Full-Time Chief Operating Officer
Acumen started as an idea. Eleven years later we have a proven model that combines the best of charity and markets to change the way the world tackles poverty.
Acumen Fund is a non-profit venture fund with a vision to help build a world beyond poverty through investing in companies that deliver critical goods and services in water, health, housing, energy, agriculture, and education; leaders who are paving the way for new approaches to fighting poverty; and the spread of ideas that will give the world the knowledge and the understanding to create a world beyond poverty.
Passion, entrepreneurial spirit, and commitment to tackling the issue of global poverty are just a few of the qualities the team at Acumen Fund shares. What we aim to accomplish with our work is no easy task, and we need dedicated, high-caliber people to reach our goals.
Acumen Fund has invested more than $75 million of patient capital in more than 60 mission-driven businesses in South Asia, East Africa and West Africa that have collectively served more than 86 million customers. We have teams on the ground in India, Pakistan, Kenya, Ghana, London and New York, and we aim to build strong local structures that are deeply interconnected, with shared goals and values, to the global organization.
Over the past 5 years Acumen Fund’s COO Ann MacDougall has made significant contributions to building Acumen’s infrastructure and operational standards, helped guide country growth plans and played a vital role in shaping our evolving vision and strategic direction. She is stepping down as COO to become a fellow at the Harvard University Advanced Leadership Institute.
Acumen Fund is now seeking an organizational visionary as its next Chief Operating Officer (COO). This individual will continue to strengthen and fully integrate Acumen’s operational and administrative performance and systems as the organization continues to scale. The new COO must keep pace with Acumen’s rapid growth, with the evolving needs of its experienced corps of country-based Directors and with initiatives to support emerging leaders in social enterprise. The COO will support a CEO who seeks to maximize her focus on strategy, fundraising, advocacy and communications while delegating increasing operational autonomy to the COO and senior team.
Acumen Fund has set audacious goals for the next three years to expand its portfolio to $150 million of investments across 15 countries, impacting 150 million lives. Acumen has already set the foundation and made progress toward these goals and are looking for our next COO to build on this momentum and work closely with our global team and advisors to bring to life this vision for the future.
A great strength of Acumen Fund is its adaptability to the demands of growth and change, and the organization has undergone significant growth and professionalization in the last five years. Steps to advance overall performance, and the COO’s mandate, are already underway. The CEO and Board have embarked on a process to strengthen the Board’s governance and advancement agenda.
The COO will be joining a four-person management team comprised of the CEO, COO, Chief Investment Officer and Chief Innovation Officer. A new Chief Investment Officer, who is committed to collaborating with the COO, just joined the organization to strengthen the investment processes and post-investment management of Acumen’s increasingly complex portfolio. The Chief Innovation Officer has been with Acumen since early 2007. He is responsible for Acumen’s work in leadership (Global and Regional Fellows), knowledge and impact, and policy, as well as overseeing all fundraising activites. This management team works hand-in-glove with the Director of Talent, who is focusing on overall performance improvement and building the capacity of the management group, and a new generation of Country Directors who are experienced investors and business leaders who have recently been appointed to lead the dynamic team of mission-driven portfolio managers and local operational managers.
The right COO for Acumen Fund has the skills to provide clear, consistent operational leadership for an increasingly decentralized, high performing and challenging investment portfolio, the nimbleness to respond to continual innovation and increased demands for performance, and shares common cause with this social enterprise venture. This COO inspires excellence and works effectively with a global team, builds a sense of shared values and goals, and models a leadership style that invests in the next generation. Top candidates will find a CEO and colleagues who are ready to meet a high standard of mutual accountability, as modeled by the CEO and the leadership team.
The COO will be directly responsible for managing the strategic direction and core operating activities of Acumen Fund, including direct supervisory responsibility for its Country Offices and Expansion Team, as well as Legal, Finance, Talent, Technology and Administration. She/he will support Country Directors to formulate and implement country strategies, budgets, operating initiatives and talent while also building strong institution-wide capacities. The COO will also be responsible for ensuring the smooth functioning of the senior management team, working closely with the CEO and other members of the team to ensure that Acumen Fund maintains long-term sustainable operations to support our plans for growth and expansion. The COO will report to the CEO.
Specifically, the COO will:
*Integrate strategic country and operating priorities, identifying and implementing best practices across countries *Conduct regular reviews of country operations; makes operating decisions to meet changing conditions (in close coordination with the Chief Investment Officer); and works in partnership with Country Leaders to strengthen their operations *Reviews will include a focus on social impact; dollars under investment/returns; country performance; successful implementation of strategic imperatives and overall effectiveness *Manage institutional support functions, including Legal, Finance, Talent, Technology, Administration, Expansion and security; determine priorities and evaluate effectiveness; ensure that country needs are well understood and appropriately addressed by each function o Supervise the Chief Financial Officer to strengthen internal financial systems within the office; finance and treasury function, office administration, team security, technology and communications.
o Supervise the Chief Legal Counsel, oversee tax, legal, regulatory and ethical obligations, as well as the significant portfolio transactions core to our business model o Supervise the Director of Talent, to ensure focus on the development of our global team, and establishment of appropriate HR infrastructure in our many jurisdictions *Represent operational functions and local country offices on the Management Committee *Position the organization for growth, including establishing an appropriate long-term organizational model, with a clear role for the center of excellence and local offices; and establishing the longer-term affiliation, management and governance model for more independent but linked entities *Lead by example and works with the entire Acumen Fund team to ensure a collaborative approach, excellence and generosity of spirit as well as accountability. Coaches and mentors direct reports and models what it means to be a senior leader at Acumen Fund.
The successful candidate for this critical position will be a motivated, decisive leader with proven managerial, leadership and organizational skills. He/she will be a visionary organization-builder, a self-starter who is comfortable in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial, values-based environment, working with a charismatic leader. She/he will have the ability to play a significant leadership role on the team and with key Acumen Fund stakeholders.
The successful candidate is a global citizen and will ideally have field-based experience in international development (preferably experience in or strong familiarity and comfort with the non-profit or foundation sector) or in the private sector either investing in developing nations and/or working in multicultural global organizations, preferably with operations in East/West Africa or South Asia. He/she will have had significant experience building successful inter-connected teams and/or businesses, preferably in the developing world.
Core competencies for this position include:
*Strategic Advice: The successful candidate takes a broad view and has a vision for the organization. While not necessarily an expert in each area, she/he leverages the senior team and is strongly committed to building a model for problem-solving and achieving positive social change. The best candidate will bring the credibility and gravitas to help lead this complex and sophisticated organization. He/she will have the ability to balance long-term vision and innovation with the practicalities of executing effectively across a global team.
*Leadership: The successful candidate has a track record and derives great satisfaction from developing and motivating team members to achieve superior results. She/he is acknowledged as a strong collaborator and coach of others, has experience in cross-cultural management, and has cultivated senior leaders and works well in a team environment with a natural style to connect with individuals in a way that respects the individual and motivates individuals to exceed their own expectations.
*Business management/building skills: The successful candidate will demonstrate superior organizational leadership skills (recruiting and retaining, motivating, organizing) and has a record of achieving targeted outcomes regardless of challenges or setbacks. He/she will have examples of working efficiently in a fast-paced environment, prioritizing competing objectives to maximize impact, and facilitating management meetings effectively. She/he has managed staff to tackle the nuts and bolts of day-to-day business issues.
*Financial acumen: The ideal candidate has overseen processes and systems to manage the financial planning, budgeting and control functions in the business and nonprofit sectors.
*Interpersonal and influencing skills: The successful candidate is capable of garnering support through thoughtful, logical argument, as well as through teamwork and obtaining buy-in of critical team members internally and with key advisors. She/he has a collegial style and wins support, but is comfortable with healthy confrontation, is willing to take a point of view, exert authority and be decisive and can give feedback openly, quickly and constructively, understanding how to navigate cultural differences. He/she excels under pressure and is able to satisfy multiple, sometimes competing, demands for attention.
*Communication skills: The ideal candidate has exceptional oral and written communication skills, with an ability to be a storyteller of Acumen’s work, giving presentations that inspire, motivate, persuade and compel staff and peers to support key initiatives. Experience with public speaking and presentation is desirable.
CANDIDATES SHOULD BE WILLING TO TRAVEL INTERNATIONALLY TO THE DEVELOPING WORLD APPROXIMATELY 30-40% OF THE TIME.
Acumen Fund offers a competitive compensation package, commensurate with experience, including 401K plan and full benefits
76 Ninth Avenue, Suite 315, New York, New York 10011 www.acumenfund.org
How to ApplyAcumen Fund is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. All candidates will be evaluated on a merit basis. A resume and a cover letter may be submitted, in confidence, to: Acumen@fordwebb.com
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