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CEO/Executive Director

Job Description

 

The Organization

Circular Action Alliance (CAA), a 501(c)3, is poised to be a leader in changing how packaging is designed, responsibly managed and given a second life in a circular economy. CAA became the first U.S. Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) for paper and packaging in 2023, and in less than a year was selected by Colorado, California, Oregon, and Maryland to represent producers and meet the requirements of their laws. The organization is poised to deliver best-in-class compliance services, scale innovation, and build systems that help both companies and consumers waste less and recycle more in these states, and in other states that have passed or will pass EPR laws in the future.
 

Working with CAA presents an opportunity to be on the front edge of recycling system innovations that will have a meaningful and lasting impact. As a member of the CAA team, you will support the organization’s mission-driven work with our 20 Founding Members who are leaders in the food, beverage, consumer goods, and retail industries; companies (“producers”) whose packaging will be managed under these new laws; and a diverse array of stakeholders whose collaboration will be critical to delivering on the requirements of U.S. EPR laws and creating a circular economy for paper and packaging. We are looking for passionate, mission-driven, big thinkers to help us realize the full potential of the nation’s first EPR laws.
 

The Approach
 

Support And Represent Producers
Provide all producers with harmonized compliance and reporting services and help them navigate different obligations from state to state.
 

 

Improve Recycling System Outcomes
Manage the collection and distribution of funding to improve consumer access to recycling, enhance collection systems, increase recycling rates, and generate high-quality recycled material that can be used over and over in new products and packaging.
 

Ensure Program Efficiency
Establish transparent and competitive procurement practices for service providers to advance strong EPR program outcomes, while managing system costs.
 

Educate Consumers
Equip consumers with clear information to raise participation rates, reduce litter and contamination, and increase recycling rate.
 

 

Support Innovation
Support and incentivize innovation in packaging design and delivery models to reduce waste, enhance recyclability, and keep materials in circulation.
 

 

Collaborate For Impact
Meaningfully engage with all system stakeholders to inform the development of strong, locally relevant program plans.
 

The Opportunity
 

Position: 
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Location: Flexible
Reporting Relationship: CAA Board of Directors
Website: https://circularactionalliance.org/
 

Purpose of the Position
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is responsible for leading all aspects of Circular Action Alliance’s (CAA’s) strategy and operations, while also serving as the public voice for the organization’s mission and priorities before a wide range of stakeholders in the states and nationally. This role will be accountable for the oversight and success of producer services, EPR services, program and state operations, finance, administration, external affairs, and IT. The CEO will report to the CAA Board of Directors and collaborate to set the overall strategic plan, ensuring alignment with CAA’s mission, vision, values, and long-term goals. The CEO will build organizational capacity to serve the state and national compliance obligations, with emphasis on scaling the staff initially in priority states and at the headquarters. As CAA grows, the CEO will adopt best practices to scale the organization in additional states. The CEO will forge key relationships with producers, service providers, local governments, NGOs, and associations, among others to help drive recycling impact and deliver compliance targets while managing costs. As an executive steward driving success for CAA, the CEO will establish the culture and contribute to the achievement of CAA’s impact on the states and communities it serves.
 

Key Deliverables for the Role
 
  • Supports the Board of Directors by ensuring that CAA’s responsibilities under its bylaws, its Membership Agreements, its Producer Services Agreements, and its vendor agreements (collectively “the Agreements”) are carried out in a responsible, complete, and thorough manner, and on a timely basis.
  • Oversees both the National organization and the state level supporting organizations, some of which have state-level boards.
  • Oversees the financial and administrative management of CAA, in accordance with the bylaws, business plan, budget, policies, and procedures approved by the Board of Directors.
  • Monitors and evaluates the financial performance and sustainability of the organization and makes sound investment decisions.
  • Establishes and communicates the organization’s goals, objectives, and performance indicators to all employees and stakeholders.
  • Builds, leads, and inspires the executive team and staff to achieve operational excellence and customer satisfaction, while ensuring the team is agile and nimble to address a high degree of ambiguity.
  • Identifies and pursues new opportunities for growth, innovation, and partnerships in the recycling industry to challenge the status quo and move the industry forward.
  • Represents the organization in external settings and events and builds positive relationships with key producers, vendors, regulators, media, and community groups.
  • Promotes the organization’s brand and reputation as a leader in recycling and environmental stewardship.
  • Fosters a culture of collaboration, accountability, diversity, and social responsibility within the organization.
  • Delivers the recycling system goals in statute while managing costs effectively through innovation and driving competition.
 

Key Responsibilities
The CEO will be a strategic, innovative, and entrepreneurial leader and manager with a passion for advancing the organization’s vision and ensuring compliance with state requirements. The CEO will collaborate with the Board to develop and execute CAA’s strategic plan, identifying and articulating clear goals and priorities and executing with a sense of urgency. They will significantly build and scale CAA’s staff and infrastructure to meet the key operational requirements for both current and future states that may pass EPR. The CEO will forge relationships that are key to CAA’s success with the Board, regulators, and other key external stakeholders. They will be creative in identifying potential partners and alliances to strategically scale CAA.
 

Specifically, key responsibilities include the following:
 

1. Strategic Leadership and Board Relations
  • Forges a collaborative and trusting relationship with the Board in developing a vision and strategic plan to guide CAA. Provides regular updates regarding progress toward priorities and objectives, as well as key trends and emerging issues impacting CAA’s effectiveness.
  • Supports the National and State Boards in adopting “best in class” governance principles to ensure effective governance and decision making.
  • Serves as a strategic advisor to the Board on all aspects of CAA’s activities.
  • Participates with the Board in developing an effective risk management strategy given the complexities of the CAA as it grows.
  • Provides the Board with annual budget and timely updates against plan, including required course corrections.
 

2. Operational Leadership
  • Develops and oversees the implementation of business, budget and operational plans which incorporate goals and objectives consistent with CAA’s strategic direction and consistent with CAA’s compliance obligations under state laws, regulations, and agreements.
  • Directs and oversees the planning, implementation, and execution of CAA’s activities at the state and national levels and drives harmonization where possible.
  • Ensures CAA’s bylaws, policies, and procedures are reviewed regularly and recommends continuous improvements for the Board’s consideration as the organization grows.
  • Administers CAA’s finances according to the approved budget, within the authority delegated by the Board, and monitors monthly cash flow. As CAA evolves, oversees financial sustainability to ensure the organization is well funded to meet obligations.
  • Adopts accounting best practices to ensure strong financial stewardship of resources in compliance with all regulations for not-for-profit corporations.
  • Ensures that CAA invests in key information technology assets to ensure efficient and effective operations, data analytics, communications, and website.
  • Develops and maintains an up-to-date written policies and procedures manual for each functional area of CAA’s business.
  • Ensures CAA adopts cybersecurity best practices including security of the web-based portal and information contained within CAA’s Corporate, Board, and personnel records databases.
  • Ensures compliance with statutory, regulatory, and contractual obligations.
 

3. Staff Leadership
  • Leads the process to recruit CAA’s full-time, part-time, and contracted positions.
  • Creates a multi-disciplinary team environment which encourages working collaboratively, efficiently, and with a sense of urgency to achieve CAA’s objectives and goals:
  • Champions an organizational culture of collaboration, excellence, service, respect, inclusion, engagement, agility, and continuous improvement. Retains, engages, and develops staff.
  • Leads the performance and talent management of staff, working across multiple states with the need to harmonize and drive consistency and efficiencies across the organization.
  • Ensures that CAA complies with all human resource regulatory requirements.
 

4. External Affairs
  • Represents CAA at relevant activities to enhance CAA’s public and sector profile; Serves as a proactive and passionate advocate and voice for CAA before myriad stakeholders. Effectively represents the CAA to government entities, industry, other organizations to stay in front of emerging issues and trends and create positive partnerships.
  • Establishes and maintains productive working relationships with the companies that have executed agreements, CAA’s vendors and stakeholders, and other organizations to help achieve CAA’s goals.
  • Liaises with CEOs and counterparts in other similar organizations to share best practices and develop partnerships on common efforts as appropriate.
 

Experience and Professional Qualifications
The CEO will be an executive-level leader with the professional experience and competencies to lead an innovative, dynamic, and complex new organization poised for rapid growth. They will be an accomplished, strategic leader who will partner with the Board of Directors to advance CAA’s vision and mandate, and ensure organizational effectiveness, growth, and relevancy. The CEO will have a successful record of accomplishment of cultivating and sustaining a culture of innovation and results and will possess a minimum of 10 years executive-level leadership experience with proven management, business, financial staff leadership, and technology acumen. The CEO will be a strong, collaborative leader with entrepreneurial drive to build a solid legacy for the future of CAA. They must possess the highest level of integrity, essential for garnering the credibility and trust of the Board, key stakeholders, government officials and the broader community.
 

 

The ideal candidate is tenacious and results-oriented, working collaboratively with a Board to produce demonstrable results for the sector in the midst of uncertainty given that much of CAA’s work is novel in the U.S. Specific experience and qualifications will include:
 

  • Passion for CAA’s objectives and an ability to promote and communicate the organization’s strategic direction to internal and external stakeholders.
  • Record of accomplishment for creating successful, dynamic, and evolving organizations. Start-up or early-stage experience is a strong plus. A leader who is effective at simultaneously standing up the infrastructure of an organization, while advancing its objectives and mission.
  • Experience collaborating with a volunteer Board to develop and executive a multi-year strategic plan. The agility to balance complex situations, manage ambiguity, and ability to drive consensus in an environment of competing interests.
  • A strategic and creative thinker to problem solve. Operates with a sense of urgency to achieve results. Agile and flexible to effectively lead in a dynamic environment.
  • Understanding of the recycling industry including knowledge of suitable practices, waste management, and environmental regulations are highly desirable.
  • A record for building and leading a highly professional, knowledgeable, and diverse staff team in a performance driven, dynamic, and results-oriented environment. A leadership style of identifying, developing, and engaging staff and fostering a culture of trust, inclusion, collaboration, and empowerment.
  • A demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion through all aspects of leadership.
  • Exceptional interpersonal, influence, and relationship building skills, key to forging strong relationships, establishing trust, and engaging diverse stakeholders through all aspects of leadership.
  • Strong written and oral communications skills, including experience as an effective public speaker. A proactive listener who seeks diverse viewpoints.
  • The ability to inspire, motivate and engage a broad range of constituencies including environmental NGOs and multinational corporate executives.
  • Experience engaging with regulatory matters and government officials is strongly desired.
  • Complex negotiations and contracting experience desirable.
  • Successful record of growing an organization’s revenue, establishing relevant and diverse sources of income, and driving sustainable growth.
  • Experience in organizational fiscal management. Experience developing in administering organizational budgets and identifying and directing outside resources to maximize their contributions to strategic results.
  • Practical knowledge of technology to ensure CAA’s efficiency and effectiveness in delivering its mission.
  • Effective at anticipating trends and leading organization change to address market dynamics and opportunities.
  • Strong diplomatic skills and political savvy. Courage and confidence to focus, prioritize, and make tough decisions.
  • Impeccable reputation for ethical behavior and integrity.
 

Education
  • Bachelor’s degree required. Master’s degree in relevant discipline or equivalent business experience a plus.
 

Compensation and Location
  • A competitive compensation package will be provided to attract outstanding candidates.
  • Board of Directors and CEO will work to align on a national office location and working policies including remote options.
 

Note: Legal disclaimers from our legal team:
 The annual base salary range that CAA expects to pay for this position is from $X to $Y. The actual base salary offered to a successful candidate will be based on a variety of factors in accordance with applicable law, including the successful candidate’s relevant experience, skills, knowledge, and work location. Additional Incentive Awards will be offered in addition to the base salary conditional upon meeting certain performance factors, as set forth more fully in any offer of employment made. In addition to base salary and an incentive opportunity, this role is eligible for medical, dental, and vision benefits, life insurance, retirement, and paid time off.
 To apply for the position, please contact Lorraine Lavet or Shelby Loveall listed below.
 Circular Action Alliance is an equal employment opportunity employer. All qualified applicants for employment will be considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, and related medical conditions), national origin, military or veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or any other category protected by applicable federal, state, or local law. If you require an accommodation as part of the application process, please contact Lorraine Lavet listed below.
 

Lorraine Lavet
Senior Client Partner, Association Practice Leader
T. +1 (703) 919-6540
E. Lorraine.Lavet@KornFerry.com
 

Peri Hansen
Senior Client Partner
Sector Leader, Consumer Products Leader, Marketing Officers Practice
T. +1 (310) 779-5193
E. Peri.Hansen@kornferry.com
 

Shelby Loveall
Senior Associate
T. +1 (317) 691-5667
E. Shelby.Loveall@KornFerry.com


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Korn Ferry shall provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified candidates, and will refer candidates without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, veteran status or any other legally protected basis.

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