Chief Executive Officer

Pictured: Person packaging groceries
Pictured: Person packaging groceries.

About FareStart

FareStart transforms lives, disrupts poverty, and nourishes communities through food, life skills, and job training. By delivering wraparound social services and case management to build life skills and provide job training, FareStart creates pathways for careers with upward mobility. Driven by a vision that every individual should have the opportunity to thrive in an equitable and just world, FareStart has been helping transform lives for 30 years. FareStart is deeply committed to addressing systemic inequities that perpetuate racism, homelessness, poverty, and food insecurity.

With an annual operating budget of approximately $20 million, FareStart’s social enterprise model braids philanthropic and public funding with revenue from FareStart’s food service enterprises – their on-the-job classrooms – to provide paid life skills and on-the-job training. They employ 180 staff and benefit from the help of over 3,000 volunteers. Governance is provided by a Board of Directors of 20 who serve on committees in support of the organization’s efforts.

FareStart provides job training and wraparound support, including housing, counseling, food, and transportation to adults and youth. FareStart also reduces hunger and food insecurity by providing healthy, prepared meals to shelters, permanent supportive housing, schools, daycare centers, and nonprofit organizations. Nationally, FareStart is a model member of Catalyst Kitchens, which provides training, resources, and consulting support to nonprofit and for-profit organizations that want to launch or expand food-based job training programs. Since the pandemic, FareStart has provided over 5 million meals, enrolled 489 people into job training programs, and facilitated over 349 job placements. 

FareStart has adopted a new strategic plan built on the pillars of personal stability, economic mobility, and food security to address community needs in a more comprehensive and equitable way. It is acting on its commitment to becoming an antiracist organization by addressing and confronting racism in how decisions are made, how they show up in communities, how they build business practices and policies, and how they engage in philanthropic and programmatic partnerships to fulfill their mission and vision. They are taking a more trauma-informed approach to their training and meal services. They are creating new programs and services to reach more individuals and communities facing barriers to employment and food security. FareStart’s bold path forward is captured in their 2022-2025 Strategic Plan

Pictured: Person carrying a package out of a FareStart van.

The Opportunity

The CEO role presents an opportunity to lead one of Seattle’s most treasured nonprofit organizations as it moves into new areas of impact. The role is the heartbeat of the organization and deeply engages across communities served; it sets the tone both inside and outside the organization for a culture that promotes and inspires collaboration, partnership, humility, and impact. 

Operating as a true and authentic leader who thrives on working in the service of others, the CEO will have the support of stalwart funders and volunteers as they apply their exceptional leadership and implementation capabilities. FareStart is a social enterprise and operationally complex; over the next several years the new CEO will lead the organization’s implementation of a new strategic plan while providing the vision, internal and external direction, and business discipline to move the organization forward.

Pictured: Person making coffee

Key Responsibilities

They are responsible for ensuring the organization’s people & culture, fiscal, operations, fundraising, marketing, technology, and programmatic strategies are effectively implemented across all segments of the organization. The CEO will have the support of a committed board and senior leadership team, which includes a Chief Operating Officer, Chief Program Officer, Chief People & Inclusion Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Development Officer in leading the dedicated staff and programs.

Specific responsibilities include:

Culture Building

  • Champion FareStart’s commitment to becoming an antiracist* organization
  • Ensure appropriate, effective, and clear channels of communication throughout the organization and with the communities served to bring everyone along; build a shared understanding across Board and staff of management practices
  • Prioritize a stable, “one team, one mission,” results-oriented work culture across all parts of the organization.
  • Infuse the culture with clarity about how every role contributes to achieving FareStart’s goals

Strategic Vision and Implementation

  • Embrace the 2022-2025 Strategic Plan and support the staff in bringing its core elements to life
  • Encourage bold and innovative ideas that leverage community input and advance goals sustainably
  • Engage the Board, staff, and community in a highly consultative manner and ensure alignment through all phases of strategy implementation
  • Effectively leverage the collective talents of the entire staff as an effective leader of leaders, providing advice, guidance, direction, and decision-making to make progress

Operations and Management

  • Apply best practice management, ensuring well-defined roles and expectations, and clear measures of success
  • Further build out and implement a high-functioning operating structure that effectively supports staff and aligns to the new strategic plan goals
  • Ensure necessary systems, organizational practices, and policies are in place to support implementation of the strategic plan
  • Apply sound business judgment, proactive financial management, efficient practices, and standards of excellence to support the sustained financial health of the organization
  • Ensure fundraising strategies and goals, annual budgeting, and quarterly forecasting meets organizations growth needs

External Relationship Building

  • Understand, engage, and center the communities served
  • Build relationships with the generous donors, philanthropists, and volunteers in the Seattle community who support the organization
  • Take an active role in building, supporting, and maintaining the collaborative partnerships in and out of the community that are critical to meeting FareStart’s mission
  • Continue to secure and expand revenue streams that are mission aligned
  • Provide leadership and advocacy on issues related to FareStart’s mission

Pictured: Table of produce at an outdoor market.

Ideal Candidate

FareStart’s next CEO will be driven by enthusiasm and passion for FareStart’s mission. This role requires an authentic leader with strong interpersonal skills who can deploy fresh, supportive feedback and energy where needed and operate in a dynamic environment.

Strong emotional and cultural intelligence is crucial to communicate effectively and respectfully with staff, key stakeholders, the Board of Directors, and the population FareStart serves, all of whom bring diverse racial, educational, and socio-economic backgrounds to the organization. The role requires a deep understanding of how the varied needs of these groups differ and intersect in order to foster an inclusive culture that prioritizes the needs of each audience without bias. The CEO needs an action-oriented mindset to readily engage and support the staff and board in the antiracist work underway and ensure it remains an organizational priority.

The ideal candidate brings both strong business acumen and an understanding of direct service to back up their passion for FareStart’s mission. The organization seeks candidates who understand how to align and adapt strategy with the necessary responsiveness to community needs and circumstances.

Demonstrated success in a varied career that spans private, nonprofit, and/or public sector leadership is valued. Experience in social services, operating foundations, or a social enterprise would serve candidates well. Skills in operational leadership, nonprofit leadership, and external partnership building are assets for this role. It is anticipated that a minimum of fifteen years of organizational leadership experience would prepare candidates well for this role. Previous experience with a Board of Directors governance structure and responsibility for revenue generation from earned, philanthropic, and government sources is highly valued. Knowing how to create and optimize a high-functioning organization that centers communities served and capitalizes on everyone’s diverse strengths is essential. The successful candidate will also be a good listener who considers the opinions and concerns of those both internally and externally.

As a leader, the ideal candidate has proven themselves as an inclusive manager and decision maker who considers people and professional development as top priorities. They have strong interpersonal skills, allowing them to listen, balance, and prioritize effectively as well as deploy fresh, supportive energy where and when needed. They are results-oriented with the ability to inspire and motivate while navigating leadership and management issues with transparency, compassion, and agility.

Empathy, humility, and collaboration are highly valued traits for this role. The selected candidate should not be possessive over their function or their work; rather the ideal candidate delegates well, responds appropriately to conflict, and proactively brings people along. They share information, knowledge, and ideas readily and exceptionally well with others, both internally and externally. They are skilled at keeping projects and teams, including leadership, on track. They also have a willingness to bring their full self to work and live the values of the organization.

Pictured: Person preparing food in a kitchen.

Compensation and Location

In keeping with previous pay ranges for this position, the cash compensation range for this role is $300,00-$325,000, plus benefits.

The position is based in Seattle on the ancestral lands of the Coast Salish Peoples and specifically stands on the lands of the First Peoples of Seattle, the Duwamish. FareStart honors the land they occupy and the Duwamish Peoples.

FareStart is an Equal Opportunity Employer serving people of various communities and backgrounds. They seek applicants who value diversity and inclusivity and encourage People of Color and Members of the LGBTQIA+ Community to apply.

*FareStart defines antiracism as the clear acknowledgment that racism permeates organizations, communities, and industries, including its own. They recognize that their duty to be vigilant in addressing and confronting racism in how they make decisions, show up in communities, build business practices and policies, and engage in intentional partnerships and philanthropic endeavors to fulfill their mission and vision.

To Be Considered

Please submit your resume and cover letter expressing your interest in the position and fit for the role via the “Become a Candidate button” on the position profile. Letters may be addressed to Melissa Merritt.

The application is now closed. We are no longer accepting submissions. We will notify all candidates of their status by the week of April 3rd. 

Chief Executive OfficerFareStartSeattle, WA

GoodCitizen has been exclusively retained by FareStart to lead this search. For questions, please contact:

Melissa Merritt
Managing Director

Martens Roc
Vice President

Celen Haque Tanner
Engagement Manager

Gabe Sapuay
Senior Associate