Creating Career Opportunities In Early Childhood Education

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Director, Community-Based Advocacy

Carole Robertson Center for Learning (the Center) seeks to hire a visionary, seasoned, and strategic Director of Community-Based Advocacy. The landscape of advocacy and policy is ever-changing, especially in early childhood and youth development. Now more than in the past, our local, state, and national elected officials recognize that the community voice must be at the table to identify, create and implement policies and solutions that help address and/or solve pressing social issues on the ground. As these tides continue to shift, we believe the Carole Robertson Center (Center) can be the connective tissue bringing together families’ voices and other community-based organizations (CBOs) perspectives concerning early childhood/youth development advocacy and policy development.

The CBO early childhood community has had a more passive role for a variety of reasons; therefore, this position will leverage the Center’s trusted brand and diverse program delivery models to fill this void meaningfully. The success of the Center’s new focus and efforts related to community-based advocacy rests on the ability of the Director of Community-Based Advocacy to form trusted partnerships with a diverse set of stakeholders across multiple levels. Building on the efforts initiated and maintained by our CEO, this position would continue elevating the ‘on the ground’ perspective informed by the Center and other nonprofits with advocates, policymakers, families, funders, public institutions, and other early childhood/youth development stakeholders. This effort will strengthen how we fuel policy and advocacy across Illinois. The Director will support the design of a blueprint that includes the Center’s expertise and deep understanding embedded of how we move advocacy and policy efforts as an early childhood/youth development community while not reinventing the wheel. The creation of our blueprint for advocacy relies on joining ongoing conversations and interacting with the existing advocacy and policy community, as well as bringing CBO, family, and community realities to the forefront.

The Director of Community-Based Advocacy will lead all day-to-day planning, organizing and convening related advocacy and engagement efforts with various internal and external stakeholders. This position will develop an policy/advocacy strategy based on the overall objectives of the Center and the broader field. This role will also partner with the advocacy community to represent and inform a policy agenda the integrates the views and realities of community-based organizations with early childhood and youth development programs and services. The Director of Community-Based Advocacy will work closely with program leaders and their staff, to plan, organize and execute based on the vision and strategy developed.

In addition, this position will partner with members of the executive team, mid-management, and program and support staff, along with enrolled families and other community organizations.

This is a grant-funded position through December 31, 2022 and contingent upon future funding.

B. JOB TYPE: Professionals
C. POSITION REPORTS TO: Chief Executive Officer
D. POSITION LOCATION: 1111 S. Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60612

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  • Values—ability to demonstrate in word and action the Center’s core values and deep commitment to the mission, vision, priorities and needs of the organization and the diverse communities it serves.
  • Inclusion—values all people for their unique talents and perspectives and promotes practices that promote and provide equal access to opportunities and resources that enable employees to contribute fully to the organization’s success.
  • Relationships—ability to build authentic relationships in the service of enhancing individual and team performances to support the Center’s work.
  • Change Capacity—leads self and others by demonstrating the ability to pivot and respond to unpredictable, disruptive, and ambiguous situations. Develop processes, tools, and techniques used to advance desired organizational outcomes and manage change, effectively.
  • Results-Proven Track Record—demonstrable ability to exceed goals with a bottom-line orientation; evidence of the ability to consistently make good decisions through a combination of analysis, wisdom, experience, and judgment; high level of business acumen including successful P&L management; the ability to balance the delivery of programs against the realities of a budget; and problem solving, project management, and creative resourcefulness.
  • Strategic Vision and Agility—ability to think strategically, anticipate future consequences and trends, and incorporate them into the organizational plan.
    Innovation—ability to form ideas that are new and enhanced, while introducing constructive ways of looking at problems that foster creativity interdisciplinary/cross-functional work.
  • Action and Results Oriented—enjoy working hard and looking for challenges; able to act and react as necessary, even if limited information is available; not afraid to take charge of a situation; can overcome resistance to leadership and take unpopular stands when necessary.
  • Quality Results—ability to demonstrate and foster a strong commitment to achieving goals in a manner that reflects thoroughness, accuracy and quality experiences.
  • Decision-Making—ability to integrate logic, intuition, and sound judgement to analyze information to identify greatest opportunities, make decisions, and solve problems.
  • General Management—thorough understanding of advocacy, early childhood issues, broad experience with the full range of business functions and systems, including strategic development and planning, budgeting, business analysis, finance, information systems, and human resources.
  • Minimum Master’s Degree from accredited college/university in public policy or related field, or non-profit management required.
  • Minimum of five years advanced leadership in advocacy, public policy, and systems-building work.
  • Experience in local, state and federal policy efforts related to early childhood and youth development fields strongly preferred.
  • Deep understanding of all facets of the early childhood and youth development sector, and the pressing issues and opportunities to strengthen the field.
  • Understanding of the federal, state and local policy landscapes and how to navigate within them.
  • Minimum 3-5 years of experience overseeing growth, strategy, and development in complex structural environments.
  • Demonstrated ability to influence, organize and mobilize a variety of stakeholders with various understanding and experience with policy and advocacy efforts.
    Excellent verbal and written communication skills and public speaking abilities who is a persuasive and passionate communicator.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills, including presentations and convenings with Center leadership, Board, and a wide range of stakeholders.
  • Ability to build positive and effective relationships with a broad and diverse set of stakeholders that positions the Center as a trusted partner in the advocacy and policy arena.
  • Excellent project management skills that fosters positive collaboration and stellar execution.
  • Provide leadership in strengthening internal communications with staff at all levels throughout the organization; create and promote a positive and supportive work environment.
  • Personal qualities of integrity, credibility, and commitment to the Center’s mission; a proactive, hands-on strategic thinker.
  • Expertise in technology, including Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Keen analytic, organization and problem-solving skills which allows for strategic advancement of priorities of the Center.
  • Unwavering commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Demonstrates passion, humility, integrity as a leader.
  • Exudes positivity, compassion, and care in every facet of the role.

Carole Robertson Center for Learning is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer that values and actively seeks diversity in the workforce. Carole Robertson Center for Learning evaluates qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other legally protected characteristics.

Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should
call (312) 243-7300 ext. 226 with their request.

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Educate. Enrich. Empower. 

We’re looking for passionate individuals who share our vision to help members of our community and the empower our youth.

Learn About Our Mission


Since 1976, the Carole Robertson Center for Learning has been dedicated to educating, enriching, and empowering children and families through comprehensive child and family development programs.