Chief Executive Officer

New York, United States
Salary Not specified
Closing date
Oct 11, 2023

View more

Position Type
Community Development, International, Social Services
Employment Type
Full Time

Chief Executive Officer

Position: Chief Executive Officer
Organization: Ideas42
Location: DC / NYC preferred
Reporting Relationship: Board of Directors

ideas42 is a non-profit looking for deep insights into human behavior—into why people do what they do—and using that knowledge in ways that help improve lives, build better systems, and drive social change. Working globally, the organization reinvents the practices of institutions, and creates better products and policies that can be scaled for maximum impact.

ideas42 also teaches others, ultimately striving to generate lasting social impact and create a future where the universal application of behavioral science powers a world with optimal health, equitable wealth, and environments and systems that are sustainable and just for all. 

For more than a decade, ideas42 has been at the forefront of applying behavioral science in the real world. And as the organization has developed its expertise, it has helped to define an entire field. Organizational efforts have so far extended to 40 countries through partnerships with governments, foundations, NGOs, private enterprises, and a wide array of public institutions as well.

ideas42 is a culture-first organization where rules or processes do not take precedence – people and their ability to make well-reasoned decisions do. You will find that team members are deeply caring, wicked smart, and both tenacious and rigorous in their work.

The organization’s core values are at the heart of everything at ideas42:

  • We live and breathe what we do. We look at everything through a BEHAVIORAL LENS.
  • We take We don’t just work at ideas42, we take shared responsibility for it.
  • We DO GOOD. We use our expertise to improve millions of lives and create a better world for all.
  • We have fun. We let PLAYFULNESS inform the way we work and our approach to the world, helping to drive our creativity and improve our solutions.
  • We live with a SPIRIT OF GENEROSITY. We approach our colleagues, partners and people whose lives we seek to improve with an attitude of selflessness and cooperation.
  • We are We never take the easy route but push to stretch the limits of what’s possible.
  • We are RIGOROUS in how we think and how we tackle problems.

ideas42 is seeking a talented Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to lead the organization into its next phase of growth and impact. With a budget of just under $20MM, and a team of 110 people, ideas42 has become a leading, highly respected global non-profit since its inception ~15 years ago. ideas42 was built by a group of talented, creative professionals from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, united by expertise in and passion for applying insights from the behavioral sciences to today’s most complex social problems.

Today, the organization is well established in its field, financially stable, and has a consistently high impact on a wide range of social issues. Building on this platform, the next CEO will have an exciting opportunity to work closely with a stellar team to significantly grow and evolve the organization. The organization needs an executive leader who can:

  • Diversify the organization's funding streams to include more unrestricted funding from HNW donors and/or other sources.
  • Refine and implement the organization’s strategy to grow unrestricted funding in a collaborative manner with the Managing Directors who lead specific practice areas.
  • Lead an organization that has a fast paced, output-based, high-ownership, intellectual, and non-hierarchical culture.
  • Increase Board engagement.

The Chief Executive Officer will report to the Board of Directors and is ultimately responsible for all aspects of leading and running the 110-person organization. This includes owning the strategy, fundraising, furthering operational efficiency across practice lines, and executing against the strategy. The CEO will have 11 direct reports, which includes the Director of Operations; Director of Communications; Director of Policy; and eight Managing Directors for the content areas of Global Development, Health, and Livelihoods; Financial Health; US Health; US Civic Engagement; US Education; US Safety and Justice; Charitable Giving; and US Economic Justice. They will also be supported by a full-time Executive Assistant and a Director of Development as well.

The CEO’s responsibilities include:

  • Spearhead the growth of ideas42 with vision, strong management, and executing on a sound business model.
  • Be the primary fundraiser for general operating support for the organization; ultimately the organizational goal is ~$1.5-2MM/year in unrestricted funding.
  • Fundraise for major initiatives within the content areas alongside each Managing Director.
  • Refine the ideas42 strategy as necessary, and ensure the organization has necessary resources and capabilities to execute the strategy.
  • Improve organizational infrastructure across practice lines and work to bridge silos.
  • Support and coach the Managing Directors leading each of the eight content areas.
  • Work with the Director of Operations to develop an annual operating plan, an annual budget (for Board approval), and to ensure ongoing improvement in day-to-day Operations.
  • Leading, coaching, developing, and retaining a mission-focused, high-performing team by empowering staff individually and collectively.
  • Provide final sign-off on all organizational policies and decisions.
  • Present twice annually to the Board of Directors.
  • Leverage and expand the ideas42 network, building relationships with a range of organizations including, but not limited to, foundations and donors, nonprofit service providers, for-profit organizations that may be potential partners, advocacy organizations, elected officials, and executive agency leaders.

The ideas42 Board functions in the traditional Governance Board model. They advise on and approve the strategy, provide financial oversight and annual budget approval, make connections where possible, and give advice and guidance upon request.

The Board does not get involved in the day-to-day decision-making or operations of ideas42. They expect to hire a highly competent and experienced Chief Executive Officer who can operate very independently to execute against the agreed upon strategy and budget. The CEO is expected to alert the Board if there are major adjustments or decisions for which they need advice.


  • Entrepreneurial, innovative and growth-oriented leader with a passion and curiosity around behavioral science and service
  • Deep development experience or transferable experience at a high level, including proven success across high-net-worth individuals, corporate and foundation giving, and building small dollar donor programs.
  • A personal commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion
  • Track record of partnering with other organizations to jointly pursue impact
  • Enjoys being an active spokesperson and brand ambassador
  • Understanding of nonprofit accounting and nonprofit business models.
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience


  • Past experience leading an organization through evolution and growth
  • Experience leading an innovation or an R&D organization
  • Experience working in evidence-based policy and program design and/or product design and management
  • Existing relationships with HNW donors and foundations
  • Advanced degree or equivalent practical experience

Strong preference for NYC or DC, but for the right candidate we would be willing to do remote assuming they are okay with the 30-40% travel (which would include 1-2 day periodic trips to DC and NYC) and for remote candidates preference for location in another major city where there are significant existing or potential funders (SF, Chicago, Boston, etc).

30-40% travel is required. The travel will be intermittent, some weeks with no travel, some weeks with 1-2 days of travel, and some weeks with a full 5-7 days. It is all dependent on the needs of meeting funders, partners, and staff in other locations.

We hope that you are excited by the opportunity to work with us. We are proud to offer a comprehensive and behaviorally designed benefits package and other perks to support our team and allow us to focus on our work of solving tough social problems.

  • Compensation Package: $300,000-$325,000K
    ideas42 has provided a compensation range that represents its good faith estimate of what the organization may pay for the position at the time of posting. The salary offered to the selected candidate will be determined based on factors such as the qualifications of the selected candidate, internal salary equity considerations, and available market information at the time of hire, but not based on a candidate’s protected status.
  • Insurance: We offer fully-covered medical, dental, vision, disability, and life insurance coverage for you and your families.
  • 401(k) Match: We contribute 3%, even if you don’t contribute at all.
  • Generous Vacation and Paid Time Off: We’ve built infrastructure to encourage our team to rest and recharge throughout the year.
  • Paid Parental Leave
  • Fitness and phonebenefit
  • Loan Forgiveness: Based on our 501(c)3 status, you are able to receive loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

For more information and to apply, please email Dayna Keene

ideas42 values diversity and inclusion and is dedicated to growing its teams with people who have diverse experiences, backgrounds, and skills. The organization is committed to fair and unbiased hiring practices that support equal employment opportunities regardless of race, color, ancestry, religion, ethnicity, gender, national origin, age, abilities, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

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