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Website The Richmond Forum

Organization Overview

At The Richmond Forum, we are united in the belief that by speaking, listening, learning and honestly engaging, we can make our community and world a better place.

Founded in 1986, The Richmond Forum is a non-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization that for thirty-five seasons has brought the biggest names in the world to Richmond, Virginia for public lectures, panel discussions, and debates. The Richmond Forum is the largest such lecture series in America with 4,500 attendees at each of its five sold-out programs each season. Speakers have included former U.S. Presidents, international heads of state and government, and leaders from the arts, sciences, and business.

The Speech and Debate Initiative Coordinator reports to the Director of Student Programs and is responsible primarily for the execution and support of the Forum’s Speech and Debate Initiative.

By elevating public discourse throughout the Richmond region, we can make our community a better place for all its residents and a model for the nation.

The Mission

To present powerful voices so Richmond can learn. To empower local voices so Richmond can lead.

Initiative Summary

The Forum’s Speech & Debate Initiative strives to make speech and debate activities accessible to all public middle and high schools with the goal to have competitive speech and debate teams in all of the region’s public middle and high schools by 2025, the 250th anniversary of Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty, or give me death” speech at St. John’s Church in Richmond, VA. The Initiative focuses on initiating and growing teams with monetary grants, supporting coaches with resources, hosting free tournaments and scrimmages, offering access summer camps, and emphasizing youth engagement.

Initiative Priorities

  • Coach support and professional development
  • Regional team growth
  • Curriculum integration
  • Measuring the impact of speech & debate in the region

Position Summary

The Richmond Forum seeks a coordinator to continue its fast-paced growth to achieve the 2025 goal. The coordinator role will manage day to day operations of the Initiative. This position reports to the Director of Student Programs.

Job Responsibilities

Coach support and professional development

  • Develop the assistant coach program by leveraging college students with speech and debate experience to support regional teams. This includes developing a recruitment plan, training framework, and supervision structure (for both the head coaches and the SDI Coordinator.)
  • Coordinate & implement monthly webinars for regional student engagement and education on various topics for both speech and debate
  • Explore topics and attract webinar speakers that will educate and lay a foundation for competitors to begin their own research.
  • Find ways to market and build an audience of competitors for this programming.
  • Create and maintain a coach peer mentoring support program with the goal of connecting experienced coaches with new coaches to promote tenure and foster regional collaboration.
  • Organize annual winter celebration and spring energizer event.

Regional team growth

  • Establish and maintain contacts at all of the regional public middle and high schools
  • Communicate grant opportunities, coach supports, and other information as appropriate to all schools.
  • Create, coordinate and recruit for TRF hosted/sponsored invitationals and scrimmages.
  • Recruit both school teams and judges to participate
  • Coordinate and implement annual virtual showcase for new coaches and prospective students to tune in.
  • Support the Richmond Debate Institute’s middle school league and summer camps as needed.
  • Conduct site visits to all funded S&D teams at least once per year.
  • Develop a structure for coach/student feedback

Curriculum integration

  • Work with the Director of Student Programs (DSP) to support the integration of public speaking and debate in the 6-12 curriculum
  • Identify best practice resources for districts
  • Other duties as identified (this is a developing area.)

Impact measurement

  • Work with the DSP to foster relationships with regional school districts and research partners to collect data that measures the impact of our work.
  • Other duties as identified (this is a developing area.)

Other duties

  • Manage the Student Page program for the Forum on program nights
  • Serve as the primary staff person for the SDI Advisory Council to:
    • Prepare materials in advance of the meeting,
    • Be the main point of contact for council members,
    • Send follow up documents, assignments to council members.
  • And, of course, other duties as assigned.

Required Qualifications

Commitment to the mission and vision of The Richmond Forum • experience as a speech and/or debate competitor • 1-year experience in volunteer management • 1-year experience in program management or program development. • Strong verbal and written communication skills; strong interpersonal skills • High degree of professionalism and self-awareness • Excellent organizational skills; able to manage competing priorities while meeting deadlines • Ability to relate and interact well with people of diverse backgrounds • Ability to focus on details while also understanding the big picture • Self-starter and independent worker • A warm, friendly, and customer-service oriented demeanor • Solid computer and social media skills • Team player, excellent work ethic, and positive attitude.

Salary: $40K-$50K annually

Benefits: Job Environment • Full-time 40 hour per week work schedule with variable office hours based on event schedule. • Office hours 9am to 5pm Compensation Salary commensurate with experience, but within the range of $40,000 to $50,000. Health benefits provided after 90 days. Two weeks annual vacation. Eligible for employer-paid short-term and long-term disability coverage after 90 days. The Forum is focused on community engagement and committed to a healthy, diverse inclusive work environment. Members of historically under-represented communities are encouraged to apply. The Forum is an equal opportunity employer with an accessible workplace.

Email cover letter and resume to Sandra Wheeler, Director of Student Programs with the subject “RFSDI Coordinator Application.” There is no deadline to apply and applicant reviews will begin on October 14th.

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