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50CAN, Inc.

Executive Director, ConnCAN

– Hartford, Connecticut
Employment Type Full-Time

Founded in 2005, ConnCAN has been instrumental in creating the political conditions and public will for commonsense education policy changes to be implemented across the state of Connecticut. Through this work, ConnCAN has emerged as a leading voice for education reform, built a base of thousands of supporters across the state and secured dozens of policy wins including: the adoption of rigorous education standards, more flexibility to recruit great new teachers and a 50-percent increase in the number of students enrolled in public charter schools.

ConnCAN is a branch of 50CAN: The 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now, a nonprofit organization that works at the local level to advocate for a high-quality education for all kids, regardless of their address. 50CAN helps develop local education leaders by providing them with the research, tools and ideas needed to create learning environments that best meet every child’s needs. It operates campaigns in 11 states, supports affiliates in three additional states, has a national headquarters in Washington, D.C., and is led by CEO and Founder Marc Porter Magee. 

About the position

The executive director will be charged with leading ConnCAN into a new era as an indispensable voice for the needs of Connecticut’s students and the policies that will usher in the education system of the future. This person will lead the local Connecticut team in building and executing annual advocacy campaigns that move us closer to the day when all students have access to a high-quality education. This leader must be politically savvy, have strong relationships with policy makers and community partners and be a persuasive advocate for the needs of students. The executive director must have a track record of being a decisive leader, a strong team player and an accomplished advocate. The executive director leads the Connecticut team and reports directly to 50CAN President Vallay Varro.

Key responsibilities

  • Advocate-in-Chief (60%): The executive director will collaborate with state partners to change state policy through legislative and administrative action by crafting and executing the organization’s strategy and campaign plans. 

  • Local fundraiser-in-Chief (20%): The executive director will be the primary driver of cultivating and securing local funding to ensure the long-term sustainability of the campaign and build upon the existing funding secured to date.
  • Chief spokesperson (10%): The executive director will be the voice of the campaign in speeches, meetings, media outreach and written communication across the state, effectively communicating complex policy and research arguments to a broad range of individuals and groups. 

  • Manager and mentor (10%): The executive director will be the leader of the Connecticut team and serve as both a strong manager and mentor for at least three team members.

Key skills, abilities and experience

The ideal candidate has a successful track record of running issue advocacy or political campaigns, a solid understanding of education policy, strong relationships with funders and policy makers, and is extraordinarily entrepreneurial and absolutely dedicated to our mission of ensuring every student receives a high-quality education regardless of their zip code.

This person should ideally demonstrate:

Extensive advocacy, political and nonprofit leadership experience

  • At least 5-10 years in a senior role, preferably in education advocacy, running political campaigns or in an education non-profit setting.
  • Work experience in the Northeast and familiarity with key players at the state and/or local levels. 

  • Sense of humor, passion, strong work ethic, creativity and willingness to do “whatever it takes” in a fast-paced work environment. 

  • Record of perseverance in the face of challenges, delivering against timelines and not being intimidated by tasks or time limitations. 

  • Integrity (doing what’s right, even when it is uncomfortable), candor and directness. 

  • Ability to quickly adapt plans and goals to changing circumstances and political winds.
  • Demonstrated track record with taking initiative and making tough decisions.

Communication skills

  • Ability to effectively tailor messages and communications that engage community leaders, teachers and other stakeholders. 

  • An aptitude for building relationships with individuals from diverse backgrounds.

Track record as a relationship manager and team player

  • Excellent people skills; past success convening different groups or individuals, cultivating buy-in and developing consensus. 

  • Past success designing and leading a long-term, multi-faceted project, campaign or initiative.
  • An ability to implement vision, think strategically, take initiative creatively, problem solve, exercise good judgment, lead change and exceed established goals.

 How to apply

Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience. 50CAN offers a comprehensive and robust benefits package. Position is based in Hartford, Connecticut with frequent travel throughout the state.

50CAN is an equal opportunity employer, and we encourage people from diverse backgrounds to apply.

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  • Location
    Hartford, Connecticut
  • Employment Type
    Full-Time
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