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Chief Operating Officer


The Chief Operations Officer (COO) will be a member of the National Immigrant Justice Center’s (NIJC’s) Senior Management Team. In this capacity, the COO will drive process improvements, increase efficiencies and help to strengthen the culture of commitment, engagement and service to the most vulnerable immigrants and refugees. The COO's focus will be to devise and lead performance management, measurement and evaluation against NIJC’s strategic plan as well as delivering best-practices across all areas (compensation, contracts, relationships with outside vendors/consultants, facilities and technology.)  The COO will work closely with the Executive Director and the Senior Management Team to implement operational decisions.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

Strategy, Leadership, and Management

  • Provide organizational leadership as part of the Senior Management Team and operational vision to NIJC consistent with its organizational strategy and growing business needs.
  • Serve as deputy and reports to the Executive Director, overseeing NIJC’s operations.
  • Enhance organizational excellence by establishing operational benchmarks, timelines, and resources needed to achieve strategic goals, proactively recommending and driving improvements as necessary; set standards for accountability and measurements of success.
  • Responsible for the development, implementation, and monitoring of the operational plan, including best practices that will enable NIJC to be a leader in its field.
  • Establish policies that promote NIJC’s culture, vision and communication, in accordance with its organizational strategy.
  • Represent NIJC at meetings regarding operational issues to maintain and grow relationships, attract resources and enhance NIJC’s reputation.
  • Proactively develop qualifications for leadership around emerging practice areas or specific topics that relate to the operational excellence of NIJC, including anticipating future trends.
  • Provide strategic input to evaluate potential alliances, acquisitions and mergers, new lines of service.
  • Provide leadership in development of inter-team communication and cohesiveness, sustaining culture and supporting staff during organizational growth.
  • Lead new operational initiatives and acts as a change agent. 


  • Responsible for ongoing, day-to-day operations and procedures across all teams, ensuring consistency, efficiency and best practices to achieve strategic goals.
  • Ensure quality and excellence in all NIJC programs and projects.
  • Manage all operational needs including, human resources, facilities, compliance, marketing, finance, legal and technology.
  • Liaise with Heartland Alliance Business Services to develop high quality operations systems consistent with best practices.
  • Establish office policies, procedures and systems to comply with funding and legal requirements
  • Recommend new policies and programs consistent with NIJC’s future and its growing challenges.
  • Develop and manage technology plan to identify strategic, cost effective uses of technology to increase operational efficiency.
  • Report to NIJC Leadership Board on issues relating to operations.
  • Prepare financial reports for funding requests.

Performance Management & Finance

  • Driver of business process improvement, including; goal setting and tracking Key Performance Indicators; budgeting, evaluating progress and using appropriate systems and software to manage same.
  • Monitor and forecast budgets
  • With senior leadership, design, implement, and evaluate the operational efficiency of each service area, and working with communications team, to ensure collaboration, engagement, and mutual respect.
  • Oversee fiscal year budgeting process and recommend resource allocations. 


  • Identify staff training and development needs and develops and administers employee training and activity reports to ensure that operational best practices are aligned with NIJC’s strategic and operational vision.
  • Set a culture that promotes maximum performance and dedication to best practices across all operational areas.

Competencies include:

  • Deep knowledge of non-profit organization best-practices in operations, policies and procedures, human resources, strategic planning, budgeting and quality improvement.
  • Experience creating/developing alignment and efficiency across diverse legal service programs and improve processes.
  • Experience achieving financial/operational/programmatic/team results within a climate of change, where external forces remain uncertain and where stakeholders might resist change.
  • Experience providing financial analysis, planning and forecast modeling to identify strengths and gaps.
  • Experience in strategic planning, development and performance/operations metrics.
  • Exceptional communicator, ability to manage and communicate up/down as well as with external stakeholders.
  • Exceptional collaborative management skills; has a proven record as a team builder and team leader.
  • Excellence in designing and leading high stakes projects to completion
  • Success in change management and maintaining stability during times of rapid growth, ambiguity, and uncertainty
  • Ability to rapidly shift altitudes from strategic to executional and to proactively identify and remove obstacles
  • Proven ability to foster a healthy organizational culture, to encourage teamwork and collaboration, and to build a sense of community and pride
  • Demonstrated strength in managing and resolving conflict.
  • Subscribes to NIJC values.
  • Experience balancing long-term strategic vision with short-term implementation taking into account funding limitations.
  • Experience seeing the big picture and plan for growth while attending to the details of implementation.
  • Strong financial acumen and ability to assess projects.
  • Manage relationships with auditors, vendors and consultants
  • Commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • Exceptional verbal and written communication skills.
  • Demonstrated skill in maintaining the balance between running a successful operation and being an NGO.

Qualifications:  To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


  • Proven experience in a professional services firm, experience with a non-profit organization, law firm or legal department preferred.
  • A track record of operational excellence, with a strong understanding of diverse business functions.
  • At least 10 years of relevant professional experience required, including success in nonprofit management (or equivalent in a for-profit role); and experience working with an Executive Director and Senior Management Team.
  • Excellent analytical skills, proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite
  • Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s degree in related field preferred

Computer Skills: To perform this job successfully, experience should include exposure to both shared and outsourced solutions, as well as support of in-house information and communication systems in a multi-site client-server environment.  Additional requirements include:

  • Familiarity with desktop, notebook, handheld, and server computer hardware and software
  • Familiarity with local and wide area network design, implementation, and operation
  • Knowledge of various office productivity software programs such as word processing, databases, spreadsheet programs, and communications software
  • General knowledge of business processes and their interrelationship gained through related experience
  • Ability to analyze and resolve complex issues, both logical and interpersonal

Language Skills:  Ability to read, analyze, and prepare written narratives for organizational leadership.  Ability to respond to common inquiries or questions from management, staff, and third parties.  Ability to effectively present information to top management, staff, and Board members both verbally and in writing.

Reasoning Ability:  Strong analytical ability required. Ability to identify problems, ask questions, collect data, establish facts, and draw valid conclusions. Ability to interpret an extensive variety of technical instructions in mathematical or diagram form and deal with several abstract and concrete variables. Working familiarity with technology vendor contract language, parameters, and industry standards.

Physical Demands: The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk and hear. 
  • The employee is regularly required to sit, stand and walk.
  • The employee is regularly required to use hands to key, handle, or feel and reach with hands and arms.
  • The employee is occasionally required to stoop, kneel, climb and/or crawl.
  • The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 10 pounds.
  • Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception and ability to adjust focus.
To Apply: 

Apply online here.


Submission Deadline: 
December 31, 2019
Organization Information: 
National Immigrant Justice Center
224 S Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60604
United States