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Chief Operating Officer

Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance

Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance Chief Operating Officer Job Description Background: The Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance is a nonprofit organization that works to transform the waters of New York and New Jersey Harbor into clean and accessible places to learn, work and play, with inviting parks, dependable jobs and reliable, eco-friendly transportation. Private development and public agencies have ambitious plans for developing New York City's waterfront assets and MWA offers insightful and innovative ideals for the future of the waterfront at a time when regulatory and environmental decisions are being made. The organization works through education, grassroots organizing and media advocacy to include the public's voice and values in the decision-making that will determine the future of the region's waterfront and waterways.

The Position: The Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance is seeking a highly intelligent, skilled and experienced individual to become its next Chief Operating Officer (COO). Reporting to MWA's President, the COO is responsible for overseeing and managing the internal affairs of the organization, developing new programs, overseeing and managing existing programs, conducting policy analysis, and strongly supporting fundraising for the organization. Fundamentally, the COO manages day-to-day operations of the organization, grows MWA programs, ensures the quality of all MWA work, and ensures the staff and the organization attains their goals. The ideal candidate will have an entrepreneurial spirit and have experience managing many facets of an organization during a period of significant growth.

The COO assists the President in addressing a range of strategic issues including enhancing organizational effectiveness and integrity, providing staff leadership, and building the MWA Alliance, along with overall strategic planning for the organization as a whole and for individual programs and initiatives.

The COO provides strong and effective leadership by defining operational expectations, monitoring progress in achieving those expectations, providing a work environment supportive of organizational accomplishments and individual growth, and evaluating the annual performance of all employees.

The COO provides the President with strategic insight in critical areas of operations, including policy direction, integrated communications and outreach, and operational initiatives facing the organization. In addition, along with the President, the COO prepares and monitors annual budgets. He or she maintains a high level of technical and operational accuracy and quality throughout all of MWA's work including fiscal, operational, policy, and fundraising tasks.

Specific responsibilities include: Overall
• Provide cross-departmental direction and leadership for staff management and program development.
• Establish internal structure and processes required to meet objectives and manage day-to-day operations including program tracking and program evaluation.
• With the President and staff, develop waterfront policy and strategies for all MWA program and policy areas including public access and recreation, community organizing, waterfront education, working waterfront, waterfront design, ferry transit, and environmental policy.
• Oversee all MWA events including City of Water Day, annual waterfront conferences, task force meetings, and all outreach meetings; as well as MWA’s Events Manager.
• Identify opportunities for organizational and programmatic growth.
• Support and advise MWA’s development staff including providing structure for private, public, and individual fundraising.
• Play strong role with President in the oversight of all communications, marketing, and development.
• Monitor quality of external and internal communications.

Internal Management
• Manage long-term program milestones and strategic objectives including development of annual goals through a collaborative, staff-based process.
• Establish benchmarks and metrics to evaluate staff and organizational performance.
• Develop and track evaluation mechanisms for feedback and program assessment.
• Work with President to establish annual budget and ensure programmatic activity adheres to the budget.
• Create an environment of teamwork, appreciation and recognition.
• Foster processes for strategic planning.
• Ensure internal control for subcontracting, grant reimbursement, and MWA’s internship program are in place and effective.
• Run internal staff meetings including preparing agendas and troubleshooting internal management issues.
• Work with Office Administrator to manage human resources including establishing and determining employee benefits, internal policies, hiring, drafting of job descriptions, performance reviews, and payroll.

Policy, Fundraising, and Communications
• Assist the President and Board in developing strategy for influencing waterfront policy within local and state government.
• Play lead role with MWA’s President in developing campaigns and outreach strategy to further waterfront policy.
• Integrate MWA’s program strategy with community outreach and community organizing methods.
• Develop strategies with MWA’s President to grow MWA’s Alliance and its effectiveness.
• Work with the President to develop outside partnerships to further the MWA’s mission.
• Lead process with President and MWA staff to develop policy content, structure, and strategies for MWA’s waterfront conferences and other MWA events.
• Support and assist in oversight of development and fundraising tasks including grant writing, corporate sponsorships, and major donor program.
• Assist with MWA’s grant writing.
• Oversee MWA’s government grant fundraising and reimbursements processes.
• Oversee website development, blast emails, collateral material, fundraising materials, and report design.
• Oversee organization’s database (Salesforce) including content and structure.
• Suggest graphic design solutions to communications challenges working with MWA’s communications consultants.


• Bachelor’s degree in a related discipline required; Master’s degree preferred.
• A minimum of ten years of progressive management experience in nonprofit, private, or public sectors.
• Outstanding writing skills with an ability to write effectively and persuasively in the areas of policy, project management, program execution, fundraising, communications, and strategic planning.
• Policy expertise in environment and sustainability (preferred), urban planning, urban policy, economics, civic engagement, transportation, and community organizing.
• Knowledge of New York City government and experience in developing relationships with key government agencies and individuals.
• Nonprofit leadership and experience in growing and leading projects and programs for and within nonprofits.
• Excellent research and writing skills; ability to quickly grasp technical understanding of transportation, waterfront, and economic issues; excellent organizational skills, with a high level of attention to detail and the ability to see projects through to completion; excellent oral communication skills and public speaking; strong computer skills.
• Sense of humor and ability to work in fast-paced environment, and sensitivity in working with confidential materials.

For more information about the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, please visit their website at

The Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance has retained the services of Harris Rand Lusk to conduct this search. Inquiries, nominations, and applications may be directed in confidence to: Jack Lusk, Managing Partner or Anne McCarthy, Senior Director Harris Rand Lusk 261 Madison Avenue, 11th Floor New York, NY 10016



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