CEO/President/Executive Director/Head of School, Health System, Nonprofit and Social Impact, Operations, Social Justice and Advocacy

Executive Director

  • First Year Cleveland
  • Cleveland, OH

This position has been filled.

About First Year Cleveland 

First Year Cleveland (FYC) is a public-private partnership aimed at reducing infant mortality, eliminating racial inequities in infant health outcomes, and combating systemic racism in Cuyahoga County and the City of Cleveland. 

The partnership is rooted in a commitment to racial equity; recognizes the challenges that result from systemic racism; and views racism as a public health crisis. FYC is an affiliate of Case Western Reserve University’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences (MSASS). MSASS advances leadership in social work and nonprofit education, scholarship, and service to build a more just world. The school’s students, faculty, staff, alumni, and partners comprise a national network of scholars and practitioners who shape the course of nonprofit practice and research to drive societal change. 

FYC is a dynamic organization that mobilizes the Greater Cleveland community. It is dedicated to identifying and maximizing funding and strategies to support the organizations that provide services to women and infants who are at high risk for infant mortality. The geographic region FYC covers is primarily an urban setting and one of the most diverse and impoverished areas in the State of Ohio. 

FYC’s vision is that every baby born in Cuyahoga County will celebrate their first birthday. First Year Cleveland fulfills its mission and vision by creating a common understanding of our county’s infant mortality problem and leading the development and coordination of strategies to address it.  

For more information on First Year Cleveland, please visit its website.  

The Opportunity 

The Executive Director (ED) is responsible for articulating First Year Cleveland’s vision and mission, implementing strategies to achieve its priorities set forth by the strategic plan, maintaining and expanding strategic partnerships, supervising FYC staff, and overseeing advocacy efforts.  

The ED reports to Dexter R. Voisin, PhD, LCSW, Dean, Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, as well as the Co-Chairs of the FYC Steering Committee, India Pierce Lee, Senior Vice President, Program, Cleveland Foundation, and Hon. Blaine A. Griffin, President, Cleveland City Council. FYC’s Steering Committee is comprised of some of the region’s most influential leaders across government, health systems, philanthropy and other key sectors. 

Working with FYC’s Steering Committee, the ED will ensure that the communities most impacted by the underlying drivers of poor birth outcomes drive FYC’s decision-making. The ED will lead FYC in its expanded efforts to decrease Black, non-Hispanic infant mortality by focusing on a health care delivery and community-driven model of impact, including a targeted focus on Black expectant mothers and the prenatal period.  

The ED will be responsible for an annual budget of $5-6 million and will build and lead a team of 5-8 staff, whose responsibilities center on support for dozens of organizations providing direct services to women, infants, and families throughout Cuyahoga County. This is an interesting and important time for a new leader to join FYC to build a team and to continue to mobilize the community to reduce infant mortality, eliminate racial inequities in infant health outcomes, and combat systemic racism in Cuyahoga County and the City of Cleveland. 

Candidate Profile 

Strategy, Vision, & Leadership 

  • Facilitate advocacy initiatives and broker partnerships that advance FYC’s mission and profile locally in Cuyahoga County, statewide and when appropriate, nationally. 
  •  Provide visionary and strategic leadership; oversee a strategic planning process and execute the strategic plan; align the FYC team to strategic priorities that contribute to operational objectives. 
  •  Work closely with FYC’s Steering Committee, subcommittees, and community advisory council to advance the organization’s mission. 
  •  Working with the FYC staff, implement strategies to assess and meet short- and long-term needs in the community and evaluate the progress of those strategies. 
  •  Identify and cultivate relationships with prospective Steering Committee members and support the Governance Committee in the review and approval process for all new members.  
  •  Work with the Steering Committee to develop and maintain strong relations with the FYC staff team and create exceptional learning opportunities for all Steering Committee members. 
  •  Work collaboratively with the Steering Committee on matters related to policy, mission, and strategic objectives. 

External Relations & Fundraising

  • Build and expand the FYC brand, thereby raising the profile and exposure of the FYC team, organization, and mission throughout Cuyahoga County, State of Ohio, and nationally.  
  •  Maintain, strengthen, and build strategic public, private, philanthropic, and community partnerships to maximize collective impact. 
  •  Working with CWRU development professionals to help drive efforts to grow and diversify the FYC’s revenue streams to ensure integrity, efficiency, viability, sustainability, and transparency. 
  •  Develop and maintain relationships with foundations, corporations, community partners, elected officials and others to solicit financial contributions. 
  •  Serve as a key representative for internal and external contacts, promoting the mission and role of FYC in the community; represent FYC on councils, boards, committees, and coalitions. 
  •  Increase FYC’s funding base to ensure its programs are brought to scale and sustained. 


  • Oversee efforts to recruit, retain, develop, and engage talent which will result in a stable, motivated, positive, and collaborative team or workforce. 
  •  Oversee the work on programs and services and evaluate their effectiveness to ensure desired outcomes; develop milestones and metrics for program evaluation. 
  •  Manage the development and direct the implementation of administrative and programmatic goals, key objectives, activities, and policies; lead and be responsible for ongoing planning processes; and execute and monitor implementation. 
  •  Manage FYC’s performance and human resource functions, including direct and/or indirect supervision of administrative personnel including hiring, training, staff development, performance management, discipline, and termination. 
  •  Build trust with staff and establish clarity on roles, responsibilities, and targeted outcomes. 
  •  Oversee efforts to ensure effective communication and information sharing with team members at all levels.  
  •  Plan for the next generation of organizational talent including the development of succession plans for essential roles. 

Operations, Finance & Administration 

  • Develop and establish an annual budget and monitor performance against FYC’s operating plan. Align FYC budgets with an annual plan that includes the core activities FYC will undertake and how they will be financed. 
  •  Approve and monitor expenditures; analyze budget performance reports to track internal progress and forecast expenses for remaining periods, providing financial guidance; interpret and assess trends and formulate plans to balance expenditures. 
  •  Manage and administer grant processes and continuously monitor and evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery methods and procedures; assess and monitor their workload, administrative and support systems, and internal reporting relationships; identify opportunities for quality improvement and identify and direct the implementation of needed change. 
  •  Work closely with CWRU departments of finance, grants and contracts, and fund development. 
  •  Understand FYC’s finances, interpret them for stakeholders, and, together with the Steering Committee, communicate FYC’s financial accountability to the community. 
  •  Align FYC budgets with an annual plan that includes the core activities FYC will undertake and how they will be financed, including achieving all fund development and diversifications goals by leading fundraising efforts with the executive committee members and CWRU staff and development department. 

While it is understood that no candidate will offer every desired skill and characteristic, the following offers a detailed, aspirational view of the ideal candidate profile: 

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, & Attributes 

  • Executive leadership : Bachelor’s degree required with 7+ years of strong leadership of a complex organization or private-sector enterprise. 
  • Mission-focused : demonstrated commitment to FYC’s mission supporting the Cuyahoga County community or similar organization. Familiarity with maternal and child health, public health, or related field is strongly desired. 
  • Fiscal management : experience in developing, managing, and dealing with budgets of a size at least comparable to that of FYC. 
  • Management : team-oriented management style focused on achieving operational and strategic results, continuous improvement, and performance excellence. 
  • Advocacy : capable of advocating for FYC and for sound public policy while developing effective working relationships with government officials and their staffs. 
  • Planning : experience successfully working with staff and Board to develop and implement strategic vision and tactical plans including exceptional written and oral communication skills. 
  • Board relationships : significant involvement with Board of Directors and Board committees. 
  • Diversity : experience working with diverse groups; promotes diversity programmatically and is comfortable articulating a diversity, inclusion, and equity strategy. Every First Year Cleveland employee must understand and value racial equity as an organizational operating principle and be committed to continued learning on issues related to race and racism, equity, diversity, and inclusion. 
  • External relationships : knowledge of Greater Cleveland, its environment, people, culture, issues, and relationships or alternatively, relevant experience in an urban setting. 
  • Resource development : experience with varied funding sources including government funders, private donors, foundations, and corporate philanthropy. 
  • Media/public relations : ability to effectively articulate goals, objectives, policy positions, and programs of FYC to the media and the community at large. 
  • Community relationships : actively engages with partners, clients, constituents, and key stakeholders served by FYC; participates in other community-based organizations as necessary. 
  • Negotiation : able to effectively negotiate “win-win” solutions to issues and conflicts. 
  • Business acumen : keen ability and experience to understand and employ strong business principles and practices to organizational operations as well as financial management of the entire organization, including fund development and grant writing, as well as management of funders, foundations, and governmental grants. 
Compensation & Benefits 

First Year Cleveland offers a competitive salary and benefits package for full-time employees. Salary is commensurate with experience. First Year Cleveland offers excellent benefits through Case Western Reserve University, including health and dental, vision insurance, retirement, and tuition benefits.  


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

About Koya Partners 

Koya Partners, a part 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 Partners, visit  

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