Director of Community Initiatives and Engagement

Job Description

Job Title:                  Director of Community Initiatives & Engagement (CI&E)

Department:                 Shelter

Classification:              Full time, salary, exempt

Job Relationship:         Reports to VP of Operations. Supervises project CARE Manager

Position Summary:      Under the supervision and the VP of Operations, the Director of CI&E oversees day to day operations and growth of existing community programs and initiatives. Builds and maintains strategic relationships/partnership with other agencies, businesses, and organizations. In concert with the VP of Operations, develops and implements new programs that support the APL’s strategic initiatives and address community pet-related issues. Supports APL advocacy activities. Supervises staff to ensure effective and efficient operations and financial oversight. Analyzes program data and statistics and produces impact reports.


Essential Job Functions:

Develops, implements, and oversees all aspects of APL community initiatives and engagement in support of the APL’s commitment to keeping families together and helping pet owners access care and resources.

  • Leads the CI&E team in researching, developing, and implementing new programming according to industry best practices and the evolving needs of the community and that support APL strategic goals and initiatives.
  • Continuously reviews program effectiveness and ensures all programs and services are provided in kind and compassionate manner, in accordance with the APL’s policies, procedures, and philosophy, and are serving the needs of the diverse Cleveland community.
  • With the VP of Operations, builds and expands relationships with the business community, community leaders, human services, and other various groups within Cleveland to achieve APL strategic objectives and create long-term relationships that will support offering greater community interaction and engagement.
  • With the VP of Operations, develops and implements policies and procedures for community initiatives and programs.
  • Ensures programming revenue goals are met while creating additional fundraising opportunities and supporting organizational fundraising initiatives.
  • Communicates and coordinates with other departments to ensure programs are meeting quality and service requirements and effectively integrating with other APL programs.
  • Ensures appropriate records are kept and conducts periodic audits to ensure proper documentation.
  • Compiles and analyzes monthly and annual statistics/reports. Prepares follow-up evaluation reports on program improvements as needed and takes immediate action to correct problems or resolve discrepancies.
  • Ensures humane treatment and handling of animals in our care and compliance with all APL protocols.
  • Supports DEI initiatives to ensure equitable outreach and support of volunteer and staff recruitment Oversees care provided to clients, visitors, and staff. Responds to concerns and requests.
  • Serves as a liaison and spokesperson when promoting the APL’s mission, goals, animal care, client care and management philosophy to veterinarians, vendors, the public, media, other organizations, agencies, businesses,  and the community. Solicits and represents the organization at public speaking opportunities and follows through with ongoing engagement.
  • Provides day-to-day oversight, guidance and mentorship to CI&E manager(s) and programs, including:
  • Manages and supports the project CARE Manager to grow community partnerships and client support services.
  • Manages and supports the Education Manager (future) to review and develop programs that will provide community members on-site interactions, while generating revenue and embracing industry trends.
  • Evaluates goals and objectives of specific programs as they relate to the mission and strategic plan, making program changes as needed.
  • Develops collateral, educational, and promotional materials.
  • Reviews and evaluates APL website information and ensures all website materials are current and accurate. Writes and prepares relevant materials for website as needed.


Supports APL advocacy and legislative initiatives.

  • Works collaboratively with the CEO and APL lobbyist to research and address advocacy issues related to the APL’s mission and in accordance with the APL’s advocacy policy.
  • Tracks and monitors the status of legislative/advocacy issues that pertain to the APL and reports to the CEO.
  • Meets regularly with the APL lobbyist.
  • Prepares thoughtful, informed, compelling draft testimony for review and presents professional, articulate testimony and education to policymakers at hearings or other meetings as needed.
  • Builds the APL’s reputation as Ohio’s #1 subject matter expert and resource for policy matters involving animals.
  • Provides support for Ohio Animal Welfare Federation advocacy work as assigned.


Directly and indirectly supervises, develops, and oversees the work of all members of the CI&E team.

  • Responsible for all aspects of the CI&E team’s employment including hiring, orienting, training and instruction, coaching, mentorship, performance appraisals, recommending salary adjustments, and disciplinary actions, up to and including termination. Trains or oversees the training and work of volunteers and interns.
  • Utilizes performance-based management when counseling and evaluating staff and sets measurable goals for employee growth. Submits evaluations on time and encourages continuing education as it relates to the organization’s needs. Recognizes good performance and provides solutions and counseling to correct problems.
  • Oversees department hiring and ensures adequate coverage. Creates schedules and approves time off requests.
  • Develops annual goals with staff that includes timetables, procedures, and accountabilities.
  • Leads regular meetings to communicate policy/procedure changes and people or animal care issues.
  • Acts as department liaison to key internal departments and locations to provide strategic planning support, and marketing and communications input.
  • Analyzes data to determine program impact as a consideration when developing annual programming efforts.
  • Compiles regular summary reports of department financial and other performance for the VP of Operations.
  • Prepares the department’s annual budget; manages operational expenses within budgetary limits and guidelines.
  • Conducts departmental meetings on a regular basis and acts as liaison with other department managers and supervisors in appropriate situations.
  • Provides accurate information to public and ensures that staff act professionally at all times.
  • Communicates effectively and professionally with co-workers, management, and the public at all times.
  • Approves expenditures and reports discrepancies. Discusses budget projections and accounting procedures with direct reports to resolve any discrepancies. Reviews accounts payable.
  • Participates in strategic planning and monitors agency goal achievements.
  • Takes control of situations that could be potentially damaging to the professional image of the APL.


General Expectations

  • Actively promotes the APL’s mission, services, programs, and events.
  • Informs clients and constituents of donation opportunities and cultivates relationships with current and potential donors. Participates in special events, as needed.
  • Always represents the APL in a professional and courteous manner.
  • Supports management and discusses differences privately.
  • Communicates with VP of Operations about significant developments within the department.
  • Attends necessary meetings.
  • Communicates pertinent information to staff, managers, directors, VPs, and CEO.
  • Communicates, identifies challenges, and problem solves with other senior leaders.
  • Develops and follows timelines for annual plans and projects.
  • Ensures that policies and procedures are being followed.
  • Provides quality service to clients, volunteers, and staff recognizing their contribution to the APL’s success.
  • Promotes a safe, inclusive, equitable work environment.
  • Actively monitors safety compliance of staff and takes immediate action to correct hazards.
  • Refers board or media inquiries to CEO.
  • Ability to handle confidential information and use discretion.
  • Is flexible with scheduling. Must be able to travel to Columbus or other destinations as needed.
  • Fear Free Certified or must become certified within six months of hire.
  • Supports the APL’s desire to celebrate a diverse and inclusive culture that fuels the compassion that connects us to one another.



  • Minimum 8 years of paid, full-time experience in developing and managing programs and services, preferably in animal or human services. Bachelor’s degree in human services, social work, public health, nonprofit management, or a related subject preferred or any equivalent combination of education and experience working as a community relations professional with emphasis on building partnerships, thinking out of the box, and overall creativity
  • Minimum 5 years’ experience as a supervisor.
  • Minimum 3 years’ experience in legislative advocacy including preparing/presenting testimony at government hearings.


Knowledge and Skills

  • Proficient in Microsoft Office/Office 365, database use, and ability to learn new platforms without difficulty.
  • Knowledge of effective management techniques and ability to promote full performance and high morale.
  • Ability to manage and resolve conflict and deescalate challenging situations with internal and external people.
  • Ability to make executive decisions, when necessary, in accordance with APL policy.
  • Ability to work supportively and positively in a fast-paced environment with a wide variety and diversity of people.
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks/projects and work well under pressure. Must be detail oriented.
  • Demonstrated ability to gather, assemble, correlate, and analyze facts and devise solutions or plans.
  • Bilingual in Spanish is desirable.
  • Excellent time management, organizational, and planning skills. Requires ability to proactively establish priorities, meet deadlines, and manage projects to timelines and budget.
  • Ability and interest in animal handling are required.
  • Strong writing skills and exceptional leadership, interpersonal, and presentation skills, and professional appearance.
  • Committed to maintaining the integrity of the APL’s client service programs, high standard of animal care, and promoting our mission to foster compassion and end animal suffering.


EEOC: The Cleveland APL is an equal opportunity employer and is looking for diversity in qualified candidates for employment.

To see all open employment opportunities with the Cleveland APL click here.