Jul 01, 2019

Senior Program Officer - LA Non-profit

  • First 5 LA
  • Los Angeles, CA, USA
Programs Education (K-12)

Job Description

The Senior Program Officer (SPO) is a strategy leader and portfolio manager for the Early Care & Education Department. This role is primarily responsible for leading the systems and policy change through the development and ongoing refinement of strategies in the area of Early Care and Education, consistent with the First 5 LA Strategic Plan. S/he is the content expert in their respective Outcome Area-aligned strategy and provides creative, out-of-the box thinking in both strategy refinement and in the day-to-day management of the strategy portfolio. S/he serves as both a direct report and content expert to the Director of Early Care and Education. The SPO is responsible for contributing and keeping abreast of essential knowledge, policies and systems developments in Early Care and Education.  

In addition to strategy leadership and portfolio management, the SPO is responsible for guiding and driving teams to mine projects and programs for learning to inform strategy development, grant monitoring, management, integration across the portfolio and future strategy development. S/he is responsible for driving integration within First 5 LA’s priority Early Care and Education area and contributes his/her knowledge of the outcome area to the design of the portfolio. In so doing, this SPO is also responsible for representing and supporting First 5 LA’s Early Care and Education advocacy agenda in leadership arenas in the region.  


S/he provides coaching and day-to-day supervision of their direct reports. 



The Senior Program Officer should visibly demonstrate the adopted organizational values of collaboration, integrity, respect, accountability, purpose, shared leadership and learning in the execution of their key areas of responsibility:  


Key Areas of Responsibility:  

§ Initiative design and strategy implementation  

§ Partnerships and stakeholder engagement  

§ Portfolio management 

§ Grant & contract procurement and management oversight consistent with requirements of a public entity 

§ Strategic integration and outcome alignment 

§ Staff supervision and talent development  


Essential Duties:  

Strategy Leadership  

§ Leads the development and ongoing refinement of strategies given the evolving policy and systems context, consistent with the First 5 LA Strategic Plan 

§ Ensures initiatives and projects align with the strategic plan outcomes and investment guidelines 

§ Determines appropriate allocation of resources and budget requirements across projects within a strategy 

§ Develops long-term sustainability plans for projects within a portfolio  

§ Ensures capacity needs are identified and mechanisms for capacity building are incorporated into initiative design 

§ Keeps abreast of relevant research and policy advancements in the field 

§ Presents to First 5 LA Board and other internal and external stakeholders 


Partnerships and Stakeholder Engagement 

§ Establishes and cultivate relationships between key stakeholders to advance strategic objectives 

§ Represents First 5 LA on relevant external committees, work groups, and at conferences/meetings 

§ Coordinates with other key departments to establish private/public partnership opportunities 

§ Advises and supports program officers in identifying and cultivating stakeholder relationships 


Portfolio Management 

§ Manages overall portfolio within a strategy, and associated budget against key objectives and milestones 

§ Manages complex projects as assigned 

§ Oversees and manages portfolio progress reporting to Division, Executive and Board Leadership 

§ Provides guidance and problem-solving support to staff related to grantee/contract monitoring activities  

§ Facilitates reflection and learning across projects and team members to inform ongoing strategy refinement 

§ In collaboration with the Integration & Learning Division, shares learnings from grant-making and portfolio management to contribute best practices to the field 

§ Oversees and ensures accountability across projects within a strategy or portfolio budget; conducts cost and program analysis to consistently recommend program improvements and modifications 


Strategic Integration 

§ Collaborates with all departments to promote integration and learning, strategy refinement, and innovation 

§ Identifies and develop strategies to address points of integration within and across outcome areas 

§ Facilitates and supports staff in effective communication with internal and external audiences, including, but not limited to, presentations, Commission discussions, key partner meetings, etc. 

§ Establishes and supports ongoing team development  

§ Models and guides staff on relevant professional development areas; works with direct reports on professional development and ongoing training, coaches staff on “managing up” 

§ Supports the organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, and values a diversity of perspectives  

§ Adheres to policies and procedures to ensure alignment with State regulations, local ordinances and First 5 LA directives  

§ Keeps apprised of all laws, regulations, statutes, rules and policies affecting First 5 LA and Proposition 10  

§ Supervises contractors and consultants, as needed  

§ Collaborates both internally and with external stakeholders to capture, synthesize and share learning and knowledge outcomes from the ongoing execution of all activities as necessary 


Staff Supervision and Talent Development 

§ Monitors staff performance and provides ongoing performance feedback 

§ Develops, coaches and supervises Department staff consistent with values and competencies required for successful job growth and development 


Other duties and responsibilities may be assigned. The duties and responsibilities listed are designed to provide typical examples of the work performed; not all duties and responsibilities assigned are included here, nor is it expected that all similar positions will be assigned every duty and responsibility. 



Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:  

Organization-wide Competencies 

§ Commitment to organizational mission and values: Mission-driven and self-directed, with a demonstrated passion for First 5 LA’s work to strengthen families and improve child outcomes; strives to model organizational values through daily actions and behaviors  

§ Possesses Customer-Focused Mindset: Is able to identify appropriate and relevant stakeholders; identifies internal and external stakeholders needs (customers); is responsive to stakeholder needs, considers impact when making recommendations 

§ Collaborative: Collaborates with peers to drive results in alignment with organizational and operational goals in support of the organization’s mission; is able to work in cross-functional teams; is able to establish and maintain effective working relationships with co-workers, public officials and the general public 

§ Communicates Effectively: Communicates effectively both written and oral; strong presentation skills; demonstrates ability to develop and deliver relevant and appropriate communications; delivers messages in a direct manner; able to tailor messages appropriately to various audiences 

§ Demonstrates Integrity and Judgment: Follows through on commitments letting others know of his/her true intentions; ensures decision-making or recommendations are fact-based and others understand the decision/recommendation before moving forward; considers the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one 

§ Demonstrates Critical Thinking: Applies critical thinking, logic and reasoning to analyze complex problems and information; identifies relative strengths and weaknesses of options, solutions or approaches 

§ Demonstrates Strategic Thinking: Identifies key issues and relationships relevant to achieving long range goals or vision; develops alternatives based on logical assumptions, facts, available resources, constraints, and organizational values to develop a point of view on a course of action to accomplish goals; develops priorities with the right balance of short and long-term wins 


Job Specific Competencies 

§ Role Specific Content: Knowledge of the early care and education arena, including emerging issues and best practices that improve quality, increase access and improve affordability; understanding of how early care and education systems operate within California and Los Angeles, including funding streams, eligibility requirements, service providers and service strategies; awareness of critical local, state and federal policies affecting early care and education system; general knowledge of policy development and implementation 

§ Content Knowledge: Competent in required job skills and knowledge; ability to learn and apply new skills; ability to learn how to operate new systems quickly; demonstrated ability to set priorities, establish clear expectations and execute identified projects; keeps abreast of current developments; requires minimal supervision; displays understanding of how job relates to others; knows how to use technology tools to effectively manage and expedite processes; uses resources effectively  

§ Planning and Organization and Project Management: Works in an organized manner with strong attention to detail; prioritizes and plans work activities; ability to effectively manage overlapping projects and deadlines; ability to work under pressure, meet deadlines and adjust to changing priorities; uses time efficiently; plans for additional resources; integrates changes smoothly; sets goals and objectivesability to manage high performance projects  

Management Competencies  

§ Managing People: Works towards and supports a common project vision, goals, and outcomes; provides direction and gains compliance; takes responsibility for direct reports’ activities; makes self available to direct reports; develops direct reports’ skills and encourages growth; provides regular performance feedback; encourages open communications; uses negotiation skills to resolve conflict; strong influencing and relationship skills; experience in managing high performance teams



§ Minimum of eight years of experience in one or more of the following areas preferred: policy and systems improvement, program development, grantmaking, research, and/or evaluation  

§ Minimum of three years of staff supervision preferred  

§ Significant experience in fields relevant to First 5 LA’s strategic plan, including early care and education, public health, child welfare, community development and civic engagement, mental health, early identification and intervention, parent engagement and support preferred 


§ Advanced degree from an accredited college or university in social science, health, education, or a related academic field preferred 

Direct Reports:  

§ Carries out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the organization's policies and applicable laws. Responsibilities include interviewing, hiring, and training employees; planning, assigning, and directing work; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining employees; addressing complaints and resolving problems  


Computer Skills: 

§ Proficiency in MS Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook) 

§ Ability to use widely supported internet browsers 

Certificates, Licenses and Registrations: 

§ Valid California Class C Driver License or the ability to utilize an alternative method of transportation when needed to carry out job-related essential functions 

§ Valid automobile liability insurance  

Travel Requirements: 

§ This position requires travel locally, statewide and nationally as needed  



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. 

The employee will sit, talk, hear and use hands up to 2/3 of the time. The employee will stand and walk up to 1/3 of the time. The employee is routinely required to carry and/or lift up to 10 pounds. 

Work Environment: 

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.  

The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.  

Title / Level of Responsibility


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