Southwestern Minnesota Opportunity Council (SMOC) CEO

The Southwestern Minnesota Opportunity Council (SMOC) Board seeks a collaborative, experienced and visionary leader to guide our organization.

About the Opportunity:

The CEO will serve in-person in Worthington, Minnesota. 

The application process will be open until a qualified candidate is hired; however, the screening process will begin immediately. Interested candidates are encouraged to apply early.  Interviews will begin once a candidate pool is established.

About Southwestern Minnesota Opportunity Council (SMOC):

Southwestern Minnesota Opportunity Council, Inc. (SMOC) is a nonprofit Community Action Agency, serving the needs of low-income people in Southwestern Minnesota.  Four counties – Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, and Rock – comprise the core geographic service area of the organization, however, SMOC provides specific programs in as few as one and as many as fifteen counties in the region.  SMOC’s service area is largely rural. 

Worthington, where SMOC’s main office is located, is the largest city with 14,000 residents.  It has a strong agricultural presence and is home to several large corporations involved in processing, shipping, bio-science research, higher education, and manufacturing.  Nobles County is the most rapidly diversifying county in Minnesota.

Southwestern Minnesota Opportunity Council’s mission is to strengthen our communities by providing opportunities and services.  SMOC Board and staff believe the following:

·         Treating people with respect, fairness and understanding.

·         Opportunity fosters economic independence.

·         Economic independence strengthens communities.

·         Diversity enriches communities.

Our guiding principles describe how SMOC staff seek to operate internally and in partnership with others; open communication; joint problem solving; mutual respect; commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion; and an ethical code of conduct.

The operations and policies guiding SMOC are governed by a fifteen-member tri-partite Board of Directors comprised of one-third elected officials, one-third private sector representatives, and one-third low-income or community representatives.  The organizational budget is approximately $9.5 million currently with opportunities to gain additional funding.  SMOC has a staff of over 90 full and part-time employees, across multiple locations.  A priority for the organization currently is to hire and retain diverse staff reflecting the population of the service area.

The CEO works in partnership with the Board to accomplish SMOC’s mission and is accountable for the success of the agency to its clients and funders.  The Board, CEO, and staff are committed to addressing income-related inequities in health insurance, social capital, transportation, food access, education and employment for our neighbors who have barriers preventing prosperity.  The ideal candidate is passionate about empowering people with low incomes to achieve their goals.

Southwestern Minnesota Opportunity Council (SMOC) Programs and Services:

·         Child Care Aware

·         Community Development Services

·         Early Learning Scholarships

·         Energy Assistance

·         Head Start

·         Health Services and Family Planning

·         Homemaker Services

·         Senior Community Services Employment Program

·         Transit / Transportation

Primary Responsibilities:

Executive Leadership and Governance

·         Serves as Chief Executive Officer, creating and maintaining a clear vision for the organization together with the Board and is responsible for carrying out the work of the agency.

·         Works with the Board to fulfill its governance functions, including acting as a professional advisor and keeping the Board informed of the agency’s conditions and operations.

·         Plans, formulates, and recommends for approval of the Board, policies and programs that will further the objectives of the agency.

·         Executes all Board decisions.

·         Fosters effective teamwork between the Board and the CEO and among staff.

·         Ensures agency resources are available for development, implementation and successful completion of the strategic plan.

·         Develops and oversees the implementation of agency work in a way that supports and advances SMOC’s values, vision, mission, and goals.

Builds Collaborative Partnerships with Partners, Stakeholders, and the Public

·         Builds and maintains cooperative and collaborative relationships with funders, community partners, elected officials, city and county staff important to SMOC’s mission and programs.

·         Builds cooperative and collaborative relationships with community partners, constituents, and stakeholders, including those who have been historically underserved.

·         Serves as the public face of SMOC for the community and media.

Manage Daily Operations

·         Manages the day-to-day operations which assures a smoothly functioning and efficient organization.  Executes such contracts, grants and commitments as authorized by the Board or established policies.  Assures the filing of all legal and regulatory documents and monitors compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

·         Plans, organizes, and directs program and services; evaluates results and recommends policies, procedures, and actions to achieve program goals.

·         Provides management oversight of agency programs and assures program quality, cultural competence, effectiveness and organizational stability through development and implementation of standards and controls, systems and procedures, and regular evaluation.

·         Identifies and evaluates the risks to the agency’s clients, staff, management, volunteers, property, finances, and reputation.  Implements measures to control risks, drafts policies for the approval of the Board and prepares procedures to implement the organizational policies; reviews existing policies on an annual basis and recommends changes to the Board as appropriate.

·         Contributes to the overall growth and development of the agency by participating on internal and external groups that address overarching issues affecting the operations of the agency, including keeping updated on developments in Community Action agencies, non-profit management and governance, philanthropy, and fund development.

Financial Management

·         In collaboration with the Finance Director, develops the annual operating budget.

·          Oversees financial processes, including the authorization of payments for contracts, grants and expenditures, the protection of assets, the management of facilities, and the establishment and maintenance of chart of accounts.

·         Administers the funds of the organization according to the approved budget and monitors the monthly cash flow of the organization.  Approves expenditures within the authority delegated by the Board and following agency financial polies and procedures.

·         Seeks outside funding in the form of grants and contracts from public and private sources.

Human Resources Management (In Collaboration with the Human Resources Director)

·         Models leadership behaviors that create and maintain a productive, professionally competent workforce in an environment respectful of personal well-being and cultural diversity.

·         Oversees the implementation of the human resources policies, procedures, and systems, including compensation and benefits, performance management, and labor / management relations.

·         Determines staffing and financing requirements for organizational management and program delivery.  Specifies accountabilities for management personnel and evaluates performance regularly.

·         Assures a work environment that recruits, trains, evaluates, supports and retains quality staff and volunteers.

·         Assures adherence to agency policy as established by the Board of Directors

·         Maintains a positive, healthy, and safe work environment in accordance with all appropriate legislation and regulations.


The CEO of SMOC should have these qualifications:

·         Excellent leadership, relationship-building, management, and communication skills

·         Ability to administer a private, nonprofit organization, including an understanding of the legal responsibilities and constraints of such an organization.

·         Experience managing and guiding an organization or division, preferably in a grant-funding nonprofit setting with a budget of at least $1 million.

·         Experience working with anti-poverty programs and administration of government grants / contracts.

·         A strong understanding of nonprofit finance, fund accounting and fundraising.

·         Experience engaging and working with diverse and underrepresented people and communities.

·         Knowledge of causes and conditions of and effective solutions to addressing poverty.

·         Familiarity with the communities of Southwestern Minnesota or rural communities in general.

·         Recent experience in senior management, both directly and indirectly managing a team

·         A combination of education and progressive experience befitting the chief office of a nonprofit.

The ideal candidate will possess a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and five years of relevant nonprofit business administration experience.  Master’s degree preferred.

Credit given for educational experiences outside of the United States.

Bilingual candidates preferred but not required.


The CEO compensation includes a starting salary of $100,000 to $130,000 depending on experience and qualifications, plus a competitive benefit package and paid time off.

To Apply:

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter, resume, and completed application and statistical questionnaire (applications are available online at or upon request), and the names and contact information for a minimum of three professional references to:


Cheryl Avenel-Navara – Chief Operating Officer, Southwestern Minnesota Opportunity Council, Inc., 1106 3rd Avenue, PO Box 787, Worthington, MN  56187

All inquiries will remain confidential.  Interested candidates are encouraged to apply early.  Interviews will begin once a candidate pool is established. To learn more about Southwestern Minnesota Opportunity Council and to view the full job description and access the application and statistical questionnaire, visit our website at

SMOC is proud to be an Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer.  Reasonable accommodation for special needs will be furnished upon request.  We believe that a diverse background and perspective are strengths and seek to continue to grow a diverse, committed, skilled and collaborative staff.

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