Job Description
Job Title Chief Operating Officer
Job ID 755339
Begin Date 10/23/13
Location New York,  NY 10001
Other Location Washington, DC 20005
Human Rights First is an independent advocacy and action organization that challenges America to live up to its ideals.  Over its 35-year history, Human Rights First has earned a reputation for pragmatic, results-oriented advocacy that is politically astute, grounded in facts, and driven by sophisticated legal and policy analysis.  Human Rights First is a non-profit, non-partisan organization with a track record of success in delivering change that has made a meaningful difference in people’s lives.  
The organization is led by President and CEO Elisa Massimino.  A lawyer and activist with more than two decades of experience in the field, Massimino has been recognized as one of the top 20 public advocates in the country.  Massimino leads a team of more than 70 talented and committed activists based in New York City and Washington, D.C.  Human Rights First’s Board of Directors is a diverse, highly esteemed, and accomplished group of global human rights champions who are leaders in industry, law, media, the arts, and education.
This new position is an outgrowth of Human Rights First’s current strategic plan and reflects the needs of an organization that is growing in size and impact.  The COO will report directly to the President and CEO.  The President and CEO will continue to provide strategic guidance and direction for the organization to ensure consistency with Human Rights First’s vision, mission, and values, while the Chief Operating Officer (COO) will lead the day-to-day operations of the organization. To that end, he/she will be responsible for overseeing all advocacy, research, operational, human resources, fund development, and administrative activities of the organization. The COO will collaborate with the President and CEO to develop organizational objectives and is responsible for implementing, measuring, and refining strategic plans across the organization. Guided by the mission of Human Rights First and based on the goals, objectives, and direction communicated by the President and CEO, the COO will provide the leadership, management, and oversight necessary to ensure that the organization has strong planning and operational procedures, proper financial controls, administrative and reporting procedures, and human resource systems in place to accomplish the organization’s mission and meet its financial and operational goals and objectives. The COO will be responsible for keeping the President and CEO fully informed on the status of developing and implementing organizational plans. The COO will also provide regular assessments of the progress and results in a form that enables the President and CEO to ensure consistency with Human Rights First’s mission and core values.
  • Leads the daily operations of a dynamic, U.S.-based human rights advocacy organization in a way that promotes the organization’s mission and achieves the organization’s goals and objectives
  • Develops and implements strategic plans and objectives and monitors and refines the processes required to meet organizational objectives, including setting short term priorities and managing resource allocation among the senior management team
  • Supervises a senior management team with responsibility for:
o Advocacy and Governmental Relations
o Research and Policy
o Legal Advocacy
o Operational Planning and Performance
o Communications
o Development
o Finance, Administration, and Information Technology
o Human Resources
  • Cultivates a human resources structure and approach that supports development of managerial skills and professional development at all levels in order to enable the organization to recruit and retain talented and diverse staff who deliver consistently high performance
  • Leads organizational planning and oversees the execution of the organization’s campaigns; implements an ongoing plan for organizational restructuring
  • Measures the organization’s results compared to plans and refines plans to ensure that they are designed to achieve objectives
  • Collaborates with the President and CEO and the senior management team to develop and implement plans for the operational infrastructure of systems, processes, and personnel designed to meet the current and emerging objectives of the organization
  • Oversees the process for developing the annual organizational budget connected to  campaign planning; ensures that the annual budget supports the organization’s long-term goals, as well as its functions and campaigns; regularly tracks financial performance, recommends high-level financial adjustments to the President and CEO, and oversees internal financial adjustments as necessary; develops and distributes timely, accurate, and complete reports relative to the organization’s finances and operations;
  • Develops presentations and reports for the President and CEO that are tailored to the Board reflecting high-level summary data for finance and operations
  • Undergraduate degree required; advanced degree in a relevant field preferred
  • The majority of this job is performed in an office environment in an office set up for confidentiality and privacy.
  • Anticipate 30% travel, primarily between the NYC and DC offices.
 ANNUAL SALARY:  Competitive with comprehensive benefits package

START DATE: Immediately      

SUBMISSION DEADLINE:   December 27, 2013Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.


Please complete the online application found at our website under ABOUT US / JOB OPPORTUNITIES links.

You will be requested to provide:
  • Resume (upload)
  • Cover letter (secondary upload*)
  • Names and contact details for three (3) references (enter online)
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Only selected applicants will be contacted for phone or in-person interviews.  NO PHONE CALLS, PLEASE.

Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington DC. We build respect for human rights and the rule of law to help ensure the dignity to which everyone is entitled and to stem intolerance, tyranny, and violence.

Human Rights First is committed to recruiting, retaining, developing, and promoting staff across all programs and departments from a diversity of backgrounds, including members of racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTI people, people with disabilities, people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, people of all nationalities, and veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. We believe that a diverse staff and an inclusive work environment that welcomes a range of perspectives help make our advocacy work stronger and more effective.
Required Skills The successful candidate must embrace the core values and mission of Human Rights First. Beyond that, the COO must have experience in managing a multi-site organization and a demonstrated ability to both build and lead a strong and diverse senior management team. Management experience within a not-for-profit organization is preferred. Previous experience with an advocacy group is a plus.

Additional requirements are:

•At least 5 years’ experience supervising senior management personnel, in addition to 2-4 years’ prior experience as a departmental manager

•Previous involvement in strategic planning; strategic planning experience in an advocacy organization preferred

•Experience in an organization with collective bargaining units; demonstrated experience working with representatives of collective bargaining units preferred

•Proven ability to:
o Effectively manage and lead employees through a team-building approach
o Manage and facilitate change in a growing organization with increasing foci
o Connect with staff both on an individual level and in large groups
o Make timely decisions to ensure smooth operation of the organization
o Develop and implement plans expeditiously to advance stated mission, goals and objectives

•Demonstrated ability to anticipate trends and future consequences and incorporate them into financial and operational plans

•Broad range of experience including strategic planning, finance, budgeting, business analysis, and systems

•A results-driven orientation with a proven track record of setting and exceeding goals

•High ethical standards

•Strong oral and written communication skills. Ability to make effective presentations to varied audiences including senior management team, staff, and Board

•Strong conflict management, resolution, and negotiation skills

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