YWCA Hartford Region (YWCA) is one of Hartford’s core social service agencies, providing a broad range of services that help women and girls gain economic success and stability and promoting social justice issues in the community. Now celebrating its 150th year, YWCA has a strong reputation as a well-run and fiscally stable organization with high-caliber early childhood and housing programs. With YWCA’s CEO retiring after a 13-year tenure, the Board of Directors seeks a CEO with a passion for and firm understanding of feminist and racial justice issues to lead the organization into the next phase of its impactful work.
About YWCA Hartford Region
YWCA Hartford Region is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.
The purpose of YWCA is to build the economic success of families by empowering women and their children to reach their fullest potential. Diverse programming annually provides 2000 women and children with tools and opportunities to address racial, social, and gender disparities that have historically prevented many from succeeding in life – professionally, personally, and economically.
YWCA’s programs include:
- Child care for infants, toddlers and preschoolers in four early learning centers;
- Before- and after-school care for students in kindergarten through fifth grade;
- A year-round empowerment program for girls in middle- and high-school that builds leadership and workplace skills;
- Support services for lower-income women with children to earn degrees at two local community colleges;
- Free tax preparation to help families pay down debt and work toward saving for the future;
- A shelter and permanent supportive housing program for both men and women;
- An annual community-wide event that engages agencies and corporations in raising awareness about racism; and
- A free annual conference focused on money management, investment and retirement strategies for women of all ages and economic backgrounds.
YWCA programs are housed in 17 locations across the Hartford region. The organization owns and is headquartered in a three-story building located in a prime location in the heart of Hartford’s government and downtown core. YWCA’s emergency shelter and supportive housing units are also in the building.
YWCA Hartford Region is a member of YWCA USA, Inc., and as such, must further the national organization’s mission (noted above) and meet certain operational standards. It is governed by a 25-member board of women who are diverse in race and age; they represent the business community with expertise in legal, insurance, marketing, and finance services, as well as the fields of urban development and human services. The organization employs approximately 110 full- and part-time staff members. YWCA is financially strong; it has a budget of $6.6 million and is currently embarking on a $7 million comprehensive development campaign. The organization’s income portfolio is comprised of program fees, government grants, investment income, and individual contributions received via year-round giving. The YWCA is particularly proud of its unique major fundraising event, In the Company of Women Luncheon. The luncheon features nationally known female keynote speakers and focuses on issues relating to the YWCA mission. With past speakers such as Cokie Roberts, Viola Davis, Camryn Manheim, Rosie Perez, and Maya Angelou, the luncheon has become one of Hartford’s centerpiece events, empowering the nearly 1500 attendees who make this a successful fundraising and marketing event for the YWCA each year.
Strategic Opportunities and Challenges
YWCA is at an important juncture as it transitions from a CEO who built a firm base of fiscal stability and operational strength to a new leader empowered to bring a strategic focus to growing and developing the organization. The next executive will:
- Champion, convene, and be a catalyst for creating real impact on women’s lives and on addressing issues of social and racial justice. The nation and state are in the throes of political and social upheaval, especially related to gender and racial justice. The next leader will broaden YWCA’s activism in the community on these issues by strengthening the organization’s profile and by leveraging existing and building new strategic collaborations.
- Build the infrastructure for the effective implementation of a comprehensive development plan. This plan will include growth in the level of donor support and engage Board members more fully in donor cultivation. With looming federal and state budget cuts and an increasingly competitive environment for securing foundation grants, YWCA will need to increase the commitment of its current constituent base and expand to an even broader base of individual donors. Fortunately, YWCA has critical strengths from which to build: an enthused list of attendees at each year’s annual luncheon, strong brand recognition, and a solid comprehensive fundraising campaign plan that is just being launched.
- Build a cohesive staff team and supportive work environment that promotes retention and can overcome the challenges that come with a decentralized staff.
- Enhance marketing and messaging to increase the YWCA’s overall visibility and public awareness of its broad-ranging programming and impact, as well as to continue to clarify any confusion between the YWCA and the YMCA.
- Establish and implement a broad outcome measurement system. Assess the YWCA’s programmatic and organizational impact to leverage additional funding opportunities and to find innovative approaches to expanding programs that are having high-leverage impact.
Profile of the Ideal Candidate
In addition to the strong operational skills and strategic acumen needed by every nonprofit executive of YWCA’s size, this position requires a leader who is a relationship builder and is astute at networking and building strategic partnerships. The next YWCA leader will have a strong entrepreneurial spirit and will retain the agency’s vision while nimbly and strategically identifying and responding to a rapidly changing social, economic and political context.
Bachelor’s degree required; Advanced degree preferred.
Skills, Experience and Attributes
Passionate advocate for the mission
The ideal candidate will have a demonstrated history of advocating on behalf of women and girls as well as social and racial justice issues. S/he will have a firm understanding of the challenges faced by women and girls because of their race, ethnicity, and/or socio-economic background. S/he must demonstrate passion for YWCA’s mission in his/her personal and professional history and be able to translate that passion into an articulate and compelling story.
Demonstrated success in raising funds
The ideal candidate will have demonstrated success in fund development and will have the ability to lead the board and staff in executing an ambitious, multi-year comprehensive fundraising campaign.
The ideal candidate will have experience working in an inclusive work environment and be able to inspire, develop and empower staff and create a productive team-based culture that welcomes inclusion and diversity. S/he will be able to build and maintain a climate of trust and respect where each worker feels appreciated for her or his strengths and contributions. S/he will embrace a learning environment.
Keen emotional intelligence
The ideal candidate will have keen listening skills, empathy, self-awareness and the ability to connect with people of different styles, professional levels and backgrounds, as well as encourage those traits in his/her staff.
Innovative and entrepreneurial approach
The ideal candidate will continually scan the environment for key trends and new opportunities, be able to leverage opportunities, and have an innovative approach to solving problems and overcoming challenges.
Exceptional communication skills
The ideal candidate will be able to passionately articulate the organization’s mission and deliver compelling presentations to public and private audiences.
Politically astute networker and collaborator
The ideal candidate will demonstrate a proven track record of building and maintaining strong relationships with people of influence in the nonprofit, corporate, education, legislative, and government arenas, as well as the ability to build effective collaboration among these various groups to drive change on key issues.
Experienced nonprofit or business manager
The ideal candidate will have significant professional experience in supervision and management of staff, budgeting and strategic financial management, and efficiently aligning and maximizing resources.
Experience working with boards of directors
The ideal candidate will be skilled in working effectively in partnership with boards of directors to carry out the mission of the organization and set strategic direction.
Candidate Guidelines and Additional Information
This search is being conducted by TSNE MissionWorks's Consulting and Executive Transitions Program with Transition Consultants Catherine Bradshaw and Nancy Jackson. All submissions are confidential. Interested candidates should submit materials online.
Electronic submissions sent via this link are preferred.
Please include a resume and a cover letter with salary requirements, information regarding how you learned of the position, and a description of how your qualifications and experience match YWCA’s needs. All submissions will be acknowledged. Submissions of candidacy will be accepted until the position is filled. Salary is commensurate with experience, within the framework of the organization’s annual operating budget.
YWCA Hartford Region is actively seeking to build a diverse and experienced team and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, handicap, age, religion, sexual orientation, or national or ethnic origin. YWCA is an equal opportunity employer.