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Chief Operating Officer

Chief Operating Officer

For almost three decades, pediatricians and other pediatric primary care practitioners across the United States have been partnering with Reach Out and Read (ROR) to advance the healthy development of the children (birth aged through five years old) who visit their offices. Our simple model of “prescribing books” brings more than 4.7 million children in contact with rich opportunities to learn and grow each year. By partnering with doctors’ offices, we connect with children and families early to stimulate brain development and foster the foundations needed for long-term success. We aim to support all families and children but because we are serving nearly one-quarter of children living in poverty, our work can help combat the effects of income inequality and erode the effects of the opportunity gap.


Reach Out and Read has reached a pivotal point in its journey to promote early literacy as an essential component of pediatric care. Robust growth has led to the creation of more than 6,000 sites where we empower families to foster meaningful interactions through reading aloud. Our next step is to ensure that our model is delivered with fidelity across each of these sites and that we are building a community of practice through which all of us learn from successes, challenges and can direct resources to where they are needed most.

As our new Chief Operating Officer (COO), you will lead strategic operations of the organization’s national network, ensuring connectivity and quality between the national center, regional affiliates, and local sites. You’ll also work to develop and refine the systems, processes and supports needed to drive programmatic excellence.  You’ll need to balance leadership of core operational functions with oversight of the pathways for programmatic alignment and delivery. You’ll likely be most successful in this role if you can draw from previous work experiences overseeing human resources, growth and strategic planning as well as direct experience leading the delivery of programming at multiple sites across the country.


  • Organizational Leadership
    • Oversee and facilitate the alignment between different departments/offices, supporting tradeoff decisions and data-driven choices that best position the organization to achieve its goals. 
    • Provide organizational leadership on planning, resource allocation and operational matters with an eye toward purposeful, but ambitious growth. 
    • Serve as a trusted member of the executive team and a charismatic and thoughtful leader who serves as a model for organizational values at the national center and across the network.
    • Serve as a strategic advisor, functional expert, and coach to the senior team and network leaders regarding key operational, growth, management, and people choices.
  • Network Unity, Support & Growth
    • Lead overall stewardship and oversight of the core ROR program model.
    • Oversee strategy that focuses on a unified, network-wide approach to achieving consistent high-quality implementation of the ROR model.
    • Ensure the needed supports and structures are in place to allow regional offices to develop and flourish. 
    • Work to strengthen the value of the national center, ensuring it effectively and consistently supports the development of high-quality affiliates and coordinates sharing of best practice and network connectivity. 
  • Talent Management & Organizational Culture
    • Shape the vision, priorities, and plan for building on the existing talent/HR function to create an exceptional employee experience.
    • Supervise the process and strategy of hiring and retaining all staff across the network ensuring our team is mission-driven, diverse and demonstrate the skills, mindsets, and experiences needed to excel in our workplace.
    • Partner with members of the senior team and employees throughout the organization to foster a culture of learning and support for each other’s professional development; including the implementation of training and development programs and opportunities for on-the-job learning/ stretch assignments.
    • Promote diversity, equity, and inclusion across our network by stewarding national initiatives, coordinating local efforts and serving as a model of inclusive leadership practice.
    • Lead organization’s efforts to ensure that competitive compensation and high-quality, cost-effective benefits are within our suite of resources to ensure we attract and retain top talent.
    • Manage a team of internal and contracted resources to ensure employment practices, such as hiring, promotion, and pay, are compliant with local, state and federal law.
  • Operations and Business Intelligence
    • Create a focus on operational excellence through which regional offices, local sites, and national departments work together day-to-day and on cross-functional projects in a manner which is well-aligned and allows for effective introduction and implementation of new systems and practices.
    • Supervise and drive the performance of cross-functional teams composed of regional Executive Directors, national team members within the IT, network growth and HR functions.
    • Oversee the tools, resources, and practices that promote operational excellence such as goal and project tracking, KPI reporting and analytics, the integration (flow of data and user experience) of key systems, and templates used for annual planning.


There are innumerable ways to learn, grow and excel professionally. We respect this when we review applications and take a broad look at the experience of each applicant. We want to get to know you and the unique strengths you will bring the work. we are most likely to be interested in your candidacy if you can demonstrate the majority of the qualifications and experiences listed below: 

  • 10+ years of experience in people-centered leadership or operations roles within growing, multi-site organization where the focus has been on excellence in operations and work environment across multiple locations
  • Ability to develop, implement, manage and garner support for business systems and processes that support goal attainment
  • Strategic and visionary thinking that drives organizational efforts for ensuring needed supports and quality control for growth and development of regional offices/sites
  • Exceptional capacity for leading change across an entire organization, a true “change agent” that has the ability to successfully lead staff and stakeholders through a period of transformation
  • Successful track record of leading, managing and developing high-performing teams across multiple sites.
  • Belief in the power of diversity and excitement for working in a diverse culture and on diverse teams
  • Ability to deliver on ambitious goals and benchmarks
  • Strong, calm presence and ability to provide the team with a clear sense of direction, especially in times of change
  • Strong analytical skills and use of data to drive decision-making and to build consensus/support for evidence-based solutions
  • Exceptional listening, trust-building and ability to lead inter-personally and through delegation
  • Excellent problem-solving, operational, and communication skills
  • Proactive attitude, out of the box thinking, sense of humor and ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment


Salary will be competitive with similar roles at non-profit organizations of a comparable size, and you will also receive a robust benefits package. We offer medical and dental insurance, 401(k) retirement plan with match, paid vacation, professional development stipend, and more.


Our Mission: To give young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together. 

  • Reach Out and Read program sites are located in more than 6,000 hospitals and health centers in all 50 states, and Washington, D.C.
  • Reach Out and Read serves more than 4.7 million children and their families annually.
  • More than 6.7 million new, developmentally appropriate books are given to children annually.
  • More than 30,000 medical providers currently participate in Reach Out and Read.
  • Fifteen independent studies demonstrate that Reach Out and Read parents are four times more likely to read regularly to their children and, as a result, children’s language development is enhanced.   

To learn more about Reach Out and Read, visit www.reachoutandread.org.


Reach Out and Read is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, cultural heritage, ancestry, political belief, age, marital status, pregnancy, physical or mental disability or veteran status. Reach out and Read is compliant with the American with Disabilities Act and we are committed to making special accommodations for your interview or work as a member of our team. If specific accommodations are needed, please notify jsmerkers@positivelypartners.org and we will work to accommodate your needs.

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our philosophy

We believe in the power of positivity, and that people deserve to be happy both at home and at work.  That's why we focus on three key components to find the right match for each of our current openings: aligning your individual strengths with the requirements of the role, finding work you feel passionate about, and ensuring your values match those of the organization.


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