Chief Operations and Talent Officer

Chief Operations and Talent Officer

ACLU of Massachusetts

Boston, MA   |   March 10, 2020

About the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts (ACLUM) is a non-profit, public interest organization devoted to defending and preserving the civil rights and individual liberties guaranteed by the US and Massachusetts constitutions and laws. We focus on issues such as freedom of speech, expression and association, religious liberty, privacy, reproductive freedom, equality under the law, freedom from discrimination, drug law reform, voting rights, and protection from government abuses. ACLUM achieves this mission through litigation, lobbying, organizing and public education.

To learn more about the work of the ACLU in Massachusetts and nationwide, please visit and

The Opportunity

At this important moment in history, ACLUM is seeking an outstanding inaugural Chief Operations and Talent Officer (COTO) who brings strategic and visionary operations experience and is passionate about diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging issues. While strategic in orientation, this executive will have a track record in managing the operations of an organization while collaborating with staff. The ideal executive will have a well-honed background in not only all facets of operations and human resources but will know how to build systems and processes that enhance efficiencies and support ACLUM’s goal of continuous improvement.

Partnering with the Executive Director, the COTO will oversee, lead, and manage the organization’s critical strategic operations in the areas of Human Resources, IT, Office Administration, and Finance.

The COTO will be expected to leverage initiatives, have exceptional leadership skills, be a problem-solver, and have the ability to drive systems and create process and procedures to impact organizational efficiency. This role requires a people-centric approach that fosters accountability and is supportive and authentic.

The successful COTO will have the ability to be an effective performance coach and create a culture of inclusion and belonging.

Key Responsibilities

Human Resources

  • Lead all aspects of HR: recruiting, hiring and retention, on-boarding, coaching and training, performance evaluations and off-boarding.
  • Supervise HR Assistant.
  • Diversity/Equity/Inclusion/Belonging: working with staff design and roll out culture-building efforts, staff retreats and celebrations, and training to promote a culture of DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging).
  • Ensure personnel policies are updated, distributed and that there is adherence to all guidelines.
  • Lead Labor-Management committee, NLRB negotiations, and contract compliance and renewal.
  • Hire and onboard regular and temporary staff, fellows, and interns.
  • Oversee staff retention and development in the areas of:
    • performance appraisal;
    • work-plans; and
    • training and development.
  • Oversee grievance procedures, coaching and discipline.
  • Work with staff to enhance organization-wide cultural competency and build a culture of belonging across the organization.
  • Oversee insurance and employee benefit plans, in consultation with the Director of Finance, to ensure the maximization of a cost-effective benefits package.
  • Create and implement training for all departments and staff.

IT and Systems

  • Supervise IT manager.
  • Drive optimal cyber-security including ongoing security review, and own and manage effective IT vendor relationships and service delivery.
  • Oversee and ensure smooth operation of company-wide systems, including setting IT strategy, evaluating and approving solutions, implementation and governance for computers, phones, servers, and all IT-related matters.
  • Lead all initiatives related to security/risk/privacy systems and governance.
  • Ensure department-owned IT is aligned with company-wide systems. Serve as reviewer and approver of new IT requests and implementations.
  • Serve as advisor on security and privacy matters for program staff.
  • Oversee and manage cybersecurity with support from outside vendors.

Office and Facilities

  • Supervise office administrator to ensure the smooth, daily operation of the office.
  • Oversee office matters including office buildout and office moves, renegotiation of lease, coordination of office security;
  • Manage and oversee office security with support from external vendors.
  • Serve as the liaison to the property manager for facilities management.
  • Develop and train staff on various office protocols related to security culture, on an ongoing basis.
  • Manage and provide instruction on office equipment such as network printers, postage machine, key card access;
  • Oversee and manage office and facilities security with support from outside vendors.
  • Work with Finance, Development, the Executive Director and Board, on lease renewal or the purchase of a building in time for the December 2021 ending of the current lease.

Leadership and Strategy

  • Participate in key decisions as a member of the executive management team.
  • Oversee and mitigate key elements of the company’s risk profile (Financial, HR, IT, Operations).
  • Collaborate with the Executive Director, Board, and Senior staff to facilitate processes to build consensus re: strategic direction.
  • Hire and manage staff to ensure effective HR, IT, and Office Operations.
  • Manage any third parties to which HR, IT and Operations have been outsourced.
  • Special projects and other tasks as assigned by the Executive Director.
Candidate Profile

The ideal COTO will be a sincere and approachable people-oriented person who can effectively engage with multiple stakeholders. High energy and an open mind as well as superb communication skills are critical to this role. Highlights are as follows:

Core Competencies

  • Comfortable with flexing and evolving responsibilities – willing to “jump in” where needed and lead and participate in decision-making and action.
  • Strong solutions orientation and problem-solving skills.
  • Exceptional project manager.
  • High Emotional Intelligence skills.
  • Enthusiastic organization builder; energetic and enjoys meeting the challenges of creating an effective organization.
  • Ability to turn vision into strategic execution.
  • Growth experience in an operating role.
  • Proven ability to create an environment that supports the continued professional development of staff, recognizing people as key strategic assets, and ensuring a workforce reflecting the diversity of all constituencies and partners.
  • Ability to analyze information, evaluate options, and think and plan strategically.
  • Capacity to ensure compliance with applicable laws, regulations, rules and policies for the organization.
  • Commitment to diversity and inclusion. Respect for differences in race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstances.
  • Relationship builder; fosters an atmosphere of discussion and collaboration between colleagues.
  • A sense of humor and is fun to work with.
  • Engenders immediate trust.

Experience and Qualifications

While we will consider a broad range of backgrounds, the ideal candidate would have the following qualifications/experience:

  • A minimum of a Bachelor’s in Business Administration or related field. A Master’s degree in Business Administration or Social Work is preferred.
  • At least 7 years nonprofit managerial experience with organizations with operating budgets greater than $3 million.
  • Strong interpersonal and adaptive leadership skills.
  • Proven business and financial acumen.
  • A systems thinker with proven experience in managing technology and systems related issues.
  • Proven commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging as well as cross-cultural competency.
  • The ability to influence and motivate easy interaction, rapid adaptation, and strong aptitude for fostering healthy team culture.
  • Strong belief in the ACLU’s work and mission, and in preserving and defending the civil rights and individual liberties guaranteed by the US and Massachusetts Constitution and laws.

Koya Leadership Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Maureen Alphonse-Charles and Nadine Coleman are leading this search. To make recommendations or to express your interest in this role please visit this link here or email or All nominations, inquiries, and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners, a member of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit


ACLU Massachusetts is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+, and other underrepresented applicants.