Program Director (L)

Lavender Youth Recreation & Information Center (LYRIC), one of the oldest, largest, and most innovative organizations in the nation serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQQ) youth, seeks a talented and outcomes-oriented Program Director to support their continued growth and impact in transforming systems that marginalize LGBTQQ youth. Founded in 1988, LYRIC’s mission is to build community and inspire positive social change through education enhancement, career training, health promotion, and leadership development with LGBTQQ youth, their families, and allies of all races, classes, genders, and abilities. LYRIC works to transform the landscape for all LGBTQQ youth, particularly those who are low-income and youth of color, in schools, public agencies, and communities.

With an anticipated 2019 budget of more than $3M and more than 25 staff members, 10 fellows, and over 90 paid youth interns, the Program Director will join a passionate and mission-driven team in creating a network of supports for LGBTQQ youth that includes direct advocacy, community-building opportunities, and workforce development initiatives. Last year LYRIC impacted over 1,159 youth through direct services, and an additional 3,376 through outreach, in their efforts to build a Youth Leadership Pipeline – strengthening the capacity of LGBTQQ youth to develop key life skills, healthy relationships, and potential career pathways.

Reporting to the Deputy Director and working closely with the leadership team, the Program Director will directly support the planning, implementation, and evaluation of LYRIC’s program continuum, integrating and codifying key practices across the organization that strengthen the ability of program teams to replicate, adapt, and expand the work as the organization continues to grow.  The Program Director will directly manage a team of 15 program staff, leading and articulating a multi-year vision for the strategic expansion of LYRIC’s programming, and promoting leadership development opportunities for both colleagues and youth participants.

The ideal candidate must share a passion for building the leadership capacity of LGBTQQ youth, striving to foster a world that honors, respects, and appreciates LGBTQQ youth and their contributions. The successful Program Director will bring broad and deep knowledge of issues impacting LGBTQQ communities and young people, expertise in implementing positive youth development frameworks, restorative justice and/or related systems change, and demonstrated mastery of group facilitation, curriculum development, and effective case management practices.

The new Program Director will join LYRIC at an exciting time in its history.  As a nationally-recognized model for leadership development with LGBTQQ youth that is guided by its strategic initiatives and operating principles, LYRIC continues to innovate and drive excellence in its programming, furthering its mission and impact on the opportunities of LGBTQQ young people.

The search is being conducted with assistance from Allison Kupfer Poteet and Makeba Greene of the national search firm, NPAG. Instructions for submitting applications, nominations, and inquiries can be found at the end of this document.


Founded in 1988, LYRIC is an anchor institution where predominately low-income LGBTQQ youth of color collaborate with peers and adult allies to promote social justice in their communities. Combining advocacy efforts with a holistic set of services, LYRIC strives to transform the systems that marginalize LGBTQQ youth, providing the supports they need to thrive.

In alignment with the organization’s strategic plan, LYRIC envisions: (1) schools that are transformed into safe, inclusive environments where LGBTQQ students can thrive, and (2) a comprehensive network of community supports to ensure successful progression into adulthood for transitional age LGBTQQ Youth. Leadership and staff work toward this vision by uniting best practice with innovation to realize the organizational excellence needed to advance the field of LGBTQQ youth development, and growing community support that reflects a high level of partner investment in LYRIC’s mission, vision, and organizational sustainability.

LYRIC’s continued growth is guided by its strategic initiatives and the following operating principles:

  • Learning: We bring curiosity, creativity, and fun to our work.
  • Sustainable Impact: We commit to the long-term transformation of lives and institutions.
  • Leadership: We foster leadership to support a progressive movement that spans generations.
  • Allyship: We believe that everyone has a role in creating safe and thriving communities.
  • Social Justice: We build upon a proud history of community self-determination by challenging institutionalized invisibility & inequity.

With an anticipated operating budget of more than $3M, LYRIC provides a robust network of supports for LGBTQQ youth through three main avenues: Youth Advocacy, Community Building, and Workforce Development.  With this approach, LYRIC weaves a safety net for LGBTQQ youth, fostering systems change that is driven by young people’s leadership in advancing policy, engaging in direct advocacy, and spurring movement building within communities.

Youth Advocacy & Case Management

LYRIC provides a continuum of case management services at the individual level that build upon youth’s resiliency, providing access to mental and physical health services, jobs, educational counseling and enrollment, housing, budgeting, and basic needs, including support with legal name and gender marker change documentation.  LYRIC provides these services free of charge, often serving as an entry point for young people who go on to engage further in the organization’s efforts to build a leadership pipeline of LGBTQQ young people.

Community Building & Movement Building

Strengthening young people’s abilities at the interpersonal level, LYRIC facilitates school and community-based programming to create collaborative learning environments where LGBTQQ youth can build skills, identify allies, and develop a sense of family that enables them to be successful and truly thrive. By connecting LGBTQQ youth leaders with other community efforts working for social justice, LYRIC also builds the power of LGBTQQ young people in influencing and shaping policy and systems design and implementation.

Workforce Development

With an understanding of the barriers that many LGBTQQ young people (particularly those who are low-income, undocumented, and/or youth of color) face in gaining employment, LYRIC provides comprehensive workforce development services. Youth ages 14-24 engage in a continuum of paid, work-based learning opportunities that build their leadership and life skills. This continuum includes one of LYRIC’s newest programs, which is a two-year fellowship for transgender/gender non-conforming youth. In addition, LYRIC provides 1:1 support to youth job seekers (age 24 and younger).  For many, LYRIC provides the first employment opportunity a young person has held, and a first step in building an income to support their future stability and career growth.  

History and Values

As one of the first and largest LGBTQQ youth centers in the United States, LYRIC has impacted both the regional and national landscape of services and supports that are available for LGBTQQ youth. The organization emerged from the shared vision of Donna Keiko Ozawa and Beth Kivel, who sought to create a safe space and opportunity to build community for gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth.  After the success of their first event – a community dance held in 1988 – LYRIC’s organizational goals, programming, and advocacy priorities began to take shape. In 1991, LYRIC achieved the first of many policy wins: receiving financial support from the City of San Francisco for urgently-needed youth development programs that challenged homophobia and transphobia and educated community members about sexuality and gender. In direct response to the youth-led advocacy of LYRIC, Mayor Frank Jordon signed a resolution to prioritize LGBTQQ youth needs, including the establishment of a LGBTQQ youth center in the Castro

In its transformation from a collective to a broader advocacy and service provider that is building a leadership pipeline of LGBTQQ youth, LYRIC has become a small but highly sophisticated leader in the delivery of youth development programming.  LYRIC’s peer-based approach to working with LGBTQQ youth is a key element in their success, and the organization has been recognized by the Community Network for Youth Development (CNYD) for excellence in youth development outcomes and youth participant satisfaction.


Reporting to the Deputy Director and working closely with the leadership team, the Program Director will directly support the planning, implementation, and evaluation of LYRIC’s program continuum, integrating and codifying key practices across the organization that strengthen the ability of program teams to replicate, adapt, and expand the work as the organization continues to grow.  In guiding the growth and expansion of this work, the Program Director will ensure continued alignment with the organization’s mission, vision, and operating principles. The Program Director can expect to engage in the following challenges and opportunities:

Support the Refinement and Alignment of Program Strategy

The Program Director will play an integral role in continuing to hone, actualize, and codify elements of LYRIC’s programming, leading the annual planning process and articulating a multi-year vision for the continued growth and expanded impact of LYRIC’s work.  Working closely with the Deputy Director and members of the leadership team, the Program Director will ensure alignment across multiple programmatic and support functions, working to clarify team member roles and contributions in the implementation of LYRIC’s strategic initiatives.  In addition, the Program Director will support efforts to refine and implement increasingly sophisticated evaluation techniques to measure the impact of programs in the lives of LGBTQQ young people.

Manage and Oversee Program Strategy Across Teams

Working under the direction of the Deputy Director, the Program Director will manage a team of 15, overseeing the continuum of LYRIC’s programming, including school-based initiatives, workforce development, case management, and community building.  With an emphasis on strengthening the internal capacity of the organization to grow and scale, the Program Director will develop and implement annual work plans to advance the organization’s strategic priorities and contract deliverables. Driving practices that support sophisticated program reporting, data collection, feedback mechanisms, and evaluation, the Program Director will be responsible for managing relationships with contract liaisons and ensuring compliance across all programming.

Support Internal Leadership Development & Performance Management

In collaboration with the incoming Talent Manager, the Program Director will support strategic leadership development opportunities for youth participants and colleagues, establishing clear metrics and expectations for internal growth and promotion. Utilizing the organization’s performance management tools and process, the Program Director will initiate and facilitate goal-setting with program team members, provide ongoing feedback regarding progress milestones and professional development goals, and participate in annual performance reviews of staff. The successful candidate will have demonstrated experience with leading change management in an organic way, supporting staff in moving beyond their immediate case load to identify important connection points that bridge the micro and the macro. With a commitment to offering fair, constructive, and timely feedback toward performance expectations, as well as opportunities for coaching and problem solving, the Program Director will drive a culture of transparency, trust, and collaboration across program teams.

Lead Budget Development and Monitor Program Financials

The Program Director, in partnership with the Deputy Director and Finance Manager, will develop and monitor program budgets across the organization. This includes communicating effectively about program finances, compliance monitoring for budget-to-actual expenditures, budget revisions as needed, and compliance with LYRIC’s fiscal procedures – ensuring that request for funds, financial back-up documentation, and timesheets are completed correctly and on-time by all program staff, fellows, and interns. By cultivating a sense of curiosity and learning regarding the intersection of LYRIC’s financial health and the broader economic environment, the Program Director will also provide valuable learning opportunities for staff across the organization.

Facilitate Expanded Partnership Development and Relationship Building

The Program Director will work to promote broader field development in prioritizing the needs of LGBTQQ youth by serving as an agency representative to key stakeholder groups, proactively engaging in relevant events and issues, and staying abreast of emerging needs, trends, and research in the field. In pursuit of stronger interagency relationships, the Program Director will act as an ally to partner organizations, ensuring that multiple LYRIC representatives, including youth, are engaged and familiar with key stakeholders, working to build internal expertise. In these efforts for deepened and effective partnership development, the Program Director will effectively document responsibilities of all parties and provide ongoing appreciative and developmental feedback to colleagues.  In addition, the Program Director will present to both internal and external audiences about evolving best practices in partnership development that support the success of LGBTQQ youth.

Assist in Agency-Wide Fund Development and Team-Building Priorities

As a key source of programmatic knowledge and emerging trends, the Program Director will work in collaboration with LYRIC staff to produce high-quality, audience-appropriate documents, presentations, and research that support the agency’s fund development goals and activities.  As a member of the leadership team, the Program Director will also model organization-wide participation in fundraising activities, fostering the expanded engagement of LYRIC youth and staff in these efforts. Under the direction of the Deputy Director and Executive Director, the Program Director will develop and submit grant proposals, assist in stewarding and cultivating relationships with new and existing funders/donors, and interface with the board as needed.


The Program Director will have a personal passion for supporting LGBTQQ youth, a proven record of developing and expanding successful programs, and demonstrated success managing teams and cultivating effective partnerships.  While no one person will embody all the qualities listed below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:

  • A demonstrated commitment to and/or experience serving LGBTQQ youth and a broad and deep knowledge of and empathy for the challenges they face, both interpersonally and within systems.
  • A commitment to providing culturally-responsive services that honor, value, and celebrate the diverse needs and backgrounds of LGBTQQ young people; competent in working in a multiracial, multicultural, multi-gendered, and intergenerational environment.
  • Proven expertise in the implementation of positive youth development frameworks, youth-adult partnership frameworks, restorative justice, and/or systems change; familiarity with diverse models of working with youth (e.g. harm reduction, de-escalation, positive sexuality, HIV/STI prevention).
  • At least five years of program management experience within an organization providing leadership development, grassroots organizing, civic engagement, advocacy, workforce development, or educational services to youth.
  • Demonstrated experience crafting, implementing, and adapting program strategy; developing and managing budgets; monitoring and measuring impact using evaluation systems; and ensuring compliance and completion of complex government contract and grant reports.
  • Expertise in case management best practices, curriculum development, group facilitation, and staff supervision practices; demonstrated capacity to build productive and sustainable partnerships both internally and externally.
  • A collaborative management style that fosters trust, respect, and creative approaches to problem solving; a commitment to mentoring staff, leading with integrity, and modeling transparent communication.
  • Experience and comfort with working with transgender youth, young women, youth of color, youth with disabilities, undocumented youth, young men who have sex with men (YMSM), youth living with HIV, system-engaged youth, immigrant communities, youth engaged in sex work, youth who are experiencing homelessness or housing instability, and other historically marginalized groups.
  • Exceptional written, verbal, and presentation skills; ability to demonstrate both a sense of joy and gravitas in translating the impact of LYRIC’s work to internal and external audiences.
  • Preference for candidates who bring an extensive knowledge of the San Francisco Bay Area and its resources, particularly for LGBTQQ youth, youth of color, undocumented youth, and their families.
  • Fluency in Cantonese, Mandarin, or Spanish is highly desirable.


This search is being conducted with assistance from Allison Kupfer Poteet, Chris Cannon, and Makeba Greene of NPAG. Nominations, inquiries, and/or applications including your resume and a cover letter should be submitted to: [email protected]

NPAG is an executive search and consulting firm dedicated to serving the mission-driven community. We partner with global mission-driven clients to deliver highly-tailored, innovative, and strategic senior- and executive-level search services.     

LYRIC is an equal opportunity employer. Applications are strongly encouraged from women, people of color, immigrants, young people, lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender and genderqueer people, people living with HIV/AIDS, people with disabilities, and bilingual and bicultural people. Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.S

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  • Biz Ghormley
    published this page in Job Board 2018-07-02 16:44:56 -0400