BACKGROUND AND OPPORTUNITY
Overview: First 5 LA is a leading early childhood advocacy organization, systems-change leader, and grant-maker, which seeks results through policy change, practice change and public-will building. It does so with diverse partners who share First 5 LA’s aspirations for children and with an intentional focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. Over the past 20+ years, First 5 LA has invested more than $2 billion to improve the wellbeing of children prenatal to age five. The FY 2020-21 budget of $120 million makes First 5 LA one of the largest investors in early childhood wellbeing in the country.
2020-28 Strategic Plan: In November 2019, First 5 LA’s Board of Commissioners approved the 2020-28 Strategic Plan that boldly articulates the organization’s “North Star” – that by 2028, all children in Los Angeles County will enter kindergarten ready to succeed in school and life. To reach its North Star, First 5 LA works with partners (including nonprofit and advocacy organizations, public agencies, elected officials and communities) to enhance systems in L.A. County to be more family-centered and child-focused. The Strategic Plan reaffirms the commitment to systems change and greater focus on what First 5 LA is doing to make a tangible difference in the lives of children today and tomorrow.
Operational/Administrative Change Mandate: To fulfill its multiple roles as advocate, systems change leader, grant-maker and partner, First 5 LA has been working to improve its business processes and practices, structure, staffing and culture to align with the strategic direction and enable meaningful progress towards the North Star. For the first time, the Strategic Plan includes a specific focus on improving operational effectiveness.
As a part of Strategic Plan implementation, the organizational structure evolved in November 2020, to align to the refined strategy. More broadly, the Plan recognizes the role that staffing, business processes and culture play in improving operational effectiveness. As such, leaders at all levels of the organization are expected to play a critical role in shaping and leading the organization’s evolution by fostering a culture that embodies the adopted organizational values (collaboration, learning, integrity, and diversity, equity and inclusion) in all interactions and in the work internally and externally.
Opportunity: The role of the new Chief Operating Officer, Center for Operational Excellence (COO) was established as part of First 5 LA’s unwavering commitment to be a high-impact organization that contributes to the achievement of results for children and families in partnership with others. The COO reports directly to the Executive Director and is a member of First 5 LA’s Senior Leadership Team, which includes five additional Chiefs and the Executive Vice President – all of whom are direct reports and key advisors to the Executive Director.
The COO is responsible for working collaboratively across the organization to shape and guide First 5 LA’s internal operational systems, processes and culture changes critical to the impact sought for young children and their families. The COO oversees the Center for Operational Excellence (COE), comprising 27 staff, projects and initiatives totaling $18.5 million. The Center is organized into four teams (Contract Administration & Purchasing, Finance, Information Technology and Workplace Management), which report to the COO.
As an organization-wide leader, the COO will model and embed the organization’s values into the operations and administrative work. In particular, the COO is expected to: embrace difference in perspectives and experiences, actively engage colleagues across the organization, regardless of position or level of authority, continuously challenge assumptions underlying approaches, and seek solutions to achieve operational excellence.
History: In 1998 California voters passed Proposition 10, which levied a 50-cent per pack tax on all tobacco products. The resulting tax revenues were earmarked for the creation of a comprehensive system of information and services to advance early childhood development and school readiness within each county in California. In Los Angeles County, the First 5 LA Commission was formed as a public entity that develops and oversees various early childhood initiatives and manages funding from Proposition 10.
Governance: The First 5 LA Board of Commissioners comprises 17 members (nine voting, four ex-officio, and four alternates). Currently, the Board includes voting members appointed by each of the Los Angeles County Supervisors and the County departments of Mental Health, Public Health, and Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE). The Chairman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors designates a Board representative to serve on the Board of Commissioners.
More information is available at www.first5la.org.
The COO is an organization-wide leader, a member of the Senior Leadership Team and a direct report and key advisor to the Executive Director. As an organization-wide leader, the COO plans, coordinates, and prioritizes the COE’s work in close collaboration with members of the senior and broader leadership teams as well as staff throughout the organization.
Leading with an adaptive mindset, the COO partners with the COE leadership team to achieve operational excellence by improving internal processes, workflows, procedures and systems. They cultivate and grow the administrative and operational systems that support First 5 LA’s work as an advocate, systems change leader, partner and grant maker. The COO develops and maintains effective relationships with internal stakeholders and external partners in government, non-profits and the private sector.
The COO invests in growing the capabilities of the COE leadership and their teams, and works with colleagues across the organization to develop performance metrics to measure progress on change efforts. While adhering to the requirements of First 5 LA’s status as a public entity, the COO leads a culture which embraces transformation and continual improvement. Given First 5 LA’s evolving fiscal reality, the COO ensures the organization maximizes available revenue sources and, when appropriate, partners with the Executive Vice President and Center for Child & Family Impact team and others to pursue new dedicated revenue for early childhood.
ESSENTIAL DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES
Key Areas of Oversight:
The successful candidate will be passionate about improving the lives of young children and their families. This senior executive will be authentic and have a natural desire to make a difference in others’ lives. They will carry their significant knowledge, skills and experience with humility. They will be recognized for being inclusive and collaborative, with a strong track record in organizational change leadership, team and staff development, and leading work through empowering others.
This leader has 15 years (preferred) of progressively more responsible leadership or management experience in operations (finance, contracts, workplace/facilities and information technology) of government, philanthropy or non-profit organizations. Previous professional experience as a leader of the full breadth of administrative functions and in the public sector is highly desired. A background that includes work for public agencies engaged in systems change in social services, health, early care and education or child welfare is preferred.
Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:
The statements in this narrative represent typical elements, criteria, and general work performed; they are not to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required for the position.
COMPENSATION & BENEFITS
First 5 LA offers a competitive senior non-profit or government executive salary.
First 5 LA pays for 100% of the premiums for employee and dependents for medical, dental, vision benefits, and for employee’s life and long-term disability insurance policies; benefit eligibility takes effect on the first of the month following 30 days of employment.
First 5 LA offers a 403(b) retirement savings and investment plan through The Standard. First 5 LA makes a contribution to employee retirement savings of 3% of salary for less than 5 years of service, 4.5% for 5-9 years; 6% for 10-14 years; 7.5% for 15 years or more.
In addition, First 5 LA matches 100% of an employee’s elective contribution, up to 3% of salary after 2 years of service or more; a matching benefit of 1% of salary is available from the first day of employment, and increases to 2% of salary after the first year.
First 5 LA has partnered with Justus McGinity Executive Search to complete this recruitment. Interested candidates are encouraged to submit their resumes promptly via this link : https://workforcenow.adp.com/mascsr/default/mdf/recruitment/recruitment.html?cid=100d08e7-bbce-45f4-b28f-7047b8611dce&ccId=19000101_000001&jobId=390451&source=CC2&lang=en_US
There is no established deadline for the submission of applications; resumes will be accepted until the position is filled. Only candidates who move beyond the review of submitted written materials will be contacted by Justus McGinity Executive Search or First 5 LA.