Autism Speaks Canada (ASC) is seeking its new Executive Director to oversee all Canadian-based operations, fundraising, program development and implementation, communications, and public relations.  In concert with Autism Speaks (USA), ASC is responsible delivering the shared mission and vision to build inclusive communities where autistic individuals can reach their full potential.

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will be accountable for all day-to-day operations, funding and financial stewardship, strategic planning, and shaping and executing long-term plans that position the organization for deliberate, sustainable growth.

With substantial experience in revenue generation, the successful candidate will spearhead comprehensive fundraising plans that build upon successes and diversify funding streams and revenue programs. The Executive Director will bring direct donor engagement experience and will build and maintain relationships with key donors and partners, fostering a culture of philanthropy.

As a key spokesperson, brand ambassador, and advocate for ASC and the community, the new incumbent will bring strategic marketing and communications experience amplifying our fundraising and positioning the organization as the preferred destination for giving.  The Executive Director will actively participate and engage collaboratively in community roundtables and forums and media engagements in order to strengthen our positive public image.

Leading a dynamic, engaged, and diverse team of professionals, including those with lived experience, the Executive Director will promote a culture of inclusion, respect, transparency, cooperation, and innovation across the organization. The successful candidate will evaluate organizational structures that align with strategic priorities and position our operations so we can readily take advantage of new opportunities while maintaining the ongoing quality of current programming.

This is a unique opportunity for a visionary leader with a commitment to making a meaningful impact in the autism community by leading Autism Speaks Canada towards increased support and awareness and driving positive change and growth as we create an inclusive Canada for all autistic individuals.

This position accommodates a hybrid work arrangement within the Greater Toronto Area.


Autism Speaks was founded in the U.S. in 2005, with Autism Speaks Canada becoming incorporated a year later. At that time, less was known about autism and the way it impacts people’s lives. In fact, in 2005 the prevalence of autism was 1 in 166, today the prevalence is 1 in 50 children and youth in Canada has an autism diagnosis.

Since inception, both charities have continued to make extraordinary contributions to the autism community in North America. The autism ecosystem has seen considerable change over the past 18 years and we along with the community have evolved along the way. Autism Speaks Canada continues to collaborate with the autism community to enhance lives today and accelerate a spectrum of solutions for tomorrow.

In 2016, we refocused our mission to better serve the autism community and to reflect what Autism Speaks and Autism Speaks Canada represents today. We approach each of our mission objectives with the intent to make the most meaningful impact for the most people represented in the autism community.

To reflect our commitment to diversity and inclusion, in 2020 we transitioned from a blue-only puzzle piece to feature a spectrum of colours, representative of the spectrum of experiences those with autism may have. Whatever the puzzle piece means to you, we believe that our updated, more colourful puzzle piece, represents inclusivity and optimism as we look towards a future of progress for those on the autism spectrum. Our vision fuels and guides our organization every day.

 Our Mission

Autism Speaks Canada is dedicated to creating an inclusive Canada for all individuals with autism throughout their lifespan. We do this through advocacy, services, supports, research and innovation, and advances in care for autistic individuals and their families.

Our Vision

Autism Speaks Canada is dedicated to creating an inclusive Canada for all autistic individuals throughout their lifespan.

Autism Speaks Canada fulfills our mission via our 5 mission pillars:

 Access to Information: 

We are committed to ensuring access to reliable information and services across the lifespan. Providing information on resources and services for the autism community is crucial to effectively support individuals and their caregivers navigate the autism landscape.

Research and Innovation:

We support research and innovation aimed at enhancing the quality of life and well-being for autistic individuals across their lifespan. We financially support and collaborate with prominent autism researchers, clinical healthcare providers, as well as autistic individuals and their families. We serve as a catalyst for innovation, groundbreaking research and discoveries. These advancements will pave the way for more personalized healthcare, services and supports.

Partnerships and Collaborations:

We are committed to advocacy and collaboration and seek to extend the impact of community partnerships. We recognize the value of partnership in improving and expanding access to comprehensive services and support for both autistic individuals and care providers.

Accelerate Solutions for Adults

We are committed to accelerating solutions that enhance the quality of life for autistic adults, which includes enhancing the transition to adulthood, progressing employment opportunities, and broadening housing availability.

IDEA Champion

We are committed to fostering a culture of inclusion, diversity, equity, and access (IDEA) that embraces the uniqueness of every individual. We are working to achieve a world where all autistic people can reach their full potential. This includes autistic people across the spectrum, throughout the lifespan, and with an appreciation of the intersectional experiences within the autism community. We strive to improve the representation of this diverse community in our content and through expanding the reach of our resources and services.


Closing On: January 26, 2024

Location: Toronto Employment Type: fulltime Level: management

Salary Range: $150,000 – $170,000



Strategic Leadership & Governance

  • In concert with the Board of Directors, participates in long-term strategic planning for Autism Speaks’, aligned with the overall mission and mandate of the organization.
  • Leads the development and accountable for the execution of the annual operation plan, information by strategic objectives. Works with the senior leadership team to track and deliver on annual objectives, creating alignment between organizational goals, annual plans, and department and individual staff goals.
  • Keeps abreast of sector trends and community networks to inform the planning.
  • Supports the Board of Directors and Committees to ensure effective governance of the organization including but not limited to:
  • Participate in regular Board meetings and present updates on activities.
  • Effectively communicate to Board on all relevant matters in a timely fashion.
  • Ensure the Board has concise yet complete information to fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities and oversight of the organization.
  • Proactively identify risks and opportunities to the Board with appropriate cost/benefit analysis.
  • Participate in the identification, cultivation, recruitment, and retention of Board members and other key volunteers.

Team Leadership & Human Resource Management

  • Evaluates optimal organizational structure and staffing requirements to ensure effective operational management and program delivery.
  • Coaches and mentor staff to support them in achieving their goals, provide professional development and perform at their best.
  • Develops, enhances, and implements effective systems of collaboration and communication throughout the organization.
  • Fosters a positive, healthy, and safe work environment that supports creativity, initiative, and growth.
  • Works with the Director of Operations on implementation of human resources policies, procedures, and practices in accordance with Autism Speaks’ values and all appropriate legislation and regulations.
  • Ensures IDEA principles and practices are applied across all aspects of the organization including recruitment, management, and retention of staff and volunteers.

Fundraising & Revenue Generation

  • Leads the development of comprehensive, annual and long-term revenue generation plans that include revenue from diverse sources to support current needs and future growth and sustainability of the organization, in collaboration with fundraising staff and the Board.
  • Accountable for all activities of the organization that support successful fundraising efforts including corporate partnerships, individual giving, events, online giving, gift administration, stewardship.
  • Engages with key donors and volunteers, corporate partners, and other stakeholders to seek regular input on strengths and opportunities for increased philanthropic support, and advancement of the brand.
  • Identify, develop and foster relationships with potential and existing major donors partners; participates in securing major gifts, sponsorships, and corporate funding. Engages and leverages community contacts to build new revenue-generating relationships.
  • Fosters a culture of philanthropy.

Finance, Administration & Risk Management

  • Ensures the preparation of the annual budget for board approval; all financial activities properly tracked; financial controls are in place and followed; and operating results established in the annual budget are achieved.
  • Works with finance department, accounting provider, and auditor in preparation of financial materials. Provides strategic guidance to preserves the long-term financial stability of the organization.
  • Identifies, assesses, mitigates, and informs the Board of internal and external risks to the organization’s people (volunteers, staff), property, finances, goodwill, reputation, and image.
  • Takes an active role in risk mitigation and policy development in partnership with the Board and relevant committees, ensuring:
  • Legal, insurance, and regulatory policies and practices are in place.
  • Adherence to Autism Speaks and Autism Speaks Canada memorandum of understanding and agency agreements.
  • Compliance with all relevant government legislation, particularly the requirements of the Canada Revenue Agency for registered charities.


  • In collaboration with program leads, ensure programs, metrics, and key deliverables are aligned with strategic priorities.
  • Ensures incorporation of community members with lived experience in design, development, implementation, and evaluation of all activities concerning them, as well as industry best practices.
  • Provides strategic oversight for granting including allocation of grants, selection of review panel, effectiveness of results, accountability for funds awarded, reporting of results.

Marketing, Communications & Advocacy

  • Enhances and raises the profile of Autism Speaks as the destination for charitable giving in autism communities across Canada.
  • Acts as a spokesperson for the organization and represents the organization at community activities to enhance the organization’s profile including but not limited to community and fundraising events and media engagements.
  • Serves as advocate to key external stakeholders such as funders, partners, government.
  • Develops and oversees the implementation of a communication, brand, and public relations strategy to ensure a strong, positive public image is maintained, in collaboration with the Director, Marketing and Communications.
  • Provides strategic oversight for fundraising and donor related initiatives and collateral including but not limited to cases for support; impact and stewardship reports; event materials; digital communications and campaigns; fundraising appeals.
  • Participates on boards, working groups, advisory panels, and committees as a brand-ambassador for the organization.


  • Progressive senior leadership experience within a non-profit or charitable environment.
  • Experience leading or participating in strategic and annual operational planning to further the vision, mission and mandate of an organization.
  • Knowledge of Board governance, and experience working with a Board of Directors and senior volunteers, providing support, and engaging their expertise.
  • Strong business and financial acumen with a track record of successful development, implementation, and oversight of annual budgets.
  • Demonstrated experience building and growing revenue generating programs and projects across diverse revenue streams.
  • Excellent relationship building skills with the ability to engage, motivate and unify individuals and groups with diverse backgrounds in a manner that increases philanthropic support.
  • Direct involvement in cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding donors and partners to raise funds including individuals, corporations, foundations, and governments.
  • Excellent relationship-building and networking skills, with a demonstrated ability to genuinely connect with a wide variety of audiences in a manner that uncovers shared goals and increases engagement around a cause.
  • Working knowledge of marketing and communications to support brand building and awareness initiatives.
  • Proven ability with developing, leading, monitoring, and evaluating business plans and budgets that deliver results and are aligned with strategic objectives.
  • Strong planning, implementation, analytical, and evaluation skills with experience leading change mandates related to organizational development and growth.
  • Team-oriented and collegial leader with the ability to influence, inspire, and interact effectively with diverse stakeholders and engender trust and confidence.
  • Demonstrated ability to recruit, motivate, empower, and retain diverse, high-performing staff and volunteer teams; inspiring high levels of mutual respect, collaboration, and collegiality.
  • Commitment to IDEA with an ability to work effectively in building a culture of inclusion, transparency, and collaboration.
  • Excellent verbal, written, and presentation skills with a demonstrated interest in networking and public speaking.
  • Commitment to the mission of ASC with an appreciation of the complexity and strength of the autism community.
  • Solid understanding of the legal and regulatory requirements of a non-profit organization.
  • Knowledge of relevant legislation, including human resources and Canada Revenue Agency requirements for Canadian charities.


KCI Search + Talent has been retained to conduct this search on behalf of Autism Speaks Canada. For more information about this opportunity, please contact Ellie Rusonik, Vice President, KCI Search + Talent by email at

All inquiries and applications will be held in strict confidence. Interested candidates should send resume and letter of interest to the email address listed above by January 26, 2024.

Compensation: The salary range for this position is $150,000 – $170,000; a comprehensive suite of benefits is also provided.

To view the full Position Brief, please visit:

At Autism Speaks we are proud of our diverse first-person and lived experience representation at all levels of our organization. We value inclusivity and diversity; as well as respect individuals’ personal decision to self-identify or disclose their autism diagnosis. There are autistic individuals on our board of directors, staff team, advisory committee, and other volunteers.  We value inclusivity and diversity in our workforce and are committed to actively seeking engagement from autistic Canadians and those with lived experience at all levels of the organization.

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Executive Director – Autism Speaks Canada

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