Vice President, Strategy and Operations

Vice President, Strategy and Operations

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Redwood City, CA   |   April 20, 2020

About Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Founded by Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg in 2015, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) is a new kind of philanthropy that’s leveraging technology to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges – from eradicating disease, to improving education, to reforming the criminal justice system.

Across three core Initiative focus areas of Science, Education, and Justice and Opportunity, CZI is pairing engineering with grantmaking, impact investing, policy work, and movement building to help build an inclusive, just, and healthy future for everyone.

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Values

CZI believes they can help build a future for everyone.

  • They aim to be daring, but humble: They look for bold ideas – regardless of structure and stage – and help them scale by pairing engineers with subject matter experts to build tools that accelerate the pace of social progress.
  • They want to learn fast but build for the long-term: They want to iterate fast and help bring new solutions to the table, but also realize that important breakthroughs often take decades, or even centuries.
  • Stay close to the real problems: They engage directly in the communities they serve because no one understands our society’s challenges like those who live them every day.

CZI’s success is dependent on building teams that include people from different backgrounds and experiences who can challenge each other’s assumptions with fresh perspectives. To that end, they look for a diverse pool of applicants, including those from historically marginalized groups – women, people with disabilities, people of color, formerly incarcerated people, people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or gender nonconforming, first and second generation immigrants, veterans, and people from different socioeconomic backgrounds.

For more information on the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, please visit

The Opportunity

CZI’s Justice and Opportunity Initiative (JOI) seeks an experienced strategic and operational leader to propel high-impact projects and operational initiatives to completion across their portfolios. The Initiative includes programmatic focus on Criminal Justice Reform, Housing Affordability, Immigration, Advocacy, and Movement Capacity Building. Under the supervision of the Head of JOI, this position will help develop and drive overall program strategy, lead execution of their impact evaluation process to harden their strategy, and design and build a more efficient internal operating model aligned to maximize the impact of CZI’s ongoing grantmaking and related work.

This individual will ideally bring a deep understanding of public policy and advocacy in order to forge and strengthen relationships with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders and develop and implement effective strategies that deliver measurable impact.

Emphasizing management over personal execution, the right person in this role will rally the team to deliver clear results on CZI’s programmatic north stars. This person will drive and execute against CZI’s strategic roadmap and will be a co-owner, co-creator, and steward of JOI’s overall strategy, applying their keen instincts for sound policy, business, and management practices. This person will play a key, high-visibility role in a dynamic, cross-functional organization that leverages grantmaking, advocacy, and technology to hasten and deepen social impact efforts across the country.

CZI seeks someone energized by significant organization-wide responsibility, ready to lead in a cross-functional team among organizational leaders who have expertise in engineering, data science, policy, advocacy, grant programs, finance, and behavioral research.

The core responsibilities of the Vice President, Strategy and Operations will include:

General Responsibilities

  • Act as a partner to the Head of JOI and CZI’s senior management team on all issue areas.
  • Maintain an operational focus while developing co-ownership of the Initiative’s overall programmatic goals across multiple programs and issue areas, most of which are national in scope.
  • As a manager and leader at CZI, model resilience in the midst of change or ambiguity; demonstrate excellence in people-management through coaching teammates to succeed, grow and, where appropriate, change course; and infuse diversity, equity, and inclusion in teammates’ personal and organizational leadership.
  • Provide clear, effective day-to-day leadership to drive a unified program vision with a broader cross-functional team who collaborate on Initiative efforts but who do not directly report to this position; these cross-functional collaborators include communications, legal, finance, investments, and technology teammates.

Strategic Program Management (50%)

  • Oversee day-to-day operations of the JOI initiative, including goal-setting, strategy reviews, grantmaking, budgeting, grant processing, contracts, and annual planning, along with program impact evaluation and audience research, in support of program teams. Build and strengthen an internal team of central staff to execute on these operational priorities.
  • Inculcate internal and external-facing Diversity & Inclusion priorities.
  • Ensure responsible financial stewardship and strategic spending across JOI, partnering with Finance and program leaders to set, monitor, and adjust budgets.
  • Oversee grantmaking practice for the Initiative, partnering with program teams and Grants Management.
  • Represent JOI on the CZI Leadership and Operational Leadership teams, engaging and problem-solving on organization-wide issues.
  • Directly manage a strategy and operations team, including managing people managers.
  • Champion team health and professional/career development across JOI, partnering with the People team and people managers to work with staff on career planning and professional development activities.

Strategy, Planning, and Evaluation (20%)

  • Lead preparation for strategic planning and periodic reviews with CZI leadership and the CEO. Synthesize input and expertise from program staff, cross-functional experts, and external advisors into CZI’s strategic plans.
  • Develop data-driven cases to support and interrogate key investments and program activities.
  • Lead the planning, execution, and evaluation of large, cross-functional strategic initiatives across JOI.
  • Partner with program and functional leaders to translate strategies and priorities into an organizational plan that connects effective OKRs with the resources required. Rally stakeholders across CZI to enable informed decisions with the CEO, Initiative heads, and other leaders at CZI.

Field-Building and Partnerships (30%)

  • Outside of CZI, connect with other leaders in philanthropy, social impact, advocacy, and CZI programmatic fields to inform Initiative strategy, share insights, and promote collaboration as appropriate to build-up the field.
  • Represent CZI to partners in the public, private, and philanthropic sectors at the highest levels, ready to engage as a senior CZI spokesperson on JOI issues in public and to the press.
Candidate Profile

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

  • 8-10+ years of leadership experience executing major initiatives or projects in a complex organization – public, private, or nonprofit organization – is preferred. CZI has a strong preference for a candidate with experience in leading or executing initiatives with significant public policy and/or advocacy goals. CZI values direct/lived experience within JOI’s issue areas (housing, immigration, criminal justice), and encourages potential candidates with lived experience to apply.
  • Past experience that reflects a personal commitment to service, which may include, for example, public service experience, experience serving a nonprofit or community organization, military service, or other forms of service (whether formalized or not) to one’s community.
  • At least 5 years of experience as a people manager, with preference for leaders who have directly managed large teams and have managed other people-managers.
  • A proven track record of designing, improving, and evaluating complex operational processes across an organization, including building and empowering teams to execute operational priorities.
  • Extensive experience in managing a large, complex organizational budget, with attention to excellent financial planning, forecasting, and stewardship.
  • Experience using and analyzing data to drive decisions.
  • Exceptional project and time management skills, with the ability to manage and multi-task across multiple projects and competing deadlines.
  • Passion for engaging partners and stakeholders who hold differing viewpoints and values, including passion for working across proverbial ideological or partisan aisles, with the goal of developing a shared vision across a range of public policy issues.
  • Proven ability to navigate complex organizations and processes to deliver results and make decisions in fluid environments with limited information at times.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Comfort communicating virtually and learning new office tools (i.e., Google Apps, Salesforce, Slack).
  • Professional or conversational fluency in a language other than English is viewed favorably.
  • An interest in or skills related to data science, engineering, evaluation, grantmaking, and/or philanthropic processes would be a plus.

Koya Leadership Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Molly Brennan and Meghan Franklin are leading this search. To express your interest in this role, please visit this link here. All nominations, inquiries, and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative wants to do their part to dismantle systemic inequality and champion equal opportunity. To that end, CZI seeks to include those from historically marginalized groups – women, people with disabilities, people of color, people who are formerly incarcerated, people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or gender nonconforming, first and second generation immigrants, and people from different socioeconomic backgrounds.

CZI is committed to fair treatment, access, and advancement for all members of the CZI team – from interns to top management. A sense of belonging is important to CZI, so CZI actively fosters a workplace where everyone is and feels welcomed, respected, supported, and valued.

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