Executive Director

Compassion Institute


Our Mission, History, and How We Serve the Global Community:

Compassion Institute™ (CI) is a global advocate for compassion, promoting public awareness of its contribution to both individual happiness and societal wellbeing. By supporting public discourse and classes highlighting its health benefits, and the practical tools, and skills of daily practice, the Institute encourages compassionate behavior as an integral part of everyday life and in self-care. Compassion creates a new lens through which we engage our fellow humans to the benefit of our communities, those with whom we share close relationships, and with ourselves.

The Institute trains, empowers, and supports a growing network of compassion educators and institutional partnerships. Our signature program, Compassion Cultivation Training™ (CCT©) was first developed in 2009 at Stanford University by Dr. Thupten Jinpa [CEO, Chairman of Com¬passion Institute] with contributions from three well known experts in the integration of contemporary psychology and meditation who serve as Founding Faculty for CI. Created as an eight-week course, CCT blends traditional Tibetan Buddhist compassion cultivation exercises with insights from contemporary psychological sciences, mindfulness and group therapy protocols to produce a modern secular compassion training program with broad applicability and efficacy. CCT classes have been offered at Stanford to its own students and to the larger community continuously since 2010 under the auspices of the Medical School Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) in the Department of Neurosciences, where Dr. Jinpa served on the CCARE Board of Advisors and is named Primary Author for CCT.
Dr. Jinpa has been the principal English translator and editor for HH the Dalai Lama since 1985 and Chairman of Mind and Life Institute since 2012, and is the author of several books including his recent bestseller, A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to Be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives.

Recognized as a world leader in compassion education and the role of compassion in addressing many of societies’ most intractable problems, Dr. Jinpa initiated an effort in cooperation with Stanford in late 2016 to broaden the availability and impact of CCT globally. By establishing the Compassion Institute as a fully independent 501(c)3 public charity, Dr. Jinpa created a permanent institutional home for CCT into which Stanford has generously granted the exclusive, permanent rights to all CCT materials and intellectual property for reuse, relicensing, and derivative works with the intent of attracting independent funding and encouraging broad global outreach.

Since the initial conception and pilot teaching of CCT, the program has grown; expanding both its reach and efficacy. Thanks to a generous grant from the HopeLab of the Omidyar Group, a six-month comprehensive CCT Teacher Training and Certification program was developed. We are proud to have achieved the following:
• Approximately 200 Certified CCT Instructors
• Representation in 16 US states and 12 countries
• 25,000 alumni
• 80% of Certified Instructors have an MA or PhD
• An on-line course guided by CI faculty featuring interactive group experience
• Continuing education courses for alumni and teachers through on-line video conferencing
• Institutional partnerships with several major universities and nonprofit entities serving specific professions (eg. healthcare, social services, law enforcement) that serve the public under unusually challenging and stressful circumstances

CI has a projected 2020 operating budget of $2M and a mixed revenue model of 20-25% earned income/75-80% contributed funds from individuals and foundations. We also have major partnerships with universities and government entities for the development and promotion of Special Programs in compassion meditation. In addition, there are training partnerships with two foreign university-affiliated institutes offering CCT Teacher Training in Spanish and Danish languages.

CI is based in Half Moon Bay in the San Francisco Bay Area and currently has a staff of five, an active founding faculty group of four, twenty one Senior Compassion Educators who comprise the broader leadership team, and over 200 certified independent trainers worldwide.

The Opportunity for New Compassion Institute™ Leadership:
Since its founding CI has been led on a voluntary basis by Katharine C. Branscomb, an experienced business executive and one of the founding board members. The Board of Directors now seeks a visionary and capable leader to lead this dynamic and fast paced start-up nonprofit through a period of rapid growth and evolutionary change.

The ideal candidate will have demonstrated experience growing and scaling organizations, either in the private or social sectors, ideally with a combination of experience in both. Our next leader will thrive in an entrepreneurial environment and enjoy creating systems and structures to manage and facilitate growth. S/he/they will be responsible for high level strategic planning with the Board of Directors and hands-on operations, as well as exercising financial control and legal and regulatory compliance. The Executive Director will serve as chief fundraiser and will grow the earned income towards achieving our goal of becoming a self-sustaining organization. The Executive Director will oversee marketing and public outreach.
The position reports to the President who is a member of the Board of Directors and will work from the Half Moon Bay headquarters or another Bay Area location, ideally.

Responsibilities include:
1) Board Governance: Work with the Board in order to fulfill the organization’s mission.
• Responsible for leading CI in a manner that supports and guides the organization’s mission as defined by the Board of Directors.
• Responsible for communicating effectively with the Board and donors, providing, in a timely and accurate manner, all information necessary for the Board to function properly and to make informed decisions.
• Responsible for regulatory compliance and financial control as the primary fiduciary officer of the entity.
2) Financial Performance and Viability: Develop resources sufficient to ensure the financial health of the organization.
• Responsible for fundraising and developing other revenue necessary to support CI’s mission.
• Responsible for the fiscal integrity of CI, to include submission to the Board of a proposed annual budget and quarterly financial statements, which accurately reflect the financial condition of the organization.
• Responsible for fiscal management that generally anticipates operating within the approved budget, ensures maximum resource utilization, and maintenance of the organization in a positive financial position.
3) Organization Mission and Strategy: Work with Board and staff to ensure that the mission is fulfilled through programs, strategic planning and community outreach.
• Responsible for implementation of CI’s programs that carry out the organization’s mission.
• Responsible for strategic planning to ensure that CI can successfully fulfill its mission into the future.
• Responsible for the enhancement of CI’s image by being active and visible in the community and by working closely with other professional, civic and private organizations.
4) Organization Operations: Oversee and implement appropriate resources to ensure that the operations of the organization are appropriate.
• Responsible for the hiring and retention of competent, qualified staff.
• Responsible, effective administration of CI’s operations.
• Responsible for signing all notes, agreements, and other instruments made and entered into and on behalf of the organization.
Detailed Job Responsibilities:
• Report to the President/Chairman and work closely with the Board of Directors to seek their involvement in policy decisions, fundraising, and to increase the overall visibility of the organization.
• Supervise and collaborate with organization staff and affiliated contractors (faculty and Senior Compassion Educators).
• Strategic planning and implementation.
• Planning and operation of annual budget.
• Serve as CI’s primary spokesperson to the organization’s constituents, the media, and the general public.
• Establish and maintain relationships with various organizations and utilize those relationships to strategically enhance CI’s mission.
• Engage in fundraising and developing other revenues.
• Oversee marketing and other communications efforts.
• Oversee organization Board and committee meetings.
• Establish employment and administrative policies and procedures for all functions, and for the day-to-day operation of the nonprofit within the context of a “compassionate organization”.
• Review and approve contracts for services.
• Other duties as assigned by the President and the Board of Directors.

• A Master’s degree in public administration, business administration, social science, or psychology.
• Transparent and high integrity leadership.
• Eight or more years’ executive management experience.
• Experience in, or familiarity with, nonprofit organizations.
• Experience and skill in working with a Board of Directors.
• High level strategic thinking and planning. Ability to envision and convey the organization’s strategic future to the staff, board, volunteers and donors.
• Ability to effectively communicate the organization’s mission to donors and the public.
• Demonstrated ability to oversee and collaborate with staff, embodying the values and daily practices that are core to CI’s mission.
• A history of successfully generating new revenue streams and improving financial results.
• Active fundraising experience. Excellent donor relations skills and understanding of the funding community.
• Previous success in establishing and maintaining relationships with individuals and organizations of influence including funders, partner organizations, and volunteers.
• Solid organizational abilities, including planning, delegating, program development, and task facilitation.
• Strong financial management skills, including budget preparation, analysis, decision making, and reporting.
• Strong written and oral communication skills.
• Strong public speaking ability.
• Strong work ethic with a high degree of energy.
• Working knowledge of intellectual property law, licensing, royalty relationships, and derivative works contracting.
• Experience in international operations and licensing IP assets abroad.
• Practical knowledge of working within an academic community or culture successfully, while embodying the values of “compassionate leadership” as advocated by CI through its own programs.
• Authentic personal commitment to the mission.

Compensation and Benefits:
Salary is $120-150k depending on experience. Benefits include a healthcare subsidy and generous PTO plan.

To Apply: Interested candidates can email in one document a résumé and a cover letter detailing your passion for the CI mission and how your experience is a match for the requirements of the Executive Director position to Karen Rea Recruiting at mskarenrea@gmail.com
Application deadline is February 28, 2020.

Timeline: Applications received by February 28, 2020 will be given priority, but applications will be accepted until the position is filled. We will contact qualified candidates. First and second round interviews will take place throughout March 2020, and a hiring decision is anticipated by early April.

Compassion Institute™ is a progressive and innovative equal opportunity employer. We embrace and encourage our employees’ differences in age, color, disability, ethnicity, family or marital status, gender identity or expression, language, national origin, physical and mental ability, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, veteran status, and other characteristics that make our employees unique. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply.

Opportunity type




Job function

  • General Management

Areas of impact

  • Social Sector