Organization: Providence Talks

Location: Providence, RI

Express Interest!


Providence Talks was the Grand Prize winner of the 2012-2013 Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge and as such, is funded with a $5 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. The Mayors Challenge is a national competition among cities for innovative, replicable solutions to major challenges faced by cities (for more information on the Mayors Challenge and Providence Talks, see

Providence Talks is a first of its kind early childhood intervention designed to close the “thirty million word gap” on a citywide scale and dramatically raise the percentage of children entering kindergarten ready to succeed. Specifically, Providence Talks combines new technology with existing home visitation services to empower parents and caretakers with the tools and coaching necessary to ensure their child enters kindergarten ready to achieve at extraordinary levels.

Providence Talks is currently seeking an entrepreneurial and dynamic Executive Director to proactively move Providence Talks from its pilot phase to full implementation. The Executive Director will be responsible for all organizational management and will negotiate and manage contracts with multiple vendors and non-profit agencies for provision of the services for Providence Talks. The Executive Director will scale Providence Talks to citywide implementation over the course of the next two years. This is an exciting opportunity to lead an initiative that is expected to be a national model and point of reference for replication by other cities.


Working in close collaboration with the a variety of community stakeholders, including city government, Brown University, LENA Research Foundation and a national advisory board, specific duties of the Executive Director shall include but not be limited to:

  • Assessing lessons learned from the Providence Talks pilot and determining how best to modify the delivery of the model to meet program objectives
  • Overseeing implementation of the full Providence Talks program, which includes overall project management, performance management, and interfacing with key stakeholders
  • Negotiating and managing contracts for key service providers for Providence Talks, including but not limited to the grant fund’s fiscal agent, the technology provider, the independent evaluator, social service agencies providing home visitation services, and other agencies providing center-based services
  • Conducting competitive processes for the selection of service providers to administer Providence Talks’ intervention, including the development of a sustainable, replicable reimbursement rate
  • In collaboration with Brown University, the independent evaluator, designing and implementing a program evaluation that tracks participants’ short- and long-term outcomes
  • Developing an overall strategy for Providence Talks’ sustainability, including a plan that addresses organizational transition and long-term funding
  • Managing a high volume of communications needs, including national and international press inquiries as well as inquiries from other cities and organizations interested in the project’s development and potential replication
  • Preparing formal reports on project milestones, including quarterly reports on project metrics and milestones and financial reports on grant disbursement and expenditures.
  • Reviewing and updating, as necessary, the project implementation plan for Providence Talks
  • Managing – and reviewing and updating, as necessary – the project budget for implementation of Providence Talks both in a pilot phase (ongoing this spring) and for full city-wide rollout after the completion of the pilot phase
  • Working with the Advisory Board to build support and incorporate members’ expertise
  • Representing Providence Talks and its program to the external world
  • Assuring compliance with all terms and conditions of the Grant Agreement with Bloomberg Family Foundations and the provision of weekly updates on progress


The successful candidate will be a self-starter as well as an inspiring and accomplished leader, committed to results-oriented and data-driven management. The successful candidate will be able to lead a team and communicate with different stakeholders and members of the community. The successful candidate will be able to demonstrate a track record of managing multiple simultaneous priorities, managing in an environment of uncertainty and motivating staff toward a common mission.

Specific qualifications include:

  • Minimum 10 years of experience, preferably 15+ in positions of increasing responsibility in managing high-visibility projects in a quick-turnaround environment
  • Advanced degree in a relevant field, including but not limited to business administration, public policy, public administration, law or education
  • Track record of successful project management, including managing multiple staff reports and outside vendors as well as a comparably sized program budget,
  • Ability to make decisions in a fast-paced work environment with an entrepreneurial spirit, often with incomplete or imperfect information, taking appropriate risk to keep the project moving forward toward goals
  • Experience negotiating contracts and overseeing or working with a legal team to craft agreements with vendors
  • Experience managing large grants, including the preparation of regular reports on financial and programmatic outcomes
  • Demonstrated commitment to working with diverse populations in low-income communities
  • Experience working in and/or a high degree of comfort working with the public sector
  • Experience with or comfort with technology implementation projects
  • Ability to deliver results on time and on budget
  • Proven ability to develop productive partnerships to achieve a common goal
  • Comfort and confidence managing a team in a fast-moving and uncertain environment
  • Passion, idealism, and a commitment to the mission of Providence Talks

Compensation & Benefits:

Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.

To Apply:

Providence Talks has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume to Erin Reedy at

Providence Talks is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBT applicants.

About Providence Talks:

Providence Talks proposes to do something never before attempted at the municipal level: to intervene at a critically early age, from birth to age four, to close the 30 million word gap at a city-wide scale and ensure that every child in Providence enters a kindergarten classroom ready to achieve at extraordinary levels. The program is a free, confidential and completely program where families receive access to a “word pedometer” and bi-weekly coaching from trained home visitors. Using technology and existing relationships with service providers, Providence Talks aims to ensure that all children in Providence enter school ready to succeed. For more information about Providence Talks visit

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with non-profits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit