Posted on July 25, 2012
Spark Program - Executive Director
Spark (www.sparkprogram.org) is an award-winning youth apprenticeship program. Spark works to increase high-school graduation rates with a unique apprenticeship program, focused on at-risk middle-school students. In partnership with district and charter schools, Spark creates one-on-one apprenticeships in real workplaces, where youth explore careers and develop the skills and motivation to succeed academically. Funded by a number of major foundations, including the Packard Foundation, Cowell Foundation, as well as leading companies like CBS and Gap, Spark is demonstrating a powerful new approach to the high-school dropout crisis, one that draws in new resources by turning workplaces into learning places.
Nationally, Spark will create and manage 800 apprenticeships in 2012, while preparing for substantial growth to new regions and within existing regions in 2013. This work is led by a dedicated team of 30 professionals, with strategic guidance from both regional advisory board members and a highly engaged National Board of Directors, comprised of leaders from business and social sectors. Spark has a 2012 budget of approximately $2.6 million, of which Spark LA’s 2012 budget is $601,000. The ED is responsible for raising these funds from LA sources, building on the existing base of support Spark has built in Los Angeles and with support from Spark LA Board members.
Spark’s Core Values:
Self-Actualization: Empowering people to confidently pursue their interests and live their values, driven by intrinsic motivation.
Community: Fostering connections among people and organizations to meet individual and shared goals.
Democracy: Collaboratively involving all stakeholders in decision-making.
Transparency: Encouraging honest communication and actively seeking feedback for understanding and growth.
Positivity: Planning for and expecting the best from every situation and person, and finding the opportunities in each challenge.
The Executive Director, Los Angeles (ED) is the overall leader for Spark LA, responsible for leading a vibrant and effective apprenticeship program that works to address the high‐school dropout crisis, in which 56% of all LAUSD students drop out of school. The ED is responsible for leading a growing staff, currently at 5; growing a sustainable fundraising base in Los Angeles; ensuring the high‐quality implementation of Spark’s programs; and charting a vision for the long‐term growth of Spark LA. The ED reports to the Chief Executive Officer in Spark’s national office, and works closely with Spark’s national leadership team to determine strategic choices to maximize Spark’s impact and sustainability. This role will be based in Los Angeles, with 8-10 days per year spent at Spark’s San Francisco office for trainings, staff development, and key events.
Lead the successful operation and growth of Spark’s programs in Los Angeles:
Supervise the Los Angeles Program Director to manage and develop an exceptional local team to accomplish three core goals: (1) successfully manage relationships with Spark’s school partners, including training and ongoing support, to ensure high-quality in-school programming for Spark students, (2) cultivate a network of mentors through corporate/organizational partners for apprenticeship placements and funding, and (3) guide the growth and evolution of Spark’s work in Los Angeles.
Support the Program Director to leverage the Los Angeles Advisory Board to support fundraising initiatives, assist in recruiting mentors, guide strategic planning, enhance local networks of supporters, and contribute to overall external communications and publicity for Spark in Los Angeles.
Participate in national strategic discussions as a senior leader of Spark as a whole, meeting regularly with Spark’s national team to chart the organization’s path forward.
Lead Los Angeles Fundraising & Financial Management
Enhance and lead Spark’s local fundraising strategy for Los Angeles, in collaboration with Spark’s Chief Advancement Officer and with the Spark LA Development & Operations Coordinator, ensuring that Spark Los Angeles exceeds a fundraising goal of approximately $601,000 in 2012.
Place a particular focus on increasing individual major contributions, at the $10,000 level or higher, building on Board relationships and developing new relationships to meet fundraising goals.
Effectively utilize and manage the local site budget to implement the program and sustain the Los Angeles office.
Lead and leverage the growth and development of a highly active Los Angeles Executive Board of Directors to provide high-level strategic guidance, introductions, and fundraising support.
In addition to the above responsibilities, the Spark LA Executive Director is a member of Spark’s national leadership team, helping to guide the organization’s national strategy and playing a role in decision-making across regions.
All candidates should have a passion for Spark’s mission, demonstrated effectiveness as a leader, and excellent written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills. Entrepreneurial skills are critical: while Spark’s resources, knowledge, and credibility are available, the Executive Director’s role is similar to that of CEO of an entrepreneurial, growing non-profit organization. Additional qualifications include:
- Demonstrated passion for education; experience in schools or educational non-profits is preferable though not required;
- Minimum three years of management-level experience in a in a fast-paced, growth-oriented organization; for-profit experience is welcomed;
- Comfortable giving and receiving honest, constructive feedback, and acting as a coach or mentor to staff.
- Sophisticated relationship-building and networking skills; experience in fundraising or sales-related functions is preferred though not required;
- Knowledge of local Los Angeles issues and dynamics;
- Demonstrated ability to design and manage complex projects involving many personnel;
- Mature judgment, with a high level of personal and professional integrity and trustworthiness;
- Fully computer and internet literate, with experience in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint;
- Legally eligible to work in the United States; no sponsorship provided;
- Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience required; advanced degree preferred
Please upload a resume and thoughtful cover letter, outlining how your skills and experience meet the qualifications of the position and stating how you heard about this opportunity, both in Word format, to Jon Spack at http://jobs.cgcareers.org/application.aspx?id=1926 Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Spark is not accepting phone calls in regards to this position.
Spark offers a competitive salary and benefits, commensurate with experience and skills.
Spark is an equal opportunity employer.
About Commongood Careers:
Spark has partnered with Commongood Careers to conduct the search for a Los Angeles Executive Director. Commongood Careers is a mission-driven search firm that supports the hiring needs of the nation’s most innovative and high-performing nonprofit organizations. Since its founding in 2006, Commongood Careers has completed over 500 searches at 150 organizations in 26 states. Founded and staffed by nonprofit professionals, Commongood Careers offers personalized, engaged services to jobseekers and organizations throughout the hiring process, as well as access to a wealth of knowledge about nonprofit careers. Learn more about nonprofit jobs at Commongood Careers.