Benetech Chief Executive Officer Position Specification

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About Benetech

Benetech is a forward looking nonprofit whose core mission is to empower communities with software for social good. They are a team of mission-driven technologists with a passion for inclusion, equity and justice. They’re constantly pursuing their mission by uniting two worlds: the global social sector and Silicon Valley, serving as a bridge for both communities to identify needs and software solutions that can drive positive, social change. Founded by Jim Fruchterman over two decades ago, Benetech has grown to a $16mm operating budget that includes multiple programs and initiatives providing software solutions to improve—even transform—the lives of people around the world.

Benetech is driven to level the playing field with inclusive access to information to reduce social and economic inequality. They harness the power of software and data to address some of world’s most challenging problems and create positive, lasting impact in the communities they serve. Benetech focuses in the areas of global literacy, education, employment and human rights. Their work is transforming how information is made accessible so that everyone can learn, work, and pursue their dreams. Benetech believes that access to information is a universal human right. Thus, they are particularly proud of their global education and literacy efforts which are focused on serving people with reading barriers around the world Today, Benetech empowers over 850,000 people to read and access information in ways that work for them. They’ve delivered 20 million accessible books and work with 1000 publishers worldwide. Through Bookshare, they provide the world’s largest online service for accessible books in braille, audio, and ebook with over 1,000,000 titles in the core collection. They provide the platform for six of the world’s largest accessible libraries and run eight national accessible libraries in eight different languages in developing countries. Their literacy and education work supports fundamental human rights around the world and they enable global partners to pursue truth and justice through purpose-built software.

Benetech’s Truths

  • Software for Social Impact: We support, empower, and educate by leveraging software to create positive social impact.
  • Right Stuff Right: We listen to our communities to identify barriers, constantly assessing if our plans address those challenges, then use a results-driven approach to get stuff done.
  • Equitable and Accessible: We ensure our products and processes are accessible by all because inclusion is at the heart of what we do.
  • Be Open, Not Closed: We work collaboratively and transparently, openly sharing our work and creating opportunities for others to do the same.
  • Do More Together: We amplify our impact through a culture of cooperation internally, with partners, and with our users.
  • Value Flexibility: Our employees and users have the flexibility to work in ways that are best for them.

For more information on Benetech, please visit: https://benetech.org/

The Role

The next CEO of Benetech must be ambitious and prepared to scale solutions with the potential for maximum social impact and extend them further to better encompass issues of accessibility, diversity and equity, all while maintaining quality of service and integrity of mission. Reporting to the Board of Directors (Board), the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) will provide strategic leadership and work collaboratively with Benetech staff and Board to develop and execute a compelling, powerful and user centric vision for the organization. Above all, they will be passionate and dedicated to building world-class software, through collaboration with communities and partners to make sure their solutions can be used by all who need them, not just those who can afford them.

This dynamic leader will grow funding, partnerships, support, and operational capabilities required for Benetech to achieve its goals. The CEO will lead with respect, compassion, and appreciation of the work and diversity of every individual Benetech employs, partners with, and reaches through their products and programs. The CEO will bring an entrepreneurial mindset and will be able to further promote a collaborative and supportive working environment that fosters trust and teamwork.

The CEO will:

  • Provide thought leadership for systemic change initiatives to increase Benetech’s reach and impact
  • Set priorities, clarify organizational strategy, and make difficult decisions around resource allocation when necessary
  • Be a highly skilled fundraiser who can diversify revenue and funding streams; bring a creative influence, entrepreneurial orientation and business acumen
  • Uncover and seize new and untapped opportunities, and position the organization to pursue those opportunities
  • Lead and motivate diverse, high performing teams; foster collaboration and inclusivity while increasing the organization’s professional maturity
  • Develop and lead strategic partnerships across multiple sectors
  • Have a proven and tangible commitment to Accessibility, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and integrate and model those practices
  • Have strong abilities as a people manager, who can set expectations for change management
  • Amplify Benetech’s story, while also drawing attention to communities they serve
  • Drive short and long-term strategic planning in partnership with the Board and the staff

Candidate Profile

Benetech seeks a talented, strategic, imaginative, and compassionate leader. They must be able to examine the challenges of a changing post-pandemic world and develop and implement a vision. The successful candidate will be passionate about the mission of Benetech and exhibit a strong intellectual curiosity about equitable access and learning for all. They must be able to lead the staff in ascertaining the most effective avenues for Benetech to deliver product and content while maintaining commitment to quality and access.

They must possess the significant business, management and leadership skills that will be necessary to strategically lead the organization through a time of continued evolution. They will bring a grasp of the forces and trends that will shape the future of global literacy, remote learning, tech innovation, policy and social change.

Transformative Strategic Vision

  • Energetic, innovative thinker with the ability to collaboratively build and execute a vision for the future; ability to lead through change while maintaining organizational integrity, quality of offerings, and internal culture.
  • Able to break down silos and unite all constituencies under a common vision so that all members of Benetech can operate as one.
  • Demonstrates experience with mission-driven, systemic change work, particularly as it relates to education, access, human rights, tech for social good, or other adjacent arenas.
  • Possesses excellent judgment – shows wisdom in making decisions, balancing a variety of factors to achieve optimal outcome.

Intellectual Curiosity and Passion for Mission

  • Demonstrates deep knowledge of tech as a driver for social good or a genuine interest in learning about the framework and its dramatic potential for impact.
  • Unquestionable integrity and authenticity; leads by example and serves as a tireless advocate around issues of equity and access for all, both internally and externally.
  • They must have an absolute commitment towards realizing a world that achieves fundamental fairness. The successful candidate will not only have earned the appropriate leadership credentials across their lifetime but be implicitly anchored by Benetech’s core values and commitment to DEI.

Dynamic Leadership

  • Direct, effective communicator and genuine listener who can unify different internal and external teams and the Board of Directors.
  • Skilled at developing and leading a diverse, motivated, and collaborative team; promotes a creative and results-oriented spirit.
  • Outstanding ability to respect, relate to and communicate with people at all levels; understands the experiences, values and motivators of others; has a transparent, open and authentic style.
  • Balances confidence with self-awareness and humility; possesses a sense of humor; has the strength and confidence to delegate effectively while leading broadly.

Communications and Fundraising

  • Able to convey a sense of excitement about Benetech story, purpose, and ability for impact.
  • Maintains and grows a supportive and exciting funding environment that raises the resources and awareness of the organization.
  • Thinks creatively and pragmatically about avenues for diversification of funding sources.
  • Builds relationships with a wide range of important constituencies including educators, policy-makers, ed-tech collaborators, business leaders, and more; is able to leverage partnerships effectively to accomplish goals of Benetech.

Business Acumen and Execution of Results

  • Entrepreneurial vigor in creating sustainable business models, evaluating financial opportunities, and optimizing the enterprise aspects of the organization’s platforms, products, and publications.
  • Creative leader who can “see around the corner” as it pertains to new and emerging partnerships.
  • Experienced leader and manager of human capital and organizations; ability to speak directly and ensure accountability.
  • Committed to and experienced in enhancing the diversity of staff, partners and constituencies.
  • Digitally literate to leverage and deploy cutting-edge innovations that will drive Benetech’s products, and community engagement.

Nomination and application process

Inquiries, nominations, and applications are invited. Interested candidates should submit confidentially, in electronic form (Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF files preferred), a curriculum vitae and letter of interest to benetech@russellreynolds.com.

Contact

Trevor Hooper
Russell Reynolds Associates
101 California Street
Suite 4200 San Francisco, CA
94111-5867 Tel: +1-415-352-3300
Direct: +1-415-352-3381
Mobile: + 1-650-224-2569
Fax: +1-415-781-7690
trevor.hooper@russellreynolds.com