San Francisco Bay Area, CA   |   February 7, 2020


IGNITE is a national, non-partisan 501c3 that is building a movement of young women who are ready and eager to become the next generation of political leaders. We offer civic and political education, exposure to elected women, hands on training and work opportunities, and a peer network of women who support each other’s aspirations.

IGNITE seeks a principled, collaborative, and innovative senior leader to be the next Controller. Reporting to the President, the Controller is a 50% FTE position responsible for collaborating with individuals across the organization at all levels and roles to ensure IGNITE’s financial policies, procedures, operations, and practices are effective and efficient in a highly decentralized environment. The Controller is the Chief Accounting Officer at IGNITE and will play an important leadership role in guiding the effective, efficient, and strategic use of resources to support IGNITE’s mission.

IGNITE has a national office (located in Oakland, CA) that is responsible for:

  • Developing and codifying IGNITE programs, packaging them and making them digitally available.
  • Developing a national communications calendar (including social media) and managing all communications.
  • Developing national partnerships.
  • Working in partnership with staff to prepare individual, foundation and corporate proposals.
  • Working in partnership with staff to raise individual contributions from supporters across the US.
  • Securing corporate sponsorships to support national-scale work.
  • Developing annual budgets and managing all agency resources.

IGNITE staff are located across the country and work cross-functionally on regional and content-area teams. While this position reports to the President, s/he will need to maintain positive, collaborative relationships with program staff in other parts of the country and be comfortable collaborating virtually. The Controller will report to the President and work in conjunction with state and national staff to advance IGNITE’s mission.

This position will be based in the Bay Area. For more information on IGNITE, please visit

The Opportunity

The Controller reports to the President and is responsible for developing, disseminating, and maintaining financial policies, business processes, and supporting best practices necessary to ensure high quality stewardship and management of IGNITE’s financial resources in its decentralized environment. The Controller provides leadership, coaching, direction, and development to IGNITE’s full-time staff.

The Controller serves as the Chief Accounting Officer and has direct management oversight for a wide range of institutional financial functions, including accounting (general accounting, gifts, endowments, grants, capital projects), financial reporting, tax planning and compliance, internal costing, treasury operations, audit preparation, and policies and financial compliance. The Controller is responsible for engaging and collaborating with constituents across the University to ensure the University’s financial policies, procedures, operations, and practices are appropriate, effective, and efficient in a highly decentralized environment. As a key member of the leadership team, the Controller also plays a role in the direction and successful delivery of all financial services at IGNITE.

This an exciting time to be at IGNITE, as we are experiencing rapid growth and there are exciting projects underway in which the Controller will participate and contribute to in many ways.

As a member of the senior leadership team, the Controller supports IGNITE’s mission by consistently providing high quality, cost-effective services, information, and advice. In this senior leadership role, the Controller plays a key role in supporting the President’s overall goals for finance:

  • Provide high quality, reliable day-to-day financial services, information and advice;
  • Focus on learning, improving, and continuing to optimize critical business systems;
  • Develop a long-range financial plan to advance IGNITE’s priorities;
  • Complete all aspects of the annual performance management cycle in a high quality and timely manner; and
  • Build a positive work environment.

Examples of key responsibilities and opportunities for the Controller include the following:

  • Address accounting, internal control, and reporting issues that surfaced during and since the completion of the last organizational audit;
  • Develop and implement financial reporting solutions to meet the needs of IGNITE, enabling effective decision making;
  • Determine what types of additional accounting and internal control training are needed in the operating environment and sponsor its delivery;
  • Ensure the successful completion of a comprehensive plan that addresses accounting, processing, and compliance issues and risks;
  • Implement procedures required to comply with the new accounting and reporting standards on revenue recognition;
  • Manage federal tax examinations, and federal and state inquires, address provisions of any new tax and other laws;
  • Identify, prioritize, and implement opportunities for improving key financial management practices while clarifying roles and responsibilities within IGNITE;
  • Develop, refine, and maintain appropriate financial and internal control systems that ensure protection of IGNITE resources and compliance with local, state, and federal laws and regulations as well as generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and best accounting practices; enforce and communicate these effectively and in a variety of ways;
  • Monitor financial and internal controls including, but not limited to the timely performance, documentation and review of account reconciliations;
  • Maintain the general ledger system and chart of accounts; ensure that any accounting issues are promptly identified and resolved;
  • Ensure the accuracy and timeliness of all financial reporting; prepare IGNITE’s annual financial statements; work closely with IGNITE’s external auditors; meet other external reporting requirements; prepare IGNITE’s various tax filings (IRS Forms 990 and 990T; state tax returns; Lower Merion Business Privilege Tax; sales tax, employment taxes, etc.);
  • Keep up-to-date on changes, potential changes, and trends in tax laws, accounting standards, and government regulations, guidelines and enforcement; proactively and strategically communicate those developments and their projected impact on IGNITE;
  • Act as primary liaison to the Audit Committee of the Board, responsible for meeting minutes, reporting on financial results and risk, preparing special written reports, and engaging in discussion with the Finance Committee;
  • Coordinate the review, selection, testing, implementation, and maintenance of all software utilized for financial reporting and other functions.
Candidate Profile

IGNITE is seeking a committed and experienced accounting and business professional with proven leadership skills in a similarly complex environment with progressively responsible experience in controller and financial leadership roles. The successful candidate will be an effective people and project manager, a collaborative team player, a strong communicator, an experienced financial technician, and possess the ability to establish strong personal relationships with internal and external stakeholders while serving as an articulate spokesperson and representative of IGNITE.

The Controller will lead and facilitate innovative business process change, identifying ways to leverage the best use of IGNITE’s resources while maintaining exceptional stewardship through responsible and ethical management and accounting practices. The Controller must be an experienced change leader with the ability to evaluate organizational structures and personnel and implement process improvements. The selected candidate will be a consensus builder with vision, be comfortable facilitating change and dealing with ambiguity, demonstrate a proven ability to engage various constituencies in difficult and challenging decisions, and have an appreciation for the mission, traditions, and culture of IGNITE.

The successful candidate will be well grounded in accounting rules and procedures, with a proven track record of working across the enterprise to solve problems and advance an institution’s goals. The successful candidate will have accounting and financial systems experience and the creative ability to develop fiscal policies, procedures, and systems within the larger context of a strategic financial and business planning environment.

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

Exceptional personal qualities:
  • A reputation for integrity and the highest ethical standards;
  • Sound judgment, enthusiasm for the mission;
  • Creativity in solving problems; and
  • Collegial style and keen desire to be an integral part of the IGNITE community.


  • Demonstrated ability and interest to be a trusted leader, ambassador, and catalyst for change in a fast paced, dynamic, and decentralized environment, respecting all constituent groups using current and proven best practices for effective financial operations;
  • Proven experience in establishing and maintaining strong professional relationships; and
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills and demonstrated success in networking and cross-functional collaboration.

Effective Communicator

  • Able to communicate effectively at all levels of the organization including senior management and the board of directors;
  • A sophisticated understanding of how best to communicate policy and procedures across IGNITE;
  • Ability to present complex financial issues and ideas effectively orally and in writing with well-articulated analyses, reports, and issues appropriate for varied audiences including senior administration and the board.

Intellectually inquisitive

  • Knowledgeable about, and open to, business practices that support IGNITE in a higher quality and more cost-effective manner.

Strategic agility

  • Able to see ahead clearly, anticipating and aware of future consequences and trends. Able to create competitive and breakthrough strategies and plans.

Systems and technology

  • Functional knowledge of information technology and its appropriate use for effective and efficient delivery of administrative management services;
  • Demonstrated success in deploying innovative technological solutions, and strong understanding of the use and potential of technology in financial management;
  • Well–organized;
  • Able to ensure all deliverables are met on time with excellent products both in terms of what and how work is accomplished while anticipating implementation or workload issues related to emerging developments. Ability to multi-task, while also being highly detail-oriented is important.
  • A minimum of 8 years of experience as an accounting professional, including senior management experience; strong preference for experience in higher education but extensive experience with a similar non-profit or a public accounting firm with a higher education client base may be considered;
  • Demonstrated experience in the oversight of the general ledger, accounts receivable, accounts payable, purchasing, payroll, grants, plant/capital accounting, and fund accounting;
  • Knowledge of and experience with accounting information and ERP systems with a preference for experience with such a system’s implementation, upgrade and/or re-design; proficiency with Microsoft Office applications, email, and other productivity and communication tools;
  • Ability to work collaboratively and to effectively lead staff; committed to the value of diversity in the workplace;
  • Strong organizational, analytical, interpersonal, problem-solving, and customer service skills; ability to effectively communicate orally and in writing complex financial information to constituencies with varied levels of financial expertise;
  • Integrity, the highest ethical standards and the ability to handle confidential information appropriately; and
  • High level of professionalism, motivation, enthusiasm, initiative, self-direction, and the ability to work under pressure and manage numerous deadlines simultaneously.
Education and experience
  • A bachelor’s degree is required, and a CPA certification is strongly preferred
  • An MBA or a master’s degree in accountancy is preferred
  • A minimum of 10 years progressively responsible business and accounting leadership experience in a similarly complex environment including experience in a central control function overseeing multiple financial and operational areas is required
  • Higher education industry knowledge and knowledge of the principles and techniques in higher education and/or governmental financial management practices and standards is a plus
Compensation & Benefits
  • Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.

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

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

For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit