Executive Director

The Second Step

Posted: 4/25/2019

Position Type: Full-Time (Paid)

Function: CEO/ED/President

Primary domain: Housing/Shelter

City: Newton

Postal code: 02460

State: Massachusetts

Country: United States

Organization Information:


$1M - $3M



Mission statement:

The Second Step is a community of survivors, advocates, and volunteers who foster the safety, stability, and well-being of those who have experienced domestic violence.

We provide comprehensive services, including safety planning, legal advocacy, counseling, peer support, transitional housing, and other essential services to adults, youth, and children in Greater Boston and MetroWest.

Position Details:

Job Description:

The Second Step is seeking a highly qualified, mission-driven, and dedicated Executive Director to lead the organization in its innovative work. The successful candidate will bring experience in a social service field (such as sexual or domestic violence), a strong business acumen, and well-developed skills in communication and relationship-building both internally and externally.

Based in Newton, MA, The Second Step (TSS), is a community of survivors, advocates, and volunteers who foster the safety, stability, and well-being of those who have experienced domestic violence. We provide comprehensive services, including safety planning, legal advocacy, counseling, peer support, transitional housing, and other essential services to adults, youth, and children in Greater Boston and MetroWest.

The Organization

Founded in 1992, our comprehensive DV programs build on the strengths, needs, and values of the individuals and families we serve. Through four major program areas - residential, community, legal, and youth - TSS offers a comprehensive array of services to adults and children in the aftermath of abuse: transitional housing, legal representation, advocacy and case management, safety planning, peer mentoring, supporting groups for adults and teens, and therapeutic afterschool care. All of our services are free.

TSS has an annual budget of about $2 million, a talented staff of 25, a large corps of dedicated volunteers, and an active board of directors drawn from the community. Clients of TSS are from diverse ethnic, cultural, and class backgrounds, and span the continuums of gender and sexual orientation. Sources of revenue include federal, state, and municipal grants and contracts, as well as support from corporate and community foundations, individual donors at all levels, and several key annual events. The organization is in a stable financial and staffing situation, and is well-positioned for continued innovation in programs and funding models, as well as for sustainable and responsible growth.

The Role

This is an excellent opportunity for a dynamic leader to put their imprint on a highly regarded and deeply cherished local institution. Our next leader will work collaboratively with staff, board, and community partners to sustain the legacy and evolving mission of TSS, while ensuring the organization operates on solid financial ground. The focus of the Executive Director (ED) will be on the comprehensive services provided, the budget, the needs of our clients, and the organization’s commitment to increase public awareness of domestic violence issues within the community. The ED will be responsible for all aspects of the organization’s operations, including oversight of its annual budget, staff management, setting the agency’s priorities, and shaping its strategic direction.

Profile of the Ideal Candidate

The ideal Executive Director of The Second Step is an experienced, dynamic leader in the domestic violence, sexual assault, or related social services field, who combines strong leadership skills, a commitment to operational excellence and financial management, and proven resource development and fundraising abilities. The candidate should be committed to operationalizing equity and inclusiveness in the day-to-day practices of the organization, and should thrive in their leadership of innovative and compassionate approaches to social change. They should possess excellent communication skills across a wide range of audiences, and bring a strong background in supervising and cultivating diverse staff. A passionate and effective spokesperson for TSS and issues related to domestic violence, the Executive Director must be able to work effectively with the board, the staff team, and various community stakeholders and sister agencies to help shape the future of the organization. They will be excited to develop a leadership presence in the community, will ensure that the organization grows from its strong history into the next chapter of its journey.

Key Functions and Responsibilities:

  • Leads TSS in all aspects and in accordance with the organization’s mission and values.

  • Serves as the face of the organization in public, mission-driven, and donor-centered communication.

  • Works directly with the Board of Directors, ensuring accountability and transparency to support the Board in its governance, oversight, and fundraising capacities.

  • Works collaboratively with Board leadership to ensure Board committees are well-staffed and Board pipeline is supported.

  • Leads development of the organization’s strategic plan, including new initiatives and core operations, and ensures adherence to that plan or facilitates changes to it when needed.

  • Leads strategy, application, negotiation, delivery, and reporting of the organization’s federal, state, and local funding contracts.

  • Maintains accountability for the operational and fiscal integrity of the organization within the guidelines set by the Board of Directors.

  • Monitors agency performance, ensuring compliance with financial, programmatic, and legal standards.

  • Collaborates with grant-writing team to write and report on foundation grants.

  • Builds relationships among sister agencies, funders, statewide coalition members, and other stakeholders to further the agency’s mission.

  • Facilitates a culture of innovation and “intrapreneurship” within the agency.

  • Ensures that resources are allocated consistently with the organization’s mission, values, and principles of equity.

  • Negotiates with internal and external stakeholders.

  • Serves as lead fundraiser for the organization, creating and supporting a robust and sustainable resource development team.

  • Ensures that organizational infrastructure and staff teams are supported and have the resources needed to do their work at the highest level.


Key Attributes and Competencies:

  • Strong commitment to realizing principles of equity and empowerment both out in the community and within the internal operations of the organization.

  • Exceptional listening and communication skills, and experience fostering an inclusive approach to leadership and staff development.

  • A strategic thinker who can balance both process and outcomes, channeling this approach into organizational strategic planning and management.

  • Skilled in translating high-level strategy to actionable tasks and work plans for themselves and their team.

  • Strong interpersonal and team-building skills: can achieve ambitious goals through consensus and partnerships.

  • Enthusiasm for both providing and receiving input from staff and board within a growth mindset. Open to feedback and eager to learn.

  • Experience in fostering innovative approaches to stubborn challenges.

  • Strong track record of expanding revenue sources, including development operations experience.

  • Strong desire to be the face of the organization in all spheres, and to lead fundraising as well as programmatic initiatives of all kinds.

  • Experience with stewardship of individual donors at all levels, as well as stewardship of corporate and foundation partners. Experience with grant writing, management, and reporting strongly preferred.

  • Skilled in understanding and communicating financial information, as well as planning and managing to a budget, including articulating and testing financial assumptions. Experience interpreting and acting upon audited financial statements, monthly financials, and other reports.

  • Experience with a sexual or domestic violence (and/or other trauma-related) agency strongly preferred.

  • Willingness and enthusiasm to learn in areas where experience may be lacking, partnering with the board and investing in opportunities to develop or strengthen needed competencies.

Other Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree required, preferably in a related field; graduate level education preferred.

  • A minimum of 3-5 years’ experience in management or leadership of a nonprofit program or organization, preferably in an allied or similarly mission-driven field.

  • Valid Driver’s License


The Second Step offers a competitive salary and benefits package to all full-time employees. 


$90k - 100k

Posting Expiration Date:


How to Apply:

Please send a resume, cover letter, and your short answers to the following three Application Questions to: [email protected].

Application Questions:

  1. Why is this role at The Second Step the right move for you at this point in your career?
  2. As the lead fundraiser for The Second Step, how would you work with the Board of Directors to support major gifts fundraising?
  3. How do you understand the mission of The Second Step, and how would you live out that mission in your work?


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