Repositioning and Re Branding for Growth
When I became Executive Director of the 43-year old NYC School Volunteer program, I studied its participation data and helped the Board re-envision itself as the leading organization for parent involvement in New York City public schools. Bringing in top flight consultants on a pro bono basis, we came up with a new, shorter, more memorable and inspiring name: Learning Leaders. We designed a visual and logo that would create a sense of community and collaboration. We then created and raised sponsorship funding for a bus advertising campaign and increased media coverage to raise the visibility of the organization and recruit more volunteers. In the ten years since I first became Executive Director, Learning Leaders has more than doubled its budget and the size of its volunteer corps.
Protecting Market Share Through Regulatory Changes
The Chilly Chicken War
The poultry industry in California was losing market share to out of state poultry producers who were able to charge less per pound for frozen poultry with a longer shelf life from non-union factories, I recommended and led a national campaign to require truth in labeling. The campaign included Congressional hearings featuring testimony by Celebrity Chef Wolfgang Puck, a Congressional reception with fresh California food and bowling with frozen chickens, Op Eds and editorials in national newspapers and a coalition of consumer and food policy groups. A change in US Department of Agriculture regulations followed: USDA adopted a regulation limiting the use of the word ‘fresh’ on poultry labels to chickens that have never been frozen below 26 degrees – the freezing point of poultry.
Organizational Stability in a Time of Change
When the President of PENCIL (Public Education Needs Civic Involvement in Learning) left after 15 months, I stepped in as interim President for six months, maintaining staff stability, overseeing the independent audit,supervising the signature Principal for a Day program and worked with the development staff to re-design the annual benefit event program. As part of the search team, I helped the Board to understand the qualities and skills needed by the next leader of the organization. The result: appointment of a highly successful new President who has increased the depth and quality of the program and its staff, as well as revenue.
Managing An Historic Response to Historic Events
Financial Stewardship of the September 11th Fund
As the second CEO of the September 11th Fund, I had the unique responsibility for closing the operations of this historic charity – something rarely done before by a non-profit of this scope and size. When the Board of the September 11th Fund resolved to cease operations on a specific date, we needed to develop very precise spending projections for all of our programs – including several that made direct payments for services to thousands of individual victims. The task included monitoring expenditures carefully to meet our obligations by a specific date. earmarking all unspent funds for specific purposes and archiving historic data for scholarly research with the New York Public Library. The result: The September 11th Fund was able to close down after three years, having expended more than $500 million in grants and payments that aided more than 100,000 victims of the 9/11 attacks.
Successful New Program Launch
Helping Community College students graduate ASAP
When City University of New York received funding from the Mayor’s Center for Economic Opportunity to create a new program to enhance academic success and improve graduation rates for community college students, I was brought in to develop and launch this brand new and innovative initiative which we named “Accelerated Study in Associate Programs “ –ASAP. I collaborated with the leadership of CUNY and its six community colleges to develop and implement all aspects of the program, including academics, recruitment, registration, financial aid, tutoring, counseling and other supports for more than 1000 students. The result: ASAP was up and running in six months, has been expanded CUNY wide and is hailed as the single most successful college graduation program in the country.
Article: New York Times Article
After 10 years, I stepped down as President of the Citizens Budget Commission in December 2018. CBC is the leading non –profit, non partisan research and advocacy organization focused on assuring that New York City and State taxpayer dollars are wisely and effectively spent. Working with 3 CBC Chairmen, I strengthened the organization’s finances by doubling its annual dinner revenue, increasing its membership and building its reserves, increased the staff and scope of work, modernized its social media presence and enhanced CBC’s media visibility and reputation as a respected watchdog and think tank thereby expanding the organization’s impact on New York State and City government.