Chief Operating Officer

Chief Operating Officer

JCFS Chicago

Chicago, IL   |   March 27, 2020

About JCFS Chicago

JCFS Chicago is a nonprofit social service organization dedicated to providing help, healing and caring services infused with Jewish values to strengthen lives in the community. JCFS helps more than 34,000 people annually by offering expert, individualized help to support people of all ages and abilities as they strive to live successfully in their community.

JCFS maintains seven locations and offers services and supports throughout the Chicagoland area. The services of JCFS are as diverse as the people who benefit from them: the organization’s talented and diverse workforce helps children and families regardless of religion, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, ability, gender, sex or sexual orientation.

The JCFS family of services include:

  • Services for children and young adults including education at the 120-student Knapp therapeutic day school and yeshiva, speech/language/occupational therapy, therapeutic preschool, counseling, and psychological testing and evaluation
  • Services for individuals such as counseling (individual and family), support groups, marriage counseling, divorce mediation, career services and training.
  • Services for those with disabilities and their families include community-based group living, support and assistance for independent living, specialized camps, customized employment, job training and legal advocacy.
    Immigration and citizenship services
  • Specialized foster care, case management and family support. Jewish community programs such as addiction-related services, abuse prevention, spiritual support and connections to JCFS services through community partnerships

The organization’s strategic plan boldly sets out the priorities necessary to adapt to ever changing client needs and strengthen organizational capacity to thrive well into the future.

The plan is based on three pillars:

  • Impact – JCFS programs and services are mission-driven, targeted and recognized as making a meaningful difference for the people and communities they serve.
  • Leadership – JCFS leadership and expertise strengthen organizational capacity to meet the Jewish community’s and the Chicago area’s human service needs, today and into the future.
  • Sustainability – JCFS’ funding model and infrastructure sustain client services and programs, respond to emerging needs and value donors as partners in their mission.

With annual revenue of over $38 million, JCFS is poised for an exciting new chapter. Longtime leader for JCFS, Stacey Shor, was recently appointed to serve as the organization’s next President & CEO. Assuming the responsibility of her new role July 1, 2020, Stacey will continue to lead in broadening JCFS’s impact in the Chicago community.

JCFS’s intended impact focuses on enhancing emotional well-being for adults, children, teens and families and maximizing opportunities for individuals living with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

For more information about JCFS Chicago, visit

The Chief Operating Officer Opportunity

JCFS is seeking an experienced senior executive to serve as its next Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO). The COO should have a history of collaborating for success with a strong staff, management team and engaged board of directors to build on past organization achievement, continuing the support of individuals and families, and identifying and implementing programs to efficiently and effectively support new needs identified in the community.

Reporting directly to and partnering with the Chief Executive Officer, JCFS’s COO will manage a team of two Associate Vice Presidents and an Assistant Vice President, the Center for Practice Excellence and Continuous Quality Improvement functions, indirectly oversee 350 staff and the community of volunteers. The successful candidate will have a commitment to empowering staff at all levels to take ownership of JCFS’ work, leveraging all of the organization’s significant human resources in meeting their mission.

The COO will continue to develop a strong and inclusive workplace environment for JCFS and should be prepared to support a culture of Courageous Authenticity with a spirit of generosity. Courageous Authenticity measures all leadership and staff’s willingness, one-on-one and in groups, to take tough stands, bring up the “un-discussables”, openly deal with relationship problems, and share personal feelings/vulnerabilities about a situation. The COO is also expected to have direct service experience working with vulnerable populations.

Key responsibilities include:

Leadership and Executive Management

  • Articulate and model a compelling and inspiring vision of JCFS’ purpose and future that all staff can visualize and act upon to empower our clients to improve their lives.
  • Build and maintain effective and trusting relationships with JCFS Chicago’s management, staff and volunteers.
  • Empower staff to innovate, maximize productivity, ensure professional excellence, maintain high-quality standards, and promote teamwork.
  • Promote a culture of professional growth within JCFS Chicago through effective succession planning, coaching, mentoring, and professional development.

Strategic Thinking and Planning

  • With senior leadership, develop and recommend strategic multi-year plans to the Board of Directors. Look ahead for future trends that will influence planning, operations, services provided and funding.
  • Generate broad support for the strategy and manage the process to engage staff in the plan.
  • Lead the planning to identify future therapeutic, habilitative and prevention/educational needs of our community, as well as the financial resources needed to meet those needs.
  • Guide the development of new ideas for growing and diversifying revenue streams to ensure fiscal sustainability of needed programs.


  • As a member of the Executive Team, ensure the financial sustainability of JCFS and manage the organization’s annual budget of $38+ million in coordination with the CFO.
  • Lead the operational and daily management of direct service and other departments.
  • Drive best-in-class, nonprofit management practices to ensure JCFS has the people, infrastructure and systems to maintain and enhance the organization’s role as a leader in the human services field.
  • Cultivate the values and systems necessary to support an integrated and client-centered culture.
  • Ensure that there are ongoing critical assessment systems in place to actively confirm that existing programs are meeting the needs of our community and the manner in which we are employing our discretionary financial resources; i.e., growing, modifying, or sunsetting programs is appropriate.

Community and Donor Relations

  • Support the Chief Development Officer by building and sustaining relationships with select donors and foundation funders.
  • Serve as an external spokesperson for JCFS Chicago in the greater Chicagoland Jewish Community, broader local community, and the Illinois and national health and human services sector.
  • Build and sustain excellent relationships with community leaders, State and Federal agencies, elected officials and policy makers, harnessing their networks in support of JCFS Chicago.
  • Work in close partnership with the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago to ensure that JCFS is responsive to community needs, leverages resources, and ensures maximum partnership and support.

Board Liaison

  • Cultivate a strong, collaborative working relationship with the Board, ensuring open communication regarding financial goals, programmatic issues, new endeavors and organizational challenges.
  • Identify, assess, and inform the Board of Directors of internal and external issues affecting JCFS.

The ideal candidate will be an energetic and detail­minded leader who is able to effectively manage and empower people to achieve results. The COO will be a mission-focused, seasoned, strategic and process-minded leader with experience leading an organization through change, improving efficiency and streamlining processes, and developing a performance culture among a group of diverse, talented individuals. Importantly, the successful COO will have the skills, sensitivity and personal confidence to tap into the power that each member of the team brings to this mission. While it is essential that the COO be capable of refining and expanding efficient and effective systems to increase the productivity of the programs, it is also critical that this leader retains commitment to authenticity and vulnerability that drives JCFS’s work.

Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will have the following personal qualities and characteristics:

Passion for the Mission

The COO will embody the values and mission of JCFS and as a result, will inspire and motivate others. An empathic, confident leader, the COO will treat others with respect. The COO will embrace the history and culture of JCFS, which is integral to gaining credibility with the Board, senior leadership, staff, clients and community. Leading by example, the COO will understand that at times, empathy is an essential quality. The ideal candidate will have a vision for the social services landscape and will have an eye consistently focused on the future and how to best adapt the organization to its changing environment. The COO will have a collaborative spirit and will be a charismatic leader who treats all with respect. The ideal candidate will be an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics and values; someone who can be trusted without reservation.

Operational Acumen and Results Orientation

A proven leader, the COO will also bring the ability and confidence to ensure that JCFS’s operations are run efficiently and effectively. The COO will cultivate the values and systems necessary to support a complex, client-centered culture. This leader will have the ability to conceptualize and analyze problems and solutions in a proactive, constructive and creative manner that will result in improved performance across the organization and ensure that there are ongoing critical assessment systems in place to actively confirm that existing programs are meeting the needs of the community.

Relationship Builder and Collaborative Leader

The COO must be skilled at building effective relationships at multiple levels within a complex environment. The various external constituencies include but are not limited to: State and Federal agencies, elected officials, and a range of partner organizations and institutions. The COO will have the ability to establish rapport and cultivate relationships across all levels of the organization and empower a diverse staff and external constituents to deliver results. The COO will be inclusive, allowing for the building of consensus and recognition of teamwork. It is imperative that the COO fosters an atmosphere of collaboration and partnership across the organization. The COO will understand the need to learn the history and culture of JCFS and appreciate the complexities it faces today before making recommendations. The COO will have an exceptional capacity for managing and leading people, including building the capabilities of a driven, ambitious and diverse team. The COO will develop and empower top-notch leaders, cultivate entrepreneurship, and learn the strengths and weaknesses of the team to put all staff in a position to succeed.


Koya Leadership Partners has been exclusively retained for this search. Marissa Martin and George Theotokatos are leading the engagement. To express your interest in this role, please submit your materials here or email the team directly at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

JCFS Chicago is committed to serving the needs of the diverse Chicago metropolitan area. Accredited by COA, Charter member of CWLA, Licensed by DCFS. JCFS Chicago is an Equal Opportunity Employer, and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants.

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.

Koya is an equal opportunity employer fully committed to creating an environment and team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, styles, and experiences. We encourage all to apply because we believe a diversity of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.

For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit