications, leadership participation and workgroup norms.


Formal Education Requirements

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources, Diversity Education, Management, Organizational Leadership, Psychology or related field required; Master’s Degree is preferred.  Candidates with an equivalent combination of education and work experience will also be considered.

Formal Experience Requirements

  • Minimum five years progressive experience leading strategic diversity initiatives and managing change interventions in a complex organization across various stakeholders. Comprehensive implementation of diversity initiatives should include phases of data collection, strategy design, alignment with business objectives, implementation, evaluation and continuing audit of outcomes.   
  • Experience working with traditionally underrepresented communities is required and a track record of working with organizations led by traditionally underrepresented communities, preferably in a non-profit setting, is strongly preferred.

Skills and Abilities

  • Developed competencies, experiences and continued research in the field of IDEA.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of and ability to help others understand the intersectionality of identity with everything one experiences at Chautauqua Institution and the skill to cultivate generative dialogue.
  • Competency in analysis and strategic institutional interventions, preferably through an IDEA lens.
  • Strong leadership qualities are essential including collaborative teamwork, credibility, development, sound judgment, a high degree of integrity and creative problem-solving. 
  • Ability to lead and navigate complex scenarios without direct authority.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively build and support collaboration across all levels of an organization.
  • Experience gathering, analyzing and implementing constituent feedback.
  • Proven ability to handle confidential information with discretion.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills are essential, as are a demonstrated ability to manage multiple, complex, and competing activities.
  • Strong public speaking skills and presence required.

 Working Conditions and Environmental Hazards

  • Subject to environmental conditions, as activities occur inside and outside.  Protection from weather conditions is typically provided, but will not necessarily prevent temperature changes.
  • May be subject to extreme heat, including temperatures above 100 degrees, for periods of more than one hour, including sun, wind and humidity.   

 Supervision and Guidance

  • There are currently no direct reports into this position. Future resources will be directed by the multi-year IDEA plan. This position carries the full support of the President and his leadership team, who understand the importance of providing adequate resources to and consistent vocal, public support of the position and the person in it.

Internal Contacts

  • President
  • VP of Strategic Initiatives & Chief of Staff
  • Director of Human Resources
  • Other Executive Leadership and Senior Management

External Contacts

  • Chautauqua Community Property Owners
  • Student Populations
  • Patrons of Chautauqua Institution
  • Broader Chautauqua County and Western New York Communities
  • Donors and Prospective Donors, as directed by the Advancement Office
  • Board of Trustees

Application Procedures and Additional Information

Qualified candidates should upload a current cover letter and resume (as a single .PDF) and complete the online application procedures by clicking here.  Candidates are encouraged to learn more about Chautauqua Institution at and the 150 Forward Strategic Plan at  This position may be based at either the Chautauqua headquarters in Western New York or at the Institution’s Washington, DC office. The successful Director must reside in Chautauqua during the Summer Assembly Season (currently nine weeks) and, should the position be based out of Washington, DC, be willing to make regular work visits to the headquarters in Western New York.



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