The Chief Operating Officer, Grads of Life (Boston, MA) reports directly to the Principal, Grads of Life and will assist in building and leading Grads of Life’s work to help employers build Opportunity Youth talent pipelines.

Grads of Life was incubated by Year Up and is a separate program and team focused on influencing the human capital strategy and processes of large employers.  As a result of the Grads of Life media campaign and public service announcement, which has garnered $90M in donated media support and attracted more than 800,000 visitors to its accompanying website, employers of all sizes and industries are coming to Grads of Life for tools, solutions, and support in tapping into the Opportunity Youth talent pool. This new employer demand represents a critical opportunity to engage business in closing the Opportunity Divide, which separates 6 million young adults from accessing stable, viable careers. Employers want to find their next great talent – and they need the help of Grads of Life to find, grow, and retain Opportunity Youth.

The Chief Operating Officer, Grads of Life (Boston, MA) is part of a three-person executive leadership team of Grads of Life. This position will work to operationalize the strategic vision for Grads of Life.  In order to be successful in this role, you will thrive in a fast-paced environment that requires you to triage myriad new opportunities and lead across multiple large-scale projects at once.  You will have a strong business focus and decision making skills that enable effective allocation of talent and resources to maximize learning through corporate pilots. Given the need to lead across diverse innovation pilots in an emerging market, you’ll also be a veteran leader who can predict and problem solve skill or resource gaps to ensure success.

We understand that people gain skills through a variety of professional, personal, educational, and volunteer experiences. We encourage candidates to review the key responsibilities and qualifications below. If you believe you have the transferable skills necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of this role, we encourage you to apply.


Opportunity Optimization

  • Optimize staff and resource allocation to drive success across Grads of Life deploying a clear decision framework for making tough trade-offs
  • In partnership with Grads of Life executive leaders triage new opportunities against investor commitments, system change potential, and available resources
  • In partnership with Grads of Life executive leaders, cultivate strategic vision for scalable and sustainable business practices for Grads of Life and/or other market players thus driving systems change
  • Refine Grads of Life business model based on market learning and pilot experiences
  • Optimize marketing and communication activity as an effective tool for systems change and business development
  • Assess opportunities for potential skill or resource gaps that could impede success and then problem solve to fill gaps
  • Keep abreast of market innovations and other players to inform system change thinking, marketing strategy, product direction, and potential collaboration and partnership opportunitiesNonprofit Executive Search Firm Los Angeles | Higher Education ...

Performance Management

  • Work closely with Grads of Life team to ensure all ongoing activities are moving forward in alignment with strategic direction
  • Lead team to deliver against Grads of Life investor milestones and internal annual goals, deploy lead and lag indicators of progress to avert surprises
  • In consultation with pilot leaders, create corrective plans for pilots that are off track
  • Manage internal burn rate of capital and steward financial and human resources to maximize number of quality pilot opportunities
  • Oversee building, or modifying of existing, administrative systems and processes to enable efficient workflow and management across Grads of Life
  • Oversee performance reporting to key investors, Year Up corporate, and other key stakeholders
  • Work closely with team to manage and monitor external evaluation process

Talent & Culture

  • Foster a culture that attracts extraordinary talent and create team practices for coaching and developing talent in partnership with Grads of Life executive leaders
  • Create supportive processes and structures that scaffold a performance culture
  • Optimize staff roles and responsibilities and align activity against Grads of Life annual goals for all staff
  • Model an approachable and supportive management style that elicits full potential from staff
  • Solidify and promote a unique Grads of Life culture inside of Year Up that is defined by nimbleness, innovation and entrepreneurism in partnership with Grads of Life executive leaders

Influence Team Member

  • Participate as an Influence team member by engaging in team meetings and helping to onboard new staff


Business Focus & Strategic Thinking

  • Knowledgeable about financial issues and responsibilities and exposure to a range of business models
  • Start-up or innovation experience with a focus on delivering the best outcomes creatively using the resources available
  • Ability to proactively seek more efficient ways of doing business while balancing investments in systems or processes with current and potential future scale of work
  • A clear focus on the activities and projects that bring the best return on advancing system change in this emerging market
  • Predisposition to take a long term view and entertain a wide range of possibilities in developing a vision for the future

Leadership skills & Decision Making

  • Ability to inspire a strong desire to succeed across team members and lead others to successful goal/milestone accomplishment
  • Strong and calm presence and can provide the team with a clear sense of direction, especially in times of high stakes activity
  • Experience and comfort with making quick and sound decisions based on consideration of the (sometimes incomplete) data and alternatives available
  • Ability to predict future skill or resource gaps which could impede success for a pilot or Grads of Life and proactive address gaps
  • Commitment to promoting diversity of thought and experience on the team and in how members interact to achieve the best outcomes for Grads of Life
  • Belief in the power of diversity and excitement for working in a diverse culture and on diverse teams

Coaching & Developing Others:

  • Experience with improving other’s skills and talents by providing directly and creating culture and systems to encourage constructive feedback , coaching and training opportunities
  • Understanding of how to empower others by investing them with the authority and latitude to accomplish tasks effectively
  • Self-awareness of strengths and weakness and how that impacts decision making, comfort with proactively seeking additional experience or skills to guide work

Mission / Cultural Fit:

  • Passion for systems change activities (i.e. campaign organizing, advocacy and coalition building, media, and public relations)
  • A passion for working with urban young adults, an unshakable belief in their potential and a strong commitment to the mission of Year Up
  • Understanding of the Opportunity Divide and its drivers
  • Commitment to diversity and inclusion


  • Salary: Competitive and commensurate with education and experience
  • Benefits: Competitive package including 100% healthcare coverage, dental, and 401(k) match
  • Vacation: Three weeks paid vacation in first year of employment; four weeks after initial year
  • Professional development: Funds available to support staff in achieving career objectives


Year Up is an award-winning national 501(c)3 organization striving to close the Opportunity Divide by providing young adults ages 18-24 with the skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education. Through a one-year intensive program, Year Up utilizes a high support, high expectations model that combines hands-on technical and professional skills, educational stipends, college-level coursework, and corporate internships at more than 250 top companies.

Year Up currently serves young adults in Arizona, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, the National Capital Region, New York City, Philadelphia, Providence, Puget Sound, San Francisco Bay Area, South Florida, and Wilmington and will serve more than 3,000 students in 2017 nationwide.

Voted one of the Best nonprofit executive search in the country by The Non-Profit Times for six consecutive years, Year Up is a rewarding place to work. Their staff is passionate, supportive, mission-driven, and live by a set of core values that reflect an unshakable belief in the talent and full potential of young people.