President & CEO, Life Experiences

Location: Cary, NC

Department: Life Experiences, Inc.

Type: Full Time

Min. Experience: Executive


Founded in 1978, Life Experiences, Inc. (LE) is a nonprofit organization that blends education, training, and the free enterprise system to operate businesses that provide work opportunities for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (employees). With 40 years of successful programming, and its long-time President CEO retiring, the Life Experiences Board of Directors is seeking a new chief executive to build upon its successful foundation of services in the community.     

The fifty employees, ranging in age from 18-57, are the heart and soul of Life Experiences. Through the employees and the supervisors, they operate five small businesses that offer paid employment while also providing valuable services and products to the community. The businesses have evolved over time and currently include a bakery, laundry, shredding, contract services, and online sales of buckwheat hulls. Their state of the art facility in Cary, North Carolina has over 15,000 square feet of work areas, offices, and multipurpose space.

The organization is led by a 12-member Board of Directors and operates with an approximate $800,000 budget. The income model is diverse with fees provided directly from families and through group home contracts, sales of products and contracts with businesses, contributions from individuals, corporations, foundations and special events, and through the rental of part of their building.

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The new President CEO will report directly to a 12-member Board of Directors, lead seven core staff members and college interns. The new CEO will be called upon to strategically build greater organizational capacity and enhance the employment experience for LE’s employees. The new President will also be the primary champion for Life Experiences in executing effective business development and fundraising activities. 

Life Experiences offers its next leader a strong platform as they join the team:

  • A unique model that helps adults with disabilities achieve fulfilling work experience
  • An organization that is highly appreciated and respected by the community it serves
  • Talented and experienced staff who are uniquely dedicated to the mission
  • A Board of Directors committed to building a strong future
  • Strong relationships with local group homes, area businesses, and Rotary Clubs
  • The opportunity to envision the organization’s future and be ambitious with new opportunities

Following an appropriate transition period, the new President CEO will be called upon to fulfill the following key responsibilities:

Leadership:  Serve as the primary advocate, fundraiser, spokesperson, and administrator.  Responsible for developing a philanthropic spirit and unified sense of purpose among staff, board members, employees, families, donors, community partners, businesses engaged in contracts, and other partners.  Work with board and staff in refining the vision and strategic plan that charts a course for Life Experiences’ future and then articulates that vision to businesses, individuals, and community groups eager to partner with the organization and benefit from its successful business model.  Cultivate and motivate board members, donors, volunteers, and other partners in a way that inspires them to support Life Experiences. 

Financial and Business Development:  Demonstrate a strong business and financial acumen that will bring strategic ideas for organizational growth.  Expand relationships and partnerships that deliver sustainable funding streams through contract work and philanthropic investments. 

Marketing, Communications, and Public Relations:  In collaboration with the Marketing Director, work to build consistency and reach of the Life Experiences brand, ensuring the ability to leverage financial, programmatic, and fundraising opportunities available to the organization.  Serve as the face of the organization in the community.

Program and Financial Oversight:  In collaboration with the Assistant Director, ensure quality, safe, and relevant employment opportunities that match the employees’ abilities and the business contract needs. Build strong relationships with the employees and their families. Provide direct employee supervision as needed when staff is unavailable.  Gauge program effectiveness through solid metrics that yield measurable outcomes.  Oversee human resources, finances, and facilities through guidance and development of a staff team and with the support of the Board.  Support the staff and board to promote effective planning, oversight, and execution of all activities associated with the organization. Seek regular dialogue with staff, donors, volunteers, and other key partners on issues important to Life Experiences’ future.
Board Development:  In partnership with Board leaders, identify, recruit, train, retain, and reward board members and volunteers.  Ensure a quality process for building the Board, maintaining regular communications and providing them with the necessary support, counsel, and information necessary for effective governance of the organization.  

Staff Development and Human Resources:  Responsible for building a culture of teamwork and accountability throughout the organization.  Ensure that all processes and policies are executed with quality including payroll, insurance, and compliance issues.  Provide opportunities for professional development. 


The new leader must demonstrate a firm commitment to and passion for Life Experiences, Inc.’s mission. They must also be comfortable working with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families in a manner that demonstrates respect, compassion, and understanding and empowers them in their activities.

In addition, he/she should possess the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college/university.  An MBA or experience running an organization is highly desired.
  • A minimum of seven years of relevant experience in work that demonstrates the ability to drive strategic growth, build profitable practices, and strengthen organizational capacity.
  • Integrity, consistency, and sound judgment in decision-making.
  • An entrepreneurial spirit, visionary thinking, and communication skills capable of motivating staff, expanding community partnerships, and build strong donor, and volunteer relationships.
  • Knowledge and understanding of community resources and the ability to collaborate and engage these resources to fulfill LE’s strategic objectives.
  • Demonstrated success in developing, managing, and increasing revenues through business service contracts and/or philanthropic investments.
  • Organized with the capacity to prioritize work for themselves and to help others do the same to create organizational efficiency.
  • A willingness to listen and respond respectfully to questions and concerns.
  • The ability to evaluate and communicate program success through measurable outcomes.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • Effective at managing and motivating staff while having fun and holding them accountable.
  • Involvement with civic, professional, or other charitable organizations in the community outside regular work-related duties is very highly desired. 


Armstrong McGuire & Associates, based in Raleigh, NC is conducting this search in partnership with the Life Experiences, Inc.’s Board of Directors. To apply, click on the link below.  In case of any technical problems, contact

Review of candidates will begin in October 2017, and continue until the position is filled. Anticipated start date for the position is late February/early March 2018.

Life Experiences is an Equal Opportunity Employer

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