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Chief Executive Officer
Portland, Oregon

The Organization

Originally founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in 1968, Special Olympics enjoys a rich history while celebrating 50 years of serving children, youth and adults living with intellectual disabilities.  Special Olympics Oregon (SOOR) provides year-round sports training and athletic competition as well as other programs that give participants continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.  Currently serving over 14,000 participants annually with year-round programming, SOOR serves the largest disability population in the state.  Inspiring Oregonians to action, SOOR’s vision is to end discrimination by eliminating the isolation, injustice, and barriers facing individuals with disabilities. 

Enjoying excellent brand recognition and overwhelmingly positive views held by volunteers, sponsors and the general public, Special Olympics Oregon continues expanding programs to get closer to serving every individual with intellectual disabilities.  For example, SOOR’s school programs doubled in the first ten years and are expected to double again over the next two years.  Because people with intellectual disabilities impact 1 in 5 families in Oregon, and participants and families pay no fees, it’s critical to aggressively grow programs and the corresponding financial support that will reach and lift up those who are served by SOOR.  SOOR’s ability to help bring all persons with intellectual disabilities into the larger society under conditions whereby they are accepted, respected and given the chance to become useful and productive citizens depends on the ongoing success and growth of this mission-centric organization.
The Opportunity

Special Olympics Oregon’s incoming CEO will lead an experienced staff, committed Board of Directors, engaged volunteers and external partners toward a vision of the organization’s future – one that is ever more dynamic, fosters and embraces innovation and is inclusive in approach.  This role provides an opportunity to work alongside Board and staff, intentionally addressing strategy and planning, raising resources, identifying and prioritizing opportunities, and coalescing around a vision and plan for execution that resonates throughout the organization.  The new CEO will engage deeply with external, statewide partners found in the business and volunteer communities to continually refine and engage in programs that meet the health and well-being needs of SOOR’s participants.  The CEO will spend the necessary time to manage the enterprise such that the organization’s resources and scope of work - including available tools, staff strength, and a portfolio of programming assets - are best deployed to meet the growing population of those with intellectual disabilities.  

Special Olympics Oregon (SOOR) seeks an energetic, passionate, visionary leader who possesses business acumen, leadership and management skills, and creativity, to collaborate with the Board of Directors, staff, and stakeholders to shape the organization’s long-term success. The CEO will exemplify entrepreneurial leadership throughout the state to broaden SOOR’s reach and deepen the statewide community’s appreciation for this important resource that represents inclusion, empowerment, acceptance, dignity and community.  The organization will continue to raise its visibility, with an emphasis on expanding development and outreach efforts that will increase capacity.  The CEO will guide Special Olympics Oregon’s evolution, acting as a steward for the support dollars raised to deepen and enhance the programming for the benefit of even greater numbers of participants.

The Position

The SOOR CEO is responsible to the Board of Directors through an Executive Committee and has responsibility for managing all affairs of the organization which include leading and managing the staff, stewarding the board, ensuring adequate resources (which includes fundraising), promoting the organization statewide, strategic planning, marketing and development, and business operations, including financial management and human resources.  Specific responsibilities include: 

Leadership: Align and articulate the mission and vision for Special Olympics Oregon that excites people internally and externally to work toward shared goals; lead staff, Board members, and stakeholders through a growth process that results in a fully functional and financially healthy organization; employ sound strategic planning, implementation, and communication skills to further the organization’s mission.  Specifically, create and execute development plans and activities that complement past accomplishments that have built a strong foundation for support.

Fund Development: Partner closely with the development team to build a successful, effective, revenue-focused fundraising program; responsible for ensuring the tools and strategies to expand the development effort with special emphasis on outreach to major gift donors and corporate/business entities; encourage innovation and creativity to further refine and expand successful donor, sponsorship and event strategies.

External Focus/Community Relations: Identify and cultivate positive relationships with key community leaders, political representatives, potential board members, and prospective giving targets; foster cooperative external partnerships so that the SOOR can avail itself of potential federal, state, and philanthropic funding and educational research/partnership opportunities; embrace systems, technologies and web presence to enhance SOOR’s reputation as an educational and programmatic resource; partner with the business community to increase SOOR’s funding stability.

Management: Develop positive relationships with staff and an experienced, dedicated senior management team that includes a Sr. VP of Sports, Sr. VP of Program & Coach Services, and Chief Development Officer; model management practices that include personal presence, coaching, mentoring, and providing professional development opportunities; set clear direction, priorities and expectations while fostering teamwork; conduct annual performance reviews; honor the history of the organization while refining culture to be increasingly open, trust-based, and empowering of employees.

Business Operations/Development: Use strong general business and decision-making experience to make sound financial and operational decisions on a timely basis; use fundraising experience, knowledge, and relationships to partner with development department in major donor fundraising, sponsorships, campaigns, and planned giving efforts; employ new tools and/or enhance existing marketing and web strategies to encourage effective, targeted communications.

Mission Commitment: Demonstrate an appreciation for and authentic belief in the power of providing broad opportunities for growth and development and inclusivity among all peoples. 

Profile of the Candidate

This position offers the successful candidate the opportunity to put his or her well-honed business and leadership skills to work on behalf of the growing population of Oregonians with intellectual disabilities. The ideal candidate will possess the impetus to build a prosperous SOOR,   guiding internal operations and program work while simultaneously extending its external reputation.  This position requires someone who is able to balance and meet competing priorities and work proactively to address the organization’s needs with an energetic, collaborative nature.  More specifically, SOOR seeks a professional with the following attributes:

•  Several years of experience with some accountability to a Board of Directors; providing vision and strategic planning; overseeing organizational finance, operations, programmatic activity and fundraising

• An appreciation for the demands of leading an enterprise in an evolving nonprofit landscape that requires increasingly sophisticated deployment of tools and systems in order to meet sponsor and donor needs as well as event management

• Progressively responsible leadership and management experience that demonstrates the ability to lead and manage a sophisticated professional staff, sizable budget, complex revenue opportunities and organizational progress

• Experience leading staff with a commitment to fostering a positive, transparent workplace culture of collaboration and respect; an ability to build bridges is essential as is the ability to mentor and grow others

• An accomplished listener who genuinely appreciates and processes diversity of opinion and values continuous improvement

• Strong financial planning and analytical skills that maintain a healthy budget

• Strong written and oral communication skills; the ability to communicate effectively with audiences that include broad constituency groups; understand the nuanced communications necessary to retain credibility with elected officials and relate authentically to varied supporters

• A leader with a demonstrated commitment to and appreciation for diversity of all kinds (race, gender, orientation, ability, opinion, etc.)

• An information seeker with a high level of creativity in problem solving who seeks and includes data to determine course of action

• Strong integrity and a commitment to professional excellence, combined with values that wear well over the long term; progressive record of clear and consistent success and ethics beyond reproach are required

Start Timeframe

We seek to have someone in place by Spring 2018.

To Apply

All applications are held in strict confidence. Applications should be directed to the attention of Melissa Ulum, Managing Partner of MS&S Search. Please submit your credentials, letter of interest and salary requirements via email to

If you have questions or recommendations, please call (503) 244-2126 (message) or (503) 730-7615 (direct) or email

To be considered, MS&S Search urges interested candidates to apply as soon as possible.  Review of applications will begin immediately, and the position will remain open until filled.

Special Olympics Oregon is an equal opportunity employer committed to creating a work environment that values the cultural and personal perspectives afforded by individual life experiences.  It is a welcoming environment that values diversity, equity and inclusion within the organization. At MS&S Search, we know that a richly diverse mix of professionals makes organizations more effective. Using that as a guiding principle, we make diversity a priority of our firm and all of our search engagements.

Melissa Ulum
Murphy, Symonds & Stowell
1001 SW Fifth Avenue, Suite1100
Portland, OR  97204
503-244-2126 office
503-730-7615 cell

Revised 3-5-18


We offer customized, staff-level internships to qualified college students, recent graduates, and individuals making a career change or returning to the workforce. SOOR internships are unpaid, but the experience is well worth your time. You are placed with enthusiastic mentors, who help you develop future job skills and discover the inner workings of a major sports organization.

Our goal is to provide you with opportunities to form a well-rounded, professional experience.  The most successful interns are interested in working for and with individuals with intellectual disabilities, have good interpersonal skills and can articulate their goals. Enthusiasm is important.  Internships typically require a minimum of an eight week commitment. Many internships are part-time for a three to six month period.

Many of our interns do receive college credit for their internships. Contact your advisor or department chair to inquire about your school's policy and procedures for awarding credit for internships.

CHAPTER SPORTS MANAGEMENT: This is a great position for those interested in gaining experience in sports management. Work closely with Special Olympics Oregon staff in Portland to provide hands-on support in planning and developing Chapter Championships, assist with the development of athlete and coach recruitment practices, assist with the delivery of coach education programs and courses, and more. Contact: BJ Mealy,   This internship is available: 

  • Winter Season 2018 ... January - March ... FILLED

  • Summer Season 2018 ... May - July

  • Fall Season 2018 ... September - November


  • Experience: Marketing, Communications, Development, Sports, Nonprofit experience or experience working with individuals with intellectual disabilities
  • Storytelling / A compelling voice: We’re looking for candidates who can craft interesting narratives or short stories that hold the attention of our audience. We need persuasive copy that can be used in appeals, monthly newsletters, social media posts, blog entries, and grant applications.
  • Compelling human interest stories based on our constituents, coaches, volunteers, partners and more.

Contact: Chad Carter,



  • Shoot and edit a wide-range of short videos to be used across all platforms
  • Experience with visual storytelling with a compelling voice and point of view
  • Provide short videos and files to be use on website, social media pages, PowerPoint presentations, at Special Events, etc.

Areas of Interest

  • Athlete/Volunteer/Donor interviews (15 seconds to 3 minutes)
  • Highlights from sports events (15 seconds to 3 minutes)
  • Promotional videos for the Special Olympics Oregon movement, upcoming fundraising events, upcoming competitions, etc. (15 seconds to 1.5 minutes)

*Candidate must have own equipment (cameras, computers, editing software, etc.)

Contact: Chad Carter,


VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT: An opportunity to acquire professional skills in manpower planning and resource management. Work with our staff in our Volunteer Services Department in volunteer sourcing and recruiting. Assist with continued training practices and database administration. Manage individual and group volunteers during regional & state competitions and special events as needed. Contact: LouAnne Tabada,  

POLAR PLUNGE EVENT: Works with the Director of Development, LETR  on the Polar Plunge. The Polar Plunge is the largest grassroots fundraiser for Special Olympics Oregon. Duties will include team support, sponsor fulfillment, data entry, and event logistics. This is a two month internship in January and February. Please contact Jenelle Clinton,


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