Washington, D.C.

Chief Operating Officer, Polaris

The Organization

Named after the North Star that guided slaves to freedom in the U.S., Polaris disrupts the conditions that allow human trafficking to thrive in our society. From working with government leaders to protect victims’ rights, to building partnerships with the world’s leading technology corporations, to engaging and aligning multilaterals and other programmatic partners, we spark long-term change that focuses communities on identifying, reporting, and eliminating trafficking networks. Our comprehensive model puts victims at the center of all that we do — helping survivors restore their freedom, preventing more victims, and gathering the data to pursue traffickers wherever they operate. Unparalleled expertise. Relentlessness. And an innovative spirit. This is how Polaris eradicates the slavery networks that rob human beings of their lives and independence.

Today, Polaris employs 100 passionate staff and has an operating budget of $7M. The organization has developed an ambitious, market-disrupting strategy – Vision 2020 – and is on track to grow to be a $10M organization by 2017.

More details about our programs, history and values can be found at www.polarisproject.org.

Values Statement

The work of Polaris is grounded in a set of values and organizational beliefs that provide a common starting point for all of our activities. At Polaris, we look for talented individuals who are passionate about combating all forms of human trafficking and who will strive to embody and model these values within the Polaris community and in the anti-trafficking field.

Polaris is an equal opportunity employer and highly values diversity in the workplace. We are committed to fostering, cultivating and preserving a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. In the fight against human trafficking, we realize and celebrate the fact that human capital is the greatest and most valuable asset we have. The collective sum of the individual differences, life experiences, knowledge, inventiveness, innovation, self-expression, unique capabilities and talent that our employees invest in their work represents a significant part of not only our culture, but our reputation and our organization’s achievement as well.

Position Overview

The Opportunity

Reporting to: Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Location: Washington, D.C.

The Chief Operating Officer (COO), in this new position, will support Polaris’ externally facing CEO by leading Polaris’s internal operations on a day-to-day basis. S/he will ensure that both talent and infrastructure position Polaris as a high-performing, sustainable, and scalable operation able to deliver on the ambition of Vision 2020.

To achieve this, the COO will: translate vision and strategy into operational delivery; manage, motivate and mentor senior staff responsible for programs, business development, fundraising and communications, and oversee the key functions of finance, accounting, legal, security and crisis management, information technology, knowledge management, HR/talent management, and monitoring and evaluation; drive the team toward optimized, streamlined, and integrated functions; oversee all internal functions and controls (financial systems, program performance and delivery, revenue development, infrastructure, evaluation processes); track and integrate meaningful technology solutions that will advance Polaris’ mission; and engage in proactive risk management.

The COO must bring a blend of business acumen, rigor, compassion, and an unflagging commitment to excellence. This is an outstanding opportunity for a seasoned, strategic, and process-minded leader with experience scaling an organization, leading an executive team, and inspiring a high performance culture.

Specific responsibilities include:

Strategy and Leadership

  • Partner closely with the CEO to provide organizational leadership; ensure lines of communication are open by keeping the CEO informed of all critical issues.
  • Provide future-leaning guidance, and drive organizational strategic planning, to ensure Polaris is positioned to optimize opportunities in a rapidly growing field.
  • As the lead internally-facing senior leader, inspire, mentor and collaborate with the Chief Program Officer, Chief Business Development Officer, the Director of Talent Management, and the Director of Operations and Finance.
  • Coordinate internal communications, ensuring staff buy-in and engagement.
  • Constantly review competing organizational needs; identify opportunities that leverage cross-program or network strengths to take advantage of new opportunities, or influence partners.
  • In partnership with the CEO, serve as an additional management liaison to the Board of Directors and Board committee meetings.
  • Represent the organization externally, as necessary.

Finance, Administration, and Operations

  • Lead and implement multi-year financial planning that ensures scale and growth are appropriately resourced and that sustainability is assured.
  • Ensure that the CEO, Board, and other key members of senior management are advised on financial planning, budgeting, cash flow, investment priorities, and policy matters.
  • Working in partnership with the Director of Operations and Finance, ensure that all financial planning, budgeting, cash flow, investment priorities, and organizational operations achieve optimal resource allocation that balance programmatic goals and resource restrictions.
  • Aggressively drive technology infrastructure planning.
  • Identify, address, and resolve any barriers to effective implementation across all areas of Polaris’ work.
  • Minimize and mitigate risk and liability for the organization through effective policy implementation.

Talent Management and Development

  • Lead, coach, cultivate, and retain a high-performance, multi-disciplinary management team with an emphasis on developing capacity in analysis, strategic planning, program budgeting, measuring impact, focusing on outcomes, and managing talent.
  • Authentically integrate Polaris’ core organizational values into every aspect of the organization’s culture, performance, focus on excellence and continuous improvement; promote learning and innovation, agility and entrepreneurship, an unwavering commitment to quality, organizational cohesion, equity, and professional growth.
  • Ensure systems are in place to effectively recruit, retain, train, support, and evaluate a talented and diverse staff.
  • Enhance and deploy effective performance management systems to monitor staff performance and development goals, assign accountability, set objectives, establish priorities, conduct annual performance appraisals, and administer salary adjustments.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Minimum 15 years of professional experience with a successful track record in executive leadership and management. BS/BA degree required; an MBA, MPA, or similar graduate degree preferred.
  • Senior-level operating and management experience in a high performing enterprise – corporate or nonprofit — with a thorough understanding of core operating areas such as program/service delivery, business development, talent management, budgetary and operational planning, finance, strategic planning, evaluation, information and knowledge management.
  • Proven track record facilitating sustainable change and development in a high growth environment.
  • Sophisticated business and operational acumen, with the distinct ability to balance program delivery with budgetary realities. Excellent project management and problem- solving skills as well as resourcefulness in setting priorities, proposing new ways of creating efficiencies, and guiding investments in people and systems.
  • Experience building organizational and team capacity to meet current and future needs; ability to develop and empower exceptional leaders, enforce accountability and adapt leadership priorities as necessary.
  • Track record of inquiry, innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Thought-partner and decision-maker with wisdom, judgment, resilience and fortitude; willing to take charge of situations, overcome resistance and take unpopular stands when necessary.
  • Exceptional written, oral, interpersonal, and presentation skills; able to translate complex ideas into actionable language and to adjust communication style for multiple audiences.
  • Energetic, flexible, collaborative, and proactive; a team leader who can positively and productively impact both strategic and tactical initiatives.
  • Passion for Polaris’ mission.

How To Apply

For more information, please contact:  Kathleen Yazbak kyazbak@bridgepartnersllc.com

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