Chief Strategy Officer: Benefits Data Trust

Posted November 16th, 2016 at 9:20 am.

In a country as rich as America, 46 million people cannot feed their families, heat their homes or pay their medical bills. Working with government and community partners to simplify and change how people apply for benefits, Benefits Data Trust has delivered over $6.3 billion in benefits to low-income households; helped more than 600,000 eligible people enroll in benefits; infused $12 billion into local communities of need and; and saved millions of dollars in government resources.

Benefits Data Trust is a not-for-profit social change organization committed to transforming how individuals in need access public benefits and services. Through its innovative Service Delivery Model, BDT seeks to improve the lives of vulnerable individuals, the systems they navigate, and the communities in which they live. BDT infuses over $135 million into the homes of low-income individuals every year, allowing them to buy food, heat their homes, and afford healthcare. BDT cannot do it alone. The organization relies on cross-sector partnerships with government, healthcare providers, philanthropic entities, and community based organizations to re-engineer the health and human services system making benefits access more simple, comprehensive and cost-effective.

Founded in Philadelphia in 2005, BDT operates programs in Pennsylvania, Maryland, South Carolina, Colorado and New York. Over the past four years, BDT has had an approximate 30% annual growth rate and currently employs 185 FTE with a 2016 operating budget of approximately $14 million. Having established itself as a social change agent and thought leader in the benefits access sector with a proven impact model, BDT is at a critical juncture in its growth and is poised to take the next step.

Reporting to the President, the Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) will set and oversee the execution of the strategy required for BDT to scale its impact. In this role, the CSO will oversee Analytics, Policy, Projects, and the Contact Center. The ideal candidate will ensure that these specialized areas will work seamlessly to offer comprehensive and coordinated services to our clients and our partners. S/he will also coordinate with the other functional areas within the organization to ensure that BDT remains a high-performing organization that delivers on the vision that it seeks to achieve. The new CSO will manage a highly talented and passionate team and ensure coordination, collaboration, and effective communication between departments in a fast-paced and highly entrepreneurial context. S/he will promote and facilitate strategic conversations aimed at strengthening information sharing, organizational learning, and continuous improvement around impact, while maintaining alignment with client needs and compliance with relevant government regulation. The CSO will serve as a key external representative to diverse partners, articulating BDT’s mission, vision, values, and objectives and in collaboration with the Chief Engagement Officer, will build effective and mutually beneficial partnerships.

The Chief Strategy Officer will be a seasoned leader and manager with a proven record of success in building and scaling innovative organizations, leading highly effective and talented teams, and driving strategy and planning across complex programs. S/he will naturally thrive in fast-paced environments, be an excellent communicator and manager, and have extensive experience successfully building relationships across government, nonprofit, and corporate sectors. The ideal candidate will have an understanding of the policy change process and bring a well-developed ability to use evidence, outcomes, and research to inform strategy. S/he will have a strong personal commitment to BDT’s mission to transform the way services are delivered to those in need, and the flexibility to evolve along with the organization as it plans for a new era of expansion and impact.

This search is being conducted with assistance from Allison Kupfer Poteet and Callie Carroll of Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group. Please find more information and application instructions at the end of this document. For more information about BDT, please visit:

The Chief Strategy Officer role is a newly created position at Benefits Data Trust, in recognition of the increasing complex demands it faces in balancing the growth and sustainability of programs with the need to invest in internal capacity and infrastructure to support quality, efficiency, and alignment. The CSO can expect to engage with the following challenges and opportunities:

Strategic Leadership and Innovation: The CSO will set and deliver upon strategy for BDT’s growth, honing and leading continued innovation of BDT’s program model to deepen and expand impact. S/he will lead and oversee the scaling and integration of BDT’s direct service programs and systems change initiatives. S/he will partner with other members of the leadership team to continue strengthening the financial sustainability model and revenue streams through a period of scaling and growth. The CSO will inspire new opportunities, partnerships, and innovation to drive BDT’s next phase of strategic development and will foster a continued culture of collaboration, entrepreneurial thinking, and action among team members. Specifically, the CSO will:

  • Serve as a member of BDT’s leadership team responsible for charting organizational vision, goals, strategic plans, and key performance indicators. S/he will be responsible for the annual organizational goal setting process and will lead organization-wide efforts to align organizational goals and everyday decision making.
  • Provide strategic planning support by way of recommendations, development of benchmarks, and analysis of programmatic progress. Work closely with the President to ensure that organizational initiatives and activities are aligned with growth strategy and branding efforts.
  • Manage a highly talented and entrepreneurial team, overseeing policy driven systems change efforts, programmatic design and management (including the core of BDT’s programming, a sophisticated and highly successful contact center), compliance with government regulation, and analytics to ensure that the organization delivers on the impact it seeks to achieve.

Organizational Alignment, Learning & Performance: The CSO will ensure coordination, collaboration, and effective communication between programs and teams organization-wide. S/he will promote and facilitate strategic conversations across departments aimed at strengthening information sharing, organizational learning, and continuous improvement. S/he will promote a culture of data-driven decision making and analytics, shepherd ongoing internal discussion to measure outcomes and drive deeper and broader impact. Specifically, s/he will:

  • Serve as a bridge between business development and successful programmatic implementation, ensuring that new partnerships are aligned with and fall within priority, realistic and actionable activities for the team.
  • Integrate systems to manage and track BDT’s programmatic goals and outputs particularly around data, analytics, reporting, and outcome measures.
  • Design and integrate performance metrics in accordance with BDT’s aggressive growth strategy and retention goals and coordinate and monitor staff development and performance across these goals.
  • Build efficient cross-departmental mechanisms that effectively manage workflow.

External Partnerships & Communication: The CSO will serve as a key external representative with prospective and existing programmatic, funding, and government partners, articulating BDT’s mission, vision, values, and objectives. S/he will steward the organization’s core messages and values through words and action, serving as a model in broadcasting its unique culture. In collaboration with the Chief Engagement Officer, s/he will negotiate new partnerships and relationships and continue to build BDT’s profile as a leading social innovator. Together with the President, the CSO will serve as a liaison to the Board of Directors. Specifically, s/he will:

  • Cultivate and maintain cross sector partnerships to secure and expand programmatic commitments.
  • Provide support to President and external development staff to increase fundraising capacity including identification, analysis, and outreach to prospective donors and partners.
  • Serve externally as an ambassador of BDT, representing the organization at national conferences and convenings.

While no one person may embody all of the qualities enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes and experiences:

  • Sophisticated leadership skills and presence developed through a minimum of twelve years of progressive strategic leadership in a high-growth, best-in-class organization, ideally in a social sector or cross sector context; Demonstrated experience and success in building or scaling a complex organization with an eye towards sustainability;
  • A design thinker with a proven ability to support cross-functional teams; A natural orientation towards collaboration, innovation, and entrepreneurship; Experience bringing together diverse groups toward shared goals;
  • Demonstrated resourcefulness in setting priorities, proposing new ways of creating efficiencies, and guiding investment in people and systems; A strategic, comprehensive, and critical approach to planning, problem solving, and decision making;
  • An unwavering commitment to quality programs and excellence in strategic, organizational, and budget management; Experience in building efficient, data-informed, cost-effective programs and leveraging data for planning and managing organizational change;
  • Experience in policy and systems change at the state and/or national level is preferred;
  • A demonstrated understanding of financial management and experience with the intersection of finance, development, and program management for effective stewardship of resources;
  • Tested commitment to building, managing, and professionally mentoring diverse teams in a dynamic environment;
  • Proven success in building and maintaining strong external cross-sector partnerships; A strong, intuitive communicator, skillful at managing through influence with humility with the ability to connect and inspire across stakeholder groups;
  • A high tolerance for ambiguity and the ability to adapt quickly to change; Demonstrated ability to anticipate and manage potential impacts of change;
  • An optimistic outlook and the natural tendency to forego individual promotion in the interest of mission; Humor, integrity, charisma, patience, and a natural learning posture; A servant-leader orientation and the emotional intelligence necessary to know when to lead and when to follow;
  • A demonstrated passion for BDT’s mission and commitment to helping individuals meet their basic needs; and
  • Bachelor’s degree required with an advanced degree in a related field strongly preferred.

This search is being conducted with assistance from Allison Kupfer Poteet and Callie Carroll of Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group. Candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, and applications will be reviewed as they are received. Please send nominations and/or applications including cover letter describing your interest and qualifications, your resume (in Word format), salary history, and where you learned of the position to: Benefits Data Trust is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group is a national executive search and consulting firm dedicated to serving the mission-driven community. We partner with global mission-driven clients to deliver highly-tailored, innovative, and strategic senior- and executive-level search services.

Filed under: Executive Level by Margie DuBrow

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