Education, Nonprofit and Social Impact, Operations

Chief Operating Officer

  • First Book
  • Washington, D.C.

This position has been filled.

About First Book

First Book believes that education offers children the best possible path out of poverty. Since 1992, First Book has distributed more than 200 million books and educational materials to children from low-income families. Reaching 5 million children from birth to age 18 annually, First Book has built the country’s largest and fastest growing network of educators serving kids in need. Today First Book reaches over 525,000 educators nationwide with an additional 750 joining every week. In addition to our work in the United States, First Book also distributed books to children in more than 30 countries last year.

A recognized leader in social enterprise, First Book harnesses the power of the private sector to advance social change. First Book has also been highlighted for its innovation and impact by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, the World Economic Forum and in case studies at Columbia Business School, Wharton Business School, the Yale School of Management, and the London School of Economics. Finally, Charity Navigator recently awarded First Book its highest rating, including a perfect score for Accountability & Transparency.

For more information on First Book, please visit website.

The Opportunity

The Chief Operating Officer is a seasoned eCommerce business leader who will guide sound operations and best-in-class service to our network of members working in the lives of children living in low-income communities. The ideal COO will have a track record of building high-performance teams to drive digital transformation within complex eCommerce and managed infrastructure environments. They will be a strategic thinker with a passion for First Book’s mission of educational equity and a deep understanding of the technology transformation occurring in the eCommerce marketplace and proven experience leading operations through transformational change. While it is essential that the COO bring efficient and effective systems to increase the productivity of the organization, is it is also critical that they exhibit an entrepreneurial spirit and can spark the innovation needed to drive organizational growth.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Collaborate with the entire Executive Team in setting and driving organizational vision, operational strategy, and business plans. Utilize strong analytical skills to provide insight into how to optimize the Marketplace and logistics.
  • Develop a standard of high-performing, well-coordinated teams across all business units capable of supporting accelerated growth and rapid adoption of new technologies, services, and partners.
  • Translate strategy into actionable goals for performance and growth, helping to implement organization-wide goal setting, performance management, and annual operational planning.
  • Thoroughly understand the industry landscape and focus on driving Marketplace growth to achieve organizational priorities; Measure and analyze the impact of existing functionality; Identify opportunities to innovate and improve; oversee technology and development teams to drive implementation. Provide expertise on current eCommerce industry best practices.
  • Establish and manage the roadmap for eCommerce operations to deliver an excellent experience for First Book members and meet net revenue goals. Develop detailed operations strategies and roadmaps for implementation; Working cross-functionally, manage prioritization among user experience, operations, merchandising, technology, and marketing. Lead and grow the development teams responsible for E-Commerce features and front-end UX, CRM system, and inventory management systems.
  • Coordinate with other leadership stakeholders to align product, pricing, and promotion strategies and ensure implementation to optimize programs, gain efficiencies, and achieve both top-line and bottom-line goals.
  • Drive the inventory and planning strategy to optimize appropriate inventory levels, relevant content, and margin.
  • Lead the strategy and sourcing for the backend technology for the enterprise – evaluate potential new software and service providers, present recommendations to the Executive Team, negotiate deals and contract terms, manage implementation.
  • Develop and manage E-commerce KPI’s, technology standards, and reporting dashboard for the Executive Team and the Board of Directors.
  • Prepare and implement strategic and operational plans and actions to ensure that systems, procedures, staffing, support, and capacity are available when needed and at required levels.
  • Partner with key cross-functional teams to ensure all relevant organizational goals and implications are factored into eCommerce projects.
  • Manage critical vendors relationships and partnerships and hold third-party providers accountable for their results.
  • Oversee company operations and employee productivity, building a highly inclusive culture ensuring team members thrive and organizational outcomes are met.
Candidate Profile

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

  • Supply chain and logistics experience, preferably in the publishing industry or social enterprise. Strong online, ecommerce platform and mobile experience. Deep understanding of the eCommerce ecosystem – both technical and business aspects.
  • Solid experience in commercial innovation and P&L management. Experience with budgeting and strategic planning.
  • Highly developed leadership skills with the ability to build, lead, coach, and develop a team as well as effectively lead change management.
  • Extensive breadth of familiarity with end-to-end E-Commerce systems integration, and highly desired prior experience platform migration projects.
  • Data-driven decision-making mentality that’ll allow you to draw insights and prioritize effectively.
  • Proven analytical skills, able to make sound decisions with ambiguous information.
  • Ability to think creatively, improve existing processes, and create new processes from conception through implementation.
  • Outstanding communication (verbal, written, and presentation).
  • Strong interpersonal skills and lateral leadership to work cross-functionally and effectively interact with many different stakeholders to resolve complex issues.
  • Strong technology leadership, strategy, and operational experience.
  • Working knowledge of the industry and brand landscape.

In addition, strong candidates will offer:

  • 15+ years of proven experience in building, scaling, and running eCommerce and logistics systems in a fast-paced, growing e-commerce social enterprise.
  • At least 2-3 years as a C-level leader in a high-growth organization.
  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • Master’s Degree in Business, Marketing, Supply Chain, or Administration is preferred.
Compensation & Benefits

Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.


Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume to Erin Reedy here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

First Book is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of 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 Partners, visit

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