Chief Operating Officer- Aspire of WNY

Catapult (Aspire of WNY) - Buffalo, NY, United States

Aspire of WNY- Chief Operating Officer

To view the detailed Position and Organization Overview click HERE

The Opportunity

Aspire of WNY (Aspire) is an organization passionately committed to serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and is currently searching for their next Chief Operating Officer (COO). The COO will join a CEO and Senior Leadership Team (SLT) leveraging their personal passion for the Mission and the power of relationships to advance and strengthen Aspire’s values of People, Performance and Partnership. They will work directly with the CEO to chart the strategic direction of the organization and build the necessary talent, systems, and culture to optimize industry and organizational opportunities.

The COO will be primarily responsible for providing strategic leadership by ensuring the organization has proper operational controls, administrative and reporting procedures and people systems in place to effectively maintain and grow the organization and ensure financial strength and operating efficiency.

Aspire has made meaningful investments in people and systems in anticipation of, and in response to, the opportunities and challenges in the IDD field. To support the organization and SLT in navigating this new environment, the successful candidate will be a strategic thinker with in-depth understanding of organizational development, change management, and operational excellence. They will have a passion for leading, supporting, and advocating for mission-minded organizations, advancing the human condition and building effective and meaningful relationships.

Our next COO will be a seasoned, strategic leader with experience supporting the operations of organizations of similar size and mission. They will be an innovative and agile influencer with the ability to build relationships internally and externally and a dedicated advocate for Aspire’s employees, service recipients, and communities.

Key Competencies include:

  • Mission-minded Leadership - With a passion/commitment to advancing the human condition
  • Relationship Building and Community Leadership
  • Strategic and Organizational Leadership
  • Change Management Expertise

Mission-Minded Leadership with a passion/commitment to advancing the human condition

Aspire is an organization built on a foundation of individuals passionate and committed to the mission of supporting children and adults with developmental disabilities live to their fullest potential. The successful candidate for this role will bring the same level of dedication to the cause and to advancing the human condition. To accomplish this, they will:

  • Lead with a passion for the mission and a community-focused decision-making style.
  • Have a spirit of entrepreneurship, and knowledge of the industry challenges to be able to draw on a wider pool of resources and create new offerings and partnerships with limited funds.
  • Understand the opportunities and challenges non-profit organizations face when it comes to funding, programming, and government regulations.
  • Actively understand and stay abreast with the complex realities of the environment and maintain a belief in a better future, providing purpose, direction, and motivation to leaders and staff of all programs and internal operations lines.
  • Plan, monitor and evaluate the Agency’s program of service in order to maintain a high level of effectiveness and responsiveness to community needs. 

Relationship Builder & Community Leader

As a member of the Senior Leadership Team and leader in the community, our next COO will establish meaningful relationships/partnerships throughout Aspire and across WNY. In collaboration with other senior leaders, the COO will have a presence and create continuity across Aspire’s footprint in both Erie and Chautauqua counties, which will allow them to build teams, create operational efficiencies, provide the highest quality service and promote an engaged and inclusive culture. They will accomplish this by:

  • Providing transparent and regular communication with constituents at all levels and locations, throughout Erie & Chautauqua counties.
  • Being an active, empathetic and fully participating listener and advocate for the staff, families and individuals Aspire serves.
  • Fostering positive relationships among individuals served, family’s advocates and the Agency.
  • Supervising, coaching, mentoring, and collaborating with their team to ensure alignment of operations and objectives.
  • Collaborating with the Chief Human Resource Officer to ensure Aspire’s workforce is engaged and prepared, recruitment is robust, targeted, and creative, and that employee recruitment and engagement strategies support a diverse and inclusive work environment.
  • Representing the Agency and functions as a liaison to other agencies and the community.
  • Participating in statewide/national meetings and committees.
  • Contributing to further establishing relationships with key external partners, trade associations, care coordination organizations, CP State and DDAWNY.
  • Participating in government advocacy activities in both Western New York and Albany, including being up to date on issues/legislation impacting the Agency and engaging in in-person advocacy.
  • Developing and expanding service options, in collaboration with other agencies, as appropriate.
  • Establishing and monitoring internal standing committees, participates in Agency- wide planning, meetings, and committee work.
  • Assisting the President/CEO in assuring the confidentiality, security and character of the Agency.
  • Providing oversight in all areas of safety and sanitation; adheres to safety and sanitation, policies and procedures; reports and ensures correction of any unsanitary/unsafe conditions and practices to ensure the health, safety and well being of individuals served, employees, volunteers and general public.

Strategic & Organizational Leader

Change Management Expertise

The COO will work with the CEO and Senior Leadership Team to identify organizational goals and innovative strategies to ensure that Aspire is successful in pursuing its Mission. They will leverage their understanding and experience in organizational development to create systems and processes to ensure effective management of the daily operations and an organizational structure that supports the creation of a culture of innovation and growth. They will foster and implement change in alignment with the agency’s mission and with an understanding, respect and appreciation for Aspire’s success, traditions, and history. They will accomplish this by:

  • Providing day to day leadership related to planning, developing, organizing, implementing, directing, and evaluating the organization’s function and performance.
  • Developing and operationalizing strategic planning.
  • Assisting in the development, management, and implementation of Agency’s budgets and policies.
  • Working to build a culture that takes ownership for achieving results.
  • Being knowledgeable about the market and business trends that impact Aspire, the industry, and funding.
  • Acting as project manager for key departmental projects, leveraging project management skills and delivering on timelines.
  • Evaluating and advising on the impact of long-range planning, introduction of new programs/strategies and regulatory action, including managed care regulations and 1115 Waiver.
  • Leading QA/QI initiatives to set up platforms/dashboards for gathering business intelligence to assess, enhance, measure and improve the quality of services, programs, and agency operations.
  • Assisting Division Vice Presidents and other Agency personnel in the design, development, funding, evaluation and Agency-wide coordination of programs and services. Overseeing program practices and outcomes designed to facilitate educational, developmental, habilitation, residential, and clinical services, and community/independent living supports.
  • Providing leadership and guidance across all agency operations lines, including programs, IT, quality, compliance, and environment & safety, ensuring alignment on objectives, processes, and procedures, as well as overseeing staffing patterns and staff performance evaluation systems.
  • Partnering with the CHRO on matters related to labor relations systems including Bargaining Union Contract Administration, grievance procedures and employee relations.
  • Demonstrating clear knowledge of laws, regulations, and guidelines within the industry to ensure compliance and that all programs meet regulatory and funding requirements.
  • Coordinating Emergency and/or Weather Response for Agency and stakeholders.


  • Master’s degree in Human Service Discipline (i.e.; Psychology, Social Work, Speech, PT, OT, Education, Rehabilitation, etc.); Public Administration, Business or related area and a minimum of five (5) years senior management experience at or above the level of Division/Department Director in an agency or organization serving individuals with disabilities. OR
  • Bachelor’s degree in Human Service Discipline (i.e.; Psychology, Social Work, Speech, PT, OT, Education, Rehabilitation, etc.) or related area and a minimum of five (5) years of demonstrated leadership experience or in an executive leadership role, and a minimum of five (5) years of operations experience. Familiarity with Managed Care is preferred, but not necessary.
  • Personal values consistent with Aspire values.
  • Extensive experience working in the nonprofit sector integrating with volunteers and diverse boards. Alternatively, extensive senior strategic leadership experience in administration of organizations of comparable size and mission.
  • Strong operational and financial acumen and significant experience in strategic planning.
  • Proven success participating in a collaborative strategic planning process and ensuring its effective implementation.
  • Proven experience in transformation and change management.
  • Experience with evaluation and integration of strategic alliances.
  • Direct experience in government affairs and legislative advocacy preferred.
  • Experience with collective bargaining and union contract negotiations preferred.
  • Significant experience developing and leading teams and working as an effective team member.
  • Strong staff management experience required, with the ability and interest to work closely with staff members to set and achieve individual and team goals.
  • Experience working with diverse populations to create equity and inclusion and achieve common goals.
  • Superior communication skills, both oral and written; ability to work effectively with people at all levels of the organization to create buy-in and a sense of teamwork.
  • Self-starter with the ability to work independently?.
  • Strong interpersonal, coaching, and conflict resolution skills?.
  • High level of emotional intelligence?.
  • Highly analytical, organized, and accountable.

Posted On: Thursday, February 9, 2023

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