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Chief Operating Officer, Drug Policy Alliance

New York, NY, USA | LeaderFit

  • Industry:
    Non-Profit / Social Enterprise
  • Position Type:
  • Functions:
    Operations / Production
  • Experience:
    15-20 years
Job Description:
60 people have viewed this job

As we enter DPA’s 20th year, the national reckoning on racial injustice and the COVID-19 pandemic shine a spotlight on the destruction that white supremacist systems and policies have had on communities of color, including the racist war on drugs. Simultaneously, DPA is embarking on an exciting new organizational chapter as the incoming Executive Director, Kassandra Frederique, takes the helm and plans to lead DPA to become a more holistic social justice advocacy organization that links even more deeply with other sectors in the movement.


Under this bold new leadership, DPA will develop stronger, more collaborative partnerships to address an even broader set of issues in our fight for societal change and justice while building upon the incredible progress we have achieved in reforming the criminal justice system.


Our team is united and deeply committed to using the momentum of DPA’s successes to be even more forward-thinking, galvanizing, and rigorous as we look to the future. Critical to this path forward is identifying a deeply committed leader to serve as a key advisor to the Executive Director, working with her to operationalize this transformation across the organization and steer day to day operational matters. This is a rare opportunity to work among a high-performing, collaborative, and deeply passionate team with a record of success and life-changing outcomes. We are seeking a candidate who is fired up about DPA’s exciting plan to increase impact and change the course of history in our county to create a more just, healthy, and safe society. 


DPA’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) is a new leadership position intentionally designed to complement our new Executive Director at a pivotal moment in the organization’s growth and a historic moment for the country. Reporting to the Executive Director and serving as her key strategic thought partner in the day to day operations of DPA, the COO will play a vital role in supporting DPA’s sustainability and success.


The COO will also provide strategic leadership and daily management of organizational finance, HR, and IT functions, and will be responsible for ensuring that DPA has the internal systems and infrastructure in place to support our teams and enable the organization to continue growing in alignment with the Executive Director’s vision. At the same time, the COO will be a crucial steward of the organizational values and culture – championing DPA’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and fostering a culture of innovation, learning, accountability, and continuous improvement along with a dedicated group of colleagues equally committed to DPA’s shared values.


Our ideal candidate believes deeply in social justice and carries an unyielding conviction that transformative change is possible. They have significant experience as a cross-functional leader with exceptional strategic, financial, and operational acumen and a demonstrated talent for the continuous improvement of organizational teams, systems, and processes. They bring vision and practical wisdom to all facets of DPA and a proven ability to develop organizational capacity. Finally, the ideal candidate is a deeply collaborative leader with an engaging management style and ability to balance big picture strategy with immediate needs.



Strategic Leadership

Serve as a trusted advisor to the Executive Director, ensuring that her strategic vision is successfully operationalized across DPA

Play a key role in the development and implementation of a new organizational strategic plan

Work collaboratively with DPA’s senior management team to promote overall organizational effectiveness

Ensure effective communication of priority issues and projects and promote organizational learning across the organization

Lead, mentor, hold accountable and supervise a team of seven finance, HR, and IT professionals in the NY office and fostering a culture of collaboration, learning, and innovation with staff across the country

Financial Management

Lead DPA’s financial strategy, ensuring short and long-term sustainability and alignment to the organization’s mission and goals

Direct the development and implementation of short-term and long-term fiscal planning including annual budgeting and multi-year forecasting, ensuring the highest levels of fiscal responsibility

Optimize DPA’s finance and accounting policies, financial controls, and compliance systems; implement policies and systems that model best practices in each of these areas

Oversee compliance with lobbying regulations and reporting requirement, including navigating 501 c(3)/c4 complexities

Lead ongoing efforts to increase financial literacy across the organization to promote effective budget management and develop internal leadership

Human Resources and Information Technology

Own the vision and accountability for the annual performance of the organization’s HR, and IT teams ensuring they are aligned with DPA’s strategic priorities

Identify opportunities for improved operational processes across the organization to streamline operations and implement increased standardization across DPA with an eye toward continuous process improvement

Optimize HR systems, ensure consistent implementations of HR policies and procedures, and leverage opportunities to innovate and create efficiencies where possible

Ensure the necessary technology, security protocols, and office infrastructure are in place to support DPA’s teams and safeguard data security


Cultivate an organizational culture that reflects DPA’s deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion; support a learning culture that engenders knowledge sharing, feedback, and continuous growth

Lead and implement initiatives on best practices in organizational management, performance management, and leadership development


15+ years of senior management experience working cross-functionally across finance, operations, human resources, and IT in complex organizations; nonprofit experience strongly preferred

Commitment to DPA’s mission and strong social justice orientation

Demonstrated expertise in managing organizational financial activity and systems, including budgeting, multi-year forecasting, modeling, accounting, and reporting

Proven ability to navigate complex nonprofit compliance and risk management issues; c4 experience preferred

A strategic, analytical, and tactical thinker, with a record of success implementing strategic goals and priorities across an organization

Comfort working in a highly collaborative, consensus-driven environment that values open communication and transparency

Demonstrated passion for managing, developing, and coaching diverse teams; prioritizes building authentic and respectful relationships with all colleagues within an organization

Ability to steward organizational culture including leading diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives

Confidence and capability to adapt and lead in a fast-paced, changing environment while also navigating ambiguity and change inherent to a fast-paced, evolving organization

Effective and persuasive communicator, both oral and written, with exceptional emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills

Possesses unquestionable personal and professional integrity, unwavering commitment to equity, and a growth mindset

Innovative, creative, and willing to think outside of the box to develop solutions that meet DPA’s unique needs and support our high-performing team

Bachelor’s degree required; Advanced degree or equivalent experience preferred

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