Program Director

Salary Range

$80,000-90,000 annually

Native Governance Center (NGC) is a values-driven organization in an exciting growth stage and is seeking a program director to join our leadership team. This position directs NGC’s programming, including Community Engagement, Tribal Governance Support, Leadership Development, and special projects, as well as provides direct consulting services to Native nations. Our ideal candidate is a perceptive and agile manager who has deep roots in Indian country, a great communicator, and an activator who can move the work forward. We want someone who can be in the weeds, and on the balcony, managing for both the current state and future possibilities. This role may require travel up to 40% of the time.

Who We Are

Native Governance Center is a Native-led nonprofit dedicated to assisting Native nations in strengthening their governance systems and capacity to exercise sovereignty. We do our work with the 23 Native nations that share geography with MN, ND, and SD, through leadership development training, Indigenous governance resources, and community education.

We opened our doors in 2016, so we are relatively young. We are constantly growing, changing, and innovating. We like to say “let’s try it!” instead of living by the “we’ve always done it that way” motto, knowing we will learn from each experience.

Everything we do is driven by our values; from organizational development to program delivery to deciding on our annual group Halloween costume, our values help to guide us. We’re collaborative in our approach, listening to input from our team, our nations, and the research we were founded on, to inform our actions and decisions. We love GIFs and memes and try to find ways to use them as often as possible. We encourage respectful candor, authenticity, and balance on our team.

In 2020, we became a fully remote workplace, with staff located in multiple Nations and states. We’ve been successful in this model because we have a dedicated team, but it doesn’t come without its challenges, because we are real 3D humans working in a 2D world. We encourage you to research the pros and cons of virtual work (with some in-person events/travel, pandemic permitting) and decide if it matches your workstyle. We also require that you have reliable, high-speed internet to be eligible for employment with NGC.

Finally, NGC is an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to providing a work environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity and are free from all forms of harassment and discrimination.

If this sounds like your kind of place, we would love for you to reach out.

About the Position

The program director is a full-time leadership position. Job duties are centered on programming strategy and oversight, external consulting, and organizational leadership. This position may require travel, primarily within our region, up to 40% of the time. This estimate is at the high end, and the travel requirement will vary depending on consulting demand, attendance at programming convenings, and health and safety considerations.

To be considered as a candidate for this role, you’ll have experience successfully managing towards goals and objectives, supervising teams, and leading external groups through projects. You’ll also have in-depth experience in or with Native communities, including knowledge and understanding of current and historical Indigenous values, culture, governance systems, and protocols. See the job description for the full list of required skills and experience. You also must be located in the United States, have a valid driver’s license, and be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

What You’ll Be Doing

  • Program direction: You’ll guide the direction and strategy of NGC programming, ensuring alignment across program areas, accomplishment of goals (financial and programmatic), and growth of delivery. Program staff will look to you for guidance and support, while maintaining ownership of their work.
  • Strategic consulting: You’ll build and deliver our customized Tribal support service to Native nations in our region, including diagnosing opportunities and leading the group to meet its objectives, ensuring you are honoring the individuality of each Nation throughout the process. You’ll meet with Tribal leaders, facilitate sessions, and provide deliverables (ex. supporting a constitution reform process).
  • Thought leadership: You’ll provide thought leadership and visibility for NGC’s mission and strategies with external audiences, partners, and communities. This might include presenting at conferences, writing articles for our website, and establishing relationships with key partners.
  • Organizational leadership: You’ll contribute to the direction and success of NGC as a member of the leadership team, fostering a culture of collaboration, accountability, and commitment to the mission, vision, and values of NGC, and establishing effective systems that support results.

What Skills You Need for Success

  • Excellent communication: You easily put your thoughts into words and communicate directly and clearly, in writing and verbally. You are curious, a good listener, and believe that clear is kind. You feel comfortable presenting to diverse stakeholders in both one-on-one and group settings (small and large). You’re compelling and articulate in your delivery and know how to pivot for your audience, whether it be respecting cultural norms or balancing formality and informality.
  • Adaptability: You thrive in a fluid environment and have a high tolerance for ambiguity. You’re perceptive to the differing needs of your team, colleagues, and clients, and can modify your leadership to meet the needs of each. When there are changing internal or external circumstances, you guide your team in adjusting processes to meet goals. You’re comfortable taking risks and turning thoughts/talk into action, knowing you can always adjust for lessons learned.
  • Process oriented: You’re organized and know how to successfully create, manage, and adapt a budget and workplan, and help your direct reports do the same. You set priorities and benchmarks, meet goals, and evaluate outcomes. You analyze information and use it to drive decisions. You can drive a consultative process from beginning to end. You’re able to manage multiple timelines across all programming and can flag potential resource allocation issues.
  • Motivation: You’re well-versed at creating and managing teams. You know when to push and bring others along with you, and when to let the pressure off. You can keep teams on track, whether internally or as a project consultant. You identify what you don’t know and seek out opportunities to fill in the gaps, always acquiring new skills and information. You take pride in your work, your team, how you lead, and your community, so you are motivated to produce quantifiable, impactful, mission-driven results.

Compensation and Benefits

  • Salary: $80,000-90,000 annually
  • Status: Full-time, exempt
  • Wellness benefits: NGC pays 100% of the cost of our wellness benefits, including health, dental, vision, life insurance, and short- and long-term disability. Employees, spouses, and children are eligible.
  • Paid time off: Year 1-3 of employment, staff may accrue up to 216 hours (5.4 weeks) of PTO, to be used for sick and vacation time.
  • Paid holidays: 10 floating holidays (must be used in calendar year)
  • Paid closures: Paid office closure from Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day; Half-day Fridays from Memorial Day—Labor Day.
  • Workplace flexibility: We are a remote work environment, so you can work from wherever you work best. Staff are given a monthly stipend to offset any technology, home office, or shared workplace costs incurred.
  • Professional development: We offer generous stipends for professional development as well as in-house growth and training opportunities.

Ready to Apply?

We encourage you to read through the entire job posting, since we built it to provide as much information and transparency as possible. If you want the tl;dr (too long; didn’t read) version, the technical job description you will be agreeing to if offered the position can be found below as a pdf download.

To apply, please send an email to with the following:

Subject line: Program Director – Your Full Name

Cover letter (in the body of the email): Let us know why you are interested in the position and why you want to be part of the NGC team. Give us a sense of how your prior experience, whether in a similar position or something totally unrelated, will lead to success in the program director role, specifically touching on the following points:

  • Relevant or transferable work experience and training (as outlined in the job description)
  • Experience supervising a team
  • Experience consulting with clients from start to finish on a project (feel free to attach work samples if you have them)
  • Experience with Native communities and governance

Resume (or similar): Please include a current resume, either through attachment, or via a link to your online resume (ex. LinkedIn).

Timing: Submit your application package by 9/4/2022 at 11:59 pm CST.

Process: We are still ironing out the process, and plan to be flexible when needed, but the following is a summary of what to expect:

  • September 2022: Round 1 interviews
  • October 2022: Assessments + Round 2 interviews + reference checks
  • November 2022: Final interviews + offer
  • January 2023: Start date

If you have questions about this position or our organization and want to chat prior to applying, please email us at We would be happy to have a conversation.

Program Director position description 2022