You Can Play Seeks Applicants for Executive Director

Spread the word

Mission: To ensure the equality, respect, inclusion and safety of all in sports, including LGBTQ athletes, coaches and fans.

You Can Play works to guarantee that athletes are given a fair opportunity to compete – judged on their skills, work ethic and competitive spirit without regard to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. If you can play, you can play.


You Can Play was founded in 2012 by Patrick Burke of the NHL, Brian Kitts, a sports and entertainment marketing executive, and Glenn Witman of GForce Sports. Brendan Burke, Patrick’s brother and son of Brian Burke, a longtime NHL team executive (currently President of Hockey Operations, Calgary Flames), made international headlines when he came out in 2009 highlighting what the locker room can be like for young LGBTQ athletes. Brian Burke made his own headlines with his unequivocal and unconditional love and support for Brendan. A few months after he came out, Brendan was lost in a car accident. You Can Play was founded in Brendan Burke’s honor to provide a means for athletes, coaches and fans to stand up and create an atmosphere of inclusion everywhere in sports.

Incorporated in Denver Colorado, You Can Play is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with programming in the United States and Canada.


The Executive Director is the key management leader for the organization. The Executive Director has ultimate responsibility for the development and operation of the organization by working with You Can Play staff to implement the programs, priorities and strategies identified by the Board of Directors and execute on You Can Play’s mission. The Executive Director will be responsible for operational leadership, fundraising, organization and program development, public relations, management of staff, community engagement and partnerships. The Executive Director reports directly to the Board of Directors.

Operational Leadership
The Executive Director will have responsibility for providing organizational management, leadership and fiscal oversight with regard to the overall strategic direction of the organization. Responsibilities will include:

  • Implementation of You Can Play’s programs that further progress the aims and mission of You Can Play
  • Manage and supervise the day to day operations of the organization
  • Develop and manage the organization’s budget, including forecasting program expenses, forecasting revenues and managing expenses to maintain a balanced budget and cashflow
  • Direct and promote the development of all staff members, including training
  • Interview, hire, supervise and retain all staff and conduct annual and semi-annual evaluations
  • Maintain official records and documents and ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations
  • Maintain a current working knowledge of significant developments in the LGBTQ sports arena
  • Collaborate with and carry out the directives of the Board of Directors
  • Meet with the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors regularly to provide updates on efforts, accomplishments and status of initiatives

The Executive Director will have responsibility for creating effective fundraising campaigns as well as building and maintaining donor relationships. Responsibilities will include:

  • Establish development streams to ensure financial stability, including from major donors, recurring donors, online, events, corporate donors, grants and foundations
  • Develop a donor stewardship program
  • Manage grant awards in compliance with grant provisions
  • Prepare an annual fundraising plan to be incorporated into budget planning, including events and activities
  • Maintain regular communication with key donors and partners
  • Provide leadership and direction to staff, consultants and agents

Organizational and Program Development
The Executive Director will have responsibility for establishing and continuing to develop an effective organizational structure and creating and implementing the programs necessary to advance You Can Play’s mission. Responsibilities will include:

  • Work with the Board of Directors to be consistent with the strategic direction of the organization and to maintain an effective organizational structure that supports the mission of You Can Play
  • Develop and implement broad public education programs and outreach activities designed to educate and engage stakeholders, donors and the general public
  • Monitor all programming efforts to ensure timeliness and relevance of content to the mission of You Can Play and make adjustments to ensure effectiveness

Community Engagement and Partnerships
The Executive Director will have responsibility for creating effective collaborative partnerships with organizations that share and/or support the mission of You Can Play, including but not limited to, sports leagues, collegiate and high school conferences, associations, professional and amateur teams, sports committees and/or federations and supportive corporations and businesses. Responsibilities will include:

  • Identify and create opportunities to establish evergreen support of equality in sports
  • Provide leadership and direction to staff
  • Work with director of regional boards of volunteers to ensure effective organization and efforts

Public Relations
The Executive Director will have responsibility for marketing, public relations and communications for the organization. Responsibilities will include:

  • Work with public relations and communications manager to promote the mission, goals and achievements of You Can Play
  • Develop and maintain a program of regular communications
  • Act as primary media spokesperson for the organization when feasible
  • Monitor LGBTQ sports related news
  • Represent the organization at various public events wherever possible or engage with staff and the Board of Directors to ensure maximum visibility and impact of invitations to the organization
  • Provide leadership and direction to staff


  • 5-10 years of experience in senior positions in the non-profit sector or a corporate responsibility role
  • Proven history of effective leadership and people management
  • Extensive experience in fundraising and development
  • Fiscal management, forecasting and budgeting
  • Strategic planning and program development; preferably in the non-profit sector
  • Experience with social media campaigns relating to donor engagement and brand awareness
  • Communications strategies; preferably in the non-profit sector
  • Strong ability in dealing with media and comfortable working in the public eye
  • Experience in the supervising of staff


The Executive Director will be able to work from a virtual office. However, the position will require the Executive Director to travel throughout the United States and Canada. This is a contract position which will also involve working during some evenings and weekends. Compensation package, including performance bonus, begins at $90,000 and is commensurate with experience.


Please submit your application, including cover letter, resume and references to David Palumbo at no later than April 30, 2017.

“It’s time to change the way the world thinks about athletes – both straight and gay. Talent, work ethic, and character are all that matters when evaluating a player. It’s time for straight allies to show their character by enabling LGBT athletes to show their talents without fear. If you can play, You Can Play.” – Patrick Burke