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Executive Vice President, Innovation
Feeding America in Chicago, Illinois
Date Posted 01/14/2022
Employment Type Fulltime
Application Deadline Open until filled

Executive Vice President, Innovation

Full Job Description

Work. Serve. Thrive.
Imagine a place where your talent can make a meaningful difference in peoples' lives. Working at Feeding America is a uniquely rewarding experience in which our employees work together as vital parts of a much larger mission. We are innovative, mission-focused, diverse, collaborative, values-driven and focused on results.
We are a national, nonprofit organization and the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity. Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, our mission is to feed America's hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger.

The Opportunity
As a member of Feeding America’s Executive Team, this individual will lead Feeding America’s enterprise-level innovation strategy within a matrixed national organization and in partnership with the Feeding America Network. The Executive Vice President for Innovation will lead a team of subject matter experts in systems change and innovation design who will work in close partnership with colleagues across the national office and the network. This leader will be responsible for ensuring the national office’s innovation portfolio is guided by the engagement and/or input of people facing hunger and includes innovations from the Feeding America network of food banks, as well as other partners who are aligned with our vision of an America where no one is hungry. This leader will ensure that the overall innovation approach for Feeding America and the network is grounded in human centered design principles, is appropriately paced and aligned to the following priorities:
(1) Advancing innovation in how people facing hunger engage with and experience the charitable food system so that the quality of their experience is more dignified and includes greater access to food and other resources that help mitigate food insecurity;
(2) Integrating economic mobility programs and partnerships with the charitable food system to drive increased financial well-being among people facing hunger; and
(3) Advancing partnerships between health care systems and the charitable food system to bring about greater nutrition security among people experiencing food insecurity and nutrition-related disease.

Salary Range: $198,700 to $254,500+ Based on Experience

Travel Required: Frequent - Between 20 - 40%


  • As a member of the Feeding America Executive Team, bring functional expertise in innovation and human centered design to executive team discussions and also embrace an enterprise orientation as a leader broadly in the organization prioritizing what is best for people facing hunger and the Network. Fully participate in the development of the Feeding America strategic plan, plan implementation and the overall operation of the Feeding America National Organization.
  • Design and implement a system for surfacing innovation from the Network and co-creating innovation with the Network to transform the charitable food system to improve the user experience, advance the adoption of food security as a priority for health systems/providers, and create and test new interventions that promote economic mobility for people facing hunger.
  • Ensure that the innovation approach at Feeding America is grounded in human centered design and engages people experiencing food insecurity and network partners in defining, designing, developing, deploying and scaling new capabilities, programs and services.
  • Serve as a leader for the innovation team creating and sustaining a healthy team culture and relationships. Ensure the team is unified in its sense of purpose despite an array of substantively unique projects.
  • Develop a process for monitoring changes in the external environment as it relates to charitable food provision, as well as key trends in the non-profit sector. Leverage these insights to identify innovative opportunities that have the potential to improve our effectiveness in supporting the needs of people experiencing food insecurity, increasing awareness of hunger, raising money and strengthening the capacity and efficiency of the national office and network in collaboration with our network and other partners.
  • Partner with the research department to translate research and insights about hunger, poverty and programs into a comprehensive, diversified and appropriately paced portfolio of innovation opportunities that advance the mission and priorities of Feeding America.
  • Ensure that the innovation team works in an enterprise manner helping cross-functional teams use their most expansive and non-conventional thinking to generate a broad set of ideas and possibilities to help them meet longer term goals.
  • Develop high-impact strategic partnerships in project development and in scaling innovations that have demonstrated success. In partnership with the Chief Development Officer and other Executive Team members, identify and cultivate relationships with public and private sector organizations for potential funding and partnership opportunities.
  • In partnership with functional leaders, develop “business case” support for recommendation of qualified solutions, including goals, operational needs, financial assessments and the creation of exit strategies and contingency plans, should risks materialize.
  • Promote best practices in human-centered, lean experimentation and other rapid testing methods to evaluate, qualify, manage and develop new ideas, using proven systems and processes to measure and evaluate success.
  • Serve as a key partner to teams to think strategically, creatively and holistically in their strategy development to improve the effectiveness of the charitable food system’s services for vulnerable populations.
  • Represent fund development for the innovation department and/or program or generally for Feeding America and actively collaborate with the development team members on donor cultivation conversations, funding proposal development and impact/progress reporting on funded projects.
  • Serve as a subject matter expert and/or project manager on donor-funded initiatives/projects, ensuring that key deliverables, budget, timelines and action steps are clearly understood and met in order to meet the expectations of the donor(s) and comply with grant agreement terms.
  • Make the stage-gate process for innovation projects clear and transparent across the organization and ensure clarity when novel programs transition to implementation with other teams managing Network adoption over time.

Foundational Requirements

  • Mission Focused – Demonstrates a commitment to Feeding America’s mission through word and action. Is committed to keeping people facing hunger at the center of our work and strives to translate this commitment into action on a daily basis. Willing to advocate for people facing hunger and serve as an ambassador for Feeding America inside and outside of work.
  • Embraces Equity, Diversity and Inclusion – Demonstrates a personal commitment to valuing different backgrounds and life experiences through word and action. Takes personal actions to build an inclusive culture that ensures everyone can fully contribute based on their unique talents, skills and perspectives and feels welcomed and valued. Commits to driving equitable solutions to address root cause issues by incorporating an equity framework in their daily work. Committed to continuous personal EDI development.

Required Leadership Competencies:

  • Fosters Innovation: Fosters a culture that embraces new ideas, scans for best practices, shares learnings, and strives to continually improve. Explores both internal and external sources for inspiration and imaginative solutions to serve people facing hunger and conveys an expectation that others do the same. Enables the organization to use continuous improvement tools to optimize and streamline processes and address specific problems that get in the way of stellar results. Implements new ideas quickly, assesses initial results and determines next steps to accelerate positive outcomes for wider impact. Creates an environment in which it is safe to take calculated risks and learn from mistakes, and rewards innovative thinking even when the idea does not generate expected results.
  • Collaborates Internally and Externally: Identifies key stakeholders and ensures collaboration between departments, across the Network, and with external partners, removing barriers to teamwork when necessary. Ensures that working/project teams have people with diverse experiences and skills and further builds their skills to enhance overall team effectiveness. Creates inclusive collaboration by engaging and seeking input from stakeholders with diverse experiences and skills well before decisions are final. Recognizes when teams are struggling to make progress and initiates discussions to identify barriers and generate positive solutions to move forward. Listens deeply, elevates conversation, and constructively reframes conflict to focus on the people we serve verses individual or functional agendas.
  • Communicates Effectively: Creates an environment in which communication is open, timely and widely shared. Frames communication strategically for a broad range of audiences including staff, network food bank members, donors, and other key groups. Adjusts messages using insights gained through deep individual listening and perceptive observation of group dynamics. Responds positively to questions and makes people of all levels and backgrounds feel comfortable bringing forward concerns or bad news. Communicates difficult messages in ways that are clear but non-threatening to recipients.
  • Leverages Functional Expertise: Leverages industry and functional expertise to shape strategic and operational decisions. Tracks significant developments and changes in areas of expertise to anticipate future needs and challenges and to create forward-thinking plans. Facilitates mechanisms for leaders across functions to share respective expertise and business knowledge to benefit Feeding America as a whole.
  • Drives Change: Leads change efforts that produce sustained focus or improvements by addressing political and systemic barriers to change. Increases the organization’s capacity to implement and manage change by coordinating plans across functions/departments and assessing the impact on people. Owns change messages and communicates a vision for the desired future state while helping others across the organization understand the reason for change. Engages critical stakeholders in dialogue, productive conflict, and the design of changes to increase buy-in and improve the viability of solutions. Anticipates resistance to change and skillfully deflects it to turn resistors into advocates. Monitors the impact of change on others.

Required Technical Competencies, Experience & Certifications:

  • 10+ years leading innovation and/or product or solution development for large, complex, organizations to shape expansive thinking that is also practical and executable. Ideally has experience leading innovation in a not for profit social services/poverty relief context.
  • A track record of successful design, testing and launch of products, services or solutions using human-centered design and lean methods.
  • Experience leveraging technology to advance innovation and enable implementation of key strategies, with a working knowledge of and experience with mobile and digital platform development.
  • Demonstrated effectiveness in developing robust metrics to develop and evaluate ideas at key points in the innovation process.
  • Experience in fundraising and partnership development, with a track record of cultivating successful relationships a plus.
  • Experience working in an enterprise-oriented role, leading change initiatives across an organization and/or a network.

Feeding America embraces a philosophy that recognizes and values diversity. Our goal is to attract, develop, retain, and promote a talented diverse workforce in a culture where all employees will contribute to their fullest potential

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