Braille Institute of America
(Los Angeles, CA)
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Braille Institute is a non-profit organization that has been positively transforming the lives of those with vision loss for more than 100 years. Braille Institute offers a broad range of free programs, classes, and services to more than 20,000 children, youth and adults each year.
Braille Institute serves the community from seven centers, and hundreds of community outreach locations throughout Southern California with a full array of services: low vision consultations, technology training, daily living skills classes, arts & healthy living classes, orientation & mobility training, and library services. Braille Institute also hosts nationally recognized programs like Braille Challenge and Cane Quest.
Braille Institute’s staff team (185 FTE) and volunteers are fully committed to the mission of Braille Institute.They have a passion to serve and are highly professional in their day-to-day responsibilities. More specifically, they provide an individualized range of services designed to meet a person’s specific visual challenges and personal goals. They strive to serve the whole person by meeting a range of physical, social, intellectual, and emotional needs. Many of Braille Institute’s students receive multiple services and there are no limits on age or length of service.
Since its founding in 1919 by J. Robert Atkinson, Braille Institute has remained highly focused on its singular mission. While the COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020-2021 presented life-changing challenges, Braille Institute adapted programs for remote delivery and established the foundation for a new “hybrid” model of service of both in-person at its centers and remotely through online delivery. Extending its reach via digital online delivery is now a core strategy as the number of people who are blind or visually impaired is expected to double in the U.S. to eight million over the next two decades.
Braille Institute’s current annual operating budget is approximately $23 million with an endowment totaling approximately $250 million.
For more information, please visit www.brailleinstitute.org.
Braille Institute is well-positioned to benefit from a mission-driven, collaborative, strategic, and forward-thinking finance professional. Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer, Jim Kales, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) provides executive-level leadership and strategic direction to the financial, accounting and treasury functions of the organization, assuring its overall short- and long-term financial stability. As a valued member of the executive team, the CFO works closely with the Finance, Audit, and Risk Oversight Committees of the Board of Directors. Under the direction of the Finance Committee and working with Braille Institute’s investment consultant, the CFO is responsible for cash management and all investments. In addition, the CFO represents Braille Institute in relationships with auditors, investment advisors and managers, legal counsel and risk managers.
The CFO oversees financial, accounting, business services and facilities operations with a total staff of 20 FTE through the following direct reports: Controller; Director, Business Services; and Director, Facilities.
Essential duties and responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- Partner with the CEO, the executive team, and the Board of Directors to set, implement and monitor the strategic direction of the organization to grow Braille Institute’s mission and ensure its long-term sustainability and financial strength. Participate in the development and implementation of corporate strategic plans and assure alignment of budget with strategic plans.
- Set the tone across the organization for financial discipline and the importance of financial balance to achieve Braille Institute’s mission and vision. Collaborate closely with other functional leaders to achieve organizational objectives.
- Develop and implement policies, procedures and financial controls to promote efficient operations and compliance with all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations pertaining to fiscal affairs of the organization.
- Develop and communicate financial planning strategies. Oversee the preparation and approval of all financial reporting materials and metrics for the Board of Directors; prepare and communicate financial statements.
- Manage cash flow and forecasting; direct all financial accounting. Ensure that accounting staff maintain financial records in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles; monitor use of all funds.
- Enhance and develop the yearly budgeting process in coordination with the Board of Directors and executive team. Develop and approve yearly organizational and departmental budgets and ensure availability of funds through balanced budgets.
- Develop, mentor and coach staff and build cohesive, high performing teams. Establish and communicate priorities of projects and departmental goals.
- Monitor investment of funds and compliance in accordance with investment policy statement and provide timely reporting of investment results to the Board of Directors and related committees.
- Assess and monitor ongoing risks to the organization including financial, operational, and reputational risks and undertake corrective actions to mitigate any risks. Work with the Risk Oversight Committee, in-house legal counsel, and Human Resources to ensure compliance with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
- Consult with any investment managers, auditors, attorneys and others as needed.
- Oversee administration and financial reporting of the tax-sheltered savings plan.
TRAITS AND CHARACTERISTICS DESIRED
The successful candidate will be an experienced leader with a track record of success in a complex, dynamic environment. The CFO should demonstrate a high level of initiative, sense of urgency, accountability and results-oriented organizational and leadership abilities with a capacity to work independently and as part of a team. As such, the CFO must have excellent interpersonal skills and be an open yet tactful and persuasive communicator, both verbally and in writing. Realistic and optimistic, the successful candidate will establish positive relationships and exhibit confidence when working with the Board of Directors, staff, outside consultants, and other key stakeholders. Analytical with strong strategic planning skills as well as comfortable with day-to-day management, the CFO should be an inclusive leader who is collaborative, transparent, self-aware, and good at setting priorities, and will possess the ability to manage multiple tasks and functions simultaneously in a fast-paced environment. The person in this position must also bring a mindset of continuous improvement and be a model of integrity and fairness with high ethical standards. Ingenuity, compassion, dedication, humility, and energy are key attributes that will be valued. Above all, the CFO must be passionate about the mission of Braille Institute to positively transform the lives of those with vision loss.
CAREER TRACK LEADING TO THIS POSITION
Competitive candidates will have broad finance and investment experience including prior work with investment consultants/advisors and a proven track record of financial leadership gained through increasingly responsible positions. Past positions as a CFO or senior financial manager in a dynamic nonprofit organization and experience working with a Board of Directors is strongly preferred. Candidates with a transferable skillset from the for-profit sector and a demonstrable commitment to the work of Braille Institute will also be considered. Experience overseeing accounting, investments, budgeting, controls, and reporting is essential and expected, as is proficiency in technology and systems used to support this work. The CFO will bring a keen understanding of budgeting and accounting principles, organizational and investment policies, procedures, systems, and objectives, as well as knowledge of fiscal management and financial planning. Proven successful team leadership is required and successful candidates must demonstrate a clearly articulated collaborative and flexible management style that supports a positive team culture, well-being of staff, regular feedback, high performance, and employee retention. The ability to develop and maintain effective professional working relationships at all levels of the organization is imperative.
A Bachelor’s degree is required; MBA and/or CPA, or related advanced degree is preferred.
COMPENSATION & ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS
The annual salary range for this position is $225,000 to $275,000 based on experience. Relocation assistance, if needed, is negotiable. A comprehensive and competitive benefits package will be provided. This is a full-time exempt position with the expectation of regular in-person work at the Braille Institute’s Los Angeles Center; a hybrid remote work schedule with one to two days of telecommuting per week will be considered.
An equal opportunity employer (EEO), Braille Institute is committed to diversity and encourages applicants of all backgrounds and experiences to apply. Braille Institute does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, non-disqualifying physical or mental disability, national origin, veteran status or any other basis covered by appropriate law. All employment is decided on the basis of qualifications, merit, and business need.
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