Job Opportunity: Tech Director

Position: Tech Director (permanent, full-time)
Posting date: February 2, 2022
Closing date: EXTENDED: Sunday, March 20, 2022, 11:59 PM Pacific Time
Start date: As soon as possible; this is a new position
Location: Flexible, with preference for Toronto or Vancouver. (Note: we currently have staff based in Toronto, Vancouver, and Victoria, but we are all currently working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
Compensation: $78,000 starting annual salary for a 4 day, 32 hour week, plus health and generous leave benefits.
Note: We are open to creative proposals from strong candidates for this role, for e.g. job share or further reduced week.

To apply: Only applications received via our [email protected] inbox, with responses to questions outlined in the "How To Apply" section (in lieu of cover letter) will be considered. More details below.

About Leadnow

Leadnow is an independent advocacy organization powered by more than 600,000 members campaigning for social, economic and climate justice. Together, we do what it takes, with fierce integrity, to have impact as a powerful progressive force in Canada.

Our campaigns create online and in-person actions everyday people can take to influence the priorities and policies of governments and corporations. We want a more open, accountable, and representative democracy because decisions should be driven by the people whose lives they affect. 

To enable this work, we are hiring a passionate problem-solver who will help take digital organizing and campaigning to the next level. Join our team! Together, we will scale up and optimize the work of brilliant organizers and campaigners by giving them the best political tech to work with.

Why we love working here

The Leadnow work culture is caring, supportive, and innovative. Our team practices strong work/life boundaries, and we encourage each other not to overwork. It's a very fun place to work – we periodically schedule team time to play board games together during work hours and there's a special Slack channel for photos of our pets.

This is a senior leadership (management-excluded) position, in a unionized workplace that is regularly creating collaborative improvements to our working conditions. Benefits for all staff include extended health benefits for you and your dependents and enhanced family leave policies, 15 vacation days in your first year plus an annual holiday closure between Christmas and New Years and annual professional development budget

Most importantly, you'll get to build and maintain tech that will enable hundreds of thousands of people to collaborate together to build a just, sustainable, and equitable world.

About the role

Reporting to the Executive Director, Leadnow's Tech Director leads our tech team in developing and maintaining our tech ecosystem and software to reach new supporters and increase the impact of our members. As the primary point of contact between campaign work and tech systems, this role consults across the team to assess, prioritize, plan and implement needs for the planning, development and maintenance of tech tools that support member and donor engagement. This includes long term strategic planning and deployment to evolve our tech tools, managing developer staff, contractors, projects and budget.

Leadnow has a small tech team on staff. The Tech Director is a 'hands on' role, actively working on maintenance, development, and tech support for campaigners, in addition to their management responsibilities, when their capacity allows.

Key Responsibilities

Leads the development, implementation, maintenance, and evaluation of the organization’s tech tools and infrastructure

  • Leads on both long term planning and project-scale development and maintenance of Leadnow’s tech ecosystem to meet the priorities of the organization.
  • Manages system architecture and build vs. buy decisions.
  • Manages code and project complexity as both a tractable challenge and a liability.
  • Manages and helps to set the tech workstream budget, with support from Finance and Operations Manager
  • Leads on identifying risk and proposing solutions related to Leadnow’s tech infrastructure, working with the Executive Director

Holds overall responsibility for the maintenance and development of Leadnow's tech infrastructure

  • Writes and reviews well-documented code that is easy to read, maintain, extend, and scale.
  • Leads and contributes to projects that span the entire software stack, including prototyping, front-end development, API development, high-performance back-end applications, database design, and system architecture.
  • Debugs, analyzes, and resolves scaling problems across a variety of web applications, with tactics like architecture simplification, adding caching layers or queues.
  • Creates and contributes to open source projects within the OPEN tech community.
  • Contributes to internal day-to-day staff tech support system.
  • Develop data mining and analysis solutions for staff across various data platforms (including writing queries in Postgres and MySQL).

Leads on developing and providing resources and training related to tech, data systems and compliance

  • Oversees data security, privacy and technical risk management across the organization
  • Provides training to the team on the use of new technologies and related data / security policies
  • Ensures there is adequate organizational knowledge and maintains documentation related to our technical systems to ensure resiliency

Manages staff developers, contractors and holds relationships with collaborators

  • Manages, recruits, and supports tech staff and contractors
  • Contributes to and leads team discussions on cultivating an equitable working environment.
  • Coordinates with the developers at partner organizations

About Leadnow's Tech & Tech Team

While Leadnow has some SaaS applications, our core applications are currently self-hosted. Our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool is built with Ruby on Rails as part of a tech collaboration within the Online Progressive Engagement Network (OPEN) tech community. OPEN has a staff maintainer to support organisations like Leadnow in reviewing pull requests and they also coordinate regular releases. Our other applications include a payment processor and an email analytics tool which are also written in Ruby while our dialling tool for phonebanks is written in JavaScript running on Node.js. They were all built by members of OPEN, and we host and maintain our own instances. We've built and maintain our own action and event application, which hosts our petitions, event sign-ups, email-to-targets actions, and donations – also written in Ruby, but using the Padrino web framework. We're in the midst of a planning process to migrate to a new action application, potentially a SaaS option, and this will likely be one of the first projects you'll work on after your training is done.

We lean a lot on our colleagues in OPEN for troubleshooting and support: there is an active OPEN Tech Slack team where people offer support in development and maintenance challenges. You'll be working with a developer who has been working at Leadnow since 2018, and holds a lot of institutional knowledge of the various quirks of our tech stack, and we often increase capacity using contractors.


We’re seeking candidates with a mix of the following characteristics. If you don’t meet all of them, but are energized by Leadnow’s mission and excited about how you could contribute in this role, we want to hear from you. There are no formal education requirements for this role. As long as you can show us you have the skills we don’t mind where you got them from! 

Essential skills & qualities for the role 

  • Collaborative, empowering leadership style: an experienced team leader with strong facilitation skills. (You don’t need to be from the nonprofit sector – we value a range of leadership experiences.)
  • Strong relationship and communication skills: a “relationships-first” approach, coupled with solid communication skills to lead a team in a consensus-based environment
  • Project and budget management experience
  • Demonstrable skills in consulting with stakeholders, requirements gathering, architecting solutions, prioritising features, and supporting systems
  • Accuracy, attention to detail, and with an eye to mitigating risk - particularly in relation to building and rolling out software & business continuity plans.
  • Understanding of the programming skills needed to deliver professional-level projects. (See "About the role" section")

Essential Skills for Success with Leadnow

  • A strong anti-oppression analysis: aligned with working in a pro-active anti-oppression work environment that engages in sometimes tough conversations to build awareness and skills to identify and dismantle structural inequalities within and beyond Leadnow
  • Aligned with Leadnow’s mission: winning progressive change through people powered campaigns
  • Comfortable taking risks, working in an innovative environment where trying new things is encouraged
  • Comfortable working independently given the small size and current remoteness of team

As a leading progressive campaigning organization, we recognize the importance of our staff reflecting the communities our work aims to benefit. Even as we work to unlearn our biases, we know that our identities and lived experiences affect how we work, prioritize, and how we build relationships. We strongly encourage candidates who are Black, Indigenous, people of colour, women, LGBTQ2I, immigrants, people with disabilities, and people from low-income and working class backgrounds and/or with lived experience of poverty to apply. We recognize that this is neither exhaustive nor representative of the intersectionality present within each individual.

How to apply

To submit an application, please send the following, ideally in a single PDF to [email protected] by March 20, 2022, 11:59pm Pacific time:
  • In lieu of a cover letter please include a supporting application, addressing the following three questions (suggested max of 250 words per question):
    • Why are you applying for this job?
    • What role do you see for technology fighting against oppression and for equity and justice? 
    • How does your personal/lived experience or identity shape your approach to social change and justice?
Leadnow is committed to ensuring that all applicants are able to participate in our hiring processes to the best of their ability. Please indicate in your application if there’s anything we can do to make the application or interview process more accessible.

Only selected candidates will be contacted by Thursday, March 24 to organize next steps, the first of which will be a take-home task to be completed by March 28. Short-listed candidates will then be invited to an interview and final live programming task with a member of our tech team.