Akron Urban League begins search for New CEO - Position Profile

Feb 05, 2019

Position Profile

President & Chief Executive Officer ~ Akron Urban League

 The Organization: 

The Akron Urban League (“AUL”) celebrates 94 years in 2019. The mission of the Akron Urban League is to improve the quality of life of the citizens of Summit County, particularly African Americans, by advocating and facilitating programs that are economically and educationally transformational, impacting their lives and the lives of future generations. The organization has an affiliate relationship with the National Urban League but functions as an independent nonprofit organization, dependent upon a variety of funding sources for its $2+MM annual budget. Funders include the United Way of Summit County, private and community foundations, the City of Akron, Summit County and corporate and individual donors. The AUL also conducts several special fund-raising events annually. 

Like other National Urban League affiliates across the country focused on continued relevance, the AUL has channeled its energy to drive its mission through two focused areas in Summit County: education and employment. Utilizing various funding sources, the organization supports individuals from the age of 5 to the most senior years of life in developing or expanding existing skills to ensure a quality life. 

Major programs include: 

  • Urban Youth Academy, which includes a summer enrichment day camp, scholarship program and STEAM Academy After School program. 
  • Workforce Development, which includes Career Pathways, Financial Literacy, Ignite career identification program, a partner program with the Summit County Board of Developmental Disabilities and Emotional Intelligence training. 
  • School of Entrepreneurship, which includes Minority Business Assistance, OSHA Training and Akron Waterways Renewed program. 
  • Community Outreach, which includes food pantry and community meals, Guild volunteer program and AUL Young Professionals. 

The Akron Urban League has a 16-member volunteer Board and a professional staff of over 25 full and part-time employees who work directly with the community along with managing operational aspects of the AUL and its programs. AUL offices are in a 7,000 sq.ft. facility adjacent to the Helen Arnold Community Learning Center near downtown Akron. More information can be found on the AUL website: www.akronurbanleague.org 

The previous President & Chief Executive Officer served for over 2 years and recently left the organization. As a result, a member of the Board is serving as Interim CEO and the Board of Trustees has begun an executive search to identify and recruit a new CEO for the organization. 

The Position: 


The position is based at the Akron Urban League offices at 440 Vernon Odom Boulevard, Akron, Ohio 44307; telephone (330) 434-3101. 

Reporting Relationships: 

The President & Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) reports to the Chair of the Board of Trustees and to the full 16 -member volunteer Board and will supervise: Senior Director-Funder Relations, Senior Director-Programs, Director-Administration & Operations, Director-Education, Director-MBAC-Akron; over 25 full and part time staff members. In addition to Board and staff at all levels, other important stakeholders include: representatives of related agencies on a local and regional basis; other community organizations; friends of and donors to the AUL; representatives from United Way, foundations and grant making entities; local school system leaders; National Urban League; other partner agencies and organizations; elected officials and their staffs; members of the media; individuals served by the AUL; and the public at large. 

Position Charter: 

The President & CEO of the Akron Urban League will establish the future vision and strategy for the organization and manage all facets of the agency including fundraising, community engagement, programs and services, fiscal and general administration, and staff development. 

This individual must have the ability to lead and motivate staff and address all operational matters for the AUL along with serving as a strong fundraiser with proven success in corporate, foundation, individual giving and major gifts. 

The CEO provides leadership, direction and support to the Board in developing organization goals, attaining/allocating resources and establishing policies. The CEO represents the public face of the Akron Urban League in the community and region. Other duties and responsibilities include: 


  • Develop and lead fundraising strategies and initiatives including annual campaigns and corporate solicitations to achieve a solid financial base for the agency 

Community Engagement 

  • Develop strong relationships with and engage funders, key stakeholders and constituents while increasing AUL’s visibility and impact across the community. Effectively communicate the Mission, Vision, and Strategy of the Akron Urban League. 
  • Serve as the AUL’s principal spokesperson. Develop public and media relations strategies that enhance the image, visibility and profile of the AUL. Promote programs and services to the community and funding sources. 
  • Develop an effective volunteer force for the AUL encompassing all skill levels. Initiate recruiting to identify necessary talent. 

Programs and Services 

  • Lead and direct the day-to-day operations of the AUL including the establishment of effective and efficient policies and procedures, and oversight of the agency’s programs and services 
  • Continuously evaluate the effectiveness of programs and services and assess the needs of the community. Conduct research as required. 
  • Drive changes to programs and services and processes and procedures to ensure that the AUL remains a viable organization. Lead AUL advocacy initiatives and contribute to the overall well -being of the community and its citizens. 

Fiscal and General Administration 

  • Responsible for financial planning and the development of the AUL budget. Monitor budget closely and make operational adjustments as required targeting an efficiency and performance-based model of operations. Provide complete, accurate, and timely financial reports to the Board and funding sources. 
  • Responsible for the development and implementation of a strategic plan for the AUL. Monitors and tracks accomplishments. Develop concepts into actions with measurable goals. 
  • Assure that the agency maintains compliance with all local, state and federal legislation. Meet all requirements for affiliation with the National Urban League. 

Operations and Staff Development 

  •  Attract, develop, and leverage a strong Board in support of the AUL’s mission and vision. 
  • Provide leadership and direction to the AUL staff through the establishment of goals, objectives and performance measures. Establish an organizational structure with resources necessary to ensure success of programs and services. 
  • Develop a talented and high performing senior management team for the AUL. Establish a plan for succession. Responsible for recruiting and selection efforts. 


The President & Chief Executive Officer is expected to earn a competitive compensation package; appropriate benefits and some relocation assistance will be provided. 

The Candidate: 


A bachelor’s degree in an appropriate field is required; an advanced degree is preferred. 

Professional Qualifications: 

The ideal candidate is currently functioning as the top executive of a comparable nonprofit organization with a mission of service to an urban community and, in particular, engagement with the African American community. Alternative backgrounds could include: a role as the “#2” or other senior leader at a similar/larger organization who is professionally prepared to step up to the CEO-level position; a top or senior leadership position with another kind of nonprofit organization; a leadership position in private industry with a demonstrated commitment to and involvement with nonprofit organizations. Candidates will have at least 10 years of relevant work experience. 

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities and Attributes: 

  • Nonprofit organization experience (leadership background in a comparable organization or other nonprofit agency. This could include significant volunteer involvement with a nonprofit for those in the for-profit sector). 
  • Commitment to mission (demonstrated strong belief in the mission of the AUL). 
  • Fiscal management (demonstrated ability to manage financial affairs of an organization; i.e., develop revenue sources and control expenditures to preserve financial stability). 
  • Fund raising (direct experience with development programs, capital campaigns, planned giving, and special events). 
  • Planning (experience in developing and implementing tactical and strategic plans). 
  • Management experience (has effectively led a complex organization and managed large staffs of professional and hourly employees and volunteers). 
  • Staff development (strong human resource development and staff leadership experience; team building). 
  • Board relationships (significant involvement with governance issues and Board of Director/Trustee interactions). 
  • Facility management (demonstrated knowledge of building and facility management). 
  • Established contacts (has developed and maintained local and regional connections with other organization and nonprofit leaders). 
  • Media relations (experience serving as spokesperson to and working with the media). 
  • Community/public relations (effective interactions with the public, partner organizations, community groups, elected officials and able to articulate organization’s mission, goals, objectives and policy positions). 

Desired personal traits: 

  • Leadership (a take charge individual; can manage, motivate, challenge and delegate to others). 
  • Ethical (possesses honesty, integrity and the highest ethical and moral standards). 
  • Human relations skills (personable; relates well to all kinds of people; socially adept). 
  • Credibility (can command respect of Board, staff, community). 
  • Communication skills (good listener; excellent written and oral communication skills; strong public speaking experience and presentation abilities). 
  • Empathetic (understands the needs of individuals served by the AUL and the challenging environment from which they may come; ability to connect with constituents from a place of understanding and compassion). 
  • Organizational skills (results oriented; meets established goals and objectives). 
  • Management style (empowers staff; inclusive while providing basic direction and allowing staff team to execute; holds staff accountable; serves as a mentor for staff in their own professional development). 
  • Creative (imaginative; innovative; provides ideas). 
  • Strategic thinker/vision (brings “outside the box” ideas; provides a forward view; calculated risk taker). 
  • Persuasive (able to synthesize various viewpoints and convince disparate groups to come to a logical resolution). 
  • Energetic (genuinely enthusiastic; strong personal work ethic; recognizes leadership goes beyond a “9-to-5” day). 
  • Collaborative (demonstrates a willingness and ability to work with and through others). 
  • Consensus-building (able to forge effective working relationships with various parties and encourage them to work together toward common goals). 
  • Change agent (proven ability to effectively manage change and transition). 
  • Visibility (highly visible to staff, volunteers; active in the community and region). 
  • Executive presence (polished; self-confident). 
  • Team work (recognizes that many parties are necessary to accomplish big things; speaks of “we” first, not “I”). 
  • Intelligent (bright; street smarts and natural intelligence). 

Challenges and Opportunity: 

The projected first year accomplishments for the new CEO include: 

  • Become completely familiar with and evaluate all aspects of the Akron Urban League including programs and services, staff, Board development, community interaction, fundraising, facilities and assets; implement and/or make recommendations on enhancements and changes. 
  • Initiate formal and informal introductions and connections with community leadership in Akron and Summit County through varied communications and in-person gatherings and meetings. 
  • Proactively form effective working relationships with key leaders of partners, funders and related public and private nonprofit organizations. Become recognized as one of the most well-known leaders in the community. 
  • Create and begin execution on a strong fiscal plan that includes developing an operating reserve and improving cash availability. 
  • Together with the Board and the Senior Director-Funder Relations, continue implementation of action plans for all fund-raising activities, and develop new strategies/plans to raise sufficient funds to meet AUL needs. 

The CEO position of the Akron Urban League is an outstanding opportunity for an energetic, bold and committed executive to lead an organization that provides vitally important programs and services to the African American community in Ohio’s fifth largest city. This executive will inherit an engaged Board and staff, all committed to the effort necessary to move the AUL to new successes. The Board is concerned that the AUL’s perceived relevance and influence has been diminished in recent years as the organization continues to evaluate programs and services and funding necessary to accomplish its mission. The Board seeks a candidate with the vision and energy necessary to take the AUL to new levels of activity and impact with the numbers of persons served, depth and breadth of partner relationships and the requisite funding streams to make all of this happen. In addition to the role of overall leadership of the AUL, this executive is expected to network with all like-minded organizations within Akron, Summit County and the region with a goal of moving the AUL to a leadership position of support and cooperative efforts between all those groups.

Akron and Summit County 

Summit County is located in the northeastern quadrant of the State of Ohio and is home to over 540,000 people. The City of Akron has over 210,000 residents with the remaining population living in over 30 cities, villages and townships in the County. Summit County includes residents from diverse ethnic backgrounds and has maintained a solid economy with a mix of service, healthcare, and manufacturing businesses. Arts and culture include galleries, community festivals, restaurants, museums, theatre, a large metro park system, and one of the most visited national parks in the US. Educational organizations include outstanding public and private school systems, community colleges and a number of public and private institutions of higher learning. 


The client organization we represent, and WAVERLY PARTNERS firmly support the principle and philosophy of equal opportunity for all individuals, regardless of race, religion, sex, age, national origin or disability. Interested candidates should contact either consultant at WAVERLY PARTNERS, the executive search firm retained by the Board of Trustees of the Akron Urban League on this search: 

Email AUL@Waverly-Partners.com or call: 

Heidi Geiger Milosovic, Managing Director & Principal, 440.355.6639 

Eric N. Peterson, Managing Director & Principal, 440.892.5961