The YWCA Cambridge (YWCA) was founded in 1891 and continues its mission of eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. The YWCA Cambridge has been an advocate for human rights and has provided safe, affordable housing and support services for women and girls for over 125 years. After the industrial revolution when women and girls were displaced to urban areas in New England to work in inhumane conditions, the YWCA Cambridge responded by opening a boarding house and providing supportive services to these young factory workers. Our founders understood that to become independent, women needed a safe environment in which to learn essential professional and daily living skills. Long after its founding, the YWCA has continued to adapt to a changing world, and today the YWCA Cambridge is an institution in Cambridge, housing the city’s largest women’s residential facility and hosting a variety of programs designed to appeal to a broad range of interests. In its efforts to be a powerful advocate for women, the YWCA Cambridge has realized part of its mission providing safe, affordable housing and support services for women and girls. Their work currently fits into the following four categories:
For more information on YWCA Cambridge, please read more here.
The Executive Director Opportunity
To plan for the retirement of a highly successful, long-time leader, the organization is seeking an Executive Director (ED) who is excited about building on the remarkable history of the YWCA Cambridge as they look to expand their impact into the future. The ED will serve as the primary leader and strategist, external champion and brand ambassador, and organizational leader for the YWCA, to expand on a strong track record of success. Reporting to the Board of Directors, the ED will be an experienced nonprofit leader who will be able to advocate successfully and passionately on behalf of the YWCA and the greater Cambridge community. In addition, the ED will have had success in fundraising in various revenue streams to support the delivery of impactful programming.
With the YWCA Cambridge being the city’s largest women’s residential facility, the ED will bring proven nonprofit management expertise and ideally experience and/or exposure in affordable housing, residential facilities, and/or shelter services. Experience in the youth development and advocacy sectors are also a plus.
The ED must be a hands-on leader, strategic and analytic thinker, and problem solver who responds to challenges effectively with sound judgment, empathy, and compassion.
The ideal candidate for this role will be a collaborative and communicative leader who understands how to move a wide range of constituents and lead through inspiration and motivation.
While no one candidate will possess every quality outlined for this position, a successful candidate will bring many of the following professional qualifications and personal attributes:
Strategic and Organizational Leader
The ED will be a strategic, tactical, and entrepreneurial leader able to develop and articulate a vision for the YWCA’s next chapter. This leader will develop and promote strategic priorities needed to advance the work of a nonprofit organization – from funding to mission delivery. They will bring experience building and leading high performing teams and guiding team members’ growth and development. The ED will possess the ability to inspire staff at various stages of their careers with a diverse set of skills and provide a productive work environment and professional growth opportunities that result in team cohesion and camaraderie. They will be an experienced manager who engenders trust in the staff through a collaborative management style, helps them achieve their potential, and holds them accountable to clearly defined expectations and goals.
Business and Financial Acumen
The ED is an executive with strong staff, operational, and financial management experience. They will have a proven track record in strategic financial oversight and a comprehensive record of overseeing various functions of an organization. They will have proven experience in budgeting, strategic forecasting and planning, and in overseeing financial, accounting, compliance and risk management of a complex organization. Given the YWCA’s housing residences and clients, the ED will ideally bring experience and/or exposure in operational excellence as it pertains to real estate, building management, and/or affordable housing.
Culture Champion & Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
As a seasoned leader, they will bring a balanced hand in cultivating organizational culture and crafting strong administrative systems in support of the mission of the YWCA, as well as an understanding of operating within a larger national organization. During a time of transition, the ED will embrace leading the organization through change with grace and sensitivity. With a highly focused social justice lens, the ED will be a champion of and exhibit an abiding passion and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion values. The ED will have a demonstrated track record in advancing DEI initiatives both internally within the organization, as well as externally in the larger community. They must be passionate about the work of the YWCA and its mission of eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all, while elevating marginalized and under-represented voices. They will represent the values of nonpartisanship and diversity, equity and inclusion both internally and externally.
Strong Brand Ambassador
The ED is the public face of the YWCA Cambridge, responsible for sharing its mission and vision with the greater Cambridge community to increase greater visibility. They will be an energetic fundraiser and asset developer who will fully embrace every aspect of the role. The ED will bring a creative and entrepreneurial approach to revenue generation and an understanding of nonprofit finance and various revenue streams, including grants and philanthropic support among others. Reporting to the Board of Directors, the ED understands the importance of a robust partnership with the Board and will ensure best board practices and accountability to the Board. They will possess an authentic and genuine ability to convene and inspire individuals, communities, and partner organizations around the YWCA vision. The ED will be a strong advocate for constituents, the Board, and the staff.
Exceptional Communication Skills
With excellent interpersonal skills, the ED will build and maintain positive and productive relationships through transparent communication with internal and external audiences. An engaging speaker and writer, the ED understands the importance of telling the compelling story of the YWCA’s mission to connect with potential partners and advance the organization’s mission. Through persuasive coalition building, the ED will be confident and comfortable building partnerships and crafting a captivating message of support to advance the impact of the YWCA.
Koya Leadership Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Maureen Alphonse-Charles and Alicia Salerno are leading this search. To make recommendations or to express your interest in this role please visit this link. All nominations, inquiries, and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.
The YWCA Cambridge is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+, and other underrepresented applicants. All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, merit, and business need.
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.