Director of the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy









Position Summary:

The Japanese American National Museum is revitalizing its National Center for the Preservation of Democracy (NCPD) and is seeking an experienced dynamic leader to serve as its new Director to realize its full potential as a conduit that promotes democracy in the 21st century. A purpose-driven leader, the Director of the NCPD will be responsible for the vision, strategy development, and implementation of NCPD’s programs advancing its goals and purpose of ensuring equity and justice. The Director will bring new perspectives and energy to the work of NCPD to activate and engage audiences around challenging issues confronting democracy to increase civic engagement. The purpose of the NCPD is to activate all people toward reimagining democracy today so that it is equitable for all. The programs will inform and enable participants to deeply consider issues and motivate them to take action fostering change.

The ideal candidate brings substantive program and leadership experience in a comparable role, deep knowledge of social justice, racial equity, the Asian American experience, and the intersectional nature of democracy, with knowledge and passion gained through lived experience. The Director will possess a deep passion for societal change and a strong belief in civic dialogue and the democratic process as the basis for NCPD programming.

About National Center for the Preservation of Democracy

The National Center for the Preservation of Democracy (NCPD), which opened in 2005, convenes and educates people of all ages about democracy to transform attitudes, influence culture, and promote civic engagement.

Located at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo community, NCPD is a place for dialogue about race and social justice where visitors examine contemporary and historical frameworks, including the Asian American experience. The Center explores the rights, freedoms, and enduring fragility of democracy, helping to build bridges and find common ground between people of diverse backgrounds and opinions.

In 2021, the Center embarked on a process to revitalize its programs while retaining its educational focus and deep connection to the Japanese American community.  


Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  1. Vision and Strategy–Provide strategic leadership, vision, and oversight of NCPD program activities.
  2. Management–Lead program development, working cross functionally with JANM’s Marketing and Communications, Fund Development, and Public Programs.
  3. Programs–Develop new NCPD programs that elevate themes exploring issues of Democracy to engage the public, including a speaker series, arts and culture programming, artists-in-residence and democracy fellowships, and internship programs for historians and democracy scholars.
  4. Outreach & Engagement–Create NCPD partnerships with organizations, thought leaders, and community members.
  5. Fundraising–In coordination with JANM fund development staff, identify, and secure resources and support for NCPD and its programs.
  6. Team Leadership–Cultivates a team centric culture and cohesive, collaborative, and supportive workplace environment. Manage a program associate, volunteers, and interns, and develop a plan to grow the NCPD staff to three, including program manager and program coordinator. Director will invest in recruiting, developing, and retaining a high-quality workforce.
  7. Operations–Manage and lead NCPD operations including scheduling, production, events, and daily operations.
  8. Staff members must be able to work with visitors of all ages to support the various events sponsored by JANM. Each staff member will be expected to work on a minimum of three museum-wide events per year: 
    • Gala and Silent Auction—(off-site) typically held in the Spring (April-May) 
    • Oshogatsu Family Festival (January)
    • Natsumatsuri Family Festival (August)

This list is not exhaustive and may be supplemented as necessary.  Incumbent will perform related duties as assigned.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Qualification Requirements

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions outlined above. 


Bachelor’s degree in History, Communications, Asian American Studies, Management, or Education, Master’s degree is preferred; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.


At least 6 years of collaborative, transparent leadership experience in an organization working on program development. A leader with a passion for social justice, racial equity, and deep knowledge and experience creating and managing programs that advance these areas. An inspiring manager with a track record of success leading and contributing to impactful programs and successful outcomes. A track record and history of community-based work including grassroots, movement building, familiarity with public policy and the democratic process, especially to address vulnerable populations. Experience in organizational planning and developing and implementing strategic and business plans. Ability to work well under pressure to meet deadlines. Ability to work in a fast paced team-environment, be a self-starter. Demonstrated commitment and flexibility in order to ensure a high level of quality service. Ability to adjust and provide appropriate action when unanticipated need arises. Knowledge of Japanese American and Asian American history and culture.


Has excellent communication and negotiation skills. Excellent listener, values diverse viewpoints. Sensitive, respectful, empathetic with ability to build trusting relationships. Must be able to provide courteous and effective service to co-workers, volunteers, and the general public. Is able to read, write, and comprehend routine reports and correspondence, including safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedural manuals. Is able to enthusiastically, effectively present information in one-on-one and small group format and large group format with facilitation abilities. 


Is Computer literate, Internet savvy, and experienced with MS Office, Google Calendar, and Gmail preferred. Accuracy and attention to detail are essential.


Ability to calculate figures and amounts such as discounts, interest, proportions, percentages, area, circumference, and volume. Ability to apply concepts of basic algebra and geometry.


Ability to act on own initiative, making consistently sound decisions. Unquestioned integrity, ethics, and values. Must be able to comply with institutional policies and procedures. Perform successfully when juggling and re-prioritizing multiple assignments in a fast-paced, changing work environment. Is able to apply common sense understanding to carry out instructions furnished in written, oral, or diagram form.  Reliable follow-through on assigned projects in a complete, well conceived, and timely manner.


The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools, or controls. The employee frequently is required to talk or hear. The employee is occasionally required to stand, walk, sit, reach with hands and arms, climb or balance, and stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl.

The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 20 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, and the ability to adjust focus.


The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those the employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.

Full vaccination for COVID-19 + booster is required to work on-site.


The Director of National Center for the Preservation of Democracy is a Full-Time, Temporary position with funding through June 2024. Please note, however, that this is an at-will position, meaning that your employment may be terminated at any time, with or without notice, and with or without cause. There is, in other words, no guarantee that you be employed until any date in the future, including through June 30, 2024.



Reports To: President & CEO

Positions Supervised: Program Associate, Coordinator, and Manager