Charlotte, NC

Executive Director, Leading on Opportunity

The Organization

Leading on Opportunity is a newly formed collaborative launched to serve as the community champion to unite and propel efforts to positively impact economic opportunity for all children in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Leading on Opportunity is committed to amplifying, aggregating and accelerating efforts to create a more just and equitable community for all residents of Charlotte

Mecklenburg – regardless of income, race or zip code. A place where all children feel they belong, have big dreams, and find the opportunities to achieve those dreams.

The Leading on Opportunity Council is made up of a diverse group of leaders to ensure all voices are at the table and is seeking an Executive Director to provide bold leadership, strategic vision, and creativity to help build the organization, creatively operationalize the mission and initiatives together with the many community leaders who are engaged in this work.

The new organization is by design to be a dynamic one and the inaugural Executive Director will have significant opportunity to influence the strategy and priorities selected to drive the changes desired in the Charlotte Mecklenburg community. The Executive Director will oversee the organization’s core activities, fundraising, and operations; convene community members to determine new initiatives and amplify existing work; and work with the Council to develop community-wide opportunity goals, strategic priorities to achieve the goals and a framework for accountability.

The Executive Director will hire and train appropriate staff, leverage the community’s resources, inform and encourage the community to engage in the process and measure the progress, as difficult and complex issues are addressed. Specifically, the Executive Director will leverage data to understand baselines, develop dashboards and metrics, and measure both short and long-term progress against goals and outcomes.

Position Overview

Using the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force Report as the guide, the inaugural Executive Director will work with the Council to develop goals, priorities and a framework to implement the recommendations. Additionally, the Executive Director will build a team and leverage the community’s time, talent and treasure to carry out this critical work. The organization will operate initially as a supporting organization of Foundation For The Carolinas, but it is anticipated that it will evolve into a standalone 501(C)3 within the next two years.

Specific accountabilities of this role include:


The Executive Director will provide passionate leadership, develop a compelling vision, be a strong relationship builder and create close partnerships with the community. He/she must be able to collaborate with multiple and diverse stakeholders, including educational partners, governmental entities, existing program providers, funders, business leaders, grassroots organizations, faith communities and other partners throughout the community. The Executive Director will serve as the public voice of the work and be responsible for creating a sense of common purpose and shared alignment across the county.

Implementation Strategy

Developing a strategy for turning the report recommendations into action is at the heart of this position. While the programs will be delivered by others in the community, Leading on Opportunity is charged with developing a plan that:

1) Is built collaboratively with the Council and the community;

2) Establishes the community’s long-term goal for opportunity, along with key indicators to measure short-term progress;

3) Create a sense of shared commitment across the county;

4) Ensures alignment of resources and key stakeholders to achieve the goal;

5) Uses systems thinking and data to inform and drive activities;

6) Serves as a guide and role model for impactful action;

7) Encourages cross-sector collaborations and partnerships;

8) Develops key metrics to measure the impact of current and future work; and

9) Includes advocacy for policy and systemic changes that need to be made to support the effectiveness of current and future programs.


It is anticipated that a comprehensive communications strategy will be vital to the success of this effort. Accordingly, the Executive Director must be effective at communicating complex issues in all parts of our community, to broad and diverse audiences and using the full range of communications tactics and tools. This leader will also serve as an advisor to others in the community, helping them understand issues, identify evidence-informed investment opportunities and establish benchmarks for measuring success.

The work encompasses a multitude of factors and constantly evolving research on the areas that contribute to improving opportunity for the children in Mecklenburg County. The Executive director will be required to understand these different matters, keep abreast of the latest research and best practices, and effectively communicate and advocate for changes at the community, program and policy levels.

General Management

The Executive Director will be responsible for designing and building the organization that can fulfill the mission of Leading on Opportunity. He/she must be able to:

1) Attract, lead and manage a high-functioning, action-oriented team and provide oversight for program evaluation and impact;

2) Provide support for the operations of the Council;

3) Build and provide guidance to community action teams;

4) Manage the operating budget and define strategic funding needs;

5) Develop and implement a fundraising strategy to support the sustainability of the organization and lead to becoming a 501(C)3; and

6) Manage a budget and forecast for future needs.


• Involvement in community building efforts and knowledge of broad range of issues being addressed through this work

• Operational management experience to include budget responsibility

• Demonstrated ability to relate, build trust and engage with a variety of stakeholders and external partners such as civic leaders, community organizations, and families

• Ability to work both independently and effectively in collaboration with other stakeholders

• Demonstrated skills in working with diverse groups of people

• Working knowledge of the principles, practices and techniques of performance measurement, program evaluation and evidence-informed decision making

• Effective meeting facilitation and organizational skills

• Experience with public speaking, persuasion and advocacy

• Proven leadership, collaboration and coordination skills and experience

• Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree desired

• 8-10 years of professional leadership experience in social justice, education, public or nonprofit administration or philanthropic leadership that demonstrates a passion for this work

How To Apply

Elinvar has been retained to conduct the search for this position. Interested parties should submit a confidential cover letter and resume to Margaret VanDeCar via Applicants will be accepted until the position is filled and we request that cover letters and resumes be submitted by October 30, 2017.

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