What Characteristics Should the New RID Executive Director Have?

August 3, 2011

The search is on for a new Executive Director of RID. Brandon Arthur provides his perspective on some of the critical skills the new ED should possess.

The removal of longtime Executive Director, Clay Nettles, on the eve of the 2011 RID National conference came as quite a surprise.  See the official information release here.  A change in leadership at the top of any organization has many considerations.  It is my hope that—in the end—both RID and Clay can find a mutually agreeable way through the transition.

During the conference Cheryl Moose, outgoing RID President, stated, “it’s a new day at RID and we look forward to moving things along with the hiring of a new Executive Director.”  Clearly, this position is important to the success of RID and its representation of the sign language interpreter community.  In my mind, because this position is so important, the Search Committee should be seeking specific characteristics.

Specific Characteristics

  1. Keep the organization in sync with its members, and work with the Board to get ahead of the issues confronting the industry.
  2. Passionately tell the story of our industry.
  3. Recognize that both the organization’s success and their success—ushering in a new day—depends on their ability to identify patterns of change and position RID accordingly.
  4. Reshape the way the organization, its members, and industry businesses/organizations work together.
  5. Work with the Board to mold a future group of leaders in order to multiply RID’s ability to make better decisions and get things done.
  6. Anticipate external forces that may limit the forward movement of the organization.
  7. Insist on accountability throughout all facets of RID.
  8. Consistently recognize the contributions of the current and past artists within our field.

While this isn’t an exhaustive list, I believe—based on my purview of the industry—RID would be well served by someone with these skills.

Roll-up your sleeves Search Committee; you’re going to need to get dirty on this one.

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3 Comments on "What Characteristics Should the New RID Executive Director Have?"

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There was a great deal of talk about having a “Deaf heart”. While I believe that most of us understand that at a visceral level, as I review your list of characteristics, would you say that your list captures the essence of what that means? Much like explaining and educating interpreters to have a “good attitude” (one of the attributes many Deaf consumers convey they want to see in interpreters), this concept of a “Deaf heart” also seemed one like the definition of pornography “we know it when we see it but we are not sure how to describe exactly… Read more »
I keep hearing about having a “deaf heart”, and I’m not sure I can nail that down for purposes of employment. But what I do know is that whoever takes this position should have a deep understanding of the field (a logical precursor to being able to “passionately tell the story”) . They should understand what excellence in our field looks like and be committed to that vision. Merely adding money to RID’s coffers by making the tent more inclusive — there is reason to believe that in part this was driven by the previous ED’s agenda — has damaged… Read more »

Forward-looking organizations committed to retelling the story of the interpreter.



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