San Francisco, CA

Chief Executive Officer, Summer Search

The Organization

Summer Search is a national youth development organization dedicated to creating greater equity by increasing the number of students from low-income backgrounds who successfully enter and complete college. We provide high school and college students with developmental opportunities and resources to strengthen their college-going identities and readiness to become first-generation college graduates and socially responsible leade

Summer Search is a national youth development organization dedicated to creating greater equity by increasing the number of students from low-income backgrounds who successfully enter and complete college. We provide high school and college students with developmental opportunities and resources to strengthen their college-going identities and readiness to become first-generation college graduates and socially responsible leaders.

Since 1990, we have partnered with high schools, community-based organizations, and families to provide mentoring (by full-time staff), transformative summer experiences, and start-to-finish college advising and support. To date, we’ve served more than 6,200 high school students, college students, and alumni.

Our long-term investment (7-9 years) successfully supports our students in changing the nation’s college completion narrative. 96% are students of color; 92% are first in their families to attend college; 71% earn a bachelor’s degree within six years of graduating high school, compared to just 21% of their low-income peers nationally.

Position Overview

In the final year of a highly successful 5-year strategic growth plan, Summer Search is poised for its next phase of scale, innovation, and impact. There is tremendous opportunity for a visionary and mission-driven CEO to chart the course for the future direction of the organization.

The CEO will inherit an organization with a successful program model, stable funding base, and strong values. They will join a team of dedicated and hard-working staff, National Board of Directors, and five local Advisory Boards. As the leader of a multi-site networked organization of 150 staff in 5 regions nationwide, the CEO will take a highly collaborative approach to harness the collective power of the Summer Search network and architect its next chapter.

This new leader will have the opportunity to examine the organization’s operating and governance model, as well as recruit and hire for two critical leadership team positions that are currently open. The Vice President of Programs and the Chief Development Officer positions have been unfilled to allow the new CEO to be involved in the selection of the leaders for these key roles.

The CEO will serve as chief ambassador and fundraiser in raising Summer Search’s profile on the national stage. Through innovative programming including a Group Mentoring Pilot (funded by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation) and Males of Color Initiative (funded by AT&T Aspire), Summer Search is pioneering in the emerging field of critical and culturally responsive mentoring. The CEO will leverage our programmatic success and potential to unlock new sources of support and revenue.

With a genuine commitment to the students and families that we serve, the CEO will have ample opportunities to connect with our high school and college students, alumni, families, and school and community partners. The CEO will lead with an understanding of the cultural context surrounding our students, and they will elevate students’ voices when engaging with staff, Board, donors, and other key constituents.

Above all, the CEO will have the opportunity to galvanize the Summer Search network to move forward with vision, solidarity, and purpose in service to our most important constituent — the young people that we serve.

Specifically, the CEO will:

Provide visionary and strategic leadership
• As Summer Search enters its next phase of impact and sustainability, provide strategic direction that drives growth in student reach without sacrificing positive outcomes. Collaborate with National Board and senior leadership to develop and implement the next 5-year strategic plan that reflects the future vision.
• Steward the current 3-year operating plan intended to strengthen the organization’s readiness for future growth, ensuring short- and long-term financial stability and optimal resource allocation, and results in Summer Search serving more than 4,000 high school and college students, 3,800 alumni, and raising $70M cumulatively from FY17-FY19.
• In support of an organizational optimization strategy initiated in FY17, design and implement an operating model that addresses the needs of the local sites while leveraging the scale of a national organization.
• Clarify, drive, and create enthusiasm for a future vision for Summer Search that will deepen our impact and deliver the highest quality programming to students.
• Lead with a student-centric mindset, and make and support decisions that are in the best interest of the students served through the local sites.
• Model collaboration, transparency, and nimble decision making in leading the organization.

Lead key fundraising and external relations activities
• Achieve revenue goals and strong fundraising success through increasing major donors, partners, and key stakeholders, growing revenue by 10% year over year.
• Serve as lead ambassador and fundraiser for the organization, with responsibility for stewarding, cultivating, and soliciting major gifts and broadening, diversifying and deepening sources of support. Liaise with national and local boards to further development success.
• Represent Summer Search on the national stage, serving as chief spokesperson, advancing its reach, and expanding its brand in the nonprofit, public, and private sectors. Contribute to sector-building efforts through liaising with youth development, community, and school leaders.
• Articulate and deepen Summer Search’s position as the go-to leader in critical and culturally responsive mentoring.

Deepen the engagement and performance of an increasingly diverse Board and staff
• Partner closely with the 30-member National Board of Directors and five regional Advisory Boards to drive strategic vision and fund development, leverage the experience and expertise of the trustees, and thoughtfully diversify the Board as the organization moves forward.
• Lead, develop, and mentor a senior management team (SMT) comprised of functional leaders who oversee Strategy, Development, Program, Talent, Marketing, Finance and Operations.
• Ensure peak performance among direct reports by providing high challenge, high support around jointly-established expectations.
• Foster a culture of high performance and collaboration across the organization to drive excellence and maximize our people’s potential.

Demonstrate an unwavering commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI)
• Champion and foster a values-driven culture that cares deeply about social and racial justice and equity.
• Oversee a comprehensive EDI strategy that is designed to support our students and achieve our mission. Ensure staff and Board understanding of how EDI strategies are core to achieving desired student outcomes.
• Play an active role in prioritizing EDI initiatives, including activities to build staff and Board cultural competence, and promote an inclusive working environment.
• Actively pursue opportunities to increase staff diversity, particularly in management, senior leadership, and Board positions.

The CEO will embody Summer Search’s values and lead with authenticity, grace, high standards for excellence, and a heartfelt commitment to mission. Specifically, this hire will bring:
• PASSION FOR MISSION: A commitment to Summer Search’s mission of transforming what young people believe is possible for themselves by supporting them to earn a bachelor’s degree and to become socially responsible leaders.
• EXPERIENCE: At least 20 years of work experience, with 10 in a C-level or senior leadership position, ideally at a multi-site, national nonprofit organization with a budget of >$25M that has experienced growth and change.
• TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP: Experience leading and guiding organizations, setting clear goals and winning the “hearts and minds” of others. Confident and agile decision maker, with the ability to motivate others to action swiftly.
• COLLABORATION AND INFLUENCING: Strength in creating partnerships exemplified by openness, inclusiveness, shared purpose and an emphasis on mutual long-term benefits. Experience fostering relationships between different stakeholders, working constructively through conflict and building active internal and external networks. Believes in winning together.
• FUNDRAISING AND EXTERNAL RELATIONS: Demonstrated experience serving as external ambassador for an organization, raising the profile of an organization in local communities and on the national stage. Experience cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding relationships with major donors, foundations, and corporations at the 6- and 7-figure level is a plus.
• BOARD AND STAFF MANAGEMENT: Experience working closely with a Board and developing Board capacity, as well as managing, developing, and mentoring senior staff. Demonstrable track record in being able to delegate effectively to the group.
• CULTURAL COMPETENCE AND EDI KNOWLEDGE: Cultural sensitivity and humility in working with diverse and low-income populations, with an understanding of systemic and institutionalized racism facing communities of color. Professional and/or personal experience of helping teams engage around Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is a plus.
• HIGHER EDUCATION DEGREE: Bachelor’s degree is required. MBA, MPA, or a similar advanced degree is a plus.

We are committed to our people’s health and happiness. Our investment in staff benefits includes:
• Competitive salaries
• Medical insurance with up to 90% employer contribution
• Dental, vision, FSA, life and disability insurance plans
• 401 (K) and Employer Match up to $2000 annually
• Generous paid time off including 15 vacation days, 10 sick days, 2 floating holidays, 10 company-wide holidays and a 1-week December closure
• Individual, local, regional and national training
• A commitment to developing leaders from within the organization
• An organizational culture that supports staff well-being and holistic self-care
• Ample opportunities to connect with the students and communities we serve

With a staff that cares deeply about social justice and equity, we believe that diverse perspectives and backgrounds create a rich work environment and enhance our ability to pursue our mission.

We are committed to building an organization with raised consciousness in order to impact how we work with students, as well as how we work together as a team.

We hope you will join us as we continue to build a diverse organization that fosters a work environment where people from all backgrounds are welcomed and valued.

How To Apply

Click here to apply with a resume and targeted cover letter that answers the question, “Why are you interested in the Chief Executive Officer role at Summer Search?” Please address cover letters to Search Committee.

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