Jobs: Executive Search

Executive Director, Massachusetts Psychological Association

Wellesley, Mass.
Jun / 26 / 2018

Supported by its 1,800 members who are primarily practicing psychologists located in Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Psychological Association (“MPA”) seeks to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting human welfare.

Executive Transition

For the past three years, MPA was led by an executive director who departed the role in June to serve as president and CEO of another association. MPA is currently led by an interim executive director from an association management company.

Profile of the Ideal Candidate

MPA offers prospective candidates the opportunity to lead one of the most highly regarded psychological associations in the country. Expanding the strength and effectiveness of MPA’s member services and its advocacy efforts; increasing the number and diversity of MPA’s membership base; respectfully, transparently and effectively leading MPA’s board and staff; ensuring that a relatively small staff is effectively and efficiently utilized; and managing important relationships with members, public officials and other stakeholders are clear priorities for the new executive director. The executive director will also be evaluated on his/her/their ability to serve as a powerful and effective public spokesperson for MPA in Massachusetts and nationally, while broadening its advocacy, visibility, impact, effectiveness and financial support.

Required Credentials

  • A Bachelor’s degree required. Master’s degree preferred. 
  • A minimum of three years’ experience as an executive director or senior administrator of a business, nonprofit or association is required.
  • Knowledge of psychology a plus.

Primary Skills and Experience

Customer Service Mentality

The executive director must be able to establish and maintain an organizational culture built on customer service to its members in order to understand fully the needs of current and prospective members, to ensure that members’ needs are always met and to inspire and proactively engage members to join and sustain their commitment to the association. Customer service experience in a member-based organization is desired.

Effective General Manager

MPA seeks an executive director who fully understands financial concepts and can guide the board to develop a long-term financial sustainability model for the association. The candidate must also grasp personnel concepts and have an interest in and ability to maximize the contributions of those around her/him/them. The executive director will be someone who can multi-task, roll up his/her/their sleeves, is well-organized and has a strong work ethic and excellent time management skills.

Strategic Thinker, Planner, and Implementer

The executive director must have the ability to design and execute a strategic roadmap for the organization (most particularly regarding membership recruitment and engagement), marshal and utilize resources wisely, hold self and others accountable to agreed upon annual and long-term goals and alter plans in reaction to internal and external opportunities and challenges.

Passionate Spokesperson, Advocate and Communicator

The executive director must demonstrate an unwavering commitment to the field of psychology with the ability to advocate on its behalf publicly and privately with individual legislators, supporters and members to advance public policy and achieve a legislative agenda. S/he/they must listen carefully, speak persuasively and educate and respond effectively to promote the field.

Approachable, Accessible, Collaborative and Culturally Competent

Openness and accessibility are qualities that are highly valued in a new executive director who must be an honest, straightforward and responsive partner to the association’s members, its board members and its committee participants. In addition, the executive director must demonstrate a commitment to collaboration, fully believing that a cooperative and collective approach will produce far greater successes for the association. The leader must also demonstrate a commitment to diversity and be culturally competent to attract, support and sustain an increasingly diverse membership.

Strategic Opportunities and Challenges for MPA

MPA was revitalized in recent years as the staffing structure was changed to implement the board and executive director’s vision of a more efficient organization that devotes greater resources to member benefits and advocacy and less to administration. As MPA transitions from an executive director who completed this restructuring of the organization, the board of directors aims to empower an energetic new leader to address the following opportunities and challenges:

  • Implementing the strategic plan with input and assistance from members and staff, by building on work already completed and implementing actions to achieve the following strategic goals:
    • Streamline governance and modernize operations.
    • Increase and diversify revenue.
    • Broaden the diversity of membership (cultural, ethnic, professional specialties, career stage).
    • Promote member engagement and build professional community.
  • Developing a strategy to recruit, engage and retain members throughout the field of psychology with the goals of 1) complementing the already strong base of members who have historically consisted of practicing clinicians and 2) creating a culturally competent environment which will attract, support and sustain an increasingly diverse membership;
  • Sustaining an organizational culture that is based on customer service to members and where open and respectful communications are encouraged to allow the organization to benefit from diverse viewpoints;
  • Partnering with the board to maintain an appropriate balance between governance and management to allow the board to set policy and provide oversight while the executive director focuses on core management functions; and
  • Ensuring that the organization continues to advocate effectively and strategically to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting human welfare.

Overview of the Organization and its Programs

MPA is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit that was officially incorporated in 1941 and is headquartered in Wellesley, Mass. MPA offers a variety of benefits to its members including:

  • ADVOCACY:  MPA has never been more successful in its lobbying and negotiating efforts with managed care companies and the State to protect the ability to practice as psychologists.
  • FREE LEGAL COUNSEL:  When in need it is reassuring and instructive to have rapid access to competent legal help.  MPA provides access to legal counsel who is a psychologist and is very familiar with medical-legal problems that might occur in the course of clinical practice.
  • FREE ETHICS CONSULTATION:  There is a consultant available monthly to discuss ethical questions of members.
  • PRACTICE ASSISTANCE:  MPA's Director of Professional Affairs (DPA) provides consultations to assist members with practice issues. Members can schedule practice consultations with the DPA.
  • PRACTICE TOOLS AND RESOURCES PAGE:  The Practice Tools and Resources Page on MPA’s website is an excellent resource for members.
  • LISTSERV:  Get information almost immediately about fast breaking professional issues, make and receive referrals, discuss issues of interest to psychologists all with the convenience of email! A collegial group of psychologists respond to member requests, be it personal or a patient referral.
  • MPA COMMITTEES & INTEREST GROUPS:  MPA has 15 active Committees and Interest Groups that provide an excellent opportunity to network with professionals in specific practice areas.
  • MEMBER DISCOUNT RATES FOR CE EVENTS:  MPA presents many workshops each year and an Annual Conference that offer networking and other opportunities to exchange ideas with colleagues at a great venue.
  • HEALTH, DENTAL AND DISABILITY INSURANCE:  These as well as other group buying power opportunities are available to members.
  • MPA WEBSITE, MEMBER DIRECTORY AND REFERRAL SERVICE:  MPA’s website,, is a wonderful resource for psychologists, students and the public. It is easily available to members to check a colleague’s membership, a referral source for a patient or to find office space for rent or an available position, if a member is new to the area or changing jobs.
  • MPA MENTORSHIP PROGRAM:  The MPA Mentorship Program is an initiative for early and mid-career psychologists that provides an opportunity to establish a mentoring relationship with a more experienced clinician.

MPA is overseen by a board of directors comprised of 14 members, four who are officers, three who fill at-large positions, five who fill regional positions, one who is a student, and one who is a council representative of the American Psychological Association (APA).

MPA’s annual revenue in recent years has ranged from approximately $450,000-$500,000. In addition to the open executive director position, MPA currently employs one full-time and two part-time staff members, including a director of professional affairs who is a licensed psychologist. In addition, the organization contracts annually with legal and lobbying firms to support its member services and advocacy work.

Application Process

This search is being conducted by TSNE MissionWorks with Transition Consultant John Tarvin.

To apply, please click here.

Please include a cover letter with salary requirements, where you learned of the position and a description of how your qualifications and experience match MPA’s needs. Only electronic submissions sent through this link will be considered.

Candidates are strongly encouraged to submit materials by July 27. Resumes and cover letters will be accepted until the position is filled, with priority given to those received by this date. Salary is commensurate with experience, within the framework of the organization’s annual operating budget.

The Massachusetts Psychological Association is an Equal Opportunity Employer and actively seeks a diverse pool of candidates.