Job of the week: CFO at Special Olympics

The Special Olympics is on the hunt for a chief financial officer.

Chief executive Janet Froetscher says the organization is hoping to find someone who “helps provide the backbone for strategic decisions that we make.”

Froetscher chatted with Capital Business about what she’s looking for in the newest member of the executive leadership team at her District-based nonprofit. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

What kind of background or qualifications are you looking for?

Our hope is certainly that they have a strong finance and accounting background. It would be very helpful if they had a CPA. It would be helpful if they’ve had some experience in a nonprofit, though it doesn’t have to be deep. Personally, I would like them to have some experience in a for-profit environment as a CFO.

Why do you prefer some for-profit experience?

I really like the idea of a return on investment. If you’ve been in the for-profit world, you’re very used to looking at everything as, “If we invest here, what is our return from it?” Generally, you’re much more accountable to making business cases for the things that you do. And I think the analytical work tends to be more helpful — you tend to do a lot more financial analysis work. I think the financial analysis skills are usually a little bit more leading edge.

What would make someone a good cultural fit in your workplace?

We are deep believers in our mission. The advantage, I think, to working with us is you get a chance to make a big difference in the lives of many important people. So somebody who gets a high off of that, somebody who gets great pleasure in being able to feel like they changed the world.

On day one of this job, what’s going to be the hardest thing this person has to tackle?

I think this is an evolving role. I think right at the beginning, there’s an opportunity to think with a clean sheet of paper — to not just come in and make some marginal improvements, but to come in and really step back and say, “Are we doing things the simplest way here?” Because we’ve had a number of systems that we’ve kind of put together, I think there’s an opportunity here to step away from that. I think that may be the first year or so. Then, after that, I think they’ve got the opportunity to say, okay, let’s get sophisticated about how we’re going to look at the future.

Sarah Halzack is a reporter and Web editor for Capital Business. She covers the local job market and the business of talent and hiring. She occasionally writes for other sections at the Post, most frequently in the form of dance reviews, dance features, book reviews and obituaries.
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