Chief Operating Officer

The Lean Lab - Kansas City, MO - Full time


Since its founding in 2013, The Lean Lab has worked to incubate and launch breakthrough innovations that redefine k-12 public education through a community-led approach.

The Lean Lab is now seeking a Chief Operating Officer in our Kansas City office to support our operational, administrative, and strategic growth initiatives. The Lean Lab’s Chief Operating Officer will inform and execute the strategic plan in order to build a robust hub of education innovation in Kansas City.

The Chief Operating Officer will primarily be responsible for increasing the organization’s visibility, impact, financial resources and efficiency. This is a tremendous opportunity for an individual who welcomes the challenge to blaze new trails, while navigating between both strategic and tactical activities in the field of education innovation. This is an opportunity to be on the ground floor of an organization poised to disrupt the education sector with innovative school models, services and technologies.

Reporting to and partnering with the Founding CEO, the COO will lead all internal operations and will manage the following domains:

  • Visibility: Communication, Community & Marketing
  • Impact: Creative vs. Tradition
  • Financial Resources: Oversight, Development and Investment/Fund development Strategy
  • Efficiency: Serve as internal leader

Key Qualifications

  • Solid educational background: undergraduate degree required; MBA or similar advanced degree highly desired.
  • Minimum of 5 years’ general management experience in a non-profit educational organization or similar organization, with thorough understanding of finance, systems, and HR; broad experience with the full range of business functions and systems, including strategic development and planning, budgeting, business analysis, information systems, human resources, and marketing.
  • Demonstrates a high level of business acumen understanding, 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.
  • Highly analytical: experience decomposing and solving real world program evaluation evaluations and problems, ideally building/using advanced Excel models (SQL a plus).
  • Excellent communication skills: Experienced storyteller who can influence decision making within executive-level audiences.
  • Operate with a high level of professionalism, staying up to date on relevant trends in education innovation, policy and pedagogy.
  • A strategic thinker with excellent business judgment and strong product sense.
  • A strong leader who can corral a group to execute against an initiative while rolling up your own sleeves to get on the ground work done.
  • You care deeply about aligning budget to organization’s philosophy, mission, key activities and core values, and view strong budgeting/fiscal practices as an essential tool by which the organization achieves its mission and vision.

Key Attributes

  • Capacity Building: ability to effectively build organization and staff capacity, developing a top-notch workforce and the processes that ensure the organization runs smoothly.
  • Leadership and Organization: exceptional capacity for managing and leading people; a team builder who has experience in scaling up organizations; ability to connect staff both on an individual level and in large groups; capacity to enforce accountability, develop and empower top-notch leaders from the bottom up, lead from the top down, cultivate entrepreneurship, and learn the strengths and weaknesses of the team so as to put people in a position to succeed.
  • Action-Oriented: enjoys working hard and looks 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.
  • Fastidious: consistently delivers meticulous and excellent work.

As a prerequisite, the successful candidate must believe in the core values of The Lean Lab, and be driven by the mission. The candidate should demonstrate a passion for breaking new ground to lead social change. Beyond that, we are seeking a candidate that has proven experience in scaling a multi-site organization and a demonstrated ability to both lead and build the capabilities of a driven, bright, diverse team.

We offer a dynamic, engaging work environment, with offices in the Sprint Accelerator building of the Crossroads district and at the EduHub in Westport. We offer a competitive salary and encourage “creative sabbaticals” with paid time off.

Please submit your resume and a letter (which we consider a writing sample) detailing what it is about this opportunity that captured your imagination to HR@theleanlab.org.

Apply Now

Experience Level

6 or more years

The Lean Lab

The Lean Lab is a nonprofit organization that incubates breakthrough, community-led education innovations. We host year-round convening events that build new networks of parents, teachers, students, school leaders, and entrepreneurs, as well as innovation workshops that equip our community with innovative tools and resources to solve the problems in our education landscape. Our core program, the Incubator Fellowship, accelerates five startup education innovations each year through rigorous workshops, community partnership / mentorship, and seed funding.

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