The Executive Director is the chief executive of the agency and, as such, responsible for the general and fiscal leadership and management of the entire organization, including programs, partnerships, fundraising, grant writing, budgets, and external relations. Above all, the Executive Director is charged with delivering on the mission and growth goals of the organization in a fiscally sound manner. This person will play a leading role, working closely with the Board and staff, in refining and articulating the strategic direction of Cornerstone and in implementing the resulting strategies and initiatives. At the same time, she or he will play a key role in the greater community, requiring the ability to prioritize between internal and external focuses. In particular, the new Executive Director needs to take the lead in establishing and building strong partnerships and relationships throughout the communities served. This includes identifying and capitalizing on new opportunities and programs and collaborations.
The Executive Director is fully responsible for all operations of the organization. This includes providing day-to-day direction to the organization, as well as developing and executing its short- and long-range strategies and plans. The Executive Director is the primary public face of the organization and will often be called upon to represent Cornerstone in fundraising, recruiting, and other public efforts. The organization has an experienced staff, but needs integrative leadership by its Executive Director to provide consistent direction, communication, and visioning and to implement the processes and infrastructure required to achieve the excellence envisioned in its strategic plan.
In addition to the effective and financially prudent day-to-day operation of the agency, the Executive Director must interact effectively with many constituencies – law enforcement agencies and the judicial system within its service area, clients, funders, school and civic organizations, and local and state units of government. She or he will be expected to take a leadership role in monitoring trends in the field of family violence and recommending appropriate program efforts to keep pace with a changing environment. This individual must be a pro-active, visible symbol of Cornerstone and the field, both inside and outside the organization. As such, the Executive Director must have a deep passion for moving victims, families, and communities toward a violence-free society.
Some of the key issues and challenges for the new Executive Director in the first year include:
• Transitioning smoothly from the founding executive director and establishing leadership, credibility, and trust with both the board and staff
• Leading Cornerstone’s expansion into the northwestern suburbs
• Establishing a strong advancement office by recruiting the agency’s first Advancement Director and working closely with that individual to build a sophisticated and effective development office and accelerating Cornerstone’s fundraising efforts with private donors
Specific responsibilities include:
• Develop with the Board, and take responsibility for, implementing the strategic vision for the organization
• Oversee the organization’s internal programs and partnerships
• Manage staff so that they can achieve their individual goals, thereby allowing Cornerstone to achieve its broader goals
• Spearhead the development of new programs,
• Raise funds necessary for Cornerstone to succeed and grow
• Be the spokesperson for Cornerstone with the community, partners, and media
• Create and manage the budget
• Working with Board Chair, create the agenda for board meetings to ensure the board has information necessary to govern the organization
In addition to the program managers mentioned above, direct reports to the Executive Director include an Advancement Director (to be hired) and an Administrative Director.
This position is open due to the impending retirement of the organization’s first and only Executive Director, Susan Neis. A smooth and successful transition is at the very top of the Board’s agenda and it has allocated resources to ensure that happens. There is a well thought out transition plan that includes an overlap to enable the new Executive Director to work with Susan and benefit from her experience. A transition coach has been involved from the beginning of the process and will continue through the end of the year.
With its tradition of excellence and innovation, Cornerstone is poised for significant growth and greater prominence in its field. The new Executive Director will be the prime mover in advancing the vision of the agency and creating the organizational alignment needed to move the organization forward.
Ideal Candidate Profile
This position requires an outstanding leader with exceptional interpersonal and communication skills. Ideally, he or she will have at least fifteen years of overall nonprofit experience as a leader within a social services agency, preferably one dealing directly with the issues and victims of domestic violence. This person must also possess the insights and skills of a seasoned leader who can accomplish the mission and objectives of the organization through the efforts of many people, both staff and volunteers.
Excellent fundraising skills, a strong public presence, and enthusiasm for making the case for Cornerstone to a variety of major donors and partners, both public and private, are required skills. This individual must have the ability to work with a highly committed volunteer board to create a vision. However, this ability to articulate a vision must be combined with the drive to achieve results and to do so in a fiscally sound manner.
He or she must possess the people skills and versatility to effectively build relationships across a broad spectrum of organizations and personalities. The ability to build and maintain strong relationships of trust and confidence is critically important. Similarly, a team-oriented approach to problem solving and decision-making is required.
The ideal candidate must also possess excellent strategic planning skills, solid management skills, and the ability to translate vision into results in a timely manner. In style, this person must be a creative problem solver, innovative, and have an entrepreneurial spirit as well as a sense of urgency to achieve results. As the key leader of the organization, this individual must be an effective public speaker and motivational leader.
Success in this role will require moving the organization ahead while preserving those cultural qualities from which the organization has derived its success. This person will have the confidence to recognize and respect the inherent strengths of Cornerstone, as it exists today. At the same time, she or he will contribute a fresh external perspective. The ideal candidate will be a hands-on leader and motivator committed to fostering a positive and forward thinking environment.
While the leadership, fundraising and communication skills mentioned above are crucial, the new Executive Director must also demonstrate an authentic passion for the mission that underpins all of Cornerstone and be an active participant in the agency’s programs and activities.
Please direct all inquiries exclusively to the executive search firm:
Doug Franchot or Andrew Ronningen
Franchot & Associates
Wayzata, MN 55391
For immediate consideration, please submit resumes via email.