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The LGBT Mentoring Project is hiring

posted Dec 9, 2009, 10:40 AM by Christopher Allen   [ updated Dec 14, 2009, 11:05 AM ]
Senior Mentor-Organizer 

Background on the Organization 
    The LGBT Mentoring Project provides mentoring, coaching, training, and support to LGBT and allied political leaders who are committed to building larger, stronger, much more effective organizations working to secure LGBT rights. 

    Mentor-organizers work side-by-side with established leaders, new potential leaders, and leadership teams. Partner organizations in the past year have included the Vote for Equality Project of the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, EqualityMaine, and Ask Cleveland. 

    The Mentoring Project is the first project in LGBT community to provide consistent, frequent, face-to-face, one-on-one, on-site mentoring. We believe this type of mentoring is essential to identify and develop great leaders and teams. The Mentoring Project is a pilot—an experiment—to test this hypothesis, and to see if this form of intensive mentoring produces measurable results in organizational growth, strength, and productivity. The experiment has shown enough promise to date that we’ve expanded it each year over the last three years. 

Description of the Position
    The Mentoring Project would prefer to hire a full-time mentor-organizer based in Los Angeles who would both work closely with Vote for Equality and also with a small number of other organizations, some in California, some around the country. We would also consider hiring a part-time mentor-organizer not based in Los Angeles, with the understanding that a significant part of the work would require travel to Los Angeles. 

    A strong candidate for mentor-organizer must already be a terrific organizer. You can’t teach it if you haven’t done it. You must have practical experience taking initiative, and recruiting a team to take action with you. You must be terrific at: 

    • making a strong ask – a strong ask is one where, face-to-face, you ask people to make a specific commitment to get active in a campaign, and they make a commitment, and then they show up and live up to that commitment;

    • doing a 1-on-1—that means talking with a volunteer face-to-face, identifying their self-interest in getting involved, and recruiting them to take on a job that excites them, plays to their strengths, and moves the campaign forward; 

    • recruiting large numbers of volunteers face-to-face and on the phone, and motivating them so they actually get involved doing political work; 

    • teaching practical political skills and problem-solving; and 

    • increasing the number of volunteers who become leaders. 

Experience organizing on LGBT community issues is a plus. 

Experience working to defeat an anti-gay ballot measure is a big plus. 

Fluency in Spanish is a plus. 

Experience organizing in communities of color is a plus. 

Experience building a strong LGBT political organization or campaign is a plus. 

    Experience as a mentor is crucial. As part of your organizing, you should have gained experience not only motivating others to do their best, but also motivating others to reexamine their habits and assumptions; to be open to new ideas; to experiment with new forms of action, even when that means going outside of their comfort zone. 

    Also, you must be the kind of person from whom others want to receive coaching and mentoring. You’ve got to be interesting, smart, and kind. You need both a sense of humor, and a deep and abiding interest in the people you’re working with. You have to have respect and curiosity about people, whether they are new volunteers or old-timers, whether they rank high in the organization or not. And you have to communicate that respect, and the joy you find in your public relationships. 

The two most important aspects of this are: 
    1. You have to enjoy catching people doing something right and, when you do, you have to enjoy praising them for what they’ve done; and 
    2. You have to notice when people do something wrong and, when you do, you have to embrace the necessity of giving them clear, specific criticism in a humane way. As much as you need people to like you, you have to regularly take the risk of being disliked. You need to be far more direct and honest than the norm – and you have to offer your critique with genuine kindness. 

    You must be outstanding at listening, observing, and asking questions, and at least reasonably good at speaking, reading, and writing. Excellence in this entire range of communications skills is a big plus. 

    Finally, in our experience, you must be self-critical. That means: even when you do something well, you’re intensely curious about how you can do it better next time. You push yourself to aim higher. You regularly seek out advice and ideas from others, not to substitute for your own judgment, but to augment and challenge it. 

Supervisor: Dave Fleischer, director of the Project 

Compensation: Equivalent to an annual, full-time salary of $50,000 - $80,000, depending upon experience and capability. 

Start date: February 21, 2010 

To apply, please send a cover letter and your resume to 

The LGBT Mentoring Project is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. We particularly encourage applications from women and people of color.