President & Chief Executive Officer

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the President and CEO of Autism Speaks will plan and execute all activities and operations of the organization, based on a strategic vision developed in collaboration with the Board. Specifically, the individual will be responsible for the overall leadership, administration, and management of Autism Speaks, including strategic planning and fundraising, public relations strategy, administration, personnel, and fiscal management.

Individual will be U.S based, located near a major airport. This individual is required to reside in a major metropolitan area where Autism Speaks has a donor and mission focus (e.g. Greater New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, etc.).

Ideal candidate will have a desire to work for an organization that highly values Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, Belonging and Access for people with autism and their staff.


  • Advance Autism Speaks’ mission by providing strategic vision and leadership; Individual will establish and execute the organization’s objectives and priorities while measuring the impact and results of those activities.
  • Work in partnership with the Board of Directors and the management team to ensure the short- and long-term fiscal health of the organization.
  • Ensure that the organization is fulfilling its mission to promote solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.
  • Proactively approach CEOs and senior leaders as the “chief asker” to open doors / secure new funding sources from corporate and program partners and private donors.
  • Serve as the primary public policy spokesperson for Autism Speaks, e.g., speaking at national press conferences and local chapter events, participating in print and television interviews, and testifying before Congress.
  • Build, maintain, and energize relationships with key stakeholders, including individuals with autism and their families, the expansive volunteer network, leaders of other autism-related organizations, and relevant health professionals.
  • Continue to develop, manage, diversify and motivate Autism Speaks’ team, recruiting new talent as necessary.


Strategic & Visionary Leadership

In this highly visible role, the president and CEO will advance Autism Speaks’ mission and move the organization beyond the status quo by:

  • Working with the Board of Directors to develop and execute Autism Speaks’ strategic plan.
  • Demonstrating strong business acumen and operational expertise to execute against day-to-day priorities.
  • Establishing a collaborative relationship with the Board of Directors. Individual will provide effective two-way communication and coordination on matters important to the overall policy direction and management of the organization.
  • Enhancing the organization’s already-strong relationships with healthcare/autism professionals and researchers, industry organizations, and public sector communities.
  • Setting an example of “humbly serving” the cause and the organization, and inspiring others in the organization to do the same.


It will be imperative for Autism Speaks’ next president and CEO to successfully harness the staff’s passion and tireless commitment to the cause by serving as a unifier, team builder, mentor, and motivator. This includes:

  • Ensuring that Autism Speaks’ organizational structure, personnel practices and management systems are transparent, efficient and effective, according to best business practices.
  • Enabling professional development across the organization and encouraging employees to enhance skills by taking initiative both in and outside of their roles.
  • Energizing the relationships with the volunteer network and providing strong support of field/grassroots advocacy efforts.
  • Dedicating time and resources to develop and motivate staff and encourage employees to work together as teams, build partnerships, alliances and groups that will allow for new approaches, ideas and strategic thinking to take place inside the organization.

Communication & Fundraising Skills

Autism Speaks’ president and CEO will lead the organization’s high-level fundraising efforts by serving as a trusted and compelling spokesperson and “chief asker.” Specifically, individual will:

  • Provide strategic thought leadership in terms of fundraising direction, leveraging Individual and the Board’s networks to diversify the organization’s revenue streams.
  • Develop and articulate Autism Speaks’ core message with charisma and passion when speaking to both internal and external stakeholders. 
  • Demonstrate strong relationship-building skills and strategically adapt communication style and message to each stakeholder group/donor.
  • Provide clear and consistent messaging about the organization’s goals, priorities and uses of funding.  To this end, individual will proactively engage board members, corporate sponsors/affiliates, and employees and volunteer groups to deepen involvement in fundraising efforts.

(The responsibilities listed above are representative and not all inclusive.  Other duties may be assigned by the Board Chair.  As outlined in your performance goal setting forms, President and CEO will be responsible for achieving the goals provided by and agreed upon with the Board Chair.)


The President and Chief Executive Officer must be an accomplished leader with the presence and credentials to command the respect and lead the various constituencies whom the organization serves.

In addition to passion for Autism Speaks’ mission, individual will bring:

  • 15 plus years of leadership and management experience with direct accountability for results and financial success in a large, diverse and highly visible organization.
  • This person will have experience working with boards and engaging, motivating and retaining a talented professional staff, as well as a broad community of volunteers engaged in field/grassroots advocacy activities.
  • Experience serving as a credible and compelling “face and voice” of an organization, with exposure to national media and public speaking before large, high-profile groups.
  • Exposure to and understanding of national politics and a track record of effective advocacy at the highest levels in the public and private sectors. Experience with national advocacy/ achievements with public speaking.
  • Experience successfully securing major donors/donations from various sources, including foundations, corporations, individuals, and the government. Experience with board/ accomplishments
  • Experience working with and/or for a mission-driven organization.
  • Ideally, but not necessarily, individual will have had direct experience with autism at a personal level.
  • Candidates must be willing to travel (including weekends) to support Autism Speaks priorities, including fundraising events, corporate partner stewardship, grassroots advocacy activities, and Autism Speaks Walk events.


  • Building Collaborative Relationships
  • Professional Behavior
  • Results Driven
  • Customer Orientation
  • Flexibility

Candidate will be responsible for protecting the confidentiality, integrity and availability of all Autism Speaks data and information to which they have access.

Autism Speaks is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to fostering a diverse, multicultural, and inclusive workplace. Autism Speaks recruits, evaluates, employs, and promotes candidates without regard to race, color, religion, age, gender identity or expression, protected veteran or military status, disability or other legally protected status. Qualified individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply for job openings. Reasonable accommodations will be providedAll qualified applicants are encouraged to apply.

About Autism Speaks:

At Autism Speaks, our mission is to promote solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of people with autism and their families. We do this through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions. Together with our broad and diverse community, we strive every day to achieve our vision of a world where all people with autism can reach their full potential. This mission and vision drive every member of our staff; our employees are inspired, energized and motivated by the impact we can collectively have on behalf of the autism community.

Salary & Benefits:

Autism Speaks offers a competitive compensation, benefit and vacation package. 


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