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Executive Director

Emeryville, Sacramento, or Los Angeles, CA
California Youth Connection (CYC) is a youth-led organization that develops leaders who empower each other and their communities to transform the foster care system through legislative, policy, and practice change. Since our founding in 1988 by a small group of foster youth, CYC has established a unique model for youth to build leadership skills and forge supportive relationships while advocating for child welfare reforms that directly impact their lives. Today, CYC is a highly-regarded advocacy group with more than 200 members in chapters across California. Our work has resulted in the passage of dozens of new laws that have profoundly improved the lives of the 60,000 children and youth in California’s foster care system.
CYC is seeking an inspiring leader and foster youth champion to serve as Executive Director (ED) and usher the organization into its next phase of growth and impact. Joining an organization with strong financial and programmatic footing, the ED will empower and support CYC’s statewide youth leaders, dedicated professional staff, and engaged board of directors. Working hand-in-hand with youth membership, the ED will play a guiding role in articulating and implementing the vision for the organization as it continues to evolve and profoundly impact the foster care system in California and beyond.
Specifically, the ED will:
  • Co-create and facilitate a strategic vision for CYC’s direction in partnership with youth, staff, and board. Uphold the integrity of being a youth-led organization and create the conditions for youth to play a front-and-center role in organizational strategy. 
  • Be a visible and engaged presence across CYC’s statewide chapters, comprising approximately 200 members, attending regional and state-wide meetings and events, ensuring 2-way communications and feedback loops, and supporting members in assuming leadership positions within the organization and community.
  • Oversee a 13-member staff, creating and modeling a positive and healthy work environment, encouraging open communications and collaboration, and supporting people to do their best work. Directly supervise a 4-member management team, empowering direct reports to lead in their area of expertise.
  • In partnership with the Deputy Director, ensure a coordinated approach to core program activities, inclusive of state and local advocacy, youth development and leadership, trainings and conferences, and outreach and communications. Amplify and support youth in shaping and implementing an advocacy agenda.
  • In partnership with the Chief Philanthropy and Strategic Partnership Officer, take ownership of a $2.8M annual fundraising goal. Broaden and deepen relationships with existing institutional and individual funders and cultivate a pipeline of new supporters. Engage board of directors in fundraising.
  • In partnership with the Director of Finance and board-staffed Finance Committee, oversee the financial management of the organization, inclusive of creating and managing an annual budget, ensuring financial controls are in place, and setting financial priorities.
  • Partner with and leverage a 9-member board of directors, including leading quarterly board meetings and providing the board with quarterly and annual financial and operational reports. Work to identify and help recruit new board members whose talents, interests, and commitment will help to further CYC’s mission.
  • Serve as a persuasive and well-informed representative for CYC, forging and maintaining relationships with state agencies, advocacy groups, peer organizations, and media outlets. Lift up the work of CYC youth as experts and leaders in all external interactions.
  • Above all, operate with a relentless commitment to youth leadership, self-efficacy, and a drive to support youth in making meaningful and lasting change within the foster care system.
  • A champion for child welfare with lived and/or professional experience with systems-involved youth. You bring first-hand experience, knowledge, and a demonstrated commitment to improve child welfare and youth serving systems. You are knowledgeable about political advocacy, activism, and community organizing, and are passionate about mobilizing groups to create meaningful change.
  • An adaptive and collaborative leader who creates an environment where others can lead. You exercise influence strategically, ensure that goals and objectives are clear, and tap into the power of a group’s collective genius. In times where an executive decision is needed, you incorporate multiple perspectives and ensure others are heard.
  • A catalyst for racial and social justice equity. You possess cultural sensitivity and humility, with an understanding of systemic and institutionalized racism within the child welfare landscape. You are self-reflective about your own growth and learning, relative privilege, and positional power.
  • An effective communicator who conveys information clearly and inspires trust. You are able to connect and communicate with a range of stakeholders (e.g. youth, staff, board, volunteers, donors, community members.) You articulate the organization’s vision and programs to make a compelling, inspirational case for financial and/or programmatic support.
  • A thoughtful relationship builder and communicator who develops rapport easily and inspires trust. You have a warm, energetic, and authentic personality that translates to building lasting relationships both internally and externally. You demonstrate deep listening and an understanding of others’ perspectives in all interpersonal interactions.
  • A capable people manager who leverages individuals’ strengths and promotes teamwork. You have experience in recruiting and hiring talent, building strong teams, and coaching and mentoring direct and indirect reports for high performance and accountability. You use conflict as an opportunity for leadership and support team members in collaborative problem-solving.
  • A well-rounded executive-level leader with a track record in leading effective organizations. You bring at least 10 years of direct and/or transferable leadership experience in strategic planning, operations, fiscal, and program oversight. You are familiar with nonprofit fund development and willing and able to play an active role in fundraising. 
  • A passionate believer in CYC’s mission and values. You care deeply about positive youth development and youth’s potential to lead. You thrive in an organization that values transparency, accountability, integrity, self-awareness, teamwork, and collaboration.
These additional skills, knowledge, and experience are strongly preferred but not required:
  • Knowledge and experience with the California child welfare landscape
  • Experience leading and/or participating in political advocacy, activism, and community organizing
  • Experience at a statewide and/or multi-chapter organization
  • Experience with major gift fundraising experience from institutions and individuals
  • Advanced degree in the social work, counseling, public administration/policy, or a related field
  • Prior experience with CYC (e.g. as youth member, staff member, volunteer, or community partner)
Hours are Monday-Friday with frequent evening and weekend meetings. The position can be based out of Emeryville, Sacramento, or Los Angeles, CA. Frequent statewide travel is required, although during COVID, no travel is required.
Salary is commensurate with experience and adjusted for cost of living by geographic location with a range of $120,000 -$150,000. Full compensation includes a generous benefits package with paid health benefits (medical, dental, vision, chiropractic), vacation and sick leave, 12 paid holidays (including 2 floating holidays), life insurance, and an employer contribution to the CYC retirement plan.
If this opportunity calls to you, click Apply Now to submit your resume and cover letter that answers the question "What excites you about California Youth Connection and its mission to develop leaders who empower each other and their communities to transform the foster care system through legislative, policy, and practice?"
Please address your cover letter to the Search Committee. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis and handled with confidentiality. No phone calls or emails, please. Application deadline is October 15, 2020. 

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