Chief Operating Officer
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
About The Center
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is a high-caliber strategic policy institute that informs and shapes public policies to reduce poverty, promote equity, and build opportunity. It has a national reputation for conducting rigorous research and analysis, developing evidence-based policy ideas and strategies, shaping a broad array of policy debates at the federal and state levels, and influencing policy outcomes on a range of critical issues. It focuses on improving the lives of people with low or moderate incomes and examines how policies affect particular groups, including people of color, immigrants, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ people. The Center is known for its unique capacity to blend rigorous, timely analysis with effective communications that enable policymakers and the media to make use of its work. The Center has a staff of more than 150, an annual budget of about $50 million, including over $10 million in regranting funds to partner organizations. It is primarily funded by national foundations, with growing support from individual donors.
The Center is seeking a highly experienced Chief Operating Officer (COO). The COO will be responsible for leading a wide array of functions related to the organization's infrastructure and operations, ensuring effective management and executive oversight throughout the organization, and helping make the Center an outstanding place to work. Reporting to the Center's President, the COO will coordinate outside legal counsel, work with the Board of Directors, coordinate the work of the Leadership Group and Executive Management Committee to address cross-organizational issues of internal operations and organizational management, and collaborate with employees at all levels to help ensure the Center is a dynamic, equitable, inclusive, high-functioning workplace with the policies, practices, and resources it needs to advance its important mission.
The responsibilities of this position require a management approach and vision that focus on the connection between a strong infrastructure and organizational mission. The position requires outstanding judgment, informed and thoughtful decision-making, strong interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills, attention to detail, flexibility to respond to changing organizational demands and unexpected issues, and the effective oversight of internal systems that support the Center's work. It requires a deep commitment to engaging a range of employees throughout the organization in critical decisions affecting the workplace.
The Chief Operating Officer will:
- Lead and provide executive oversight for all operational functions of the organization, staffed by approximately 30 employees in the Human Resources and Administration, Finance, and Information Technology teams, each led by an experienced and capable vice president who serves as a direct report to the COO. Promote a culture of high performance, continuous improvement, learning, responsive service, and a commitment to excellence.
- In consultation with the Center's President, provide reports to and serve as a resource for the Board of Directors on operational, legal, organizational development, and governance issues.
- Advise the President and other members of senior management on financial planning, budgeting, staffing, and operational policy matters. Maintain continuous lines of communication, keeping the President, and other senior leaders informed of all critical issues. Contribute to the development of the Center's strategic goals, objectives, and performance metrics and play a senior leadership role in the organization's overall management.
- Serve as a senior leader in organizational development, developing and providing oversight to processes designed to strengthen organizational effectiveness and build workplace culture including, advancing equity and inclusion, building strong labor-management relations, strengthening the management and leadership skills of staff, and increasing the engagement of staff at all levels in organizational decision-making related to these issues. Collaborate and provide counsel to other senior leaders on staffing and management issues.
- Coordinate the work of the Leadership Group and Executive Management Committee, working in partnership with other senior leaders to define organizational issues to be addressed by management, convene regular meetings, and ensure effective follow-through. Ensure availability of needed administrative support and infrastructure-related resources and a healthy, collegial, inclusive, and productive work environment.
- Serve as the lead management liaison to and resource for the Center's staff union to ensure administration of and compliance with the Center's Collective Bargaining Agreement. Provide guidance and counsel to management representatives on the Center's Labor Management Committee.
- Coordinate legal issues and work with outside counsel, especially in the areas of labor/management relations, human resources, 501(c)(3) compliance, nonprofit lobbying, Board governance, and Center contracts. Serve as the primary executive reviewing and approving significant contracts, legal agreements, and other sensitive documents to which the Center will be a party, in consultation with outside counsel, as appropriate.
- Lead other organization-wide initiatives as they emerge. In recent years, such work has included leading the spin-off of two Center departments into independent 501(c)3 organizations, launching and serving as executive sponsor of the Center's equity and inclusion initiative, serving as management lead in the Center's union voluntary recognition process and bargaining to its first contract, leading the design, build and relocation of the Center's operations to 50,000 sq ft of new office space, and chairing the Center Task Force focused on its operational response to the coronavirus pandemic and return to in-office work.
The successful candidate must have an outstanding record of managing operations and serving in a senior executive/management capacity within a high-performing organization.
Candidates should have a broad range of knowledge, skills, and experience such as:
- A deep commitment to the mission of the Center to improve the lives of low- and moderate-income people.
- A minimum of 10 years of experience in senior operational executive management positions, working as part of a senior leadership team, in a complex, dynamic, and effective organization.
- Demonstrated success supervising senior leaders responsible for teams managing the IT, human resources, facilities, administration, and financial functions of an organization. Understanding of and experience demonstrating the skills needed to supervise senior leaders who supervise others, to foster autonomy, collaboration, transparency, and accountability across Center operations. Demonstrated ability to manage in a way that both clarifies and honors lines of authority and responsibility and encourages creativity and initiative.
- Experience advancing equity and inclusion in an organizational setting, including developing, implementing, and evaluating equitable and inclusive policies and practices in internal operations such as recruitment, hiring, retention, employee relations, staff management, organizational structure, and decision-making.
- Experience identifying legal issues related to organizational management and monitoring compliance with all requirements of a 501(c)(3) organization, including limitations on lobbying activities.
- Demonstrated experience successfully tackling new and unfamiliar organizational challenges, including the ability to anticipate, identify and frame new organizational questions, conduct research, gather data to aid decision-making, and convene and lead processes to engage diverse staff stakeholders in creative problem-solving.
- A track record of managing multiple priorities and developing infrastructure, policies, and systems that support the mission of an organization and workplace culture
- Excellent leadership, communication, and team-building skills, including the ability to motivate, inspire trust and confidence in, set goals for, delegate to, and ensure the accountability of colleagues.
- Demonstrated success in strategic thinking, planning, implementation, and problem-solving.
- A high degree of flexibility, dedicated work ethic, and the ability to manage in a fast-paced, dynamic environment.
- Experience that demonstrates an unwavering commitment to the highest standards of quality performance and organizational integrity.
This position is in the Center's Washington D.C. office. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Center is currently operating as a 100% virtual organization. While the Center is currently exploring its return to in-office work policies, it is anticipated that the Chief Operating Officer will be expected to work on-site with limited opportunities for telework.