Memphis, TN or Washington, DC

Strategy Director, Youth Villages

The Organization

Youth Villages (YV) is a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to helping emotionally and behaviorally troubled children and their families live successfully. Founded in 1986, Youth Villages has an annual budget of $190 million (90% of revenue comes from public sources) with 2,700 employees committed to helping more than 22,000 children and families each year in 12 states and the District of Columbia. The continuum of outcomes-based services include intensive in-home services, foster care, adoption, group homes, transitional living, specialized crisis services, and intensive residential treatment.

As one of the largest organizations in the United States serving this population, Youth Villages has ambitious objectives of influencing state and federal policy to direct resources to what works. Youth Villages’ innovation stems from a deep belief in using data to drive performance, both in the adoption of new, effective clinical approaches and in seeking outcomes-based contracts that hold YV and other social service providers accountable for the organization’s ultimate impact. President Obama recognized Youth Villages as a nonprofit with “promising ideas that are transforming communities.” Youth Villages Chief Executive Officer, Patrick Lawler, was named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News and World Report and the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

The organization measures its success in reunited families, in children who are able to live at home and do well in school, and in older youth who successfully transition to adulthood and achieve housing stability and education and professional goals. Since 1994, when Youth Villages began emphasizing helping children in the least restrictive environment — preferably in their own homes and communities — success rates have soared: in 2013, 88 percent of the children who received at least 60 days of service at Youth Villages were discharged successfully and 82 percent of them were still living successfully in the community two years after their discharge. Youth Villages’ success rate is extraordinary when compared with traditional child welfare services.

As it embarks on an ambitious plan for continued expansion, Youth Villages seeks an experienced business strategist who combines passion for its mission with keen analytical, planning, and change management skills. The Strategy Director will work closely with Youth Villages’ officers and directors with a focus on supporting the organization’s growth and national influence. Based in the Youth Villages Memphis headquarters or Washington, DC office, s/he will facilitate strategic planning on the national and state levels, integration of new initiatives into the organization, and identify and analyze potential growth opportunities.

Position Overview

The ideal candidate will bring at least two years of professional experience at a top management consulting firm with experience developing strategic plans and managing projects. S/he will have experience at a high impact, high growth non-profit translating strategy to execution and implementation and be a proven relationship builder and collaborator with experience presenting to and engaging directly with senior leaders. A BA or BS is required for this position and a master’s degree in business or public policy is preferred. A relentless commitment to quality, and the ability to find solutions and drive results where resources and data are scarce, are essential.

This is an extraordinary opportunity for a mission- and results-driven strategic thinker to have a significant and national-scale impact on high-needs youth.

Opportunities and Challenges Facing the Strategy Director

The Strategy Director will work with the Business Planning and Policy Department and state and functional leaders to manage multiple cross-functional and special projects in these areas:

National and State Business and Strategic Planning

  • Develop comprehensive multi-year strategic business plans for each YV state, including priorities, financial projections, and milestones. This may include the below activities:
    • Conduct and manage market research to inform state business plans, including customer interviews, data analysis, and internal staff interviews.
    • Support the state strategic plan development process, including: setting timelines, deadlines, and assigning clear owners of business planning work; facilitating trainings and meetings with state leaders, officers, and other stakeholders; and developing strategic planning, implementation, and tracking tools.
  • Proactively identify growth opportunities within current or new services and geographies.

This may include the below activities:

  • Refine YV’s strategy for growing specific services.
  • Identify and codify best practices to be brought to YV through research and interviews.
  • Evaluate the competitive landscape and unique value proposition and entry point for YV’s service.
  • Consider additional investments YV should make to enhance growth potential (e.g., research evaluations of the service).
  • Develop tools and processes to streamline and strengthen Mergers & Acquisitions sourcing, due diligence, and post-merger integration.
  • Engage and manage a broad range of stakeholders, including YV officers, state leaders,

    business development leads, and functional leaders to make recommendations to the CEO and officers about key strategic initiatives.

    Strategy Implementation

  • Work with state leadership to develop clear implementation strategies, including in areas of marketing, funding diversification, and increasing ROI.
  • Develop and refine annual business planning processes, including defining how to engage and train state leaders, identify priorities, and track progress.
  • Track YV’s progress against business plan goals and identify areas and solutions for improvement.
  • Support the rollout of organization-wide staff retention initiatives.
  • Provide support for and lead other national strategic initiatives and special projects.

Qualifications of the Ideal Candidate

While no one person may embody all of the qualities enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:

  • Demonstrated success in managing all areas of strategy development, business analysis, problem solving, and consensus building; a solutions-orientation with the ability to excel in a high performing, fast-paced environment;
  • Data-driven by nature, with a keen appreciation for fact-based decision-making and the ability to synthesize information and identify key insights;
  • A strategic, comprehensive, and critical thinking approach to planning, problem solving, and decision-making; significant project management experience and the proven capacity to manage time and plan effectively while balancing multiple tasks, demands, and changing circumstances simultaneously;
  • Skillful at managing through influence with humility and can point to tangible examples of facilitating a group to get to the right answer, not necessarily his/her answer;
  • A strong, intuitive communicator who is comfortable presenting to, and engaging with, senior leaders;
  • A demonstrated passion for serving youth; an energetic, positive attitude and an optimism tempered by due caution; and
  • The willingness and ability to travel extensively (approximately 30% of job time requires domestic travel).
How To Apply
This search is being conducted with the assistance of Allison Kupfer Poteet and Callie Carroll of Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group. Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Applications including a cover letter describing your interest and qualifications, your resume (in Word format), salary history, and where you learned of the position should be submitted to:

Youth Villages is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women, candidates of color, and people of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

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