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Chief Executive Officer

Thrive Scholars
Working from home
Commensurate with qualifications
Date posted
Apr 18, 2024

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Position Type
Executive, Chancellors & Presidents, Executive Directors
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

Thrive Scholars
Chief Executive Officer

The Opportunity
Position: Chief Executive Officer
Location: Open
Reporting Relationship: Reports to the Board of Directors

Purpose of the Position
Thrive Scholars seeks a dynamic, forward-thinking, and results-oriented Chief Executive Officer to join during a pivotal period of time marked by unprecedented growth and forward momentum. As Thrive Scholars celebrates its 20th anniversary and pays tribute to their scholars, staff, mentors, partners, volunteers and board, it remains steadfast in its commitment to providing high-achieving students of color from low-income communities the opportunities they need to thrive at top colleges and in meaningful careers. With an ambitious strategic plan in place, Thrive Scholars is poised to double their revenue and overall reach by 2027. As such, Thrive Scholars needs an innovative Chief Executive Officer who can provide strategic vision and leadership to enhance the organization and the positive impact it has on the lives of the Scholars it serves. It is critical that the next CEO proactively position Thrive Scholars as a model of excellence in education and economic mobility to garner critical support and ongoing interest with a broad set of stakeholders including donors, board, community partners, staff, scholars, and volunteers to ensure that the organization continues to fulfill its ambitious mission and vision as well as meet its key financial objectives. The new CEO must be an inspirational leader with a passion for the mission coupled an unwavering commitment to Thrive Scholars’ core values around diversity, equity, and inclusion.

With the support of a dedicated Board and talented team, the Chief Executive Officer will be responsible for consistently achieving the organization’s ambitious growth targets, maintaining a rigorous program model, and accomplishing key financial objectives. In doing so, the next CEO must harness the existing strengthens of the organization while propelling it forward especially in the areas of strategic planning, fundraising, and capacity building. As the chief spokesperson, it is critical that the next CEO be able to effectively articulate the mission and vision of the organization showcasing scholar success stories along with the lasting impact the program has for generations to come. The next CEO must be an astute leader with a keen business sense, strong fundraising capabilities, and exceptional interpersonal skills necessary to drive a shared vision, cultivate resources, and scale the organization. The CEO must be a highly collaborative and accessible leader who can balance the competing priorities associated with the role in order to ensure solid financial support, strong external relations, and effective employee engagement. In this highly visible role, the CEO must have the ability to inspire as well as connect with a broad set of stakeholders including students/alumni and their families, Board, funders, and key strategic partners, including the higher education community.

The successful candidate will be an extraordinarily talented and motivational leader with a proven track record in providing high-level strategic oversight and day-to-day execution in a complex organization. The CEO must be a visionary leader who has the passion for the mission coupled with the necessary drive to support this critical organization during a period of tremendous growth. As Thrive Scholars continues to rapidly scale, it needs a CEO who can thoughtfully lead the organization through an evolutionary period ensuring that the necessary investments are made as it related to people, culture, and infrastructure. Success will be measured by strategic organizational oversight, strong relationship building skills, effective fiscal and human resource management, and the ability to develop a highly effective fundraising enterprise poised for long-term success. The CEO must be an agile leader who is nimble in approach and comfortable shifting priorities in order to meet the needs of this evolving organization. With demonstrated success in large-scale fundraising efforts, the CEO must be adept at stewarding high-level donors and prospects as well as partnering with the chief advancement officer and Board on major donor and funder relationships. Candidates must have outstanding communication skills, proactive leadership, and a strong commitment to Thrive Scholars’ mission and vision.

Key Responsibilities
Strategic Oversight

  • Partners with the Board on the strategic visioning of the organization during a period significant growth and sustained impact.
  • Serves as the face of the organization proactively positioning Thrive Scholars as the national leader in the college access and success space for high-achieving students of color from low-income communities.
  • Provides strategic oversight of the organization ensuring it successfully achieves the key deliverables outlined in the strategic plan.
  • Acts as a thought partner to the Board on all aspects of finance and operations, including program changes, future business strategy, and appropriate investments.
  • Effectively stewards the human and fiscal resources of the organization in ways that achieve the organization’s goals while contributing to the immediate and long-term success.

Stakeholder Engagement:

  • Uniquely positions Thrive Scholars enhancing its overall reputation and visibility in order to grow and strengthen the community of supporters.
  • Promotes Thrive Scholars values, programs, and contributions to educational excellence and economic mobility to garner support and interest from donors, community partners, corporations, and foundations.
  • Plays an active role in the fundraising process by maintaining a personal portfolio of high-level donors as well as partners with the board and Chief Advancement Officer on major donor stewardship and funder relationships.
  • Develops and implements public relations strategies that effectively communicate the critical role Thrive Scholars plays within the college access space.
  • Fosters and cultivates positive relationships with industry partners, relevant professional groups, donors, volunteers, and Scholars.

Operational Oversight:

  • Provides the necessary vision and strategy to effectively lead and engage staff to ensure operational excellence.
  • Cultivates a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture that promotes excellence, innovation, and accountability.
  • Thoughtfully engages with staff at all levels of the organization actively soliciting feedback, fostering transparency, and recognizing employee contributions.
  • Ensures that the organization’s programs are of the highest quality, reach those in need, create positive impact, and fulfill Thrive Scholars’ mission and vision.
  • Develops and institutes metrics for monitoring and evaluating the performance of programs and their contribution to scholar performance while addressing their ongoing needs.
  • Promotes an organizational model aimed at delivering high-quality programs to scholars.

Experience and Professional Qualifications
The ideal candidate will have high-level organizational leadership experience, excellent interpersonal and communications skills, and the ability to provide the necessary strategy and innovation for an evolving institution. The successful candidate must possess significant experience as a senior executive in an organization of relevant size, scale, and complexity along with a broad background in finance, operations, and fundraising with a focus on best practices. Experience in the college access and educational space is welcomed.

The successful candidate will possess many of the following skills and characteristics:

  • 15+ years of progressive leadership experience along with extensive fundraising, operations, financial management, and long-range strategic planning skills.
  • A Bachelor’s degree is required along with experience as a fair, respected leader, and skilled administrator with a proven ability to effectively manage resources to maximize organizational effectiveness.
  • Superb leadership skill coupled with a strong business acumen and ability to effectively manage, lead, and supervise a talented, passionate, and dedicated team.
  • Ability to effectively engage and partner with national and regional Boards of Directors.
  • A strategic and creative visionary who welcomes new perspectives and innovative approaches.
  • Demonstrated experience in leading people, providing professional development opportunities, and fostering a welcoming, inclusive, and equitable environment.
  • Strong, compelling communication skills along with a high degree of comfort engaging with major donors and organizational funders.
  • A deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion along with cultural competency regarding issues of multiculturalism.
  • A collegial and collaborative leadership style with a commitment to open communication and consensus building.
  • An ability to balance day-to-day operations with overarching strategy in order to anticipate the future needs and options for the organization.
  • A strong collaborator with excellent organizational and communication skills.
  • Proven track record of successful fiscal management and effective resource allocation.
  • Strong analytical, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.

Compensation & Benefits
The targeted salary for this role is $350-375k commensurate with experience. In addition, there will be a competitive performance-based bonus structure along with a comprehensive benefits package.

Application/Nomination Process
To nominate a candidate or express interest in the role, please feel free to reach out to the Korn Ferry team at

Thrive Scholars provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment based on race, color, religion, gender, gender identity, national origin, sexual orientation, age, disability, or veteran status.

Knowing its importance to the success of our work, Thrive Scholars is committed to diversity and inclusion and aspires to build a diverse staff team and community. We strongly encourage people of all backgrounds to apply.

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