Current OpeningsEmploymentStaff Openings

Executive Director, Ignite Institute

The Opportunity

Founded in 2014 as a leadership and innovation lab within Pacific School of Religion (PSR), Ignite Institute bridges ancient wisdom and transformative innovation to develop visionary, effective, and socially responsible leaders and organizations. Ignite Institute aims to develop leadership programs that reach new audiences in for-profit, government, and nonprofit sectors, and over time generate sufficient income to contribute to PSR’s financial sustainability.

The Executive Director of Ignite Institute will have the unique opportunity to take an entity that is in early stages of development and drive it to scale, garnering support from a committed board, outstanding and seasoned faculty, and institutional resources. This leader will also benefit from partnership with the President of Pacific School of Religion, David Vasquez-Levy, a visionary academic leader and nationally recognized immigration leader who leads at the intersection of faith, higher education, and social change.

The Executive Director will provide strategic, entrepreneurial, and operational leadership to position Ignite as a nationally recognized provider of cross-sector, spiritually rooted, transformative leadership and will be committed to Ignite’s vision. This leader will drive revenue growth and will contribute to PSR’s financial sustainability by partnering with faculty to create innovative and cutting-edge programs that serve the mission of playing a critical role in the formation of leaders. The position reports directly to the President of Pacific School of Religion.

About Ignite Institute

The Ignite Institute bridges ancient wisdom and transformative innovation to develop visionary, effective, and socially responsible leaders and organizations. Ignite Institute recognizes that at the core of today’s leadership challenges are long-standing questions of meaning-making, justice, power, and relationships that humans have wrestled with for generations. We bring together the ancient wisdom gained by diverse communities across time and cultures to bear on the issues raised by disruptive forces of change. We help leaders match mission with impact, grow profit with purpose, and understand and influence the social impact of their organization’s strategic and operational decisions. Our Fusion Leadership (FL) programs bring together PRS’s expertise in Ancient Wisdom with leading-edge experts from various sectors to prepare leaders with the vision, resilience, and skill to create a world where all can thriveCurrent programs include:

Developing Fusion Leaders: Emerging leaders can earn a Post Graduate Diploma in Leadership and Innovation for an Unpredictable Future by completing two mini-credential programs:  Certificate in Ethical Leadership and Innovation and Certificate in Design Thinking and Ancient Wisdom. Each certificate program is 6 weeks. Ignite has developed pilots of this content both in face-to-face and on-line modules.

Honing Fusion Leadership: Senior leaders meet for a series of weekend retreats to build their skills in applying ancient wisdom, personal and institutional resilience, and innovative thinking. Each session creates a cross-sector, intentionally diverse cohort which maintains structured contact for at least 12 months.

Models of Fusion Leadership: Stand-alone events targeted to specific business cases and issue-specific conversations for private, nonprofit, or government entities. Drawing upon PSR’s network of partners, including PSR faculty and Distinguished Professors of Practice, these events provide applied experiences of Ignite’s offerings that can advance the work of individual participants and their organizations.

Through intentionally diverse, cross-sector cohort experiences in each of these programs, Ignite prepares individuals to lead effectively and with purpose in creating a world where all can thrive. For more information, visit the Ignite Institute website.

Key Responsibilities

In partnership with the President and the Ignite Leadership Council, the Executive Director will be responsible for positioning Ignite as a nationally recognized provider of cross-sector, spiritually rooted, transformative leadership. The Executive director will be responsible for:

  • Creating and implementing a business plan to achieve Ignite’s strategic mission, that generates contributed and earned income to fund the Institute’s work and contribute to a more sustainable future for PSR
  • Working with PSR President, faculty and strategic partners to develop leadership programs that reach new audiences in private, nonprofit, and government sectors, helping to strengthen the capacity of organizations and communities to bring about significant social change
  • Leading Ignite’s team in developing and implementing Ignite’s programs with excellence and in alignment the school’s core values and strategic initiatives
  • Serving as a key spokesperson and translator for the mission and work of Ignite
  • Responsible for the fiscal management of Ignite Institute, including managing the operating budget and P&L
  • Identifying and cultivating key strategic partners in business, government, and social change sectors, including leveraging PSR’s extensive network of partners and its AshokaU Changemaker designation
  • In partnership with PSR’s Communications Office and Ignite staff, developing an effective branding, marketing, and cultivation plan for Ignite’s offerings
  • In partnership with PSR’s Office of Institutional Advancement and Ignite staff, identifying grant opportunities to support the institute’s work
  • Leading ongoing evaluation and assessment of Ignite’s efforts
  • Providing verbal and written reports to important stakeholders
  • Engaging PSR’s faculty in the development of content and aligning Ignite with the broader PSR mission
  • Integrating the operations of the institute with PSR’s core business systems, policies, and procedures to position the institute for cost-effective growth

Core Competencies

The Executive Director will be a dynamic, entrepreneurial, and inspiring leader with a proven track record and ability to build and lead a startup entity from early stages of development to scale. This driven and energetic individual will have experience in guiding program design and content development, ideally with experience driving revenue within an academic or continuing education setting. This person should also have an understanding, appreciation, or curiosity about the role of spirituality in shaping visionary and resilient leaders.

The successful candidate will have leadership experience that could include nonprofit, for-profit and/or academic settings, with a strong grounding in business management and revenue generation. The ideal candidate will have a master’s degree or equivalent work experience in a field relevant to the work of Ignite, with at least 5 years’ management experience leading an organization, department, program or function, while engaging an advisory board, board of directors or leadership team. Successful experience launching a startup entity or program as well as any experience in social entrepreneurship is preferred.

In addition, the successful candidate will have the following professional competencies and personal characteristics:

Strategic and Entrepreneurial Leader: The Executive Director will be an experienced, hands-on and entrepreneurial leader with success developing and executing strategic plans and collaboratively designing programs and developing content related to continuing education or leadership development. This individual will be responsible for implementing an organizational infrastructure that supports Ignite Institute’s and Pacific School of Religion’s long-term priorities.

The Executive Director will have demonstrated high-level organizational and strategic planning skills with the ability to bring people together to evaluate multiple strategies, chart a clear strategic direction, and oversee the execution of activities to reach the organization’s goals. This leader will be flexible and comfortable with ambiguity, as the organization continues to grow and evolve.

This leader will have strong skills influencing and political acumen with the ability to work effectively with a broad set of constituents.

Revenue Generation / Fundraising Expertise: The Executive Director will have a demonstrated track record of driving revenue growth from earned income, as well as contributed income and grants. The Executive Director will advise the President and Board of Trustees in identifying and devising a revenue and development strategy for Ignite Institute from diverse revenue streams. This leader will have an impressive networking ability and be able to effectively communicate Ignite Institute’s value and needs to the funder community.

Operational Excellence & Management: The Executive Director will understand and implement best-in-class nonprofit management / business management practices, ensuring that overall day-to-day operations are streamlined and aligned with strategic goals. The Executive Director will be skilled at developing and managing annual budgets and long term financial projections, carrying profit and loss responsibility, and partnering closely with the administrative team at PSR. This individual will demonstrate the ability to build, nurture, and retain a high performing team of professionals that is focused on excellence, accountability, and efficiency. As a manager, the Executive Director will implement effective hiring processes, with clear goals and deliverables.

Communications and Relationship Building: The Executive Director will be the outward-facing voice of Ignite Institute. This leader will effectively communicate Ignite’s value proposition and programs to all stakeholders in a clear, compelling way to increase the visibility and stature of the organization and its programs. The Executive Director will be an authentic ambassador for Ignite Institute’s and PSR’s mission and will drive the development of an effective marketing and communications strategy and collateral.

This executive will be responsible for maintaining strong connections with business leaders in the community crossing numerous industries and sectors, nonprofit leaders, community members, PSR faculty, board members and leaders. This individual will interact extensively with foundations and will build trust in the foundation space.

Passion for the Mission: The Executive Director will align with Ignite Institute’s mission and be committed to transformative leadership and building diverse cohorts to participate in Ignite’s programs. It will be imperative for the ED to demonstrate an unambiguous commitment to diversity, equity and belonging and an understanding, sensitivity, and respect for cultural values, practices, beliefs, and social experiences of diverse communities, exhibiting a high level of cultural competence.


The Ignite Institute at the Pacific School of Religion has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. This search is being led by Michelle Bonoan and Medelene Beasley. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume here, or email Michelle and Medelene at the following:

Michelle R.S. Bonoan
Managing Director   

Medelene Beasley

Pacific School of Religion is one of the most diverse educational institutions in the country.  We fully and actively support equal opportunity for all people, seeking to enrich our community’s diversity in terms of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin or ancestry, disability, veteran status, or citizen status. We seek candidates with a demonstrated commitment to diversity, academic excellence, community building, and meaningful connection with historically-underrepresented groups of people and institutions.

About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital-consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit