Chief Strategy Officer
Compass Working Capital (Positively Partners)
About Compass Working Capital
Anti-poverty programs in the United States provide critical, but insufficient, support to families with low incomes. If we are to end poverty and close racial and gender wealth gaps in our communities, we must support families to build the financial assets and capabilities needed to achieve their goals and dreams. We envision a day when asset building is the norm, and not the exception, in the delivery of federally subsidized housing.
Since 2005, Compass Working Capital (“Compass”) has been working to do just that, by providing savings and financial coaching programs that support families with low incomes living in federally subsidized housing to build assets, achieve their financial goals, and become financially secure. Our vision is to build a leading, nonprofit financial services organization that promotes economic mobility and financial security for families with low incomes by influencing field-related practice and policy. Within the last decade alone, Compass clients, who are primarily women of color, have built over $8 million in savings across our programs in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Missouri and Washington, D.C.
The urgency of Compass’ work has been underscored by the pandemic crisis, which has had a disparate health and economic impact on communities of color. At the same time, the crisis has accelerated the pace of innovation and entrepreneurship across the organization, particularly regarding delivery of services remotely and at scale .
In late 2019, through philanthropic investment, Compass embarked on a strategic plan to significantly expand our national scope and impact. This investment provides Compass with the funding and support to ready the organization for greater impact by ending asset poverty for 220,000 families with low incomes by 2030. Our current strategic plan closes in August 2022 and we are eager to begin building our next strategic plan early in the new year. The Chief Strategy Officer role will play a crucial role in helping to set the organization’s strategic goals for the next 3-5 years.
This September, Compass Working Capital announced the appointment of a new CEO, Markita Morris-Louis, effective January 1, 2022. Ms. Morris-Louis currently serves as Compass’ Chief Strategy Officer. You can learn more about this exciting transition by clicking here. Please click here to hear directly from Compass’ Founder and current CEO, Sherry Riva, about her decision to transition out of her role.
About the Position
Reporting to the CEO and serving as a member of the Executive Team, the Chief Strategy Officer (“CSO”) will lead Compass’ Strategy & Innovation Team which delivers tools and services that support Compass’ national scale and impact goals. This team of six currently consists of a Director of Special Projects, Director of Impact & Innovation, Manager of Strategic Initiatives, Manager of Data and Technology, and two Data Analysts, based in Greater Boston, Philadelphia and Nashville.
A central component of our national scale strategy is designing, building and deploying technological tools that increase access to and engagement with our flagship asset building program, Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) for families with low incomes. We also strive to make our tools available to housing providers supporting their residents to build assets as a pathway to financial security. Projects recently completed and underway include the following:
- Online portal that provides for efficient and on-demand orientation and enrollment into our programs in a fully remote environment
- Development of a web-based client engagement tool that supports financial coaching
- Improvement of FSS (Family Self Sufficiency) Link learning community and online platform
The Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) will create the conditions for the Compass team to support families in ways that maximize current programming and allow for greater efficiencies across the organization. The CSO will also support the development of tools and resources to measure and enhance Compass’ impact in delivering financial coaching to individuals, providing training and technical assistance to organizations, and advocating for policies that center asset building as an anti-poverty strategy.
We seek a solutions-focused and collaborative problem-solver who has demonstrated alignment with Compass’ mission, either through lived, work, or volunteer experience with families with low incomes. The ideal candidate is both a leader and doer with the drive and tenacity to design and execute with quality and innovation.
Program Impact and Innovation
- Support the Director of Innovation & Impact with an evaluation process to assess impact and effectiveness of programmatic implementation externally and develop internal frameworks to monitor quality, codify best practices, and leverage input from stakeholders
- Elevate the voices and experiences of those we seek to serve by seeking their feedback and using that perspective to refine and improve program approaches and shifts in policies
Scale Organizational Impact
- Provide strategic direction to support the organization’s growth and innovation initiatives by employing a Lean Impact approach to problem solving (consider multiple approaches to a problem, take calculated risks, learn from those innovations, and do it all over again)
- Supervise Director of Impact & Innovation and the product development team to support operations and leverage existing resources to build revenue generating products as we grow to scale
- Build and lead a strategy to grow and scale impact including: sustaining our consulting and training/ technical assistance business, planning and overseeing our national conference, and executing on multi-year business plans
Team & Organizational Leadership
- Serve as a leader, mentor, and support to the Strategy & Impact team with a focus on building trusted relationships and overseeing the continued professional development and management of a high performing and inclusive team and culture.
- Serve as an advisor and counsel to the CEO and Executive Team in the areas of strategic growth, innovation, business strategy, impact and organizational development.
- Serve as an internal leader of the organization, partnering with the Executive Team to ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion are primary in organizational decision making, practices, and culture.
We seek a CSO with a strong “roll-up-your-sleeves” attitude, entrepreneurial spirit, and excellent people and project management skills. Competitive candidates will demonstrate agility, and growth and scale mindset while creatively achieving impact within a resource-constrained environment.
There are innumerable ways to learn, grow, and excel professionally. We respect this when we review applications and take a broad look at the experience of each applicant. We want to get to know you and the unique strengths you will bring to the work. This said, we are most likely to be interested in your candidacy if you can demonstrate the majority of the qualifications and experiences listed below.
Experience with Enterprise Scale: The CSO will have demonstrated experience in building strategy for, planning and execution of solutions at scale for challenges that impact communities with low incomes.
Business Strategist: This person will have experience with business development or customer acquisition in either a non-profit or for-profit context. The CSO will take an entrepreneurial approach to the work with an eye toward building sustainable lines of business in support of our national scale strategy.
Data and Impact Driven: Highly qualified candidates will bring strong analytical and problem-solving skills with the ability to organize and interpret data, generate insights and anticipate challenges and opportunities. The CSO will have an appreciation for external evaluation and be familiar with various evaluative approaches and methodologies including quasi-experimental studies and randomized control trials.
Adept at Change Management + Continuous Improvement: The CSO will bring a background of managing change and staff development, with a focus on continuous improvement and insights into the impacts of these changes on an organization. The CSO will have demonstrated success in a fast-paced, collaborative, and learning-oriented environment.
Manager, Relationship Builder and Collaborator: Critical to success in this role, the CSO will be skilled at building and sustaining excellent relationships with a demonstrated ability to connect, build bridges and work collaboratively. The CSO will have significant experience and demonstrated success in managing and leading individuals and teams with a balance of compassion and straightforward communication. This person will model passion for the mission, a respect for people and have demonstrated experience developing and coaching talent through the lens of diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and accountability.
Strong Project Manager: The CSO will be planful, task-oriented, and diligent in overseeing and managing projects and the staff and external consultants supporting the execution of those projects. The CSO will employ strong cost and risk management skills, have experience managing a budget, be comfortable making difficult decisions under pressure, seek the right solutions to the right problems, delegate when necessary and adjust schedules, tactics and targets as needed.
Working At Compass: Benefits, Compensation and Location
This is an outstanding opportunity to contribute to a highly effective nonprofit’s executive team. Salary range for the role is $135,000- $155,000 and is commensurate with lived and professional experience. Compass' comprehensive benefits include health, dental, and vision insurance, flexible spending accounts, paid parental leave, retirement savings, generous vacation, STD/LTD/Life Insurance, and paid professional development. Click here to learn more about benefits.
Compass’ national headquarters is in downtown Boston, and the organization has a growing field presence in Philadelphia. Staff primarily live and work across the northeast region and in Philadelphia. The CSO can be based in the Northeast, with a preference for Greater Boston or Philadelphia. Travel to field offices in Greater Boston and Philadelphia will be expected at least one time per month as the impact of the pandemic subsides and the team returns (in some capacity) to physical offices. Travel to future field offices might be required, as the organization expands nationally.
To learn more about working at Compass, please click here. To learn more about Compass’ commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, please click here.
How to Apply
To apply to this position, please prepare a resume and cover letter to the attention of the Compass Working Capital CSO Search Committee. For confidential inquiries or for assistance in completing the application, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Timeline and Hiring Process
We will review and respond to all applications received. While subject to change, candidates elected to advance throughout the process can expect to progress through a process that includes initial conversations with Positively Partners, an interview with the CEO and Chief Strategy Officer and members of the Search Committee for finalists, and an interview day with staff. Anticipated start date is February 2021.
Compass is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to sustaining a diverse community with a work environment that is welcoming, respectful, and encouraging to all. We foster a culture of inclusion that celebrates and cultivates diversity along multiple dimensions, including race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, out of home care, age, national origin, socioeconomic status, religion, ability, culture, and experience.