The Vice President and Executive Director (VP&ED) serves as the primary leader, internal manager, strategist, external champion, and builder of the Detroit site and is supported by Regional Vice President for the Midwest Region and City Year Detroit’s (CYDET’s) leadership team including three direct reports: Senior Impact Director, Operations Director, and Development Director. Additionally, the VP&ED works closely with CYDET’s 16 member board comprised of business and community leaders who represent the public, private, and non-profit sectors in Detroit.
This is an outstanding opportunity to play an integral role in improving and supporting public education in Detroit. Therefore, first and foremost, the VP&ED must firmly believe in City Year’s premise that education has the power to help every child reach his or her potential, be passionate about addressing the dropout crisis in America, and be aligned with the values of City Year, Inc.
Additionally, candidates for the position must bring experience in the following areas:
- A minimum of 10 years of professional experience in progressively senior positions;
- Outstanding leadership and management experience overseeing a complex enterprise;
- A background that includes contributing at a senior level to the change and growth – as measured by both scale and impact – of an organization;
- A track record of success in fundraising and leading board members and staff to support and engage in a development strategy;
- Deep knowledge, strength, and experience in developing and coaching a team and inspiring the staff to grow and learn;
- Familiarity with schools and districts that will enable problem-solving in these contexts and environments; and
- A Bachelor’s degree.
Next, candidates for the position must have the following skills:
- Intelligence, creativity, and visionary thinking;
- Compelling public speaking skills for articulating City Year’s mission and vision;
- An appreciation and ability for nuance as required in message delivery and content when relating to people of different ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds;
- The capacity to lead a local site within a larger global network and familiarity with the challenges of coordinating local organizational priorities with global/national ones;
- A high level of organizational and political sophistication, especially as it relates to service strategy, connecting programs to funding, creatively generating other resources, and building collaborative and strategic partnerships;
- Cultural competency and experience and comfort working with diverse communities;
- Comfort navigating school district and school environments and partnering with district and school leadership as well as thought leaders in the field of education; and
- Highly effective communication and listening skills.
Finally, candidates for the position must possess the following personal characteristics:
- A passion for children and ensuring quality education opportunities for each and every child, regardless of background, zip code, race, ethnicity, or income.
- An entrepreneurial mindset and sense of urgency for increasing the impact of City Year’s model;
- Idealism and the ability to relate to and inspire 17 – 24 year olds;
- Confidence and a determined leadership style which inspires staff, AmeriCorps members, and community members;
- High emotional intelligence and both the gravitas and humble affect of a servant leader;
- Polish and poise that will enable the VP&ED to articulate the message and importance of CYDET effectively to both internal and external audiences;
- Enthusiasm about representing City Year in the community and a persuasive and inspiring style that can mobilize large or small groups into action; and
- The exuberance and enthusiasm required to blend into the spirit and culture of CYDET, an inclusive and vibrant environment filled with the energy of motivated and idealistic young professionals serving under-resourced youth.
Preferred Background & Work Experience
While not required, the following skills, experiences and credentials would be welcome:
- Content knowledge of youth development, education, and /or community or national service;
- Significant exposure to nonprofit, volunteer, or multi-sector work;
- Experience managing a budget of at least $1.5M;
- Strong qualitative and quantitative analytical abilities; and
- An advanced degree.
- Developing and leading on CYDET’s annual and long-term strategy and priorities, in alignment with City Year Inc. strategy and priorities, in partnership with Headquarters leadership, site staff, and the local board;
- Assuming ultimate oversight and responsibility for executing fiscally-sound budgeting, forecasting, expense management, resource allocation, and cash flow within an operating budget of $3.2 million to ensure that CYDET sustains the excellent financial health it has built over time;
- In partnership with program staff, ensuring high quality program excellence, execution, innovation, and results within the nationally developed service model implemented by CYDET AmeriCorps members across multiple schools;
- Leading the CYDET board and the site team in securing sources of funding from foundations, corporations, and individual donors in order to meet annual and long-term revenue goals which include growing CYDET over time;
- Advancing the site goals for marketing, publications, media, and brand management in order to raise CYDET’s visibility in the region;
- Attracting, developing, and retaining highly qualified employees and developing a productive, self-motivated, and positive work environment;
- Engaging local and national elected officials to support funding and policies for CYDET and the national service movement;
- Serving as the public face of CYDET by representing the organization and the cause to key stakeholders in the local community, including site board members, AmeriCorps members, school district leaders, state political leadership, City Year alumni, and private sector funders and sponsors; and
- Participating within the City Year national network, leveraging working relationships with staff at Headquarters, and helping to lead and set broader organizational strategy through network-wide project teams advancing the overall organizational mission.
Priorities for the next City Year Detroit Executive Director
Learn, Integrate, and Evaluate
The new VP&ED will learn – and then lead – all aspects of CYDET, getting acquainted with the organization’s culture, service model, fundraising efforts, long-term impact plan, and internal and external constituents. An essential aspect of this effort will include developing strong relationships and trust with all relevant stakeholders: the Regional Vice President, national Headquarters staff, the local site leadership team (Department Directors), AmeriCorps members, board, key funders, community partners, and other City Year EDs. Building an understanding of the AmeriCorps member experience and visiting school partners will be a key element of the ED’s first 90 days.
The VP&ED will work closely with the Impact Director (ID) to ensure site success in school-based service across the community. Once equipped with a deep understanding of the service model, the VP&ED will partner with the ID to execute on service strategy towards creating optimum conditions for achieving excellent outcomes for students in attendance, behavior and course performance. In order to achieve these long-term impact goals for CYDET, the VP&ED and the ID must develop transformational partnerships with Detroit Public Schools generally and school partners specifically.
Fundraising and Scaling
CYDET is poised for growth, and the VP&ED will play an integral role as chief champion and fundraiser. Supported by the development team and the board, s/he will design and implement an aggressive strategy aimed at scaled impact and leveraging existing gifts.
The new VP&ED will continue to develop corporate and foundation support as well as developing a stronger major gifts program and more significant financial support from state and local government sources. While CYDET continues to receive significant funding from a number of local and national corporate sponsors and from AmeriCorps at the federal level, diversifying the funding base will be key to long-term sustainability and future growth.
Board Engagement and Recruitment
As a new leader, the VP&ED will need to establish rapport with current board members as well as recruit new members who can contribute to the success of CYDET.
Team Building and Staff Development
The new VP&ED will inherit a talented team. S/he will be expected to provide ongoing opportunities for professional development and contribute to a supportive and energetic working environment in order to maintain current staffing levels and develop the high performing teams required as CYDET grows.
Relationship Building and Brand Development
As the public face of the organization, the new VP&ED will build awareness and brand recognition. Communication and collaboration with diverse groups is an essential function of this role. Specifically, the organization has a longstanding working partnership with local school leaders and the VP&ED must build and optimize relationships with key stakeholders.