President (Grand Rapids, MI)

The Kent County Family and Children’s Coordinating Council convened community leaders and investors to participate in a systemic, collaborative, collective impact initiative in an effort to ensure academic success and economic self-reliance of all children. Community stakeholders from business, education, philanthropy, human services, faith, non-profit and grassroots organizations committed to engaging in this new model of collaboration.

In 2014, the initiative officially became an independent non-profit known as KConnect. Using the collective impact framework, the organization serves as the backbone organization for the strategic workgroups and community stakeholders invested in our common vision.

KConnect Vision:

Our vision is for all children and their families in Kent County to enjoy meaningful and fulfilling lives by achieving self-sufficiency and economic security through high-quality education and community support. 

Fundamental to our vision is that we are committed to nothing less than closing the unacceptable achievement gaps for low income students and children of color, and increasing the opportunity and achievement for all students from cradle to college and career.

Position Overview:

On behalf of our partner, KConnect, we are seeking a passionate and entrepreneurial President. The President will be a visionary, dynamic leader who can further develop and lead the Backbone organization, facilitate the collective success of the county-wide effort, and serve as a public ambassador for the initiative. More specifically, the President will guide, in collaboration with others, KConnect’s internal and external functions, including strategy, communications, community engagement, and data functions.

The President will manage staff and systems and be accountable for nurturing the process and effectiveness of both, providing high-level strategic thinking and facilitation of KConnect’s effort.



  • Provide visionary, adaptive leadership, modeling KConnect’s guiding values (Equity, Trust, Empathy, Courage, Hope) at all times and fostering a culture that reflects them
  • Developing, coaching and mentoring KConnect’s team members
  • Establishing, facilitating, and executing effective and open communication with staff, particularly related to internal decisions and strategy
  • Developing systems to share organizational decisions with the KConnect Board of Trustees and staff members
  • Identifying capacity gaps and creating hiring plans that acknowledge and plan for possible organizational growth and strategic partnerships

Strategic coherence:

  • Maintaining understanding of current implementation challenges and developing comprehensive solutions to address them
  • In concert with relevant workgroups, developing annual advocacy agenda and systems and funding recommendations with guidance from KConnect’s Accountability Partner’s Council (APC) and Board of Trustees (BOT)
  • Providing direction and support to partner organizations in aligning their work to the Common Agenda (e.g., identifying opportunities for program work to support specific goals)
  • Acting as a neutral facilitator and helping resolve disputes, disagreements, and direction among workgroups and other components of KConnect’s operational structure
  • Developing advocacy priorities and coordinating supporting activities of partners

Supporting Workgroups, Accountability Partners Council, and Board of Trustees:

  • Providing support to the BOT, APC, and Workgroup Co-chairs to facilitate meetings, assisting in preparation of meeting materials, etc.
  • Providing regular reports on progress against goals and indicators
  • Building and maintaining relationships with BOT, APC, Workgroup Co-chairs, and Workgroup members

Fund development:

  • Identifying potential funding sources to support KConnect’s goals and priorities:
    • Writing grants, as needed, or overseeing work of a grant writer
    • Writing and/or Overseeing KConnect’s grant reporting to funders as required
  • Providing support and guidance to partner organizations in aligning activities and resources to KConnect’s agenda (e.g., supporting identification of grant opportunities that align to KConnect’s Common Agenda & Roadmap)
  • Tracking all KConnect funding
  • Developing relationships with potential funders and participating in relevant networks

Working with community partners:

  • Coordinating research and other activities with initiative partners to minimize redundancies and to align strategies and actions, including conducting individual outreach and education as needed
  • Updating outreach strategy as new needs emerge
  • Coordinating with other projects and coalitions in the same field to maintain a full understanding of the current landscape of local and regional activities, and integrating their work into Steering Committee and workgroup processes
  • Building and maintaining relationships with community partners


  • Communicating the objectives of KConnect to the community and potential partners, including sharing the Common Agenda, Workplan, data dashboard, and other collateral
  • Demonstrating leadership for achieving our vision of equitable outcomes for all children and families.
  • Facilitating communication between KConnect’s partners – to include local prevention and treatment agencies by hosting regular conference calls, in-person meetings, or coordinating regular email updates to ensure alignment of activity
  • Creating or managing creation of yearly summary reports of KConnect’s progress for the APC and external audiences
  • The following duties may be done in coordination with a communications consultant or staff:
    • Developing communications materials as KConnect evolves, potentially including summary documents, brochures, FAQs, and other items
    • Developing web and social media strategy
    • Creating press strategy, including drafting press releases, and coordinating with media outlets

Facilitation and Stakeholder Management:

  • Build KConnect’s identity as a respected, neutral convener among a broad spectrum of local stakeholders
  • Cultivate excellent working relationships across the prenatal to career continuum with those engaged in the initiative in a way that can inspire collective action without formal authority
  • Ensure effective facilitation of all Workgroups and Align & Design Team meetings, and provide regular reports on group progress against goals and indicators
  • Help identify and recruit additional cross-sector stakeholders to participate in KConnect’s work

Shared Strategy and Measurement:

  • Oversee the development of a system level strategies that will drive transformative change across the County
  • Oversee the continuing development of a shared measurement system that will track common outcomes and indicators across the initiative and use results to inform learning and continuous improvement

Managing internal systems:

  • Overseeing daily operations and establishing and maintaining appropriate systems for measuring necessary aspects of operational management
  • Selecting, contracting with, and overseeing work of consultants as appropriate (e.g., data management, facilitation, grant writing, etc.)
  • Monitoring and reporting on operational issues, opportunities, and achievements within agreed formats and timelines
  • Identifying improvements for use of data-informed decision-making and ensuring that data is collected, integrated, and communicated effectively across the organization

Data collection, analysis, and reporting:

  • Coordinating indicator refinement with workgroups and the APC
  • Ensuring all partners are aware of targets and indicators
  • Creating or managing creation of yearly summary reports on KConnect’s progress for internal and audiences
  • Overseeing work of data manager/consultant

Required Qualifications:

This is an outstanding opportunity to play a critical role in improving outcomes for all children and families in Kent County while addressing the unacceptable racial and economic disparities that persist across the prenatal to career continuum. Therefore, first and foremost, the President must be committed to KConnect’s vision and overarching goals.

Additionally, the successful candidate will be able to demonstrate:

  • At least 5-10 years of relevant work experience, including at least 3 years managing teams in a fast-paced and high-growth nonprofit, social enterprise, or business start-up environment
  • Ability to engage in fundraising at the grant writing level, as well as cultivating new funding sources, both locally and nationally
  • The executive presence to inspire confidence and passion in both internal and external audiences
  • Advanced strategy and planning skills, including an ability to think strategically on both organizational and systemic levels over multi-year horizons
  • Strong data acumen and ability to oversee complex shared-measurement systems
  • Strong facilitation and presentation skills before multiple types of audiences
  • Experience with complex project management and stakeholder management
  • Existing relationships with, or ability to build relationships with, a diverse, cross-sectoral range of stakeholders in the local or regional area, including senior executives
  • A track record of leading, inspiring, and developing high-performing teams
  • Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills, with the ability to build authentic relationships with a diverse set of stakeholders ranging from high-profile business owners to neighborhood residents
  • Comfort with ambiguity and ability to thrive in a fluid, entrepreneurial environment willingness to “roll up one’s sleeves” and extend beyond formal responsibilities based on the needs of the work

Desired Qualifications:

  • Advanced degree in business, education, policy, or related field
  • Additional spoken and written languages a plus

KConnect has retained search firm, Palladian West, to facilitate and partner with the Board of Trustees for this search. All resumes and applications should be sent directly to Lesley Hassenrik at [email protected] for review and consideration.