Organization: Chicago Public Media

Location: Chicago, IL

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About Chicago Public Media

Chicago Public Media (“CPM”) is one of the largest and most respected public media organizations in the country. With an unparalleled reputation for creativity and innovation across all platforms, CPM provides substantive news and insights, thoughtful conversation and meaningful connections to its diverse audiences throughout the Chicago area, as well as nationally and globally.

Under its new CEO’s leadership, the organization is on an upward trajectory and in the midst of a transformation from a traditional broadcast radio station to a digital audio service. Over the past two years the organization’s annual operating budget has grown from $19 million in FY2014 to $24 million in FY2016. In the spring of 2016, CPM launched a new suite of digital products that now extend the reach of its programming through mobile web, mobile apps and tablet devices.  The organization is beginning the initial phases of its next strategic plan with the hopes of doubling the institution’s reach and impact by 2020.

Individual Giving represents over half of CPM’s total revenues and is the single largest source of funding. In 2016, CPM completed a successful $15.6 million capital campaign and is building its corporate sponsorship and philanthropy capabilities in order to further strengthen and diversify its funding sources. The organization currently employs 110 people.

CPM engages with its listeners and users across multiple platforms, including broadcast radio and a variety of digital platforms. Its flagship station, WBEZ-Chicago (91.5 FM), delivers a weekly listening audience of 600,000 listeners and broadcasts throughout Chicago and the surrounding region. WBEZ (91.5 FM, is a top-performing website and its mobile app allows listeners to fully control their experience through its groundbreaking rePlayer functionality and on-demand platform. WBEZ’s sister service, Vocalo (90.7 FM,, targets a multicultural audience through an urban alternative music format.

CPM has also created three nationally-distributed programs, the award-winning This American Life, Sound Opinions, and Wait, Wait, …Don’t Tell Me!, produced in partnership with NPR. In addition to its radio programming, CPM is also a leader in podcasting – its network of podcasts include: Serial, Nerdette, Curious and City.

With a tradition of journalistic excellence and innovation, and financial stability, CPM is poised to gain market share in a region where private-sector print and broadcast news competitors are facing significant business challenges. CPM is recognized for the breadth and depth of its local reporting, ranging from breaking news coverage to innovative storytelling and enterprise reporting, and through partnerships with NPR, American Public Media and PRX. Throughout the years, the organization has won numerous awards for its journalistic excellence. The organization was awarded the prestigious National Murrow Award for Overall Excellence, several Peabody Awards, PRNDI awards, among many others.

With a strong membership base and consistent funding from a diverse group of corporate, philanthropic, individual and institutional sources, CPM has a solid financial base from which to grow. Chicago Public Media has over 75,000 members who support the organization in fulfilling its public service mission.

For more information on Chicago Public Media, please visit its website.

The Opportunity

Chicago Public Media is seeking an experienced finance executive to serve as the organization’s Vice President of Finance (“VP of Finance”) and lead its strategic finance and accounting functions. Reporting directly to the CEO, the VP of Finance will be an integral partner in an aggressive transformational growth strategy. S/he will also be deeply involved at a strategic and tactical level. The VP of Finance will work as a valued member of the senior leadership team and have a close and effective working relationship with the Board of Directors.

The next finance leader will have the following responsibilities:

  • Plan, develop, organize, implement, direct and evaluate the CPM’s financial function and performance including responsibility for the budgeting, accounting, cash management, investment management, accounts payable, and operations;
  • Lead the annual planning and budgeting process and serve as a strategic partner to Department Heads in the development of budgets, and the annual budget presentation, and monitoring of annual operating and capital budgets;
  • Implement strong measurement processes to facilitate the analysis of financial data and responsible for the preparation of the quarterly board presentations and finance committee presentations;
  • Oversee station’s achievement of budgetary goals and expense goals, prepare monthly financial forecasts, maintain sound internal control and cash management procedures, and ensure the successful completion of the audit and governmental reporting;
  • Direct the preparation of all financial reports, including income statements, balance sheets, tax returns and reports for government regulatory agencies;
  • Coordinate with the independent auditors on preparation of financial statements, tax returns, internal controls and all documents necessary to support the annual internal audit process;
  • Provide oversight for all investments and investment policies;
  • Staff and support the following Board committees: Finance Committee, the Audit Committee and the Investment Committee;
  • Serve as Assistant Treasurer and ensures that all responsibilities of the Treasurer are fulfilled;
  • Direct all banking relationships, including negotiation of letter of credit and debt covenants;
  • Provide leadership role in the financial management and structure of the capital campaign;
  • Negotiate all facilities contract, including the annual equipment maintenance and insurance contracts;
  • Provide timely and accurate analysis of budgets, monthly and quarterly financial trends in order to assist the CEO, the Board and the Management Team in performing their responsibilities;
  • Confer with President and the Management Team to coordinate and prioritize annual planning;
  • Oversee bi-annual internal, CPB compliance process; and
  • Lead a team of seven accounting professionals as a “hands-on” leader and coach.

Candidate Profile

A proven leader with 10+ years of financial management experience, the VP of Finance will be recognized as having the highest standard for financial integrity.

The VP of Finance will possess the following skills, qualities, characteristics and competencies:

Finance Expertise & Business Acumen

Ideal candidates are disciplined in the measurement of strategic objectives and the attendant analysis and adjustment to fine-tune activities toward goal attainment. S/he must be able to do a “deep dive” into the details of the organization with extreme attention to accuracy while staying focused on the big picture. S/he must have a sharp focus on upgrading financial reporting and forecasting, strategic planning and proactive business modeling. S/he must be able to conceptualize and analyze both problems and solutions, identifying key metrics that will help the entire organization to improve performance towards achieving the mission. S/he will have strong computer skills including accounting software and Excel and have excellent analytical ability.

Building Relationships and Using Influence

The VP of Finance will have excellent verbal and written communication skills and a proven ability to work well in groups and teams at all levels of the organization. S/he must be extremely comfortable in presenting financial information to, and developing strong relationships with, organizational leadership and the Board of Directors. The VP of Finance must lead by example and will do what it takes to get the job done. It is imperative that s/he is able to treat others with respect and always stay true to the mission and goals of the institution. S/he must possess unquestioned integrity, ethics and values, a leader who can be trusted without reservation.

Leading Teams

S/he will have a successful track record of leading and developing high performing teams committed to the mission and goals of the institution. This individual will foster trust and collaboration among team members and will possess the ability to manage through change with flexibility and poise. S/he will effectively establish rapport and cultivate relationships across all levels and empower a diverse staff to deliver results. S/he will embrace the culture of CPM, while always having an eye on how to foster best-in-class practices in a productive manner with colleagues.

Passion for the Mission

The VP of Finance will have an appreciation for the mission of public media and enjoy the challenge of transforming an institution from a traditional radio broadcaster to a digital audio service. The executive will be entrepreneurial and demonstrate a can-do “roll-up your sleeves” sensibility. S/he will have a true passion for the mission of the organization and a commitment to effectively leading his or her team to support the goals of the institution. A commitment to partnering and client service will resonate well and enable him or her to help achieve the mission of CPM.

Media experience and experience with nonprofits would be ideal.

An advanced degree in Business Administration or Management and CPA is preferred.


Alison P. Ranney, Anne B. McCarthy and Anny K. Chou of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please email Alison, Anne and Anny directly at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits 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