Executive Director - WISEPlace

Sterling Search Inc. - Santa Ana, CA

Sterling Search Inc. has been exclusively retained to recruit for the new Executive Director for WISEPlace

WISEPlace, a 501c3 nonprofit governed by its local Board of Directors, has playedan important and historic space in Orange County’s non-profit landscape. For more than 30 years this venerable non-profit has provided women with shelter and program services enabling their transition from destitution to productive roles in the community. Its mission of inspiring, supporting and empowering homeless women to make the changes they need to re-create their lives has never been more relevant in our society than it is today.

Amy came to our program after years of suffering from domestic violence. She had not worked in many years, but dreamed of working with animals. Within the first 30 days in our program she found employment at an animal hospital. While in the “Steps” program she worked with her case manager to set goals and developed the confidence to believe she could reach them. After a short time at the animal hospital, her employer enrolled her in a technical training program so she could develop a career in this field. She bought her own small used car before graduation and moved into an apartment upon graduation from WISEPlace. 

With a committed Board of Directors, and the need to provide more services WISEPlace launched a $5 million Capital Campaign to expand their current facility to include 30 permanent supportive housing rooms and provide much needed updates to their 1950’s building, while keeping their 30 transitional housing beds. The campaign has got off to a great start with the help of a volunteer board committee which has been driving this effort. Other initiatives include new programming to provide wrap-around services for the additional units and, assessment and planning for transition of the current short-term contract with Orange County to provide emergency housing for women.

The Executive Director is also responsible for the continued delivery of shelter and services associated with the existing transitional program for women, which houses up to 26 residents. The current organization has an FTE staff of 7, and a budget of roughly $700,000, both of which are expected to double as a result of the expansion.

The new Executive Director will be charged with building on WISEPlace’s track record of success by further developing the organization’s vision, and achieving its goals for continued financial stability, community engagement and enhancing the impact of its program. The Executive Director must bring an entrepreneurial spirit and passion for WISEPlace’s mission, leadership capabilities for staff, board and volunteers, a demonstrated track record of managing successful outcomes for programs, and the capability to increase fundraising revenues with a heavy emphasis on individual and major gifts. WISEPlace’s growth is limited only by its ability to lead a high-performing team, engage more community volunteers and raise more fundraising dollars. With such a cherished mission this is a phenomenal nonprofit Executive Director leadership opportunity.


 Specific Duties and Responsibilities

The Executive Director reports directly to the Board of Directors.The Executive Director is the chief spokesperson representing the organization to constituencies, both internal and external. In addition to operational, financial, and administrative duties, the scope of responsibility includes overseeing program management, fund development, marketing, community relations, and strategic thinking and planning.The Executive Director will build, foster, and maintain a balanced organizational culture that combines the richness and relevance of programs with the efficacy of best business practices, fiscal accountability, and institutional impact.


Board Relationship:

  • Accountable to the Board of Directors, and works in a close concert with the President of the Board of Directors.
  • Provides guidance and information to the Board of Directors, for the purpose of setting strategy, executing and evaluating programs and policy adoption.
  • Implements adopted plans, policies and programs.
  • Serves as staff associate to designated standing committees, and acts in an ex-officio capacity to all other committees.
  • Provides regular, timely reports to the Board of Directors on all matters related to WISEPlace
  • Maintains contact with Board members.
  • Actively recruits and assists with orientation of new board members.

 Fund Development

  • Provides active front-line leadership to the fund development agenda.
  • Serves as the face of the organization, delivers critical investment in support of the current Capital Campaign Committee.
  • Consistently models practices and relationship management that lead to achievement of funding goals.
  • Works with the Fund Development Committee to ensure that a comprehensive and diversified plan is in place and supported with personnel and resources.
  • Responsible for execution of the Fund Development plan.
  • Supervises the Fund Development staff.


Public/Government Relations:

  • Works to achieve and maintain a positive visible community image, assuring that WISEPlace is known as a community for women and a valued human service agency.
  • Builds and maintains relationships with local, regional and national government entities to enable two-way communication, mutual support and advocacy.
  • Establishes a presence for WISEPlace in the funding community with a reputation as a credible and fundable entity.
  • Represents WISEPlace in appropriate community, business and non-profit industry groups.
  • Interprets and markets WISEPlace through the media, including the production of WISEPlace materials such as periodic newsletters, press releases and Annual Reports.
  • Serves as a community resource on the special needs of homeless women of all ages.


  • Works with the Board of Directors to build and execute a strategic planning process with long-range and short-range objectives.
  • Works with Fund Development staff and committee(s) to create and execute a Fund Development plan.
  • Provides an annual operating budget and project budgets (as needed) for board approval.
  • Works with the Board of Directors to develop a succession plan for Board and staff positions.
  • Bears top-level responsibility for execution of all plans.

 Financial Management:

  • Carries overall responsibility for all aspects of fiscal management, including assuring adequate funds for current operating needs and long-term goals.
  • Supervises internal accounting staff and manages contracted accounting professionals.
  • Responsible for implementation of auditor recommendations.
  • Works with the Finance Committee as principal staff liaison for the budgeting process; the timely reporting of WISEPlace’s financial position; maintenance of financial controls.


  • Serves as subject matter expert in guiding the Board of Directors on program matters.
  • Recommends programs consistent with the mission of WISEPlace, may assist in program design with Program Manager.
  • Recommends updates or changes to programs in reflection of changing community needs and political and social environments.
  • Oversees the implementation of programs for WISEPlace as approved by the Board of Directors.
  • With Program Manager, establishes targeted program outcomes, regularly evaluates achievement against targets, and reports results to the Board of Directors.
  • Supervises Program Manager/Program Staff for ongoing evaluation of the residents.

 Leadership Development:

  • Fosters a culture that encourages leadership development and demonstrates commitment to the needs and concerns of women, utilizing local and regional resources.
  • Acts as a role model for staff, volunteers and for the community at large.
  • With the support of the Board of Directors, provide opportunities for staff development with the goal of developing leaders into positions of increasing responsibility.
  • Supports volunteer management staff to develop engagement opportunities for individuals interested in exploring non-profit careers.

 Human Resource Management:

  • Employs, assigns, supervises, appraises and terminates staff as the agent of the Board.
  • Administers personnel policies.
  • Implements the affirmative action and salary administration plans.
  • Works with the Governance Committee to ensure that the agency is in compliance with legal and policy requirements, that personnel policies are developed and regularly reviewed, and that appropriate action is taken with respect to questions of or deviations from policy.

 Facilities Management:

  • Assures the proper use, management, security and upkeep of all WISEPlace facilities.
  • Supervises Operations staff, negotiates with and manages contracted vendors and outside services for maintenance, security, etc.
  • Through the budgeting process, recommends capital improvements and allocates resources for necessary maintenance. Provides vision and practical input for proposed expansion of premises, and is primary staff contact for construction management
  • Execute all other reasonable duties as assigned by the Board of Directors

 We are seeking candidates offering the following qualifications:

  • Passion for WISEPlace’s mission
  • Entrepreneurial spirit, imagination, vision, leadership, and integrity
  • A minimum of 5 years of fundraising with individuals/corporations in a professional capacity with demonstrated results
  • A minimum of 7 years of senior management experience, with increasing levels of responsibility and management of staff, preferably with direct collaboration with Boards of Directors
  • Proven track record of management success with comparable P&L, planning, and operations responsibilities
  • Ability to work effectively with people of all ages, races and socio-economic backgrounds, and to effectively communicate with same both orally and in writing is critical. Empathy and compassion will enable the applicant to identify and respond to the needs and concerns of homeless women, understand the effects of the social/cultural environment on them and their self-perception, and stimulate factors that bring about change.
  • A demonstrated ability to plan and operate strategically, to build public support, to strengthen infrastructure, to inspire staff and the Board of Directors, and to develop effective programs
  • A strong communication skill set, and demonstrated ability to work effectively with and gain the respect and support of varied and changing constituencies, including staff, board members, potential donors, volunteers, and others
  • A team builder with a track record of effective staff management, including hiring, rewarding, developing, and retaining talented managers and administrative staff members
  • Ability to juggle many responsibilities at once and to operate both independently and with the flexibility to be part of a team
  • Computer literate:Knowledge of Word and Excel and ability to learn database software.
  • Bachelor’s degree required and a Master’s degree preferred

 A competitive compensation package will be offered to attract an outstanding candidate.

Direct all correspondence, emails and telephone calls to Sterling Search, Inc. Any resumes sent or telephone calls made to WISEPlace will be redirected to Sterling Search, Inc.

 WISEPlace is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Posted On: Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Position Contact
Julie Lugo
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