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Chief Operations Officer

Washington, DC, USA | Non Profit Organization

  • Industry:
    Non-Profit / Social Enterprise
  • Position Type:
  • Functions:
    General Management
  • Experience:
    10-12 years
Job Description:
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GFW seeks a Chief Operations Officer (COO) to provide operating and strategic oversight through a phase of rapid organizational growth. The COO will be a primary partner to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and will be responsible for developing, implementing, and refining GFW’s processes and procedures for finance and accounting, human resources, operations, grants management, and information technology. The COO will be a principal member of the GFW leadership team, ensuring that the organization remains nimble, flexible, effective, and engaged with international partnerships, funders, staff, and contractors. This position requires a seasoned, mission-focused, and process-minded individual with experience executing on vision and strategy through day-to-day operations, financial oversight, and staff management. The COO will report to the CEO and will supervise the work of the Finance Director, the Director of Operations & Business Affairs, and the Grants Development Manager.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities 

Strategic Vision & Leadership

● Work with the CEO to develop and manage the ongoing strategy of the organization.

● Set annual performance goals and the organizational planning and evaluation processes in collaboration with the leadership team.

● Work with the CEO and Board of Directors to create robust agendas for board meetings.

● Participate in Board of Directors meetings, providing updates to and seeking feedback from members on operating and financial performance to inform high-level decision making and strategy.

● Provide leadership and mentorship to a dynamic and energetic team, including helping to create staff development plans, and ensure that all staff members have the resources they need to succeed.

● Support staff in conducting internal program evaluations.

Finance & Accounting

● Supervise the work of the Finance Director and oversee the full range of financial and accounting functions and systems so that:

oAll financial planning, budgeting, reporting, and analyses provide meaningful information for senior management and Board decision-making.

oAll business policies and accounting practices are compliant and scalable.

oThe organization is audit and tax-ready when needed.

oThe highest level of ethics is employed in accounting operations and decision-making.

oThe organization has sufficient reserves and solvency.

Human Resources & Business Affairs

● Supervise the work of, and collaborate, with the Director of Operations & Business Affairs

oDevelop and support functions and systems including:

▪ Creating fair, equitable, and competitive compensation across the organization and employee geographies.

▪ Supporting effective and impactful recruiting, onboarding, professional development, performance management, and retention.

▪ Fostering a highly inclusive culture that ensures team members’ organizational outcomes are met.

▪ Ensuring compliance with country and local regulations.

oNegotiate and review contractual terms and conditions ranging from procurement of services to partner and funder agreements and engage outside counsel when necessary.

oGuide the organization’s risk management strategies in a comprehensive way to assess and evaluate risk across the organization and create monitoring and mitigation strategies.

Grants Development & Management

● Supervise the work of the Grants Development Manager and in collaboration: 

oEstablish user-friendly and appropriate systems to meaningfully track progress, facilitate reporting, and make sound decisions.

oEnsure tax and other regulatory compliance in the use of grant funds.

oGuide the development and integration of grants management CRM and knowledge management systems for the organization.

oOversight of adherence to grant and contract strategy.

oOversee grants management system and processes to ensure accurate and timely reporting to funders.

Information Technology

● Effectively oversee and manage the organization’s infrastructural requirements, including appropriate information technology and work environments in both the UK and DC offices. At a minimum, this will include:

oAll billing and access-control related issues.

oImplementation and administration of G Suite and company website.

oWorking with the internal IT team and vendors on any and all issues related to systems and desktop support, security, website management and hosting, and IT asset management.

Qualifications and Experience

● 10+ years of relevant experience in an international context, including 3 years overseeing finance and accounting and human resources functions

● Bachelor’s degree required

● Direct experience scaling up organizational infrastructure, including implementation of business processes and systems, at the right time and at the right scale with an eye to the future

● Success and comfort with leading a diverse and energetic virtual staff and international network across cultures, languages, and work styles, with a track record of managing hiring processes and on-boarding procedures

● Ability to motivate individuals and foster team spirit; knowledge of basic human resources issues and experience setting individual and team performance goals and evaluating their execution

● Self-starter who takes initiative, using sound, independent judgment and discretion and seeking guidance and feedback where appropriate—a doer as well as a manager

● Familiarity with state-of-the-art organizational development tools

● Commitment to the mission of GFW and an ability to promote and communicate the philosophy, mission, and values to funders, government officials, and other stakeholders.

● Knowledge of other languages, especially Spanish, a plus

Personal Attributes

The following personal attributes are desired:

● Deep commitment to the values and mission of Global Fishing Watch

● Comfort with working with individuals from diverse backgrounds and locations

● Personable, flexible, tenacious, diplomatic, and respectful demeanor

● Proven ability to serve as a team player and leader to motivate and inspire staff and colleagues

● High energy level, impeccable integrity, entrepreneurial spirit, and a sense of humor

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