VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, headquartered in New York City, seeks a dedicated Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO). VISIONS is an innovative 96-year-old nonprofit organization providing high quality vision rehabilitation, work readiness and job placement, technology training, congregate health and wellness programs and unpaid caregiver support for people who are blind or visually impaired and their families. VISIONS annual budget is $16 million+ with over 100 staff and additional temporary summer staff. VISIONS has a substantial endowment that generates income for more than 40% of the annual budget.
VISIONS promotes independence, employment, accessibility, and social connections for people who are blind or visually impaired or multiply disabled. In addition to one-of-a-kind direct services, VISIONS educates the public about the capabilities of people who are blind or visually impaired so they may be fully integrated into all aspects of community life.
The CEO leads and develops bold and inclusive programs and encourages collaboration, authenticity, and professionalism. The position guides and manages VISIONS with a dynamic executive leadership team and an active involved Board of Directors. The CEO is responsible for public relations and the image of the organization and for providing day-to-day leadership and management of the staff. The successful candidate thrives in an environment that emphasizes quality, high expectations, measures of success, cooperation, listening, diversity, honesty, integrity and commitment.
The CEO’s key responsibilities will include:
- Strategy and Planning:
- Collaborate with the Board of Directors to manage the five-year strategic plan with annual written reviews (The Board Report).
- Enhance VISIONS already strong reputation for innovative and effective programs serving people who are blind of all ages with special expertise in the aging network, youth services and workforce development.
- Directly supervise the five-person Executive Leadership Team (ELT) and oversee all organization activities.
- Establish innovative and productive working relationships with the organization’s stakeholders (participants, families, donors, agency leaders, legislators, volunteers, staff, funders).
- Ensure that all policies and procedures of the organization are implemented and equitably applied in compliance with all laws and regulations.
- Work with staff, the Board of Directors, and Board committees such as Executive and Finance in preparing the budget, investment plan, and board governance.
- Assure VISIONS and its mission, programs, products, and services are consistently presented in a strong, positive way to stakeholders, government, and media.
- Communicate blindness-positive values at internal meetings of all staff, ELT, department meetings, and with CEO peers in the New York Vision Rehabilitation Association, VisionServe Alliance and blind consumer groups.
- Appear in print, on broadcast and social media, communicating the energy, commitment, credentials and expertise of VISIONS staff and Board.
- Make compelling public presentations to donors, stakeholders, disability groups, government bodies, and the 500 Greenwich Street Condo Board to advance the needs of VISIONS and the community it serves.
- Engage in fundraising and partner with the Chief Development Officer to meet or exceed the annual budgeted revenue goals. The CEO is an active participant in all major gifts, government contracts and foundation grants.
- Ensure that all fundraising remains positive and focused on the abilities of people who are blind or visually impaired.
- Collaborate with the Chief Development Officer and the Board of Directors on its annual fundraising goals.
- Focus on individual outreach to major donors ($500+)
- Board Administration and support:
- Support the operations and administration of the Board by advising and informing Board members, interfacing between Board and staff, and supporting the Board’s annual evaluation of the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer.
- Partner with the Board Chair, officers, and committee chairs to develop and implement the policies of the organization and to execute on the guidance of the Board in a proactive manner.
- Present recommendations to the Board of Directors on policy and business changes desirable to improve the organization’s operations, and wellbeing.
- Public Affairs:
- Provide strategic direction, leadership and oversight of government relations, policy development, education, and advocacy activities on mission central issues.
- Testify at public hearings and serve on nonprofit and government committees, councils, and boards to support VISIONS mission.
- Human Resource Management:
- Effectively manage the human resources of the organization with the Chief Operating Officer according to personnel policies and procedures that fully conform to current laws and regulations and reflect the value of its employees to VISIONS overall success.
- Hold final authority in hiring all new employees, implementing the organization’s affirmative action and equal employment policies.
- Annually evaluate the executive leadership team and direct reports on their goals. Review all staff evaluations conducted by supervisors with attention to staff requests for professional development, additional training, corrective action plans and exceptional accomplishments.
- Maintain a “no layoff” policy to the greatest extent possible during economic downturns.
- Facilities Design and Construction:
- Guide any future large capital projects to reflect the needs of the blind participants while considering costs and return on investment.
- Seek government and/or foundation support for major projects.
- Utilize staff and/or Board construction expertise when available.
- Financial and Risk Management:
- Develop and propose a comprehensive annual budget for Board approval.
- Prudently manage organization’s resources within Board budget guidelines and communicate with the Board about any significant projected variances.
- Carefully review all insurance coverage annually with insurance broker.
- Program and Service Delivery:
- Provide strategic leadership to all programs, products and services.
- Require and pay for national certification and/or state licensure for professional staff within one year of hire or completion of degree.
- Provide high quality services free of charge to a primarily low-income blind population in the language of preference.
- Provide extensive targeted outreach to communities of color, blind individuals with multiple disabilities, and groups with high prevalence rates of blindness and vision impairment (i.e. older adults, African-American/Black populations, Hispanic/Latino populations, people with diabetes, children with CVI).
SPECIFIC SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITIES
This position supervises the Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Development Officer, two Chief Program Officers and the Senior Director of Community Fundraising Partnerships and Initiatives (oversees five community advisory boards and golf/tennis event).
EXPERIENCE, QUALIFICATIONS, PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL QUALITIES
- A successful record of management and leadership in nonprofit and professional organizations and associations to achieve the greatest positive impact for the greatest number of the community.
- Minimum ten years of nonprofit experience in executive management.
- An advanced degree in social work, business or public administration, rehabilitation, organizational development, or a related field.
- Deep understanding of philosophies, cultures, and demographics of people who are blind, visually impaired, or multiply disabled.
- Experience serving on a Board of Directors
- A consensus maker in blindness and disability matters.
- Proven management skills with an ability to coach, mentor and lead executive teams with diverse backgrounds and work styles.
- Exceptional ability as a public speaker and writer to communicate clearly and concisely.
- Flexibility and ability to work collaboratively.
- Strong facility in key parts of the Microsoft Office suite required.
- Lived experience is a plus.
- Speaking a language other than English is a plus.
MEASURES FOR SUCCESS
At the end of the executive’s first year, the Board would expect:
- Review and recommend revision, with updates, to the strategic plan.
- Attend/participate at all Board and Board Committee meetings with monthly written communications with the Board.
- Visits to and survey of existing program and services outcomes with a focus on increased participation rates in programs with unused capacity with increased revenue to support expansion.
- Smooth transition of leadership, with strong relationships built with the Board of Directors, staff, participants, and all stakeholders including funders using regular and effective communications.
- High rate of staff retention with low turnover maintaining a diverse staff.
- Establish new relationship(s) for VISIONS leading to new opportunities and revenue sources.
- Meet or exceed annual budget goals (expenses and revenue).
- Manage risk with adequate insurance coverage and follow best employment practices.
- Leadership around Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility internally and externally.
- Prepare for lease negotiations with the HDFC Housing Board and tenants at Selis Manor. Lease is up January 2026.
VISIONS 500 Greenwich Street Suite 302 New York, New York 10013 (owned 10,000 square foot 3rd floor office condominium; at this time generally closed on Fridays with staff working from home.)
OTHER SERVICE LOCATIONS
*VISIONS Center on Blindness 111 Summit Park Road Spring Valley, NY 10977 (37-acre campus open year-round for youth, adult and family programs; available for rent)
*VISIONS Center on Aging/VISIONS at Selis Manor 135 W. 23rd Street NY, NY 10011 (leased first floor and basement classrooms in an apartment building for blind tenants and their families)
*Manhattanville College Purchase, NY (one month summer residential pre-college program for legally blind youth)
*In-home and community vision rehabilitation and mobility training in 14 New York counties
This position requires residency in the metro NY area with local travel and some travel to national, state and/or regional conferences and meetings. The role requires frequent public speaking with stakeholder groups, organizations, and others sometimes after-hours and on weekends. This position is required to be in the office regularly (minimum of 2-3 days a week) and remotely available 24/7 nights and weekends to address facility or personnel emergencies.
VISIONS has a hybrid work model. Staff reports to an office on an as needed basis and provides services in person as per contract requirements and best practices. Equipment is provided for staff to work at an office, home and/or in the participants’ home and community.
BENEFITS: Excellent benefits, individual/family health insurance, vision and dental coverage, 4 weeks vacation, 4 personal days, 12 holidays, 13 sick days; 403b retirement plan.
REPORTS TO: President of the Board of Directors
TO APPLY: Send resume to Nancy D Miller firstname.lastname@example.org