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Preferred Diversity Focus Member Company
Japanese American Museum of Oregon
PORTLAND, Oregon, United States (hybrid)
1 day ago


About JAMO

The Japanese American Museum of Oregon in Portland is charged with preserving and sharing the history and culture of the Nikkei community—Japanese emigrants and their descendants. Formerly known as the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center, JAMO is a venue for culture and research as well as an invaluable resource for exploring Nikkei experiences and their role in Oregon’s history and multicultural community. Our permanent exhibit space highlights Issei (first generation) immigrants and their life in Oregon, Nihonmachi (Japantown), and their experience during World War II through Nikkei life today.

Our Mission

The mission of the Japanese American Museum of Oregon is to preserve and honor the history and culture of Japanese Americans in the Pacific Northwest, educate the public about the Japanese American experience during WWII, and advocate for the protection of civil rights for all Americans.

*The Japanese American Museum of Oregon rests on traditional village sites of the Multnomah, Wasco, and Cowlitz, the Kathlamet, Clackamas, and Bands of Chinook, the Tualatin, Kalapuya, and Molalla, and many other tribes who made their homes along the Columbia River.

Opportunities for the new Executive Director

The next Executive Director of JAMO will shepherd some exciting projects forward. All these initiatives have begun and will present rich opportunities for further visioning and development.

  • Working with the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, Lan Su Chinese Garden, Portland Chinatown Museum and other partners to designate and create a Cultural District
  • Continued work with the Architectural Heritage Center, National Trust for Historic Preservation and other partners to offer tours, educational resources, and reinvigorate Nihonmachi (Japantown)
  • Proposal with Vanport Mosaic and other cultural partners to develop an interpretation center at Portland Expo Center (formerly Portland Assembly Center detention site for Japanese Americans in 1942)
  • Initial discussions about property development for a cultural center and potential demonstration garden
  • Exhibitions, film screenings and performances with significant artists and cultural leaders
  • Working with National and Regional education leaders and funders to produce study guides integrated into State and National Ethnic Studies, Social Studies and History Curricula


The Executive Director will have unquestioned integrity; strong commitment to and an understanding of the history of the Nikkei community in Portland and the Pacific Northwest and passion for the mission of JAMO. Experience with operations and support systems needed for an organization of this size to thrive; a long-term visionary perspective; a strong sense of accountability and a practical ability to get things done. The ideal candidate will have a proven track record of nonprofit success; an equitable and thoughtful conflict/problem solving approach to management, flexibility and the courage to shift direction and experiment with new initiatives. A priority for this position is excellent verbal and written communication skills and success in building strong relationships with multiple stakeholders.


The Executive Director must embody and advance the mission, vision, values and philosophy of JAMO, which provides transformative opportunities, services, and advocacy for the education, leadership and civic engagement of our communities.

The Executive Director serves as the chief executive officer of JAMO overseeing all operational and administrative functions. The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors, and they delegate daily responsibilities to the ED and leadership team, which consists of the Deputy Director, Director of Collections and Exhibitions, the Director of Education and Engagement, and the Creative Director, Living Arts Program.


The ED’s top priorities include fundraising, relationship building with board and community partners, and ensuring the organization remains mission focused. The general duties of the Executive Director include (but are not restricted to) the following, and will evolve as JAMO continues to grow and respond to evolving community needs:

Community Impact

The ED is responsible for the overall impact of JAMO in the community, especially the Nikkei community. By being engaged and closely connected to key community and government partners, the ED will ensure JAMO is an informed, active partner, and responsive to community issues and needs. The ED works closely with the Board and the staff to craft and adapt engagement strategies to achieve community impact, including raising the funds to support it. They will establish and build relationships with leaders in the community, including those representing the various levels in business, government, grassroots, advocacy and other non- profits.

  • Represent JAMO and advocate its mission to external stakeholders and audiences including community organizations, schools, government at all levels, and the museum/cultural centers and nonprofit
  • Review and adjust as needed the marketing/communications plan that supports JAMO’s brand and reputation including website content, social media strategy, media relations, and printed material.
  • Oversee the maintenance of museum calendar and coordinate all programming and events with staff.
  • Serve on various boards and stakeholder advisory committees, when possible and necessary.


The ED works closely with the Director of Collections and Exhibitions, Education Director and Living Arts Director to develop programs which enhance the mission of JAMO. The ED will also work closely with the Board to assess, strategize and represent the organization on key issues impacting the Nikkei community.

  • Create and maintain standards of excellence for all collections, exhibitions, educational efforts and events of
  • Work with Director of Collections and Exhibitions and related committees to develop and oversee mindful collections and the proper care of the collections, exhibits and facilities.
  • Oversee the visitor experience before and during their
  • Coordinate with local and national organizations to present programming that expands upon and enhances the work and mission of
  • Oversee exhibitions, programs and events to support the mission of JAMO to attract audiences, donors and sponsors, including annual banquet/fundraising event.
  • Oversee educational programming.
  • Oversee training and scheduling of volunteers in proper procedures.

Resource Development

The ED is charged to drive key results in fundraising and partnership development; to identify, cultivate and solicit prospective individual, foundation and corporate major donors, key leaders, strategic government contacts and prospective new community partners; to leverage, along with the board of directors, personal and professional contacts and relationships into fundraising opportunities and program partnerships; and to promote a culture of fundraising and growth in the organization, both at the staff and board level. The ED should have experience and knowledge in applying for, developing, and managing government and private grants and funding opportunities. The ED will be the lead fundraiser/spokesperson for future capital campaigns, in close collaboration with the board president.

  • With the Board Treasurer, the Executive Director will propose an annual budget for the Board’s adoption.
  • Lead fundraising efforts and oversee planning for all events. 
  • Develop systems to maintain excellent donor records and stewardship of all donations made to the organization. 
  • Writes and/or works with grant writers and staff to secure and manage grants, including compliance with terms of grant awards and submission of reports.

Strategic Leadership
The ED serves as the principal resource to the Board of Directors and provides strong direction in policy formulation and interpretation. They partner with the Board of Directors and staff to craft organizational goals and develop strategies to ensure that they are achieved.

  • With the Board of Directors, establish a clear vision for the organization.
  • Assist the Board of Directors in long-range strategic planning and implementation of those plans, including scheduling and planning sessions and annual board/staff retreats.
  • Provide both support and leadership to the Board of Directors, including working with the board president to create meeting agendas, preparing staff and ED reports and other materials required for the meeting.
  • Serve as the liaison between the Board of Directors and staff.
  • The ED ensures coordination and mission alignment of all JAMO activities to strategic direction in the areas of community impact, advocacy, resource development, program and staff alignment.
  • Assists the Board with identifying community members who may be appropriate for board service and supports their recruitment and orientation to the organization.
  • Recruits volunteers for appropriate positions within the organization.
  • Participates in Board meetings by working with the Board President to create agendas, prepare staff reports for the meetings, and attend meetings of the Board.

Organization Management

The ED is accountable for building and leading a high-performing team, ensuring it is aligned and collaborating to achieve organizational results. The ED and Deputy Director maintain accountability for the operational and fiscal integrity of the organization within policies set by the Board of Directors. The ED, along with the Deputy Director, assesses organizational capacity to implement strategies and identify gaps in systems and staffing; directly supervise leadership positions and establish individual goals; work with the Board Treasurer and Deputy Director to manage organizational spending, monitor budget compliance, and mitigate financial risks; and ensures that goals of inclusiveness and diversity among staff and volunteers are met. The ED is responsible for maintaining the positive, collaborative and inclusive culture of JAMO.

  • Oversee creation of new staff positions
  • Manage and review Director level/staff positions.
  • Performance management: work with staff to set performance standards; create annual goals; conduct annual staff evaluations; maintain personnel records.
  • Address issues/concerns of staff with Deputy Director


  • Experience working in the nonprofit sector, preferably a museum, or culturally specific agency and interacting with volunteers and diverse boards is preferred. Alternatively, extensive strategic leadership experience in the management of an organization of comparable size, scope and mission.
  • Knowledge of issues relevant to JAMO’s mission and the history of the Nikkei and other communities it serves.
  • Ability to establish authentic and effective relationships with key stakeholders, advocacy organizations and government partners; able to establish confidence and support from community members.
  • A demonstrated track record of promoting diversity and an ability to build collaboration with the community at large.
  • Experience in or across multiple sectors, including nonprofit, philanthropy, public and corporate environments. 
  • Experience in building revenue and increasing major philanthropic and public sector support; capital and major fundraising campaign experience is highly desirable.
  • Able to demonstrated a high level of intellectual acumen and curiosity and a desire to explore new ideas and innovative approaches to solving problems. Possess political savvy.
  • Knowledge of key educational institutions, resources, programs, social services and government agencies.
  • Knowledge of systemic issues affecting the Nikkei community, communities of color, and other vulnerable populations. 
  • Possess strong communication skills, both written and verbal; effective in public speaking and representing an organization to the press.
  • Proven success in working with a Board of Directors.
  • Experience leading an organizational change effort, change management


  • Undergraduate degree
  • Training, experience or advanced degree preferred in business, public administration, or nonprofit management - 3 years in role may substitute for an advanced
  • Experience of 5-7 years in a leadership role required, including staff and financial management.


  • Kind, compassionate, empathetic
  • Self-starter, innovator, initiator, creative thinker
  • Resilient
  • Strategic, but not afraid to roll their sleeves up!


Under normal conditions, work is hybrid is in an office setting with the ability to also work remotely when needed. The ED must be able to lead the organization as they participate in events several times a month outside of normal business hours. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.


Interested applicants should submit a resumé and cover letter detailing how their background and experience meet the qualifications as outlined in this Position Profile to: .


Please address any questions to our search consultant, Joseph Wahl, Wahl and Associates at:

Job Information

  • Job ID: 66325546
  • Workplace Type: Hybrid
  • Location:
    PORTLAND, Oregon, United States
  • Company Name For Job: Japanese American Museum of Oregon
  • Position Title: Executive Director
  • Job Function: Directors/Administrators
  • Job Type: Full-Time
  • Job Duration: Indefinite
  • Min Education: BA/BS/Undergraduate
  • Min Experience: 5-7 Years
  • Required Travel: 0-10%
  • Salary: $95,000.00 - $110,000.00 (Yearly Salary)
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