Chief Executive Officer

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The Women’s Foundation of California seeks an influential and inspirational Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to lead this premier women’s fund, which holds a reputation as an innovator and thought leader in leveraging public policy, grantmaking and strategic alliance-building to advance economic security for California’s women and their families.

Led for the past six years by Judy Patrick, the Foundation has made the strategic decision to preserve and leverage Judy Patrick’s knowledge, relationships and expertise by appointing her as the Foundation’s new Director of Public Policy, effective once the Foundation has hired a new CEO.

The CEO reports to the Board of Directors and is responsible for the strategic, financial and operational leadership of the organization. Working in collaboration with the Board of Directors and staff, as well as a dynamic network of donors, policy makers and other strategic partners, the successful candidate for this position will lead the Foundation’s growth and advance its vital mission. The timing of this work is imperative. The combined impact of the Great Recession and five years of severe state budget cuts to the programs that help low-income families make ends meet has resulted in California’s poverty rate being the highest in the nation, with women and their families being disproportionately affected by these circumstances.

During a period of economic stress in California, where trade-offs are the norm, the new CEO will have the opportunity to leverage the Foundation’s stellar track record, new strategic direction and moral vision to ensure that appropriate levels of public and private dollars are invested in women, thereby helping women to positively improve their lives and the lives of their children.


Today, the Women’s Foundation of California stands as one of the premier women’s funds in the United States with a $7 million operating budget, $10 million in assets and a statewide board.

For the past 35 years the Women’s Foundation of California has pioneered the use of strategic investments, women’s leadership development and public policy to elevate issues such as domestic violence, human trafficking, reproductive rights and the impact of California’s budget cuts on safety net programs. The Foundation is unique in that it leverages its position as a public foundation to design and execute programs to advance a policy agenda that benefits low-income women and families.

The Foundation’s theory of systemic change rests on a core value and belief that those who experience poverty and poor health outcomes are the ones who are best suited to develop effective solutions that work in the context of their lives. Therefore, the Foundation focuses on historically marginalized individuals and communities, including low-income women and families, communities of color and immigrant communities. Furthermore, the Foundation’s experience has shown the value of investments in the leadership of women. When women are healthy and economically secure, this health and security ripples out to their families and communities.


In 2012 the Board of Directors led a strategic planning process that reflected on the Foundation’s achievements, lessons learned and changing external context with the goal of positioning the organization for a broader reach, deeper impact and a more deliberate strategy to transform the lives of low-income women and their families throughout California. That process resulted in a new strategic direction that encompasses four core programs, detailed below. With the exception of the Women’s Policy Institute, each of these core programs use grantmaking as a tactic to advance the strategy. The next CEO will build upon this work and create the financial structure to support this new strategic direction, which encompasses the following programs:

  • The Women’s Policy Institute is the Foundation’s nationally-renowned program that trains community-based women leaders in public policy and budget advocacy. This experiential training fellowship has graduated nearly 300 women and successfully advocated for 20 new state laws. Building upon the Institute’s 10 years of success and influence on policy, the Institute has expanded to include a county-level institute in Los Angeles and Riverside counties. Already a national model for five other states, the program is well positioned to engage alumni more deeply and effect change at the county level.
  • The Bridge to Economic Security is the Foundation’s new workforce development initiative. By combining research, policy advocacy and grantmaking, this initiative strives to attach women to stable employment; reduce the time a low-skilled, low-income woman stays in a low-wage job by investing in effective programs and services that bridge the transition to a living wage and influence policies that help low-income women become self-sufficient. The initial rollout of the program will focus on the health care sector, specifically home health and personal care jobs, which provide an accessible entry point for the Foundation’s priority population.
  • The Giving Circle Network builds out the Foundation’s successful collective philanthropy model in which giving circles have collectively given $10.4 million in grants to nonprofit organizations working on behalf of low-income women and families. The program convenes like-minded donors, trains them to be more strategic philanthropists, builds trusted, authentic relationships between donors and grant partners and leverages individual gifts for greater collective impact.
  • Stand with Women is the Foundation’s platform for research, policy advocacy and strategic communications about the importance of investing in programs that provide women and families with the tools and financial assistance to move out of poverty and achieve economic security. The Foundation serves as a resource and conscience to lawmakers about the needs of low-income women and families, funds and partners with grassroots organizations and mobilizes marginalized communities to bring their perspectives and knowledge to the public policy making process.


In order for the Foundation to build on our momentum and successful track record and broaden its reach and impact, the new CEO will need to: 

  1. Provide Strategic Vision and Leadership. Lead the roll-out, implementation and evaluation of the new strategic direction in a way that ensures that board members, donors and volunteers are engaged fully and the organization has the resources to be successful.    
  2. Build Capacity for Expansion and Sustainability. Increase and diversify revenue generation for both programmatic and institutional sustainability and growth. Through thought leadership and collaboration, expand the Foundation’s presence, visibility and credibility throughout the state such that the Foundation is widely respected by policy makers, foundation leaders, individual donors and the media as a knowledgeable voice and resource on behalf of women’s economic security, political participation and equity, both in California and nationally. Build annual and reserve funds and investable assets to ensure the Foundation’s nimbleness, continued impact and long-term sustainability.
  3. Further Strengthen Work Culture for Dynamism, Cohesion and Impact. Ensure that the skills and roles of individuals and teams are aligned with the new strategic direction. Nurture a dynamic workplace culture that promotes trust, collaboration, transparency and accountability, while demonstrating that staff are valued and encouraged to develop professionally and personally. Support and promote a results-oriented and coaching culture that fosters excellent individual and team performance, mutual support and overall organizational impact.

Essential Duties:

Transformational/Situational Leadership

  • Provide focused, strategic and visionary leadership for the Foundation as it transitions to a new strategic direction aligned with the strategic plan.
  • Serve as an inspirational and respected thought leader around women’s economic security, political participation and equity, both in California and nationally.
  • Engage openly and collaborate with diverse communities in California to raise awareness about the Foundation and ensure the Foundation continues to understand the diverse and changing needs of these communities.
  • Initiate and encourage collaboration and cooperation with other foundations, community organizations and community leaders to address statewide problems.


Fund Development

  • Serve as the Foundation’s chief development strategist and fundraiser to ensure the Foundation has the resources to fulfill its fundraising and financial goals, strategic plan, operations and strategic direction.
  • Build a strong cadre of volunteers and donors, assuring their support of the Foundation’s programs and policies.

Finance and Administration

  • Ensure the integrity of financial management, auditing and reporting in accordance with IRS, FASB and other regulatory bodies governing the nonprofit sector.
  • Ensure that financial systems, procedures and policies provide accurate, realistic forecasting of revenues and expenses.
  • Ensure that the Foundation’s human resources, technology and other operational functions reflect the Foundation’s values and best practices in the field.

Required Experience

  • BA or BS required. Advanced degree in a relevant field is preferred.
  • A minimum of 10 years experience in progressively responsible management or administration positions of a nonprofit organization, related government agency, social purpose for-profit venture or a community-focused department in a corporation.

Skills & Competencies

  • Deep knowledge of and demonstrated commitment to key issues facing low-income women, their families and communities, particularly those in immigrant and communities of color
  • Strategic visionary with outstanding leadership skills
  • Proven fundraising track record with individuals (particularly major donors), foundations and corporations
  • Strategic problem solving and decision-making skills that include data analysis, critical and creative thinking, and collaboration
  • Demonstrated ability to prioritize, create manageable workloads and be accountable for meeting deadlines and deliverables
  • Able to manage to a set of objectives and regularly measure progress and course correct
  • Familiarity with the legislative, funding and policy-making processes in California is desirable
  • Excellent internal team building and management skills to create a culture of high performance, mutual accountability and respect and professional development
  • Readily acknowledges team results and actively seeks to design and implement positive changes in the team and Foundation work flow, processes, systems and organizational culture
  • Solid general and financial management skills
  • Demonstrated ability to relate to and communicate with diverse audiences and communities in private and public settings
  • Solid computer and technology skills including proficiency with MS Office suite. Ease with social media is desirable
  • Ability and willingness to conduct regular overnight travel throughout California and the United States; at times, up to 60 percent of the CEO’s schedule will be spent traveling; while the CEO can be located in Los Angeles or San Francisco, San Francisco is preferable


  • Must possess a strong commitment to the values, mission, policies, goals and philosophy of the Women’s Foundation of California
  • Hold a reputation as a highly ethical professional who values and consistently practices sincerity, reliability, competence, conscientiousness and empathy
  • Personable, enthusiastic, candid and fair
  • Outstanding consensus builder
  • Strong self-motivation, organization and initiative; entrepreneurial spirit
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently as well as within a team
  • Proven ability to work in a small and friendly office environment where each staff person assumes multiple responsibilities while striving to achieve shared goals
  • Values and exercises responsive, reflective listening
  • Servant leader, who leads with humility and passion
  • Resilient and nimble


An excellent benefits package and salary commensurate with qualifications and experience will be provided. To apply for this outstanding opportunity, please submit your résumé and letter of interest electronically to Ms. Brett Byers,

The Hawkins Company
8939 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 110-216
Los Angeles, California 90045

For additional information please contact Brett Byers at 323-403-8279 or Bill Hawkins at 213-308-0945.

The Women’s Foundation of California is an Equal Opportunity Employer.