Chief Operating Officer_LFA





At Learning for Action, we believe that the best and most enduring way for an organization to increase its impact is to develop its capacity as a learning organization. Since our start in 2000, we have provided highly customized strategy development, evaluation, and research services to social sector organizations. 


Our reimagined mission is to partner with organizations to strengthen their learning culture and practice in service of equity and justice.  In all our engagements, we share our thinking, collaborate throughout the process, and provide our clients with the tools to engage in ongoing organizational learning and reflection.



Learning for Action (LFA) works best and most uniquely at the intersection of evaluation and strategy. We bring a holistic approach to understanding an organization’s learning practices and culture. We help our clients to assess their performance and make data-informed decisions, ensuring they are well-positioned to refine their strategy and achieve greater impact. 



Learning for Action values a diverse workforce that is a microcosm of its communities and is aligned with the mission-driven work of its clients. LFA actively strives to sustain a learning culture and an equity and social justice focused approach. The organization is currently engaging deeply in its own journey to transformational equity, reflecting deeply on its history, internal operations, and its client work to create meaningful social impact in the service of greater justice and equity. 


As a new position to LFA, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) will be a key strategist, thought partner, leader, and advisor within the organization. The person in this role will add expertise to strategic operational conversations, providing guidance and recommendations to the Partners group (i.e., the 3 owners of the company).  The COO will co-create, and manage the implementation of strategies impacting business operations, including finance, IT, and human resources.  


The COO will be responsible for the overall operational efficiency and financial health of the organization and will be a culture champion – living into the organization’s values of equity and inclusion. We specifically seek a leader who is well versed and has experience designing and implementing equitable practices throughout an organization and connecting those practices to financial and business sustainability.


The COO will report to Partner’s group and will be directly supervised by partner / owner Emily Boer Drake. The COO will directly supervise a director of people and culture as well as an operations manager. 


Specific responsibilities of the COO include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Lead and contribute to strategic discussions and collaborate with partners on issues related to:
    • Annual budgeting 
    • Financial modeling and forecasting future revenue scenarios
    • Revenue generation and contracting strategies 
    • Risk assessments and annual audits
    • Support efforts to improve, grow, and support technology systems 
    • Workforce planning 
    • Establishing and evaluating compensation philosophy
    • Employee engagement and retention strategies
    • Safety / emergency planning / cyber security
  • Be a culture champion – focused organization-wide initiatives that embed our values in our organization and work. Support organizational strategies to advance LFA’s commitment to racial equity internally and externally. 
  • Act as a champion and sponsor of policy development that mitigate bias, increase equitable outcomes, and foster respect and inclusion throughout LFA.
  • Inspire and motivate employees to contribute to co-creating a reflective, productive, caring, inclusive culture that holds itself as a learning community.
  • Actively engages in and facilitates conversations that increase the depth of collaboration and understanding between functions within the organization. Including but not limited to soliciting input from staff on these topics and being able to communicate strategic vision back to employees of the organization.
  • Co-manage and co-facilitate bi-monthly staff meetings, including setting agendas and coordinating with the Partners and Director of People and Culture and others in the organization to determine the most relevant topics for each meeting.
  • Collaborate with the Director of People and Culture on bi-annual compensation reviews,  research comparable plans and provide recommendations to Partners group. 


Be directly responsible for managing or completing the following: 

  • The design and evaluation of strategies for invoicing – including assessing and managing existing time tracking systems and client invoicing procedures and implementing new systems where necessary.
  • Creates standard operating procedures manual for financial controls and processes and leads efforts to train / orient staff on employee-facing procedures to ensure operational efficiency.
  • Establishing financial internal controls and conducting quarterly spot checks in preparation for financial audits.
  • Develop and manage the annual risk management assessment process, ensuring a thorough review of internal controls to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations in programs and in the administrative areas of IT, HR, and employee safety.
  • Determine what operational functions can be outsourced to service providers or consultants and lead efforts to secure vendor / consultant contracts. 
  • Accounting / bookkeeping / banking (monthly reconciliation)
  • Invoice processing
  • P&L management – monthly, quarterly, annual
  • Financial analysis / reporting 
  • Contract management – vendor contracts, client contracts, procurement
  • Approve contracts and expenditures and has the authority to bind the organization
  • Lead end of year tax filing process
  • Payroll processing
  • When applicable, provide relevant organizational information for the purpose of strengthening funding proposals and grant applications.

Skills & Competencies

A successful COO will be an individual who will provide operational expertise, while also toggling between being an individual contributor.  The COO will also:

  • Be action-oriented, entrepreneurial, flexible, and innovative in their approach to operational management.
  • Translate learnings and observations into solutions for the organization.
  • Have a track record of excellence in operations management, including budget development and fiscal management.
  • Understand the value in maintaining enduring relationships (internally and externally) that will continue to advance LFA’s goals and financial health. 
  • Have a strong orientation to data informed decision making. 
  • Be an active champion of equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Use active process of curiosity, humility, collaboration, learning and unlearning and adapting.
  • Communicate in clear and compelling ways (written/verbal) and appropriately adapt messaging to environment / audience.


Successful candidates will likely possess the following: 

  • 7+ years of senior leadership experience, preferably in a professional services or non-profit sector
  • Understanding of the professional services, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors, related trends, and the competitive landscape within the sectors.
  • Leadership depth, maturity, and collaborative skills to garner trust and confidence of staff and the partners group 
  • Experience supporting the professional development of direct reports through coaching, mentoring, and a strengths-based approach.
  • Success leading change management.
  • Analytic and decisive decision-making skills with the ability to prioritize and communicate key initiatives and tactics necessary to achieve organizational goals.
  • Proven commitment and experience in advancing DEI agenda, principles, and practices – specifically, experience leading or supporting systems-level, equity informed organizational development solutions and strategies. 


This role is full time, exempt and geographically flexible. 


Travel may be required 1-2 times a year. The annual starting salary range for the role is $150,000 – $175,000, depending on experience. 


Compensation also includes 10 paid holidays (including your birthday) and 18 additional paid days off per year (increasing to 23 days after 2 years). We are committed to positive work-life balance and have systems and support in place to help employees maintain a workload that fits into a 40-hour/week. LFA offers a generous benefits package for a small business, including medical, dental, vision, and life insurance and a 401k plan.


Applicants must be a U.S. Citizen, non-citizen national, or foreign national possessing a visa permitting permanent residence in the U.S. (Alien Registration or “Green Card”).  Student visas and temporary work visas do not qualify.


This search is being managed by Diversity Recruiters.  Interested candidates should complete the form below and send their resume to



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Diversity Recruiters celebrates difference and is committed to providing equitable experiences and addressing the effects of power and privilege. 


Learning for Action is proud to be an equal employment opportunity workplace. We are committed to equal employment opportunity regardless of race, color, ancestry, religion, gender, gender identity, national origin, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, marital status, physical disability, veteran status or length of time spent unemployed. 




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