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President

ORGANIZATION BACKGROUND

The mission of FIRST® is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators, 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.

Founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology, the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity 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.  A prolific inventor, entrepreneur and tireless advocate for science and technology, Dean’s passion and determination to help young people discover the excitement and rewards of science and technology are the cornerstones of FIRST®. For over 30 years, Dean and the leadership team of FIRST® has resolutely led the growth of the organization to where it is now universally recognized as the leading, not-for-profit STEM engagement program for kids worldwide.

Headquartered in Manchester, New Hampshire, FIRST® has 570,000 students annually participating from 113 countries in over 3,600 events.  The organization provides over $80 million in college scholarship opportunities annually through its extensive university relationships and benefits immeasurably from the financial support of over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and from the personal support of over 200,000 mentors, coaches and volunteers leading FIRST® programs. 

FIRST® is more than robots.  The robots are a vehicle for the students to learn important life skills.  Kids often come in not knowing what to expect -of the program nor of themselves.  They leave, even after the first season, with a vision, with confidence, and with a sense that they can create their own future.”  

-Dean Kamen

THE OPPORTUNITY

FIRST® looks toward attracting its next President to carry the vision of FIRST® into the next decade, whereby creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders.

The President of such an organization must lead by experience and capability, having the credibility and qualifications to lead both a sizable competent central staff alongside an extensive field organization and inspiring students through teamwork, robotics and technology.  The success profile of the next President of FIRST® is one grounded in a deep respect for technology, diversity and the mission of a transformative organization touching the lives of millions of young people. An agile leader who can transition most eloquently between active relationships with a high profile board and with major Fortune 500 institutions, to hands-on involvement in the field with students and supporters driving significant value for the organization around the globe.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES

The President of FIRST® sets the strategic vision of the organization for transformational growth and aligns internal and external stakeholders to execute this vision. He/she will be responsible to the Board of Directors for the growth of FIRST, it’s impact on society and for its financial performance.

The President establishes clarity and alignment of our strategic plan and the annual operating plans that support the strategy. The successful candidate will play a key role as a member of the Board of Directors, in particular to assist the Chairpersons with meeting agendas, information support and access to management for the full board and its committees to successfully execute their responsibilities from the governance perspective. 

The President of FIRST® maintains a significant presence operating alongside and leading a central staff based in New Hampshire while working closely with our extensive field organizations to support our student programs and major events. Lastly, the President of FIRST is the external voice of the organization to all major strategic partners, corporate sponsors, governmental agencies and educational institutions supporting FIRST® on a global scale.

 

QUALIFICATIONS

The candidate we seek must be highly agile, have exceptional leadership skills, a strong professional and educational pedigree coupled with an in-depth blend of the following core areas of expertise:

  • Executive Management: Management experience in a decentralized and distributed environment is essential. This includes having a high business acumen with experience in board relationships, fund raising, marketing and fiscal management of an enterprise.   Hands-on operational management in the field a must within a complex organization having experienced change and growth.
  • Industry Orientation: The successful candidate may have a many industry experience.  Most notably we envision they have gained experience in the private, government or educational sectors, in organizations closely aligned to STEM. 
  • Diversity: A leader who actively builds teams of diverse experiences, perspectives and contributions; and nurtures a contemporary environment of inclusivity where everyone can do their best work.
  • Leadership: Highly agile, open and dynamic with a proven energy and stamina to see solutions through to success. A big picture thinker who can look ahead to future possibilities and emerging trends and communicate that vision to others in an inspiring way. Strategic and accountable; having the ability to establish immediate credibility to partner, influence and interact with children to adults in the C-Suite/Board level, inside and outside the organization. Communicates with impact, inspires trust and provides vision combined with humble leadership and operational expertise that drives a followership and call to achieving more than was thought possible. 
  • Culture Fit: An individual who creates an environment focused on achieving a shared mission, collaboration and empowerment while maintaining a keen customer orientation.  An individual who brings a sense of entrepreneurship and creativity, coupled with the ability/willingness to work hard and build an organization fostering a culture inclusion, positivity and respect for one another.

EDUCATION

The successful candidate will have an undergraduate degree, likely in a technical or scientific field of study. A relevant advanced degree is preferred but not required.

COMPENSATION

Compensation will be competitive and commensurate with the role. It will include a base salary, annual performance bonus and employee benefits.

APPLICATION DETAILS

The search for this opening is being handled by the firm Korn Ferry.  For all inquiries or to apply for this role, submit a cover letter and resume directly to Korn Ferry at First2019@kornferry.com.

ABOUT KORN FERRY

Korn Ferry is a global organizational consulting firm. We help clients synchronize strategy and talent to drive superior performance. We work with organizations to design their structures, roles, and responsibilities. We help them hire the right people to bring their strategy to life. And we advise them on how to reward, develop, and motivate their people. 

Visit kornferry.com for more information.

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