Location: Somerville, Massachusetts
Somerville Community Corporation (SCC) provides leadership for sustaining the city of Somerville as a vibrant, diverse and tolerant community. SCC is working to ensure opportunities for people in Somerville: to live in stable and affordable housing, to work in decent jobs with fair wages and to take on leadership in shaping the community’s future.
Organization and Programs
To achieve its mission and vision for Somerville, SCC:
- Increases the supply of affordable housing across the city through direct development and by advocating for public policies that support affordability and stability in the housing market;
- Expands employment programs that connect workers to good jobs, advocating for employment standards and public policies that support the creation of good jobs;
- Builds the leadership of residents across the city, and helps to raise the voice of immigrants and other underrepresented constituencies; and
- Grows its own organization and impact through partnerships and relationship-building, intergenerational membership growth, program development, and organizational financial strength.
In order to keep Somerville economically diverse, SCC builds affordable rental housing, creates homeownership opportunities and develops retail spaces. SCC owns and operates 219 units of rental housing and more than 9,000 square feet of commercial space. SCC has also developed over 125 affordable homeownership units. In the last two years SCC, with Community Preservation Act funds, has purchased 70 units in existing single family and two- to 16-unit properties through the 100 Homes program, a partnership with the City of Somerville, to permanently preserve the affordability of the existing housing stock in an escalating Somerville housing market.
In addition to real estate development, in 2006, SCC expanded its focus on the other side of the affordability equation – helping residents sustain themselves in Somerville with sufficient incomes and increasing assets. To those ends, programs currently offered include Financial Literacy, First Time Homebuyers classes and the First Source Jobs Program.
SCC works to empower Somerville residents to become active leaders in the community. SCC members organize for affordable housing, local jobs, and grassroots planning and have the opportunity to develop leadership skills. Residents can participate in the Affordable Housing Organizing Committee, Union United, Jobs for Somerville and SCC’s Leadership Development Institute. In addition, SCC runs a mediation program that works with students in the Somerville high school and elementary schools to help peacefully resolve their disputes, while also working with the court system and community agencies to help others solve conflicts.
Strategic Opportunities and Challenges
The CEO will have the opportunity to lead an innovative community development organization which has effectively and creatively integrated traditional real estate development activities with community organizing, engagement and resident empowerment. High priorities for the CEO include:
- Managing effectively and efficiently the daily operations and directing and empowering a team of thirteen dedicated and experienced professionals of a mission-driven, nonprofit with a $7 million budget and net assets in excess of $80 million, inclusive of all real estate activities.
- Delivering on SCC’s five-year strategic plan with the following priorities:
- Expanding the development and preservation of high-quality, affordable, multifamily housing;
- Organizing in the community to promote equitable policies and develop leaders who have the power to impact the future of Somerville;
- Advancing economic opportunity in Somerville and in neighboring communities; and
- Ensuring that SCC is a strong, nimble, and sustainable organization with the funding, infrastructure, and capacity to reach our vision.
- Transitioning, maintaining and building relationships with political, community, business and residential leaders, ensuring SCC remains at the forefront of affordable housing as well as real estate and community development in Somerville.
- Shepherding the organization through the continuing implementation of its innovative 100 Homes
- Collaborating with the Board of Directors to consider the financial implications of alternative operating scenarios, which might include rebalancing program emphasis or considering potential expansion to other communities, in order to provide SCC with positive cash flows and to better position it for long-term sustainability.
- Sustaining SCC’s robust membership and fundraising programs by proactively engaging with members and donors to make the case for financial support and to steward long-term relationships.
- Raising the levels of accountability and rigor throughout and between all levels of the organization while ensuring a culture that remains in service to residents.
- Creating deep connections with members and residents, connections built on mutual respect and a deep understanding of diversity, equity and inclusion, so all voices are well-represented, and power and influence are appropriately shared.
- Sustaining the warm, collaborative and inclusive culture that exists at SCC while also integrating the CEO’s personal leadership style and practices.
- Expanding the participation and influence of the community-oriented board of directors while building and sustaining a strong and collaborative relationship based on open and direct communications and mutual accountability.
Skills and Experience
Exceptional Networker, Partner and Connector
The CEO must possess excellent verbal and written communication skills, be eager to serve as SCC’s primary spokesperson and be a consummate networker, able to interact and communicate equally well with public officials, members, community leaders, residents, business leaders, developers, funders, etc. to proactively build and sustain collaborative and mutually beneficial relationships to improve opportunities for Somerville’s residents. The leader must be politically astute and skilled at partnering with City and State leaders focused on affordable housing development, possess the ability to listen well, be reflective and responsive to the diverse points of view and advocate for policies and practices that benefit SCC and its constituencies. The leader must also enthusiastically embrace fundraising as a core job responsibility.
Visionary, Decisive and Accountable Leader
The CEO must be aligned with and enthusiastic about SCC’s mission, able to engage in “big picture” thinking, welcome innovation and creativity, and lead SCC to implement its existing strategic plan. Also, as the agency’s chief executive officer, the CEO must be a collaborative multitasker, able to oversee the organization’s operations, finances, facilities and staff, decisively and efficiently aligning and maximizing resources to achieve SCC’s strategic goals, while also holding self, staff and the board accountable to measurable goals, institutional values and high expectations. The CEO will also serve as the primary liaison to the board of directors to proactively engage it in effective, collaborative and representative governance.
Real Estate Savvy with Financial Acumen
As the leader of a community development corporation with a primary focus on affordable housing, the CEO must be inspired by and informed about real estate development. The ability to understand and ask informed questions about complex financial statements, real estate financing and cash flow projections are key skills required as well as the ability to communicate these complex issues to diverse audiences, some of which are less financially sophisticated. The CEO must also understand and communicate the financial implications and interconnectedness of real estate development to SCC’s complex mission and diverse suite of programs.
Inclusive Community Builder and Advocate
The CEO will be an effective advocate for the City of Somerville and its residents and be committed to ensuring that diverse points of view are reflected in SCC’s mission, vision, values and activities. The CEO must establish and sustain a broad culture of inclusion and equity. On behalf of the organization and the City’s residents, the leader must also be able to listen carefully and speak persuasively to reach consensus and mobilize collective power and influence. The CEO must be able to balance SCC’s complex mission (which includes community organizing and real estate development, two activities which can often be in conflict.)
Empowering Teambuilder and Manager
The CEO of SCC will discover a staff that is committed, hardworking and truly passionate about SCC’s mission and a welcoming, inclusive and supportive culture and work environment. An active listener, the CEO must sustain the welcoming, collaborative and mutually supportive work culture and climate that currently exists; display high levels of integrity and accountability; and approach the work with a sense of good humor, diplomacy, patience, warmth, care and considerable energy. Ideally, the CEO will have worked in a leadership role in an organization of similar size and will have shown success in inspiring, developing and empowering staff and teams, in delegating effectively, in ensuring that decisions are made in an inclusive, collaborative, decisive, timely and fair manner and in generating trust and respect across the entire organization.
This search is being conducted by TSNE MissionWorks with transition consultant John Tarvin. All submissions will be acknowledged and are confidential.
Please include a resume and a cover letter with salary requirements, information regarding how you learned of the position, and a description of how your qualifications and experience match SCC’s needs and mission. All submissions of candidacy will be accepted until the position is filled. Salary is commensurate with experience, within the framework of the organization’s annual operating budget and in conjunction with SCC’s generous benefits package.
Somerville Community Corporation is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer. We encourage applications from candidates from diverse backgrounds and cultures, particularly candidates of color and/or candidates who know and/or represent the communities SCC serves.
Since 2001, SCC has been very well-led by its highly respected and well-regarded CEO who will retire from this position effective June 2020 to pursue other professional opportunities.
Desired Credentials/Profile of the Ideal Candidate
- Track record of success in real estate development, community organizing, finance and/or management strongly preferred
- A minimum of five years of senior leadership, or equivalent experience
- Knowledge of or experience in Somerville or a similarly situated city
- Experience working with diverse communities and people reflective of those served by SCC