LION is hiring a Membership Director

This executive-level role will lead our membership strategy in support of our nearly 500 LION members.

October 16, 2023 by Chris Krewson

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels
Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels

Applications are now closed.

Status: Full-time exempt (not eligible for overtime), with 90-day introductory period (see details below)

Reports to: Executive Director

Location: Remote within USA

Compensation: $105,000 to $120,000 annually

Job Summary

Over the past four years, LION has grown its membership by 168 percent and grown our ambitions in how we can best help our members’ news businesses reach sustainability.

We recently published a Strategic Growth Plan that outlines these ambitions over the next five years, and central to that work is a Membership Director who will own our first strategic goal: Deliver membership offerings that will move members toward sustainability.

The Membership Director will design and implement LION’s membership strategy and work closely with associate directors to oversee the execution of the following membership programs:

  • Our Education Program, which provides structured sharing of knowledge and expertise.
  • Our Community Program, which connects members with peers to facilitate learning best practices and creates a sense of belonging and camaraderie.
  • Our Direct Services Program, which offers cost-saving products and services that strengthen members’ businesses’ financial health.

This person will also join LION’s executive team, contributing to organizational strategy decisions that will help LION fulfill goals related to the sustainability of LION, including diversifying our revenue streams, making LION a destination for employees to grow as professionals, and building LION’s resilience with a scenario planning strategy.

Our team believes that relevant, accurate and culturally competent local news and information helps people fully engage in civic life, make more informed decisions and better understand the world around them. If you’re interested in helping us make this vision a reality and working in a space of optimism and growth, learn more about the job and how to apply below.

Key Responsibilities

  • Design and oversee membership strategy (65%)
    • Design a single, overarching membership programs strategy with input from membership associate directors
    • Ensure member needs and feedback are centered in all program design and iteration
    • Collaborate with Director of Research and Evaluation to streamline data collection processes and limit number of data collection touchpoints with members
    • Ensure all membership programs’ priorities and timelines are in alignment with each other and all organizational goals
    • Ensure that membership Associate Directors utilize resources across the membership team to have succession plans in place to cover essential work during employee leaves/vacancies (e.g. cross-training, keeping slack in bandwidth, assigning relative priority to all membership program initiatives)
    • Approve all external membership communications, in consultation with senior managers, development director and marketing manager
    • Accountable for ensuring the membership team hits membership-related organizational goals 
    • Ensure we’re making data-informed decisions to design and iterate membership strategy Analyze data to inform membership strategy and future iteration 
  • Contribute to LION’s organizational strategy (25%)
    • Collaborate with the executive leadership team to set LION’s vision and direction and organizational culture
    • Collaborate with directors to plan for future staffing and capacity needs, while contributing to discussions on that growth and change’s impact on culture, systems and processes
    • Attract, develop and retain membership team’s talent by aligning strategy with a positive team culture while upholding the organization’s core values
  • People Management and Development (10%)
    • Delegates workstreams effectively by setting clear, actionable goals for direct reports
    • Provides ongoing reinforcing and redirecting feedback to direct reports to ensure that work product meets or exceeds expectations
    • Actively monitors direct reports’ bandwidth and proactively collaborates with directs to adjust priorities and/or work product expectations to prevent burnout
    • Aligns with direct reports on their professional development goals, and holds directs accountable for making progress towards these goals throughout the year

Other duties as assigned.

LION is an Equal Opportunity Employer

LION believes that a team with diversity of backgrounds and experiences will generate the most innovative ideas and ultimately do the best work in support of our mission. This is why we welcome contractors, vendors, staff and board members who contribute to a diverse, equitable and inclusive work environment. We understand diversity as multi-dimensional and intersectional, encompassing aspects of our identities including race and ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, age, ability, class, geography, lived experiences and more. We welcome and encourage all qualified candidates to apply to opportunities at LION so that we build a team that reflects the diversity of independent news entrepreneurs we wish to serve.

Candidates must be legally authorized to work in the United States.

Skills and Qualifications for The Role

  • Knowledge of/experience with the independent news ecosystem: Can articulate the major challenges and opportunities of news organizations, journalism support organizations and the industry at large.
  • Scenario Planning: Creates realistic and actionable contingency plans for both ideal and difficult situations. Has a track record of working with small, lean organizations and limited resources to pivot and empower others to pivot according to circumstances. 
  • People Leadership: Demonstrates strength in core leadership and management skills, including setting clear expectations, guiding and providing feedback and ensuring accountability of work deliverables in a constructive and inclusive way.
  • Program Design: Demonstrates ability to translate organizational goals, funder goals, and available human and financial resources into programming that is clear, achievable and scalable.
  • Accountability to Funders: Demonstrates clear understanding of different types of funding structures (e.g. time and/or program-restricted grants, deliverable-based contracts) and the implications these structures have for program design and delivery.

Skills and Expectations for Teamwork at LION

  • Work in a way that upholds and reflects our organizational values: Being data-informed, equitable and inclusive, people-centered, systems thinkers, transparent and iterative
  • Use digital tools and platforms to stay organized, communicate transparently, and collaborate with team members remotely 
  • Collaborate strategically with others, clearly defining processes for decision making
  • Give and receive constructive feedback to help the team produce its best work
  • Celebrate our wins and learning moments
  • Take on an experimental mindset and demonstrate flexibility to iterate on our work, systems, and processes 
  • Be willing and able to ask for help when needed, and demonstrate an ability to learn and grow in the role

Physical Requirements and Environmental Conditions

  • Must be able to remain in a stationary position, at a desk or similar, 90% of the time. Time spent in stationary location includes operating a computer and relevant peripherals and communicating via phone.

Travel Requirements

  • Available to travel for staff retreats 1-2 times per year (approx. 3 days per retreat)
  • Available to travel for annual LION member event annually (approx. 3 days)

About LION

Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit professional journalism association for independent news publishers. While most of our 450+ members across the U.S. and Canada run local news businesses, we also have members who serve larger regions and specific identity-based communities across geographies. LION provides teaching, resources and community to independent news entrepreneurs as they build and develop sustainable businesses. One of our core values is being people-centered, and here are some ways we build that culture for our staff. 

90 Day Introductory Period

This introductory period is a try-out time for the employee and the Company. During this introductory period, the Company will evaluate employees’ suitability for employment and employees can evaluate the Company as well. The purpose of the introductory period is to be intentional about setting clear goals for the employee to accomplish, prompting regular feedback and support from the employee’s manager, and providing structure for a candid conversation about whether either the employee or the manager believes there is a misalignment of the employee’s competencies with and interest in the role.


  • Medical PPO, Vision & Dental fully paid by employer; 50% paid for dependents
  • Short-term disability, long-term disability, life, and worker’s compensation insurance paid by employer
  • Accrued Paid Time Off (including sick days) is 20 days per year 
  • Paid holidays (including week of July 4 and Christmas Eve through New Years Day) is 18 days in 2022
  • Up to 12 weeks fully paid family/caregiver leave
  • 401K with employer match up to 3.5%
  • Flexible working hours
  • No-meeting Fridays
  • Annual professional development budget
  • Monthly work-from-home stipend
  • For new hires: Health insurance stipend until eligible for employer medical coverage to begin
  • Eligible for year-end, surplus-dependent bonus

Application Materials


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