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Vice President of Field Operations

FIRST® has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume to Erin Reedy here.


FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, NH, the not-for-profit organization designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.

Their mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

FIRST seeks a dynamic Vice President of Field Operations to facilitate and champion the growth and continued success of our programs worldwide.  This critical executive-level position is responsible for creating, nurturing, and sustaining growth-oriented, coherent local ecosystems throughout all 50 states and numerous foreign countries.  This position will work collaboratively with FIRST Headquarters staff, local Regional Directors and Affiliate Partners, and local affiliated organizations to ensure programmatic integrity, participant recruiting, and fundraising goals are met. 

Our VP of Field Operations is responsible for a team of approximately 15 full-time FIRST Headquarters staff and a field network comprised of hundreds of staff, volunteers, and affiliate representatives.  Additionally, the VP will oversee an annual departmental operating budget of ~$2-3 million and an event fundraising/expense budget of ~$10 million per year.

The ideal candidate will have strong skills in strategic thinking/planning and in managing, leading, and influencing diverse groups of people.  They will have demonstrated success in running major operations and driving toward ambitious goals. 

The VP of Field Operations reports directly to the President of FIRST and plays a critical role as a key member the FIRST Senior Leadership team. 

This is a full-time position based in Manchester, NH. For more information on FIRST, please visit


  • Oversee and facilitate the establishment, development, and continuous improvement of sustainable, growth-oriented, coherent local ecosystems (and their leadership / leadership committees) in each geography (states, regions, or countries) where FIRST operates 
  • Enable FIRST to expand our reach and impact, by growing the number of teams, student participants, and school districts and communities in which young people have access to the full progression of FIRST programs and where they are encouraged to progress from program to program as they grow up 
  • Oversee and support the FIRST headquarters staff who selects and manages our local Program Partners and Regional Directors, who in turn serve as key leaders within each local ecosystem
  • Support and facilitate the development of state, regional, or country-based management (Operational) and Board-level committees, the latter of which include well-connected and influential leaders from industry, education, government, and the community willing to engage in fundraising efforts and activities and to develop goals and strategies to expand FIRST programs (K-12) within the territory
  • Develop bench marking techniques and forums for sharing of “best” practices amongst and between local ecosystems 
  • Represent field interests at FIRST Headquarters to ensure that we develop better tools to support common needs
  • Ensure that FIRST headquarters-managed events and personnel are appropriately funded through a combination of both local and HQ led support in collaboration with funding for the entire local ecosystem
  • Work cross-functionally with all other HQ functions to ensure that all FIRST stakeholders (participants, coaches, mentors, volunteers, alumni, sponsors, staff etc.) have a consistent, high-quality, impactful experience while participating in FIRST programs or events
  • Provide a leadership voice and presence both within and outside the FIRST community to support federal, state, and local advocacy, sponsor development, and school and school district adoption of our programs


We are interested in talking with charismatic professionals with strong demonstrated management, leadership, and communication skills.

  • Passion for the mission of FIRST
  • 5+ years in senior-management roles, ideally in both for-profit and non-profit or educational environments
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and manage effective teams in a fast-paced, complex, non-profit environment
  • Significant experience in budget development and scenario planning
  • Experience building relationships and engaging with community and education leaders, high-level donors, passionate volunteers, and local Boards and partner organizations
  • Excellent analytic, problem solving, coaching, and conflict-resolution skills
  • Ability to help implement programs in new and unique locales
  • Adept at overseeing and executing strategic projects with significant visibility and impact
  • Possess the executive presence and interpersonal skills to work effectively with people from diverse backgrounds and effect change through influence
  • Flexibility to travel frequently (30+% of time), including some international travel
  • Experience executing legal documents and agreements, such as Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) and other significant contracts


  • Master’s degree in Management or Organizational Development
  • Experience with FIRST or other STEM-related youth engagement programs
  • Demonstrated Board liaison experience
  • Experience working in a nationally or internationally scaled organization or environment
  • Experience fostering equity, diversity, and inclusion in STEM/technology fields
  • Solid understanding or experience selling to or engaging with schools or school districts
  • Event planning or management experience

Compensation & Benefits

Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.


FIRST has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume to Erin Reedy here.

FIRST is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBT applicants.

About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit



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