Chief Operating Officer

Harlem Children's Zone

Posted: 12/2/2019

Position Type: Full-Time (Paid)

Function: Administration/Operations

Primary domain: Education

City: New York

Postal code: 10035

State: New York

Country: United States

Organization Information:


$20M +


Mission statement:

HCZ walks hand in hand with young people and their families from cradle to college to career. From our work with public school students and our Promise Academy charter schools to our Healthy Harlem wellness initiative to our family support programs, HCZ goes beyond education to provide children with the academic, personal and career support they need to stay on the path to becoming self-sustaining, successful adults. No other organization uses such a comprehensive approach to fighting poverty, at such a scale or with as much impact.  With a generation of proof, our innovative work over the decades has achieved unprecedented results with measurable economic and social impact in Harlem and beyond.  We are the preeminent thought leader in the education, youth development and poverty-fighting fields, informing policy and advocating for change at the local, state and national levels. Called by President Obama “one of the most successful anti-poverty programs in history,” we are sharing what we have learned with communities around the country and the world, inspiring widespread replication and changing the lives of millions beyond Harlem.

Position Details:

Job Description:

We are seeking a Chief Operating Officer (COO) to work in close partnership with the CEO to oversee the analysis and development of organizational priorities and assessing the organization’s overall effectiveness to determine strengths and weaknesses for operational planning and forecasting. The COO will be charged with the refinement, design and integration of cross-organizational systems and protocols to ensure alignment and operational efficiency. Internally the COO will play an integral role in executing on our strategic plan and, as a key presenter externally, will champion HCZ’s model and work as it relates to our sustained impact at scale and beyond Harlem.

HCZ’s current strategic plan consists of four major pillars: 1.) Leveraging Data and Learning; 2.) Innovating for Impact; 3.) Optimizing Resources (Gaining Efficiencies) and; 4.) Operational Excellence. The COO will work to guarantee HCZ’s sustainability and capacity to advance change externally, by ensuring that we fully execute on all four pillars and, importantly, codifying and ensuring the cost efficiency of everything we do.

As a top organizational leader, the COO will provide direct and indirect leadership to a range of staff across a variety of functions, including, but not limited to, Facilities, Information Technology, Food Services, Research & Evaluation, Safety, as well as Strategy & Innovation. The successful candidate will be a creative problem-solver and change agent who possesses high-levels of strategic and operational expertise and is driven toward delivering results in a fast-paced and mission-driven organization.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Operations Management

  • Design, implement, and manage clear and aligned organization-wide systems and processes that yield increased operational efficiencies (e.g., operations manuals created for every department)
  • Work closely with the Senior Managing Director of Programs, PA Superintendent, CFO and other member of the leadership to conduct timely review of data to inform problem-solving and decision-making
  • Review program budgets and staffing to ensure that they are in aligned with the organization’s vision and strategic priorities
  • Create and manage project plans and timelines for Innovation pilots
  • Review and ensure completion of all reports on time and to recommend approval or to suggest changes

Strategy & Innovation

  • Oversee and ensure flawless execution of organizational strategic plan by helping to build a culture of innovation
  • Design and implement a strategic map training series for staff and leadership
  • Ensure data collected is clean, accessible, and can be used to inform strategic discussions and decision making
  • Contribute to the development of HCZ’s strategic goals and objectives, as well as overall management and leadership
  • Assess and recommend new areas for program development

People Management

  • Directly oversee and manage ~230 employees (~160 FTE) across seven departments, which comprise ~ $14M in annual budget
  • Establish, build and maintain relationships within the organization and community to ensure that HCZ is consistently meeting the needs of children, families and the community
  • Foster strong relationships and effective communication with HCZ senior leadership and staff


    Qualification, Skills and Knowledge Requirements

    • Master’s degree in business, nonprofit management or related field with significant management experience and solid executive-level operations expertise with experience leading two or more of the following functions at an organization similar in size, context or complexity: finance, strategy, operations, IT, compliance, facilities, safety, etc
    • Must possess strong gravitas, resilience and presence with the ability to remain calm under pressure, can influence CEOs and other executives, and command a room in times of crisis or indecision
    • Exceptional leadership and emotional intelligence, with the proven ability to build effective leaders and teams
    • Have a demonstrated track record of effective problem-solving and prudent decision-making
    • Strong project management skills with the ability to administer multiple projects simultaneously, prioritize workload, and effectively manage resources
    • Maintain a relentless pursuit of results and very high standards for performance of themselves and colleagues
    • Superior analytical and communication skills (written and verbal)
    • Sound judgment, high level of integrity, professionalism, a positive attitude and a sense of humor
    • Resourcefulness, creativity and strong problem-solving skills
    • Has perspective on issues of equity, diversity and inclusion, particularly as it relates to management practices and our work within underserved communities of color


    We offer competitive salaries, performance bonuses and a comprehensive benefits package.


    Commensurate with Experience

    Posting Expiration Date:


    How to Apply:

    To be considered, interested applicants MUST submit a cover letter and resume. No telephone inquiries or recruiters please. Replies will only be sent to qualified applicants. HCZ is an EOE.

    To apply, please see below: 


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