Organization: Chicago Scholars

Location: Chicago, IL

Express Interest

About Chicago Scholars:

Chicago Scholars is a one-of-a-kind 7-year mentoring and leadership development program equipping many of Chicago’s brightest and most driven students from under-resourced communities with the tools and relationships they need to realize their college-to-career dreams and become the city’s top leaders of tomorrow.

Chicago Scholars is transforming the leadership landscape of Chicago by resolving the fundamental barriers to success for academically driven, first generation college students from under-resourced communities. Through college counseling, mentoring, and by providing a supportive community through each phase of their programs, the organization ensures that its Scholars realize their full potential as students and leaders.

The organization’s primary programmatic objectives for the Scholars include:

  • Enrolling and matriculating to the most selective colleges that match the Scholar’s talents and fit their abilities;
  • Persisting through college to graduation; and
  • Transitioning successfully into careers or post-graduate programs.

To support these objectives, Chicago Scholars’ program model is built on three phases:

  • College Access: Launch including adult mentoring, individual college counseling, college access workshops, early access workshops, early access to college admission partners;
  • College Persistence: Lift including one-on-one peer mentoring, college transition workshops and webinars, and financial, academic and social resources; and
  • College to Career: Lead including one-on-one career mentoring, access to career exploration workshops, job shadowing and internships and networking and job opportunities.

Each phase includes information, access, and mentoring components that correspond to students’ needs as they make the transitions from high school to college, from freshman year to college graduation, and from college to career.

Today, Chicago Scholars is the largest college access and success program in Chicago serving more than 2,400 Scholars. Committed to moving the dial for Chicago’s youth, the organization works to develop deep collaborations with community based organizations and has a national network of more than 175 selective and most selective college and university partners.

Currently, 88% of Chicago Scholars graduate college within 6 years. Per the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research, only 49% of their peers earn a degree within 6 years. Upon graduation, Chicago Scholars move into leadership positions across Chicago, helping to drive the economic future of their communities and our thriving city.

Chicago Scholars is at a particularly exciting and critical juncture. Due to the success of the program, they have recently received support to expand their impact to serve 675 incoming students and a total student body of 4,500 by FY19.

For more information on Chicago Scholars, please visit

The Opportunity:

As Chicago Scholars continues its growth trajectory, the organization is in need of a motivated and adaptable individual to support the CEO and Senior Management Team as the President & Chief of Staff (Chief of Staff).

Reporting to CEO, Dominique Jordan Turner, the Chief of Staff will provide support with the goal of ensuring that Chicago Scholars achieves its ambitious strategic objectives. The Chief of Staff will serve as a strategist, consultant, and key implementer whose work will allow the CEO and her Senior Management Team to function at the highest levels through streamlining activities, communications, and projects as well as facilitating effective decision-making at all levels.

This is not an administrative role; it is a highly strategic and facilitative one that requires a combination of focus and flexibility, as well as a willingness to play an active, behind-the-scenes role. As the CEO’s ‘trusted counsel’, the role requires a highly resourceful individual with strong emotional intelligence, self-motivation, and strong analytical skills. The Chief of Staff will assist the CEO with strategic priorities, and monitor tasks related to execution and implementation of organizational goals.

The Chief of Staff will be an internally facing leader contributing to the success of the organization. As a strategist, consultant and implementer, the Chief of Staff will help turn vision and strategy into reality and handle day to day management of personnel enabling the CEO to focus on growing the organization. The Chief of Staff will have direct management responsibilities for the internal functions of the organization including, but not limited to programming, operations and finance.

A results-oriented management professional, the Chief of Staff will have tremendous impact by focusing on the refinement and optimization of day-to-day operations through the organization. S/he will be charged with establishing and implementing internal systems and processes to drive efficiency, effectiveness, collaboration and continuous improvement.

The ideal candidate will be an energetic and detailed-oriented leader who is able to effectively manage and empower people to achieve results. S/he must be a continuous learner who has a demonstrated commitment and investment in teaching others. The Chief of Staff will have a strong work ethic, a commitment to clear goals and measurable outcomes, an ability to learn quickly and work well in teams, and have a passion for the vision, mission, and strategies of Chicago Scholars.

Key Responsibilities Include:

  • Acting as an advisor to the CEO and Senior Management Team;
  • Promoting a culture of high performance and continuous improvement that values learning and a commitment to quality;
  • Championing a spirit of collaboration and open communications across all organizational departments and operations to advance organizational goals and engender trust among the staff;
  • Managing, updating and executing on the strategic business plan in coordination with the CEO;
  • Coordinating the execution of strategic projects and initiatives;
  • Analyzing key data, surveys and reports to identify risks and opportunities;
  • Addressing any culture/personnel issues and keeping the CEO abreast of organizational climate; and
  • Establishing strategies for succession planning.

Candidate Profile:

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

Leading Through Influence and Relationship Building

The Chief of Staff will be skilled at building effective relationships at multiple levels within a dynamic environment. S/he will have demonstrated the ability to quickly build trust and credibility with people. The Chief of Staff will have a natural inclination for developing strong relationships and networks. It is imperative that s/he is an excellent and persuasive communicator with exceptional written, oral, interpersonal and presentation skills, and the ability to foster an atmosphere of collaboration and partnership across the organization. To this end, the Chief of Staff will be a catalyst for change and growth inspiring others to think entrepreneurially and inject new ideas. Possessing a strong sense of confidence and a style that will resonate with the Chicago Scholars team, s/he will help to develop and retain a talented staff.

An Action-Oriented Leader with Strong Execution Skills

The Chief of Staff will have a proven record of converting strategy into effective execution. S/he will be a detail-oriented individual who functions well in a fast-paced environment. The Chief of Staff will have experience affecting change in an organization, strong organizational and process management skills and a strong ability to collaborate and create efficiencies across departments. S/he will be an assertive and results-oriented leader with the ability to translate Chicago’s Scholars priorities and goals into clear objectives for the Senior Management Team and staff. The Chief of Staff will be a builder with the ability to set priorities decisively, delegate responsibilities, assure accountability and allocate resources to ensure results.

Business Acumen

The Chief of Staff will be an intelligent self-starter and finisher who is resourceful and entrepreneurial, yet team oriented. A tactical executor, s/he will have a strong data and analysis orientation and a proven ability to use metrics to drive decisions and achieves strategic objectives. With the ability to engender trust, honesty and integrity, the Chief of Staff’s management style will be organized and efficient while at the same time inclusive, allowing for the building of consensus and recognition of teamwork. S/he will partner closely with the CEO and the Senior Management Team and will be a calm and proactive communicator at all times.

Passion for the Mission

The Chief of Staff will embody Chicago Scholar’s values and mission to support and develop the city’s youth as the leaders that will move Chicago forward. S/he will want to be part of a hard-working, collaborative, fun and values-driven team. The Chief of Staff will embrace the organization’s culture, while continually innovating to help expand its brand and reach. S/he will lead by example, understanding that at times, a sense of humor is an essential quality. The Chief of Staff will be an empathic, confident leader who treats others with respect. S/he will be an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics and values; someone who can be trusted without reservation.

A bachelor’s degree is required; MBA preferred.


Marissa Martin and Chartise Clark of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials here or email Marissa and Chartise directly at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

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

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with mission-driven organizations, institutions of higher education 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, visit