Martha’s Table seeks CFO that knows the D.C. community, is ready to roll up sleeves

December 22, 2013

Martha’s Table, the District-based nonprofit that assists low-income children and families, is searching for a chief financial officer to oversee everything from grant support to government contract compliance.

This person is to become the second new face in the organization’s C-suite in the past year. (Gates Foundation veteran Patty Stonesifer took over as chief executive in April.)

Katrina Gray, the group’s human resources generalist, spoke with Capital Business about the job opening, which it hopes to fill by February . The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

What kind of experience are you looking for?

We’re requesting between two and three years of supervisory experience since this CFO will have a finance manager underneath them, reporting to them. And it is pretty mandatory that they have experience overseeing finance in a nonprofit. It’s just kind of a different scope, and so someone who understands that would be most successful in the role.

Why is nonprofit experience especially important?

Because of certain challenges — the grants, in-kind donations, food and clothing donations. We have multiple revenue streams, so someone really needs to have the understanding and exposure to how those different streams can be overseen.

Everything here at Martha’s Table is “hit the ground running.” Some executives, they understand the day-to-day, or they understand the strategy. We need someone who understands both.

What will be this person’s biggest challenge?

It’s so hands-on. You can’t go sit in an office here. We ask that all of our employees volunteer and really see what it is that they’re doing, how it benefits people.

What is the best part of this job?

Rather than coming in and being told what to do, they really do have the [opportunity] to bring their expertise in finance. This CFO will be able to come in, see the way that we do things, and bring a plethora of creativity and ideas in order to streamline things.

Also, it can be challenging dealing with some of the things that go on here, but our mission is in front of our eyes every day. So just going over to the kitchen, going over to the thrift store … it allows you to just kind of check yourself during the day and say, “This is actually why I’m here.”

Is this a local or national search?

We do have a preference for someone who is here in the D.C. area, someone who understands the D.C. community. However, we are not closed to someone who is outside the area who really meets the criteria that we’re looking for.

What personal qualities would help someone thrive in this role?

They have to understand communicating with people of all different levels and all different backgrounds.

When you’re in a senior leadership role here, you can be a mentor. You’re learning and you’re teaching. So it’s important for that person to be a giver and be able to connect with all of the staff.

Sarah Halzack is The Washington Post's national retail reporter. She has previously covered the local job market and the business of talent and hiring. She has also served as a Web producer for business and economic news.
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