Executive Director, CASANA

Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Department: CASANA

Type: Full Time

Min. Experience: Executive

Executive Director

Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America (CASANA), Pittsburgh, PA





The Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America (“CASANA") is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to strengthen the support systems in the lives of children with apraxia so that each child is afforded their best opportunity to develop speech and communication.  Since its founding in 2000, CASANA has been the only national nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to supporting children with apraxia along with their families. Today, the organization serves thousands of parents, speech language practitioners, researchers, medical professionals, teachers, and other English-speaking stakeholders across the both the country and the globe.

Since 2000, CASANA’s programs have grown to include:

  • Website and email discussion;
  • Message boards for both professionals and parents;
  • Social media sites for apraxia on Facebook and Twitter;
  • Online newsletter;
  • Virtual helpdesk;
  • Research symposiums;
  • Multimedia educational DVDs for professionals and parents; and
  • High-quality professional and parent education workshops and conferences offered throughout the United States and Canada.


In 2006, CASANA launched its Apraxia Treatment Research Fund in order to advance what is known about effective treatment for children with Childhood Apraxia of Speech ("CAS"). In 2008, we started the “Walk for Children with Apraxia of Speech” as a means to heighten awareness and important funding for our apraxia programs and research. CASANA also produces a National Conference on Childhood Apraxia of Speech, which is the only major conference on the speech, language, learning, and life needs of children with apraxia. The Conference brings together parents, professionals, educators, and others who are seeking the most up-to-date and in-depth learning opportunities available.


CASANA’s Goals:

  • To provide high quality information and education on Childhood Apraxia of Speech to families, professionals, policy makers, and other members of the public.
  • To create and support networking and partnership opportunities for parents and professionals to benefit children with CAS.
  • To facilitate better public policy and services for children affected by the disorder.
  • To encourage and fund research in CAS and sponsor scientific research meetings.


In creating a strategic plan for the next three years, the following strategies have been identified:

  • Develop organization-wide succession plans to assure CASANA’s long–term stability and successful transition beyond being a founder–led organization.
  • Assure CASANA’s financial health by diversifying revenue sources and implementing systematic reviews of the costs and benefits of organizational activities.
  • Enhance CASANA’s communication and outreach activities to reach a broader audience and more effectively convey CASANA’s mission, activities, and outcomes.
  • Continue to strengthen CASANA’s Board.


At present, CASANA has an annual budget of approximately $1.3M and accomplishes its work through nine dedicated full-time employees and a skilled national Board of Directors comprised of nine passionate individuals who all possess a strong, personal connection to the mission. The organization is very strong financially, with significant Board-directed cash reserves. Nearly all of the organization’s revenue is derived from 90+ volunteer-led charity walks around the country, most of whom are led by dedicated and passionate volunteers. More information on CASANA can be found here - http://www.apraxia-kids.org/.


Position Overview

From its founding until the spring of 2017, CASANA has been led by one individual (supported by a dedicated, growing staff). With the help of two additional charter members, they built CASANA into the organization it is today. Prior to the founding Executive Director’s announcement that she was voluntarily stepping down to pursue her next professional challenge, the Board had been planning for this organizational transition. With an Interim Executive Director in place, actively working to help facilitate a healthy executive leadership transition, CASANA is now seeking its next leader, to take the helm at the end of the summer of 2017. The next Executive Director must be someone who has experience successfully leading or participating in the leadership team of an organization while it was growing in size and complexity. CASANA has stakeholders (i.e. parents, speech language pathologists, researchers, and volunteer walk leaders) who live across the country, and the challenge of how to provide what they need to be successful will be a priority as the organization evolves. The individual hired into this role needs to be adept at not only the public, externally-facing role with passionate stakeholders and professionals who rely on CASANA for support, but also an organizational architect and leader who can build a strong CASANA, capable of supporting the future needs of employees, board, and volunteers.


Principal Responsibilities

The Executive Director is responsible for the following:

  • Ensuring the financial, operational, legal, compliance, regulatory, and overall health of the organization.
  • Ensuring that all resources (human capital, financial, systems, hardware/software, and communications) are properly aligned and deployed to be as efficient and effective as possible.
  • Overseeing and, at times, leading the revenue diversification of the organization and broadening the approach to funding the activities of CASANA.
  • Leading a growth strategy that will allow the organization to grow nationally and internationally to serve as many children as resources will allow.
  • Building a brand awareness that increases aided and unaided awareness of the brand and ensuring that all marks are trademarked and protected.
  • Providing leadership in developing program, organizational, and financial plans with the Board of Directors and staff and carry out plans and policies authorized by the board. Executing on the organization’s mission, goals, and strategies as well as special projects as appropriate.
  • Maintaining positive relationships with key external stakeholders such as the Board, Professional Advisory Board, American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA), and others.
  • Maintaining the organization’s subject matter expertise and ability to discuss and share significant developments and trends in the field, including apraxia of speech, speech sound disorders, speech production, neurological speech disorders, augmentative communication, alternative medical approaches, special education law and rights, reading disorders and literacy, and health care law.
  • Providing leadership and directing activities of staff, including delegating authority and reviewing work, providing guidance and assistance, as well as making hiring and termination decisions on staff.
  • Ensuring that current programming (i.e. trainings, research, Apraxia Awareness Day, conferences, communications, social media outreach, and events) is effective, relevant, and necessary, and that future programming is developed and assessed on a regular basis.
  • Supporting the Board of Directors and Committees in establishing organizational vision, goals, and priorities. Preparing materials, documents, and support for the Board of Directors. Attending Board and Committee meetings and ensure that appropriate materials are sent out in advance.
  • Serving as the public face and voice for CASANA in the community at large, as well as with CASANA’s many, diverse constituents.
  • Attending meetings, traveling out of town, and attending conferences and workshops and meetings during work and non-work hours.
  • Other duties as needed.  


Behavioral Competencies

The Board of Directors has identified the following behavioral characteristics as being essential for the next Executive Director of the organization:

  • Composure - Is cool under pressure; does not become defensive or irritated when times are tough; is considered mature; can be counted on to hold things together during tough times; can handle stress; is not knocked off balance by the unexpected; doesn’t show frustration when resisted or blocked; is a settling influence in a crisis.
  • Customer Focus - Is dedicated to meeting the expectations and requirements of internal and external customers; gets firsthand customer information and uses it for improvements in products and services; acts with customers in mind; establishes and maintains effective relationships with customers and gains their trust and respect.
  • Ethics and Values - Adheres to an appropriate (for the setting) and effective set of core values and beliefs during both good and bad times; acts in line with those values; rewards the right values and disapproves of others; practices what he/she preaches.
  • Integrity and Trust - Is widely trusted; is seen as a direct, truthful individual; can present the unvarnished truth in an appropriate and helpful manner; keeps confidences; admits mistakes; doesn’t misrepresent him/herself for personal gain.
  • Interpersonal Savvy - Relates well to all kinds of people, up, down, and sideways, inside and outside of the organization; builds appropriate rapport; builds constructive and effective relationships; uses diplomacy and tact; can diffuse even high-tension situations comfortably.
  • Innovation Management - Is good at bringing the creative ideas of others to market; has good judgment about which creative ideas and suggestions will work; has a sense about managing the creative process of others; can facilitate effective brainstorming; can project how potential ideas may play out in the marketplace.
  • Motivating and Engaging Others - Creates a climate in which people want to do their best; can motivate many kinds of direct reports and team or project members; can assess each person’s hot button and use it to get the best out of him/her; pushes tasks and decisions down; empowers others; invites input from each person and shares ownership and visibility; makes each individual feel his/her work is important; is someone people like working with and for.
  • Organizing - Can marshal resources (people, funding, material, support) to get things done; can orchestrate multiple activities at once to accomplish a goal; uses resources effectively and efficiently; arranges information and files in a useful manner.
  • Managing Vision and Purpose - Communicates a compelling and inspired vision or sense of core purpose; talks beyond today; talks about possibilities; is optimistic; creates mileposts and symbols to rally support behind the vision; makes the vision sharable by everyone; can inspire and motivate entire units or organizations.


Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

The ideal candidate for this role has a blend of most of the following:

  • Undergraduate degree required. Graduate degree preferred. 
  • A demonstrated passion for the success and positive development of children as well as the mission of CASANA.
  • A minimum of 10 years of experience in leading or participating in the leadership of an organization similar in size, scope, and complexity, or larger.
  • Demonstrated fundraising acumen – including, but not limited to, grant writing, donor engagement and individual giving, membership models, and corporate contributions.
  • Experience and desire to build and work within a team environment with an emphasis on learning and continuous improvement.
  • An understanding of the unique needs of a nonprofit organization structured as a membership, association, or society.
  • Experience working successfully in an organization that has stakeholders who live beyond the region where the home office is located, and an understanding of how to meet their needs.
  • Experience serving on, reporting to, managing, or leading committees comprised of professionals and volunteers.
  • Strong communication skills, in all settings and on all platforms.
  • Ability to manage multiple priorities and work cooperatively to satisfy needs of internal and external constituents.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, sound judgment, and discretion.
  • Excellent judgment and maturity.
  • An engaging, infectious, and positive attitude, with a solutions-oriented approach to organizational challenges.



This position offers a competitive six-figure salary, and a comprehensive benefits package, consistent with other organizations of similar size, scope, and scale.



APPLICATION MATERIALS DUE BY: 5 PM, Monday, July 10th, 2017


CASANA has retained Nonprofit Talent to assist with this important organizational change process. Interested individuals wishing to confidentially discuss this opportunity may contact Todd Owens, Principal at Todd@NonprofitTalent.com or 412.512.3879. Please note that applications are not accepted at this email address.


Please direct all inquiries related to this position to Nonprofit Talent and do not contact CASANA, or members of their Staff or Board.


CASANA is an equal opportunity employer.

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