Chief Operating Officer

February 19, 2020

Download the job description.

The Chief Operating Officer (COO) reports to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and oversees the regional Executive Directors and the core functions of finance/accounting, human resources, information technology, and operations/facilities.

World Savvy is a leading national education nonprofit working to transform teaching, learning and culture in K-12 public education so all students can learn, work and thrive in our rapidly changing world as globally competent citizens. World Savvy is unique in the field for its systems change approach that holistically supports the integration of global competence into student learning, teacher training and capacity, and school and district leadership.

Mission: World Savvy educates and engages youth to learn, work, and thrive as responsible global citizens.
Vision: As the leading provider of global competence education, World Savvy envisions a K-12 education system that prepares all students with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions for success and active engagement in the global community.

World Savvy is an ambitious organization with big ideas and tenacious growth goals. Its culture is one of optimism, authenticity, levity, and learning. World Savvy is deeply committed to inclusion and equity in its programming and workplace alike, believing the two are interdependent and both are essential to fulfilling its mission. As it strives to reflect the ethnic, racial and socioeconomic diversity of the communities it serves, World Savvy encourages diverse applicants to apply. World Savvy has offices in Minneapolis (largest), San Francisco and New York City.

Position Summary:

The Chief Operating Officer (COO) reports to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and oversees the regional Executive Directors and the core functions of finance/accounting, human resources, information technology, and operations/facilities. As a strategic thought partner, the COO’s role is to translate vision into strategy and facilitate multi-year operational planning to ensure that the organization meets its ambitious 2030 growth goals. This individual will build and maintain the infrastructure needed to fully support and scale World Savvy’s operations at a national level, ensuring the workplace is efficient, collaborative, inclusive and agile. The COO will manage interdependent relationships with internal and external constituents including staff, consultants, board members, pro-bono professionals, contractors, and vendors.

This is a strategic and tactical role that requires a combination of rigorous attention to detail, innovative big-picture thinking, and the ability to manage people and processes that bridge the two together. As an executive leader, the COO will embody World Savvy’s values, model its core leadership competencies, and deeply resonate with its global competence framework and principles.

Our Values:

  • We do the best work possible in service of our mission.
  • We believe collaboration is essential.
  • We see people as whole human beings.
  • We intentionally grow and change.
  • We lean into complexity when it’s called for.
  • We believe big things are possible, whether that’s our mission or the project on the table.
  • We notice and disrupt exclusionary patterns.
  • We bring hope, joy, and a sense of aspiration into all that we do.

Key Responsibilities:

Strategic and Administrative Leadership

  • A member of the executive team, reporting to the Chief Executive Officer and a peer to the Chief Program Officer.
  • A trusted confidante, co-conspirator, advisor and yin to the CEO’s yang. A tactical expert who can challenge, elevate, refine, translate and execute strategies that serve the mission and bring the vision to life.
  • Leads executive team in defining mission-driven strategic organizational goals for performance and growth.
  • Oversees the regional Executive Directors (1 FTE in San Francisco, CA and 1 FTE [open] in Minneapolis, MN.)
  • Facilitates the cross-functional Leadership Team to translate strategy into actions, timelines, goals and measurable results. Coaches and develops their capacities in strategic planning, budgeting, metrics and data analysis.
  • Implements and leads organization-wide processes for operational planning and budgeting.
  • Tracks, monitors, communicates and drives organizational accountability for outcomes.
  • Leads all strategic projects initiated with or by the CEO, including multi-year strategic planning.
  • Identifies tools and implements protocols to ensure timely flow of information and communication of management decisions across the organization.
  • Serves as a liaison to Board of Directors: leads finance committee, designs agendas and leads quarterly meetings and supports ongoing reporting to the Board.
  • Builds and maintains strong external relationships and partnerships to drive revenue and programmatic growth.
  • Represents organization at external events as needed; particularly to support the development of critical partnerships.

Operational Leadership

  • Oversees and/or executes the following functions: Finance/Accounting, Human Resources, Information Technology, Operations and Systems, and Facilities. Primary liaison for legal counsel services as needed for employment and other business matters.
  • With respect to the above functional areas: evaluates, recommends and implements systems, processes, protocols and policies that align with the organization’s values. Ensures inclusive and equitable practices, and fosters a high-performing culture of accountability.
    • Human Resources: directs internal HR (part of a shared staff support position) and fractional HR consultant. Manages broker and vendor relationships. Responsible for overseeing all HR functions and programs including, but not limited to: benefits, compensation, recruiting, goal-setting and performance management, training/professional development, onboarding/offboarding, etc. Builds management capacity for hiring, development and retention of exceptional talent at all levels of the organization.
    • Information Technology: manages the Data Operations Associate (1 FTE), technology and systems support contractors, vendor relationships, etc. Develops and implements data and analytics strategies to support growth objectives. Oversees procurement, licensing and asset management. Overall responsibility for supporting and enhancing the organization’s capacity to effectively use technology, systems, software and hardware.
    • Finance: manages the Finance & Administration Director (.8 FTE), directs work of the contract accountant, auditor and payroll vendor. Leads forecasting, budgeting, projections and financial reporting processes. Oversees cash flow management. Develops strategies for building reserves to appropriate levels. Maintains internal controls, ensures compliance, demonstrates fiscal discipline and judicious stewardship of financial resources.
    • Facilities: manages lease agreements, vendor relationships, equipment, furniture, etc. Ensures maintenance, safety and accessibility of physical workspace. Identifies cost-effective options and recommends guidelines for transportation, travel, accommodations, parking and related business needs.

Leadership Competencies:

  • Drives Results
    Proactively anticipates future needs and creates a mechanism for overcoming hurdles, setting high standards for the organization and holding others accountable. Ensures organizational strategies are translated into measurable objectives and actionable plans. Proactively facilitates problem solving and conflict resolution.

  • Emotional Intelligence
    Possesses a high level of self-awareness, empathy and social awareness. Effectively manages personal emotions and behaviors to foster productive relationships and influence others.

  • Entrepreneurial Mindset
    Understands and manages the challenges inherent in future-looking and growth-oriented environments. Promotes systems and processes that are nimble in order to achieve evolution and scaling. Acts decisively in opportunistic situations and redirects resources accordingly.

  • Fosters Collaboration
    Creates an environment that supports collaboration by facilitating communication and coordination across all parts of the organization. Builds an intentional and cohesive culture that aligns functional agendas and unites the team. Coaches workgroups to resolve conflicts.

  • Sound Decision-Making
    Possesses strong intellectual curiosity and the ability to analytically, conceptually and critically evaluate information to determine relative strengths and weaknesses of ideas and proposals. Comfortable managing ambiguity and balancing action with the appropriate level of risk.

  • Values Alignment
    Consistently models the values in behaviors, actions, communications and decisions. Recognizes differing interpretations and clarifies ambiguity in specific situations.

Key Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Business, Management, Human Resources or related field of study; or a combination of education and equivalent professional work experience. Master’s degree in business or nonprofit management strongly preferred.
  • 10 years of professional experience in a senior leadership role with significant responsibility for strategic, financial, and operational planning to meet high growth objectives in a similarly sized or larger organization, company, business unit or enterprise.
  • 8+ years of experience managing teams (direct supervision or as a project leader); 5+ years of experience directly supervising multiple full-time employees.
  • Paid, professional work experience as a nonprofit leader is required. A combination of for-profit and nonprofit experience is a plus.
  • Experience effectively managing multi-site (and preferably multi-state) operations and teams.
  • A track record of effectively leading multi-year, enterprise-wide strategic planning; facilitating operational plans, setting goals and driving successful outcomes.
  • Clear and effective written and verbal communication skills.
  • Exceptional project management, facilitation, analytical, decision-making and business skills.
  • Technology skills that meet today’s workforce demands (Microsoft Office, Google Suite, Salesforce, video conferencing, Slack, Asana, etc.) and the aptitude for self-sufficient learning.
  • Ability to demonstrate innovative, creative thinking while simultaneously applying intellectual rigor to analyze systems and develop processes that position the organization for revenue growth and program expansion.
  • Values and seeks input from multiple perspectives, champions new ideas and encourages new ways of thinking.
  • Demonstrates the highest level of personal integrity and commitment to excellence.

Ideal Candidate:

The ideal candidate will have a successful track record in nonprofit administration, general management, business management or a related role with enterprise-wide accountability for strategy and execution. Direct oversight of at least two of the following functional areas is required: finance/accounting, facilities, information technology, human resources, fundraising and/or development. A seasoned professional and skillful manager of people and processes, the ideal candidate balances a sense of urgency with a calm, levelheaded approach. Must have the proven ability to build relationships, collaborate and problem-solve with others across geographical locations using technology and virtual tools. Outstanding organizational and time-management skills, and the agility to develop solutions in a fast-paced, iterative growth environment are essential for success in this role. A positive demeanor, executive presence, cultural competency and strong commitment to DEI are foundational requirements for this and all leadership roles at World Savvy. Must have a successful track record navigating the inherent ambiguity of a growth environment and leading others through change.

Projected Start Date:
Travel Requirements:
Full time, some nights and weekends as needed.
$130,000 – $140,000
June 1, 2020
Minneapolis, MN
Approximately 30-40% (national)

Application Process:

Please send a resume and cover letter to: with “Chief Operating Officer” in the email subject line. In your cover letter, please share why you are interested in the job, and why you believe your experiences and skills are a good fit for the position. Ash Talent Solutions is pleased to partner with World Savvy on this search. Contact Jen Hanlon Ash for more information:

Application deadline has been extended to April 17, 2020.

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