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Virginia Rural Leadership Institute Program Director Search

Background on Virginia Rural Center and Virginia Rural Leadership Institute

Virginia Rural Center


The Virginia Rural Center is a collaborative partnership of the Center for Rural Virginia and the Council for Rural Virginia.  These two organizations established a collective services agreement to work together on their joint mission of economic prosperity for rural communities throughout Virginia.  While the two legal entities are standalone organizations, they operate collectively and are referred to as the Virginia Rural Center. 


Together, the Center for Rural Virginia and the Council for Rural Virginia work with federal, state and local policymakers and regulators as well private sector stakeholders to improve economic opportunities and preserve the quality life throughout rural Virginia.



Virginia Rural Leadership Institute


Virginia Rural Leadership Institute (VRLI), along with many of the leading stakeholders in rural Virginia, have recognized that one of the shortcomings of many rural communities is the lack of leadership programs focused on developing solutions to the needs of rural areas, and identifiable mechanisms for rural citizens to develop the skills learned by holding leadership positions. We recognize that for a rural community to grow and thrive, it must develop opportunities to engage and empower potential leaders.

The Virginia Rural Center is the established voice for rural localities throughout the Commonwealth, and the mission of VRLI will be to create and grow leaders and empower them to become highly valuable citizens in their communities. While both rural and urban areas need qualified civic leadership, the challenges for each are unique.  The demonstrated lack of mechanisms specifically focused on rural Virginia is an opportunity whose time has come and a call the VRLI plans to address.

Under the guidance and oversight of the Virginia Rural Center’s Executive Director and VRLI advisory committee, the VRLI Program Director will utilize existing and ongoing research, best practices, and additional education opportunities to plan, develop, and implement the VRLI Program. This includes developing a specific curriculum for rural leaders to address these unique challenges to their area. Research has been conducted at Appalachian State University by a contracted employee of the Virginia Rural Center to determine what the specific skills are that rural civic leaders need to address current and future challenges. The Program Director will have access to this research which will assist in helping to create curriculum development of VRLI.  


Program Director Job Description

Virginia Rural Center - Richmond, VA 23219


The Virginia Rural Center invites applicants for the position of Program Director of the Virginia Rural Leadership Institute (VRLI), the Commonwealth’s first ever and premiere leadership development organization focused entirely on growing rural leaders.


The Program Director will be an employee of the Virginia Rural Center and report to its Executive Director, with guidance from the VRLI Advisory Committee on strategy and direction. The Program Director of VRLI provides leadership for and is actively involved in numerous aspects of VRLI operations- including content development, marketing, recruitment, fundraising and event planning.

The Program Director will be actively involved in all aspects of the VRLI programs, requiring travel across Virginia and participation in activities that may include working at both night and on weekends.  The Program Director’s primary responsibilities will be to manage the program sessions (including facilitation) and to assist in securing the necessary financial resources for  a sustained VRLI program.  The Program Director will personify the Institute’s values of a commitment to rural prosperity. Central to the mission of VRLI is a commitment to inclusivity.

The Program Director will work with the Executive Director of the Virginia Rural Center to ensure that VRLI programs advance a vision of positive and energetic impact across rural Virginia that is consistent with the strategic plan of the Virginia Rural Center.


Required Qualifications:

  • College degree with at least 2 years of experience or an equivalent amount of working experience

  • Demonstrated communications and public speaking skills, experience serving as a     facilitator is a plus

  • Ability to develop, articulate and implement leadership program content

  • Demonstrated experience with fundraising

  • Event planning experience

  • Ability to promote the mission of VRLI in ways that inspire engagement

  • Knowledge of and/or experience in Virginia politics, policy, and government

  • Ability to work effectively with government, political, and community leaders to elevate the profile of VRLI, enhance the impact of VRLI and its programs on rural Virginia


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Previous participation in a leadership development program

  • Grant writing experience

  • Experience/familiarity with technology/virtual meeting facilitation


This position will remain open until filled. This is a grant-funded position without benefits, however there is a possibility for benefits in the future. Anticipated Hiring Range: $50,000 - $60,000 commensurate with education and experience. Those who are interested should send their cover letter and resume to Kristie Proctor, Executive Director, The Virginia Rural Center at


The Virginia Rural Center welcomes applications from people of all backgrounds and recognizes the benefits of a diverse workforce. Therefore, the Virginia Rural Center is committed to providing a work environment free of discrimination and harassment. Employment decisions are based on business needs, job requirements, and individual qualifications. We prohibit discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, mental or physical disabilities, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, political affiliation, veteran status, gender identity, or other non-merit factors.

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