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Women’s March Los Angeles
First 5 LA

Director, Early Care and Education

Employment type
Full Time
about 2 months ago
Los Angeles


The Director for the Early Care and Education Department is the organization’s programs portfolio leader for First 5 LA’s priority Outcome area of Early Care and Education (“ECE”). The Director-ECE has strategic and day-to-day responsibility for the management of the ECE grants and programs portfolio, serves as the First 5 LA thought leader on the ECE landscape, and serves as both a direct report and thought partner to the VP of Programs.

The Director-ECE is responsible for driving First 5 LA’s ECE policy and systems change agenda through the design, execution, management and monitoring of the ECE programs and grants portfolio. S/he is also responsible for facilitating learning across the Department’s programs and grants portfolio to inform initiative development, grant monitoring, management, integration across the portfolio and future strategy development. S/he is responsible for driving integration within and across strategies within First 5 LA’s priority ECE Outcome area and contributes his/her knowledge of the outcome area to the design of the portfolio. In so doing, this Director is also responsible for representing and supporting First 5 LA’s ECE advocacy agenda in leadership arenas in the region. S/he is responsible for contributing and keeping abreast of essential knowledge, policies and systems developments in the ECE field.     

S/he provides coaching and day-to-day supervision of the Department staff.


As a direct report and thought partner to the Vice President of Programs, this role actively drives the advancement of one of First 5 LA’s four priority Outcome areas in the field of early childhood development. The Director should visibly demonstrate the adopted organizational values of collaboration, integrity, respect, accountability, purpose, shared leadership and learning in the execution of their key areas of responsibility. The Department Director’s key areas of responsibility include: 

Key Areas of Responsibility:

  • Management and supervision of department staff

  • Initiative design, implementation, and execution

  • Programs and portfolio management

  • Grant making and monitoring consistent with requirements of a public entity

  • Collaboration with all First 5 LA divisions to drive integration, learning, strategy development, policy development and support emerging opportunities

    Essential Duties:

  • Provides content knowledge of First 5 LA’s ECE programs, critical and creative thinking, articulating ECE strategic vision

  • As a thought partner to the VP of Programs, identifies and supports points of integration between the varying components of ECE programs and grants portfolio to other strategies within First 5 LA’s Strategic Plan

  • Collaborates with the Policy & Strategy Division to advance the ECE policy agenda & systems change

  • Serves as a key member of First 5 LA management, exemplifying organizational values and culture such as communication and collaboration, and supports organizational transformation

  • Drives workforce planning and recommends workforce assignments and strategies to execute department plans

  • Leads Department annual budget proposal, providing Department’s perspective into overall Programs Division budget

  • Ensures sound financial management of programs and grants portfolio consistent with First 5 LA fiscal and contract monitoring policies

  • Ensures staff adhere to administrative, organizational, and human resources policies and procedures to promote compliance and transparency

  • Supports the organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, and values a diversity of perspectives

  • Develops and implements policies and procedures to ensure alignment with State regulations, local ordinances and First 5 LA directives

  • Keeps apprised of all laws, regulations, statutes, rules and policies affecting First 5 LA and Proposition 10

  • Represents First 5 LA in diverse settings and maintains broad organizational relationships

  • Retains and supervises contractors and consultants, as needed

The Director-ECE, in conjunction with appropriate internal and external stakeholders, is responsible for the advancement of First 5 LA’s ECE priority focus area. To operationalize First 5 LA’s vision in the ECE priority focus area, the Director has the following key areas of responsibility:

Staff Supervision and Talent Development

  • Develops, coaches and supervises Department staff consistent with values and competencies required for successful job growth and development

  • Models and guides staff on relevant professional development areas; works with direct reports on professional development and on-going training, coaches staff on “managing up”; and appraises performance

  • Facilitates and supports staff in effective communication with internal and external audiences, including, but not limited to, presentations, Commission discussions, key partner meetings, etc.

Initiative Design & Contract Procurement

  • Leads integration of ECE strategies across the priority focus area; leads and drives development of the First 5 LA ECE Theory of Change and related strategy documents articulating program goals and strategies

  • Leads the initiative design of new strategic-plan aligned ECE initiatives, programs and grants for consideration by the VP of Programs and Executive Leadership Team in the cross-functional portfolio review process

  • Identifies intended outcomes in initiative design, ensures mechanisms for learning objectives are incorporated in the design of the solicitation or procurement vehicle

  • Ensures that grants, initiatives and programs consider organizational capacity building needs of potential grantees

  • Ensures that  grants, initiatives and programs align to First 5 LA governance guidelines

  • Facilitates strategic partnerships, identifies and cultivates relationships to design initiatives or grant programs, and to advance the outcomes articulated in the Strategic Plan

  • Ensures that  grants, initiatives and programs consider community impact, feasibility and perspective in design and implementation

  • In conjunction with the Contract Compliance department, ensure that all solicitations are consistent with First 5 LA policies and processes and are effectively executed

Programs and Portfolio Management, Grant Monitoring & Learning

  • Ensures consistent, high-quality program/project management within Department teams

  • Ensures alignment of grantee activities with program goals and strategies, monitoring of contract performance consistent with the requirements of a public entity, and referral of issues in need of further review to the Administration Division

  • Supports program officers in their management of grant contracts, guiding them to review grantee progress against deliverables, outcomes or processes as outlined in contract agreement throughout the life cycle of grant awards

  • Ensures appropriate technical assistance and capacity-building services are provided to grantees in service of progress toward objectives, as appropriate

  • Ensures learnings from grantee interactions are used to inform adjustments to initiative or program/grant

  • Ensures grantee reporting is in compliance with learning agenda and compliance policy

  • Manages legacy initiatives, programs or grants that are aligned with the ECE priority area

  • In collaboration with the Special Initiatives & Emerging Opportunities Department, supports grants at the conclusion of their lifecycle in the expiring initiatives process

  • Advises and supports program officers in their stakeholder development and  management efforts, ensuring that clear, effective communications are modeled

  • In collaboration with the Learning & Integration Division, supports the execution of evaluations consistent with First 5 LA’s approach to learning – as embodied in the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) framework

  • In collaboration with the Integration & Learning Division, shares learnings from grant-making and portfolio management to contribute best practices to the field

    Commission Support

  • Develops and presents Commission-facing presentations and reports; supports committees of Board as assigned

  • Actively participates and attends meetings of the Board of Commissioners and presides over other meetings as designated or directed by the VP of Programs

    Other duties and responsibilities may be assigned. The duties and responsibilities listed are designed to provide typical examples of the work performed; not all duties and responsibilities assigned are included here, nor is it expected that all similar positions will be assigned every duty and responsibility.


This leader has 8 years (preferred) of increasing management responsibility in public and/or non-profit organizations focused on any of First 5 LA’s strategic outcomes, social services, health policy or social change.  This leader must have a strong understanding of the early care and education landscape and best practices in the delivery of programs and grants management.

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:

  • Commitment to organizational mission and values: Mission-driven and self-directed, with a demonstrated passion for First 5 LA’s work to strengthen families and improve child outcomes; models organizational values and senior management team expectations through daily actions and behaviors

  • Operationalizes strategic vision and drives for results: Deep knowledge of initiative design; able to clearly define relevant strategies, incorporate partnerships, learning opportunities, capacity building requirements and policy & systems change agenda into design; incorporates sustainability & leveraging in solicitation design; considers funding environment and implications for initiative design; able to move an agenda forward through decision-making and building a clear course of action

  • Programmatic leadership: Outstanding project management skills; provides management and oversight of multiple work streams/projects/departments simultaneously and through collaborative partnerships; demonstrates integrity and judgement in all aspects of decision-making; thoughtful leader who considers internal and external stakeholder needs and considers impact when decision-making.

  • Critical thinking: Applies critical thinking, creativity and innovation in initiative design, program and grants management; effectively thinks through complex problems and information, using traditional and innovative approaches, to identify effective solutions. Seeks to accept and build off the ideas of others for solutions others may not have considered; demonstrated analytical and critical thinking skills; provides recommendations with supporting rationale and business reason; ability to apply critical thinking skills to financial, written, and policy analysis and reporting.

  • Subject matter knowledge and expertise: Knowledge of the early care and education arena, including emerging issues, and best practices in policy and service delivery; effective facilitator of ECE programs cross-strategy integration and performance, is able to draw conclusions from evaluation data and other learnings, and apply insights to programs and grants portfolio specific to ECE

  • Effective integrator: Ability to drive both organizational and programmatic integrations; incorporates understanding of systems and policy change into strategy implementation; directs and supports teams move forward through implementation of  organizational change; provides insights on team’s adoption of organizational change to Executive Team

  • Communication: Excellent written and oral communication skills with demonstrated ability to develop and deliver executive and Commission-level communications; able to tailor messages to appropriate audiences

  • Effectively manages complex issues: Strategic thinker who brings deep knowledge and intellectual rigor to the understanding of the political, policy and child development landscape; handles a variety of constituencies and thrives in a complex environment with multiple priorities; navigates and is adaptive to ambiguous environments; handles uncertain situations professionally and reasonably; ability to effectively manage risk and prioritize competing priorities.

  • Develops talents and teams: Effective people manager who actively provides direction, guidance and feedback to strengthen knowledge, develop skills, accomplish tasks and solve problems demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion; values a diversity of perspectives and encourages contributions by all team members


  • Demonstrated success and progressive management experience in program planning, design, and management, grants management and impact assessment

  • Demonstrated success in working with a diversity of partners to identify, design, test and spread innovative and proven approaches to address organizational goals

  • Track record of cultivating and leading high-performing teams that implement integrated strategies with measurable outcomes

  • Reputation for accurately and quickly assessing problems, thinking critically about solutions and leading teams through problem solving

  • Track record of prudent financial management of programs, services or operations within previous spans of control

  • Track record of effectively working through grantees, vendors and contractors to achieve organizational goals

  • Demonstrated success at navigating political sensitivities and a track-record of building relationships which support organizational goals

  • Previous work in the philanthropic, non-profit or public sector in the Los Angeles area preferred



  • A Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university in social science, health, education, public policy, public administration or a related field.

  • An advanced degree preferred

Direct Reports:

Carries out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the organization's policies and applicable laws. Responsibilities include interviewing, hiring, and training employees; planning, assigning, and directing work; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining employees; addressing complaints and resolving problems.

  • Senior Program Officers

  • Administrative Assistant

Computer Skills:

  • Proficiency in MS Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook)

  • Ability to use widely supported internet browsers.

Certificates, Licenses and Registrations:

  • Valid California Class C Driver License or the ability to utilize an alternative method of transportation when needed to carry out job-related essential functions.

  • Valid automobile liability insurance.

Travel Requirements:

  • This position requires travel locally, statewide and nationally as needed.

To apply

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